2 Timothy 1 – Sermon Outline for CrossView Church LA for 9/28/14

TEXT: 2 Timothy 1.1-18 (pasted below) (audio sermon mp3)

MAIN POINT

Don’t shrink in shame but share in the pain (v. 8)

OUTLINE:

Don’t shrink in shame but share in the pain…

1. … by keeping the gift ablaze (vv. 3-7)

2. … by remembering 2 reasons: God’s gift and God’s salvation (vv. 6-12)

3. … by grabbing biblical truth and guarding the gospel (vv. 13-18)

2 Timothy 1 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the promise of life in Christ Jesus:

To Timothy, my dearly loved son.

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also.

Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.

He has saved us and called us
with a holy calling,
not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace,
which was given to us in Christ Jesus
before time began.
10 This has now been made evident
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who has abolished death
and has brought life and immortality to light
through the gospel.

11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher, 12 and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.

13 Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who lives in us, that good thing entrusted to you. 15 This you know: All those in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he obtain mercy from Him on that day. And you know very well how much he ministered at Ephesus.

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2 Timothy 2 – Sermon Outline for CrossView Church LA for 10/5/14

TEXT: 2 Timothy 2.1-26 (pasted below)

MAIN POINT:

Be strong in grace and entrust the gospel to others (as a disciple-making disciple) (vv. 1-2)

OUTLINE:

Be strong in grace as a disciple-making disciple by cultivating… 

1. … A Strong Mentality

  • Soldier mentality (vv. 3-4)
  • Athlete mentality (v. 5)
  • Farmer mentality (v. 6)
  • active-dependent mentality (v. 7)

2. …A Strong Memory (vv. 8-9)

  • Remember the gospel’s message (v. 8)
  • Remember the gospel’s freedom (v. 9)

3. …A Strong Ministry (vv. 10-26)

  • Ministry goal (vv. 10-13)
  • Ministry responsibility (vv. 14-18)
  • Ministry mandate (vv. 19-23)
  • Ministry summarized (vv. 24-26)

2 Timothy 2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from mein the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the recruiter. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel. I suffer for it to the point of being bound like a criminal, but God’s message is not bound. 10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 This saying is trustworthy:

For if we have died with Him,
we will also live with Him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny Him, He will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before God not to fight about words; this is in no way profitable and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 17 And their word will spread like gangrene; Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them. 18 They have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and are overturning the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, having this inscription:

The Lord knows those who are His, and
Everyone who names the name of the Lord
must turn away from unrighteousness.

20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver bowls, but also those of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the Devil’s trap, having been captured by him to do his will.

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1833 Church Covenant by J. Newton Brown

This church covenant was probably the most popular one used by Baptist churches in North America. There are some reservations we should have with it when examining it in light of the Bible. It was used as early as 1833 though it was published in The Baptist Church Manual in 1853. You can read the “Declaration of Faith” and Covenant here.

Church Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour; and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Saviour, to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant, and the principles of God’s Word.

PRAYER

Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will; working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

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New Testament Benedictions (Blessings) at the End of the Letters

I’ve been looking for the historic origins of church covenants and found that the New Hampshire Baptist Convention book called The Baptist Manual published in 1853 has a covenant that was going around as early as 1833 in that convention. At the end of the covenant it has a “prayer” and cites Hebrews 13.20-21 as the prayer. At my current church our “prayer” is 2 Corinthians 13.13 modified slightly in the form of a prayer at the end of our covenant. I like it because it’s trinitarian. I like the Hebrews 13.20-21 one because it addresses the spirit of the covenant with Jesus the Great Pastor (Shepherd). If we get to use a church covenant in my new pastorate I’d either suggest 2 Corinthians 13:13 or Hebrews 13:20-21. Here are all of the New Testament benedictions.

Romans 16:25–27 (CSB) –25 Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations— 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ—to Him be the glory forever! Amen.

1 Corinthians 16:23 (CSB) –23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:13 (CSB) –13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Galatians 6:18 (CSB) –18 Brothers, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Ephesians 6:23–24 (CSB) –23 Peace to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4:23 (CSB) –23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Colossians 4:18 (CSB) –18 This greeting is in my own hand—Paul. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.

