Baptist Articles of Faith: Teaching Ten

Introduction: The Baptist Articles of Faith should be reviewed from time to time, as suggested by passages like Titus 3:8. The Baptist documents are the Church Covenant and Baptist Articles of Faith. Today, we hope to discuss Articles 19 through 20.

Body:
Read Article 19: Of Social Service

Essentially, we believe that Christians should submit to the rulership of Christ and strive to get the whole world to submit to His principles. We are to do this through collaborative efforts with those of good will, without compromising our connection with Christ.

We know that without regeneration that social services will not change people nor the world at its deepest levels. Regnant (reg’-nent) means reigning in one's right or predominant. Amelioration (a-mei’-ya-ra-tion) means to make or become better, to improve.

Teaching Points –
- Matthew 5:13-16 supports the ideas that Christians are to make a positive impact throughout the world. In spite of the conflicts between light and darkness and between salt and decay, we are duty bound to make a positive impact. We may live out this principle by services, empowerment, or systemic reform, but live by the principle we must.

- Matthew 25:35-46 teaches both the blessings of responding to human needs and the punishment associated with ignoring them. A good Baptist is not satisfied with just friendly Bible saturated worship. We are duty bound to help those around us with both their spiritual and practical needs.

Let's work collaboratively to help people, instead of simply being nice looking but non-loving Christians. The goats were not condemned because of a lack of knowledge, church cloths, or even attendance. They were condemned because they saw needs and kept on going as if no action was required on their parts.

- Luke 9:23 supports the need for individual believers to decide to deny and dedicate themselves to following divine directions like minister to the needs of those around us.

There will be times when what is good for the community is not convenient for the members. God will keep a record of our putting our list of conveniences above the needs of those who suffer around us.

In summary, based on our articles of faith, we believe that it is Christian to be involved in helping to make the world a better place.

Read Article 20: Of Stewardship
Essentially, we believe that the whole world belongs to God. We are trustees or stewards of God's world. We are duty bound to serve God with our time, talent, and treasures.

Teaching Points –
- Psalms 24:1 teaches that the whole world belongs to God. This means that we do not own anything. At best, we are watching over God's stuff. Let's keep the ownership issues straight in our minds.

- I Peter 4:10 teaches that God has given every believer at least one gift or talent to serve Him with. The list of talents is so much longer than preaching, singing, and ushering. Let's serve the Lord with the talents that He has given us, instead of trying to serve Him with something we don't have.

We will have to answer for surplus choir members who say they cannot sing and a deficit of other need meeting ministries like Men, Marriage, Economic, Youth, Health, Singles, Avondale, etc.

- I Corinthians 16:1-2 is a New Testament support for proportionate giving. From the book of Genesis to now, many of God's people have given God at least 10% of what God has allowed them to receive. Genesis 14:20 shows Abram giving a tithe or 10% of what he received.

Leviticus 27:30-34 shows that God wanted the first 10% of what His people were blessed with. He was so serious about it that He charged 20% interest (i.e., fifth part) on late payments. It would be a disgrace for us to give God less under grace than Abram gave before the Law. Based on based our articles of faith and God's word, let's be at least a tithing church.

- Mark 12:29-31 teaches that God commands His people to love Him. John 14:15, 23-24a teaches that loving God includes obeying God and His teachings. In fact, a failure to obey indicates a lack of love.

John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 teach that love gives. Matthew 25:31-46 teaches that God wants His people to give and respond to the needs of others. Matthew 6:21 teaches that where our treasurers are is where our hearts are. So, Christians should give to God out of love for God, not just for the sake of the law.

In summary, based on our articles of faith, we believe that God owns everything. We are called to be wise stewards of what God has placed in our trust, including our time, talent, and treasurer. That is, we serve the Lord and give at least 10% of what God has blessed us with out of love for Him, not just because of the law.

Conclusion: Let’s work on remembering, understanding, and living by our Baptist Articles of Faith. Let’s be mindful of the importance of social services and stewardship.

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