Baptist Articles of Articles of Faith: Teaching Seven

Introduction: The Baptist Articles of Faith should be reviewed from time to time, as suggested by passages like Titus 3:8. Today, we hope to discuss articles thirteen and fourteen.

Read Articles of Faith 13: Of the Gospel Church

Essentially, we believe that a church is a group of people who have been baptized, profess to being believers, and who are associated by covenant. It carries out the ordinances and is governed by God's Word. It's only scriptural officers are the bishop or Pastor and deacons, according to this articles of faith.

Teaching Points –
- Acts 2:41 demonstrates the importance of baptism before people are considered a part of the number of the church. Matthew 28:19-20 supports the idea of baptism being performed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This text also supports the idea that the mission of the church is to evangelize and edify God's way. Evangelism is supported by baptism. Edification is supported by teaching. God's way is supported by Jesus' example in the text.

Let's focus on getting people saved and growing in the Lord, as a gospel church. Every believer ought to work on becoming empowered to lead others to Christ and to encourage them in the Lord. Our church needs to structure itself and conduct itself like evangelism and edification are really the purposes of the church.

- I Timothy 3 gives a list of qualifications of Pastors and deacons. In the Baptist church, Pastor, bishop, and elder mean the same thing. We strongly prefer Pastor. Bishop often conjures up being over more than one church. And the term elder sounds more like what we would call an associate minster or a respected aged person.

By the way, all preachers are not Pastors, but all Pastors are preachers. In brief, both offices should be occupied by mature disciples of Christ who have the skills and knowledge to do the work of the office.

Both offices should be occupied by those who have been tested and passed the test to sit in the highest human offices in the church. There should be challenging but reasonable requirements set for those who desire to serve.

The day is coming when all deacons and preachers will be active Training Union graduates who are involved in teaching, managing, and follow-up ministry. Based on this articles of faith, let's work on developing and supporting reasonable requirements for our scriptural officers.

- I Peter 5:1-4 supports the idea that the Pastor's job is to feed and lead the church. Feeding means to help people understand and live by the word of God. Leading means lifting a vision and managing the affairs related to carrying out the vision.

As important as preaching and teaching is, if the Pastor does not have the authority to lead, the church will always suffer major problems. Because he is the leader, the Pastor should have the authority to present what he believes is God's will for the goals, plans, budgets, cabinet members, and other leadership items.

He would do well to seek the advisement of others (see Pro. 11:14); however, at the end of the day, he does not need anyone's permission to present what he believes to be the will of God to the people of God.

In fact, it is unfortunately true that in carnal churches, the Pastor goes directly to the people to prevent sabotage and energy draining arguing with his officers. Let's work on supporting our feeding and leading Pastor.

- Acts 6:1-6 supports the idea that the deacons and all officers for that matter should assist the Pastor as qualified appointed members. The men in Acts 6 were not called deacons but functioned as deacons (i.e., servants). Notice they assisted the leaders (i.e., Apostles), by following their instructions, not the people's nor traditions.

They were qualified – honest report and full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom. To be "filled" means to be controlled. If an officer is not studying, serving, and giving then he or she is not filled enough.

Studying means week Bible study. Serving means doing something significant in addition to "Each Reach One." And giving means tithing and giving offerings.

They are required to get along with the people and Pastor. They are appointed, not simply elected into office, even though the group may make recommendations. Based on this articles of faith, let's work on developing and maintaining high quality officers.

- As for the other officers in the church – trustees, ministry managers, presidents, and chair people – as it seems good to us, we add, subtract, and modify officers. Perhaps the non-scriptural officer that gets the most attention is the trustee.

The Ohio law calls for a church corporation to have directors or trustees. These are the people who handle the legal and or business affairs of the church.

They are governed by the church's code of regulations or by-laws. Allow me to make several points, 1. The trustees are subject to the church's rulership. They cannot simply do what they want to do with church resources.

That is why by-laws, budgets, and financial statements are so important along with accurate minutes of what was authorized and by absence of mention, what was not authorized.

2. Anyone whom the church chooses can be a trustee. In some churches, to prevent or lessen the power struggle among the senior officers, the Pastor, manager of the Deacon Ministry, ...

and a small group of others make up the major decision making class of the trustees (i.e., class "A" is like an executive committee). The rest of the trustees are basically workers and advisors.

3. Trustees should function as the rest of the officers and ministries in the church. The manager should assist the Pastor as a qualified appointed member. The members of the group should be disciples. Let's support a Trustee Ministry that fits our dynamic church situation.

In summary, in this articles of faith, we believe that the church is a group of people who have been baptized, profess to be believers, and are associated by covenant to carry out God's will with the scriptural officers of the Pastor and deacons.

Read Articles of Faith 14: Of Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Essentially, in this articles of faith, we believe that baptism is an ordinance that identifies us with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a prerequisite for church membership and the Lord's Supper. We believe that the Lord's supper elements are symbols of Jesus' body and blood being given for us.

Teaching Points –
- Matthew 28:19-20 supports the idea of using the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit in the baptismal formula. It is also supports how it comes shortly after accepting Christ as one's savior by faith.

Romans 6:4 supports the symbolic connection with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to the end that we strive to live according to God's will. Let's strive to live up to the symbolism of our baptism by loving God, ourselves, and others.

- I Corinthians 11:26-28 teaches that the bread and fruit of the vine are symbols of the body and blood of Christ. Everyone should exam one's self, before partaking. We serve grape juice because it is a non-controversial use of the fruit of the vine. And some people cannot handle real wine.

We use the crackers that we use because we like them and they satisfy the inclusion of bread. We use the style of walking around because it works for now. We have it after both worship services, instead of at 6:00 p.m., because it works for us. Our men wear black and women wear white because we like it like that.

Thy symbolism is more important than the style. Let's spend most of our attention on trying to be what we eat – the body and blood and Christ. Also note that our "open" communion places responsibility on each individual to exam himself or herself, before partaking in the Lord's supper. We strongly urge people to be baptized members of the church before taking communion.

Every communion taker (i.e., child and adult) should be saved, understand the symbolism, and strive to be a disciple. Members can call the church to arrange for special communion.

In summary, in this articles of faith, we believe in a symbolic and memorial view of baptism and communion. There is no power in the water, bread, or grape juice. However, we should have a deep reverence for the symbolism and strive to live up to what the symbols point to.

Conclusion: Let's work on remembering, understanding, and living by the Baptist Articles of Faith. God has much for those who obey His will.

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