1 Thessalonians 5:28 (CSB) –28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

2 Thessalonians 3:18 (CSB) –18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you.

1 Timothy 6:21 (CSB) –21 By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith. Grace be with all of you.

2 Timothy 4:22 (CSB) –22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Titus 3:15 (CSB) –15 All those who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with all of you.

Philemon 25 (CSB) –25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Hebrews 13:20–21 (CSB) –20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep —with the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:14 (CSB) –14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

2 Peter 3:18 (CSB) –18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

3 John 14 (CSB) –14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace be with you. The friends send you greetings. Greet the friends by name.

Jude 24–25 (CSB) –24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

Revelation 22:21 (CSB) –21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

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Great Commission Baptists: Reaching the World for Christ

Meet the Great Commission Baptists

[Taken from sbc.net with the use of the alternate descriptor]

For almost 170 years, Great Commission Baptists have sought to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people everywhere. The Great Commission Baptists formed with a Gospel vision. Its founding charter identifies its singular focus: …for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel…

The Great Commission Baptists (Southern Baptist Convention) have grown to be a network of more than 50,000 cooperating churches and church-type missions banded together to make an impact of God’s Kingdom. While no two Great Commission Baptist churches are alike, there are certain commonalities that bind Great Commission Baptists together, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, language, or locale. What we offer here is an overview to help tell the story of what God is doing in and through the people called Great Commission Baptists.

Who Great Commission Baptists Are

Great Commission Baptists are as varied and diverse as the cities, towns, neighborhoods, and rural communities where you may find them. Each autonomous Great Commission Baptist church is unique; only when viewed together can one grasp the diversity that is the Southern Baptist Convention. Great Commission Baptist churches represent a broad range in…

  • size– very small to very large
  • culture– Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and every subculture within each region
  • age– very young to very old
  • ministry setting– inner-city, storefront, suburban, small town, open countryside, cowboy, motorcyle
  • ethnicity– Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and numerous other ethnic groups
  • worship style– traditional, contemporary, and everything in between
  • theological perspective– all within the framework of historic biblical orthodoxy

But to know Great Commission Baptists means to understand that the center of who and what we are is the Person and Work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Great Commission Baptists are people who have been redeemed through Christ from sin — the spiritual brokenness that causes us to resist God’s ways and fall short of His glory.

Great Commission Baptists hold high the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the unifying center around which everything else is built and from which all ministry flows. We use the phrase regenerate church membership to emphasize that the starting point for everything related to a Great Commission Baptist church is each individual’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives.

Great Commission Baptists believe that each human being is a sinner by birth and by choice, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We believe that Jesus, “in His substitutionary death on the cross,” made “provision for the redemption of men from sin” and “effected the reconciliation between God and man” (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article II B., God the Son). And we believe that “There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord” (BF&M, Article IV, Salvation).

While the Bible does not teach that the waters of baptism have any saving power (salvation is by gracealone through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8), in keeping with the biblical emphasis reflected in our heritage and name, and as “people of the Book” (the Bible), Great Commission Baptists believe that all true believers will long to be identified fully with their Lord and Savior through the act of believer’s baptism.

We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 28:19). It is an act of obedience symbolizing (1) the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, (2) the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus, and (3) the believer’s trust that his or her mortal flesh shall be clothed with immortality in the final resurrection of the dead.

It is by the Gospel, because of the Gospel, and for the Gospel that the Southern Baptist Convention exists; so it only makes sense that everything about Great Commission Baptists is tied directly to the Gospel.

What Great Commission Baptists Believe

Great Commission Baptists believe that the Bible reveals the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. For that reason, Great Commission Baptists have summarized their biblical convictions in the confession of faith already cited, The Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M). While Great Commission Baptists are not a creedal people, requiring churches or individuals to embrace a standardized set of beliefs, they are a confessional people. The BF&M represents the confessional consensus of “certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified” (BF&M, preamble).

The first five articles of The Baptist Faith & Message affirm the historical, orthodox, evangelical beliefs concerning The Scriptures, the Person and Works of God, the nature and fall of Man, God’s gracious provision of Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and God’s Purpose of Grace — that God is the One who initiates and completes the work of salvation.

The next six articles affirm historical, biblical Baptist positions on the Church, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Day, the Kingdom,the doctrine of Last Things, and Evangelism and Missions.

