Why Be a Baptist
Memory Verse: 1Peter 3:15
Prayer: May our Saviour and Bead of the Church help us all to be faithful to what we have learned this year.
Key Verses: Matt. 16:18-19; John 1:6; Matt. 18:15-17; John l0:27-30; Isa. 8:20, 14:24; 1Cor. 12:48; Romans 14:12.
This whole series of 52 lessons, has been to make believers out of unbelievers and Bible Baptists out of believers. We started with a Baptist church and end with a Baptist church. Why be a Baptist? The answer comes down to this: why be anything else if you’re a saved person? While we have been teaching Bible Baptist truths and doctrines, if God hasn’t revealed the truth to those who listen to us as yet, as to the right church to be in, something is wrong. Why be a Baptist? It is not because of these lessons, or the preacher we have, but because it is the scriptural, right, logical, only and most blessed thing that you can do after you have been saved. If you want to please your Saviour and be in the true church, the Bride of Christ - Be a Baptist!
Peter told us “to be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...” That is a good reason why every Baptist ought to be able to tell why he is a Baptist. Since Christ never established but one church, every man, who isn’t a Baptist, ought to be able to give reasons, good and sufficient to satisfy the Lord Jesus at the judgment, why he was not a Baptist. Will you tell the Lord that you joined some church founded by an uninspired man or woman, instead of the one founded by the Lord Jesus Himself.
Church membership is not left to your conscience, your whims, or your reasonings. It is a matter of loyalty and obedience to Jesus Christ and His word. The conscience of the ignorant or uninformed would say that one church is as good as another. Another would say, why don’t we just have one community church and everyone belong to it. That would be great if that one church taught and preached the truth and nothing but the truth. The Bible is the standard of what we are to believe and men’s consciences never get right until they get right with the Bible and then they all agree. T. T. Eaton said, “If one Christian ought to be a Baptist then every Christian ought to be a Baptist.” The Bible ought to be the only and all-sufficient rule of faith for every child of God. If it is Baptist doctrine you can find it in the Bible. If it is in the Bible it is Baptist doctrine. Test out everything by the Bible (Isa. 8:20). All doctrines that differ from the Bible and the Baptists are heresies and should be exposed, condemned and avoided.
SEVEN REASONS WE ARE BAPTISTS:
1. Jesus, the Head and Founder of the church was a Baptist (Matt. 16:18-19; Jn. 1:6; Matt. 3:1,13-17). (Someone might ask, “How do you know Jesus was a Baptist?” Well how do you know He wasn’t?” You know what else? He still is a Baptist!) The man God sent to make ready a people out of whom the Lord Jesus organized His church, was called by God Himself, “The Baptist.” God was well pleased when John the Baptist, baptized Jesus in the river Jordan. John was a Baptist because his mission was to make and baptize disciples. Baptists are the only people on earth who are still working at that kind of a mission - who make men disciples, then baptize them and baptize nobody else except believers.
In our Bible, John is called “the Baptist” 13 times and John Baptist 2 times. In the “New American Bible” St. Joseph edition from the Catholic Book Publishing Company, he is called “John the baptizer” 13 times. And in Luke 7:28 it just says “John.” Are they trying to hide something? Ironically, there are Catholic Churches called, “St. John the Baptist.”
2. The material out of which Jesus built his church was Baptist material. John demanded repentance. John the Baptist baptized Christ and all the twelve apostles and Christ’s church is built on them (Eph. 2:20; 1Cor. 12:28). Since the material for the church Jesus built was made ready by a Baptist preacher, it was Baptist material and the church organized out of it was a Baptist church. The church that Jesus called “My Church” (Matt. 16:18), was therefore a Baptist church. To that church He gave His marching orders (Matt. 28:18-20). These apostles were charter members of the first church. This church started another church and that church started another. So the command of Jesus has continued to this present hour and will continue until the rapture of the saints.
3. The church which Jesus built, being a Baptist church, was set up by the Lord Jesus in the days of His personal ministry. It had everything in it described in the Bible that goes to make up a church:
· The apostles were in it
· Prophets and teachers were in this church during His personal ministry (1Cor. 12:28)
· This church had an ordained ministry (Mk. 3:14)
· This church was in possession of the Gospel and was preaching the same while Christ was here (Mk. 1:1)
· It was through this church during the days of Christ that He baptized (Jn. 4:1,2)
· They had the Lord’s supper with the Lord (Matt. 26:26-30, (note Heb. 2:12)
· This church could exercise a rule of discipline (Matt. 18:15-17)
· Jesus gave to this church the keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:19 - Keys: Gospel and Holy Spirit)
· It was to this church that 5000 souls were added (Acts 2:41).
4. This church had Bible Doctrine. We could give dozens of examples, but will only give a few, the most important:
· The Bible alone is their only and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice (Isa. 8:20; 2Tim. 3:16,17)
· They preach the total depravity of man (Rom. 3:10-13)
· The Sovereignty of God (Isa. 14:24)
· Unconditional election (Rom. 9:11,12; Eph. 1:4-6; 1Pet. 1:2)
· God’s order of repentance and faith (Matt. 21:32; Acts 20:21)
· Salvation by Grace (Eph. 2:8-10; Acts 4:12)
· Once for all salvation (Rom. 8:38,39; Jn. 10:27-30)
· Baptists are individualists. No proxies in religion like the Mormons (Rom. 14:12). They do not baptize unbelieving infants. Baptists are sticklers for regenerated church membership.
5. This church does not have sacraments, but ordinances. They are two, namely Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Jesus walked 60 miles to be immersed in the river Jordan because that was where the first Baptist preacher was baptizing. Baptists have been following their Lord and the Book about baptism since that time. Many people over the years have been saved by reading the Bible and have traveled even to other countries to receive scriptural baptism at the hands of a Baptist preacher, through the authority of a Baptist church. The Bible says that Philip and the eunuch went down into the water (Acts 8:58). That is why Baptists do it that way today. Baptists are the only churches that in all their history have never connected salvation with baptism, neither for infants or adults; but have always contended that salvation is essential to baptism, rather than baptism being essential to salvation (Acts 2:47, 10:43-47). Baptists also believe in close Communion in reference to the Lord’s Supper. Jesus did not invite His own mother, or the man in whose house He instituted the Lord’s Supper, to be present at that supper. Even Judas (the devil) was sent on an errand before the start of that supper. Open communion is an impossibility (1Cor. 11:18-20). All doctrines that differ from the bible and the Baptists are heresies, so Paul says if there is division or heresy present it is not possible to eat the Lord’s Supper.
6. This church is the only church in which there is equality (Matt. 23:8). Equal in salvation, baptism, voice in the government, and giving for its support. Baptists are a democratic people. Baptists have no bosses or overlords. For that reason, Thomas Jefferson got his idea of democracy from the business meeting of a little country Baptist church in Virginia (1Pet. 5:1; Acts 1:15-26, 6:1-6).
7. The Baptist church is the only church that the Holy Spirit has as His habitation on this earth (Eph. 2:19-22). If you don’t have the spirit and power of the Holy Spirit, you cannot please God in anything that you do.
Why ought you to be a Baptist then? If you take the word of God seriously, if you love the Saviour (Jn. 15:14), if you want scriptural baptism, if you want to do the “all things” that Christ commanded, you will be a Baptist. If I wasn’t a Baptist I’d be ashamed of myself.