The final seven articles summarize a number of distinctively Great Commission Baptist commitments to Christian Higher Education, Stewardship, Cooperation, The Christian and the Social Order, Peace and War, Religious Liberty, and The Family.

The entire Baptist Faith and Message is available online at www.sbc.net/bfm.

What Great Commission Baptists Do

Great Commission Baptists Proclaim the Gospel Through Evangelism and Missions

At the heart of our mission is the compelling urgency to proclaim the Gospel to everyone. The BF&M summarizes the biblical expectation this way:

“Is is the duty and privelege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the Gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the Gospel of Christ.” (BF&M, Article XI, Evangelism and Missions).

In keeping with that commitment, Great Commission Baptist churches report their number of baptisms each year through a voluntary reporting form called the Annual Church Profile.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, cooperating Great Commission Baptist churches reported more than four million baptisms in the United States. Great Commission Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries reported that they and the national Baptist partners with whom they work in more than one hundred countries reported another five million baptisms around the world.

This averages about one baptism every thirty-five seconds for each day of each year during the entire decade. While this is a tremendous cause for celebration, in comparison to the darkness of the world, there is much to be accomplished in our cooperative efforts to advance the cause of Christ through sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In addition, Great Commission Baptists are committed to starting new churches to reach the growing populations of our country and the world. The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) has set a goal to see a net gain of five thousand new congregations (churches and church-type missions) in the United States and Canada during the decade ending in 2022. This would be an increase of more than 10 percent in the number of Great Commission Baptist congregations cooperating together to penetrate the lostness on the North American continent.

The Gospel truly is Good News, and Great Commission Baptists are passionate in our commitment to share that Good News until the Lord returns.

Great Commission Baptists Demonstrate the Gospel through Compassion

Great Commission Baptists take seriously the Lord’s example of compassion and His command to love and care for the needy (John 3:16Luke 10:25-37Matthew 25:31-46). The BF&M summarizes the biblical expectation this way:

“Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ… We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick” (BF&M, Article XV, The Christian and the Social Order).

Great Commission Baptist churches across the nation demonstrate God’s compassion to the needy in their communities as part of their standard, ongoing ministry:

  • a church in rural Arkansas sponsors a food pantry and clothing closet in a small town;
  • a church in metro New Orleans actively supports the local crisis pregnancy center and provides for the needs of pregnant young girls;
  • a church in Lower Manhattan sponsors a soup kitchen on Wednesday nights and offers free lunches in the park on Saturdays for the needy;
  • a church in San Francisco ministers directly to homeless street people

Whether it’s through free medical services, offering classes in English as a second language, or helping a local family with rent or utilities, Great Commission Baptist churches throughout the land actively reflect God’s love and compassion in their communities. In fact, the width and breadth of Great Commission Baptist ministries of compassion are as expansive as the United States itself, for Great Commission Baptists minister in every part of this nation, and such ministries are the norm for Great Commission Baptists.

On a national level, Great Commission Baptist efforts to extend that compassion are reflected in the following ministry expressions:

[Great Commission] Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) teams respond to fires, ice storms, tornadoes, damaging winds, hurricanes, and flooding across the United States. SBDR is one of the three largest relief organizations in America and includes flood cleanup efforts and long-term rebuilding in the wake of flooding. Great Commission Baptist volunteers prepare most of the meals distributed by the American Red Cross, as well as provide additional vital disaster services. Great Commission Baptists have more than 1,550 mobile disaster response units on call for local, state, and national emergencies, with more than one hundred thousand trained volunteers scattered across the nation.

The Great Commission Baptist World Hunger Relief Fund recently rebranded as Global Hunger Relief, receives and disburses designated contributions from individuals in local Baptist churches during the year. All contributions to the fund are divided 80 percent to overseas hunger relief and 20 percent to domestic hunger relief. Fifty-six million dollars was contributed and disbursed during the past decade. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC, working with IMB, NAMB, the SBC Executive Committee, LifeWay Christian Resources, and Woman’s Missionary Union, an auxiliary to the SBC, collaborate to promote this fund. Since Great Commission Baptists’ unified budget (the Cooperative Program) provides administrative costs to the entities of the Convention, every dollar raised through Global Hunger Relief goes directly to meet human hunger needs. In addition to food given and poverty issues addressed through thousands of projects in hundreds of countries, many of the world’s neediest people have also been introduced to Jesus as the Bread of Life for their impoverished souls.

How and Where Great Commission Baptists Advance the Gospel

Great Commission Baptist churches across the nation begin their ministries in their own neighborhoods to reach their local communities with the Gospel; but they don’t stop there. The strength of Great Commission Baptist work is found in their voluntary cooperation to work together to advance an aggressive global vision while maintaining a strong home base of ministry fruitfulness.

Cooperating together is not a new idea. The Apostle Paul applauded churches in the New Testament that pooled their resources for Kingdom purposes (1 Corinthians 16:12 Corinthians 8:1-216-2411:8). The BF&M summarizes the biblical pattern of cooperation this way:

“Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and convention as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom” (BF&M, Article XIV. Cooperation)

The Cooperative Program — Funding the Advance of the Gospel

Cooperation helps fuel the fire of Great Commission Baptist missions and ministries. Close to home, Great Commission Baptists advance the Gospel locally by working together in a local association of churches. The Gospel is advanced beyond the local level through participation in missions endeavors, through prayer for these collaborative endeavors, and by contributions through the Cooperative Program, the unified program for funding Convention work.

When Great Commission Baptist churches support the Cooperative Program in their respective states, their state Baptist convention uses those funds to fuel the ministry and mission goals established by the churches in that state. Each state Baptist convention forwards a percentage of the funds received by the state to the Southern Baptist Convention, providing financial support for more than 10,000 missionaries in North America and around the world, theological education through six Great Commission Baptist seminaries for more than 16,000 full-time and part-time students, and moral advocacy and promotion of religious liberty through the ERLC. Cooperative Program funds forwarded from the states also provide support for the SBC operating budget and the work of the SBC Executive Committee.

Obviously, to spread the Gospel message to the neighborhood and to the nations requires organization and structure to help facilitate the goal. For more information on the structure of the Southern Baptist Convention, see the companion publication The Southern Baptist Convention: A Closer Look.

The Convention — Working Together for the Gospel

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed “to provide a general organization for Baptists in the United States and its territories “for the promotion of Christian missions at home and abroad, and any other objects such as Christian education, benevolent enterprises, and social services which it may deem proper and advisable for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God” (SBC Constitution, Article II).

The SBC is directed by representatives of Great Commission Baptist churches, called messengers, who meet once a year to adopt a unified missions and ministry budget called the Cooperative Program allocation budget, elect trustees to oversee the ministry entities of the Convention, receive reports from the SBC entities, and transact the business of the Convention. These messengers come from churches that have voluntarily banded together to support the missionary, educational, moral advocacy, and benevolent causes of the Convention.

Great Commission Baptists work together to spread the Gospel throughout the land and around around the world. Working through 1,169 local associations (composed of the churches that are geographically close to each other) and forty-two state Baptist conventions (composed of the churches in single or multi-state groupings), Great Commission Baptists voluntarily unite to engage in the Acts 1:8 pattern of spreading the Gospel — in their local communities, throughout their states, across the nation, and around the world.

Great Commission Baptist Ministry Entities — Assisting Churches in the Advance of the Gospel

The Convention assigns and conducts its work through eleven ministry entities — two mission boards, six seminaries, an ethics and religious liberty commission, a publishing and retail ministry, and a financial resources services ministry — a woman’s missions auxiliary, and an Executive Committee. While some of these ministries are self-sustaining, the majority are supported by the churches with financial contributions through the Cooperative Program. Of contributions received by the SBC, almost 73.2 percent funds missions and almost 22 percent provides ministerial training through our seminaries. Each of these minitry entities exists for the express purpose of assisting churches in the ultimate goal of advancing the Gospel.

  • Missions, evangelism, and church planting are faciliated through the International Mission Boardand the North American Mission Board.
  • Ministerial preparation and continuing education are provided through Golden GateMidwesternNew OrleansSoutheasternSouthern, and SouthwesternBaptist Theological Seminaries.
  • Christian ethics and religious liberty ministries are assigned to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
  • Church enrichment ministry and literature publication are assignments of LifeWay Christian Resources, which receives no Cooperative Program funding.
  • GuideStone Financial Resourceswhich also receives no Cooperative Program funding, manages ministerial retirement insurance needs and administers Mission:Dignity, an assistance ministry for retired ministers and their families.
  • The SBC Executive Committeeis charged to conduct the work of the Convention between annual meetings in all areas not otherwise assigned to one of the ministry entities.
  • The Woman’s Missionary Unionis the sole auxiliary of the SBC. It cooperates very closely with the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board to encourage churches to give generously to support missions through contributions to the Cooperative Program and two annual missions offerings.

Why Great Commission Baptists Do What They Do

The answer to the why we do what we do is simple — Great Commission Baptists proclaim and minister the Gospel because the love of Christ compels us to do so (2 Corinthians 5:14).

God loved us enough to send His one and only Son to pay the penalty for our sins. Whoever believes in Him has eternal life (John 3:16). In response to the love He has lavished on us, we are called to love one another (John 13:34-3515:12-17).

Jesus summarized this truth in what is called the Great Commandment — Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39).

We know the Way to have our sins forgiven and to have a right relationship with God; the Way to be redeemed from our sin and delivered from its consequences; the Way to have eternal life — not just forever in heaven, but the fullest life possible — the life of knowing Him (John 17:3) and knowing Him (Philippians 3:10). That Way is Jesus (John 14:6). Love compels us to share the Good News of His love and extend the offer of His forgiveness with as many as possible.

For more information, contact:

Convention Communications and Relations

SBC Executive Committee

901 Commerce St.,

Nashville, TN 37203

Tel. 1-866-722-5433

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The Old Acts 29 Doctrinal Statement

Old Acts 29 Doctrine

What does Acts 29 believe?
The short answer is that we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed. The more lengthy answer is included below and intentionally omits some finer points of doctrine and secondary issues as we allow the elders in our local churches to operate according to their convictions on these matters.

First, we are Christians which distinguishes us from other world religions and cults. Therefore, we adhere to both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds.

Second, we are Evangelicals and in agreement with the doctrinal statement of the National Association of Evangelicals:

  1. We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  2. We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  3. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  5. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
    We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  6. We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Third, we are Missional:

  1. We believe that our local churches must be faithful to the content of unchanging Biblical doctrine (Jude 3).
  2. We believe that our local churches must be faithful to the continually changing context of the culture(s) in which they minister (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
  3. We believe that our mission is to bring people into church so that they can be trained to go out into their culture as effective missionaries.

Fourth, we are Reformed:

  1. We believe that God created the heavens, the earth.
  2. We believe that God created man and woman in a state of sinless perfection with particular dignity as His image bearers on the earth.
  3. We believe that our first parents sinned against God and that everyone since is a sinner by nature and choice. Sin has totally affected all of creation including marring human image and likeness so that all of our being is stained by sin (e.g. reasoning, desires, and emotions).
  4. We believe that because all people have sinned and separated themselves from the Holy God that he is obligated to save no one from the just deserved punishments of hell. We also believe that God in His unparalleled love and mercy has chosen to elect some people for salvation.
  5. We believe that the salvation of the elect was predestined by God in eternity past.
  6. We believe that the salvation of the elect was accomplished by the sinless life, substitutionary atoning death, and literal physical resurrection of Jesus Christ in place of His people for their sins.
  7. We believe that the salvation of the elect, by God’s grace alone, shows forth in the ongoing repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ that leads to good works.
  8. We believe that God’s saving grace is ultimately irresistible and that God does soften even the hardest heart and save the worst of sinners according to His will.
  9. We believe that the gospel should be passionately and urgently proclaimed to all people so that all who believe may be saved through the preaching of God’s Word by the power of God’s Spirit.
    We believe that true Christians born again of God’s Spirit will be kept by God throughout their life, as evidenced by personal transformation that includes an ever-growing love of God the Father through God the Son by God the Spirit, love of brothers and sisters in the church, and love of lost neighbors in the culture.
  10. We believe that God is Lord over all of life and that there is nothing in life that is to be separated from God.
  11. We believe that the worship of God is the end for which people were created and that abiding joy is only to be found by delighting in God through all of life, including hardship and death which is gain.

What do Acts 29 churches not believe?

Because Acts 29 is often associated with other movements we frequently get questions about emerging theological controversies. To help clarify our beliefs we believe it may also be helpful to declare what we do not believe. In stating what we are not, we do not seek to attack those who disagree with us, but rather distinguish ourselves so that pastors considering joining our network are aware of who we are, as well as who we are not.

  1. We are not liberals who embrace culture without discernment and compromise the distinctives of the gospel, but rather Christians who believe the truths of the Bible are eternal and therefore fitting for every time, place, and people.
  2. We are not fundamentalists who retreat from cultural involvement and transformation, but rather missionaries faithful both to the content of Scripture and context of ministry.
  3. We are not isolationists and seek to partner with like-minded Christians from various churches, denominations and organizations in planting church-planting churches.
  4. We are not hyper-Calvinists who get mired down in secondary matters, but rather pray, evangelize, and do good works because we believe that the sovereign plan of God is accomplished through us, His people.
  5. We are not eschatological Theonomists or Classic Dispensationalists (e.g. Scofield) and believe that divisive and dogmatic certainty surrounding particular details of Jesus Second Coming are unprofitable speculation, because the timing and exact details of His return are unclear to us.
  6. We are not egalitarians and do believe that men should head their homes and male elders should lead their churches with masculine love like Jesus Christ.
  7. We are not Open Theists and believe in the sovereignty and foreknowledge of God in all things.
  8. We are not religious relativists and do believe that there is no salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone.
  9. We are not nationalists seeking to simply improve one nation but instead ambassadors of the King of Kings commissioned to proclaim and demonstrate the coming of His kingdom to all nations of the earth. We are not moralists seeking to help people live good lives, but instead evangelists laboring that people would become new creations in Christ.
  10. We are not relativists and do gladly embrace Scripture as our highest authority above such things as culture, experience, philosophy, and other forms of revelation.
  11. We are not Universalists and do believe that many people will spend eternity in the torments of hell as the Bible teaches.
  12. We are not naturalists and do believe that Satan and demons are real enemies at work in this world and subject to God.
  13. We are not rationalists and do believe that not everything can be known but that God calls us to live by faith with mystery and partial knowledge regarding many things.
  14. We are not evangelical feminists and do believe that God reveals Himself as a Father and is to be honored by the names He reveals to us without apology.
  15. We are not embarrassed by the bloody death of Jesus Christ and do believe He died as a substitute for the sins of His people in selfless love.
  16. We are not ashamed and do proclaim a loving gospel of grace which sounds like foolishness and offensiveness to the unrepentant while also saving multitudes with ears to hear good news.
  17. We are not polemicists who believe that it is our task to combat every false teaching but are passionate about preserving the integrity of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

See Acts 29’s current Doctrinal Distinctives.

Posted in Acts29, Christian Tradition, church health, Systematic Theology | Leave a comment

Encouragement for Small Church Pastors

I was encouraged today listening on my drive home to Matt Chandler’s lecture called, Big Church, Little Church.

Matt Chandler (who has over 12,000 attending his church last I heard):

“I’ve often told guys who desire big churches that my fantasy at night when I’m laying in bed is not about women. It’s not about money. It’s about just being responsible for 80 souls in front of God according to Hebrews. And so to have to stand in front of God and give an account with all he’s entrusted to me is a bit terrifying for me. I’d much rather just have 80 souls like, ‘I gave it my best.'”

This reminds me of what Mark Dever often says quoting John Brown in a letter of paternal counsels to one of his pupils newly ordained over a small congregation:

“I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.”

The verse they refer to is Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

I was encouraged when I heard Chandler say this. I’ve been responsible for 45 souls at CrossView Church. I’ll be responsible for a few more souls in the coming weeks (Lord-willing). I often dream of a healthy church-planting, church revitalizing church of anywhere from 200-700 members. But having a brother like Matt say that he fantasizes over a situation like mine when I can only dream of a situation like his is jarring. I don’t appreciate the simplicity and joy of knowing every member and shepherding them with greater care than I ever could 200 or 700 members. These are the days to be content in the Lord and rejoice. And if I ever had to shepherd more, it would still be a day to be content in the Lord and rejoice. Faithfulness to our Chief Pastor is the issue and privilege.

Posted in Acts29, church health, CrossView Church | Leave a comment