What is…

What is a Christian?

Most people live their entire lives without ever knowing why they live or that God has a purpose for their lives.  The most basic question a person can ask is, “What is the meaning of life?”

Everyone wants to be happy.  People try many ways:

…Some look for happiness by acquiring possessions.

…Some look for happiness by experiencing pleasure.

…Some look for happiness by gaining prestige and power.

But real happiness comes from understanding the purpose for our lives.

Why Am I Here?

  • God made me to love me!

Jeremiah 31:3 (NASB)  “The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

Ephesians 1:4-5 (NASB)  “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

We were created to enjoy a personal relationship with God and to all of the rest of God’s creation!  This makes us special!

Genesis 1:27-28 (NASB)  “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

1 Timothy 6:17 (NASB)  “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”

John 10:10 (NASB)  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

 

  • When we know and love God, and live in harmony with His purpose for our lives, it produces tremendous benefits in our lives:

 

Clear Conscience

Romans 8:1

Life & Peace

Romans 8:6

Help with Weakness

Romans 8:26

Purpose

Romans 8:28

Confidence

Romans 8:31

Security

Romans 8:39

Power & Strength

Philippians 4:13

Fulfillment

Philippians 4:19

Freedom

John 8:32,36

 

What’s the Problem?

Man has a natural desire to be the boss and to ignore God’s principles for living.

     

      “Look out for #1.  Do your own thing.”

      “If it feels good, do it – regardless of what God says about it.”

      “It’s my life and I’ll do what I please!”

 

The Bible calls this attitude sin.

 

Isaiah 53:6 (NASB)  “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”

1 John 1:8 (NASB)  “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

 

Sin breaks our close relationship with God.  It causes us to fear God and try to live our lives outside of His will.

Isaiah 59:2 (NASB)  “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

Romans 3:23 (NASB)  “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.”

 

When our relationship to God is not right, it causes PROBLEMS in every area of our lives — marriage, career, relationships, finances, etc.

WHEN PEOPLE HAVE PROBLEMS, THEY OFTEN TRY MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF COPING BEFORE TURNING TO GOD.

 

Proverbs 16:25 (NASB)  “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

 

Even when we know that our deepest need is God; we often try wrong ways of getting to know Him:

 

•     “My mother was a Christian so…”

•     “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just be sincere.”

•     “I’ll give up all my bad habits.”

•     “I’ll work real hard and earn it.”

•     “I’ll be religious and go to church.”

What’s the Solution?

John 14:6 (NASB)  “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'”

God Himself came to earth as a human being to bring us back to Himself.  If any other way had worked, Jesus Christ would not have had to come.  The Way is a Person!

 

JESUS HAS ALREADY TAKEN CARE

OF YOUR SIN PROBLEM!

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

 

God did this for us because He loves us and wants us to know Him.

 

Romans 5:8 (NASB)  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

1 Timothy 2:5 (NASB)  “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

God has already done His part to restore our relationship to Him.  He took the initiative.  Now He waits for each of us to individually accept what He has done for us.

What does God want me to do?

1.  Admit that God has not been first place in your life and ask Him to forgive your sins.

1 John 1:9 (NASB)  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

2.  Believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins and that he rose again, and is alive today.

Romans 10:9 (NASB)  “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Acts 4:12 (NASB)  “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

3.  Accept God’s free gift of salvation.  You can’t earn it.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

Our relationship to God is not restored by anything we do, but on the basis of what Jesus already did for us!

 

 4.  Invite Jesus Christ to come into your life and be the Lord (“director”) of your life.

John 1:12-13(NASB)  “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Revelation 3:20 (NASB)  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”

 

You can take these steps by praying a simple prayer of commitment to God:

“Dear Jesus, thank you for making me and loving me, even when I’ve ignored you and gone my own way.  I realize I need you in my life and I’m sorry for my sins and repent of them.  I ask you to forgive me.  Thank you for dying on the cross for me.  Please help me to understand it more.  As much as I know how, I want to follow you from now on.  Please come into my life and make me a new person inside.  I accept your gift of salvation.  Please help me to grow now as a Christian.”

 

Romans 10:13 (NASB)  “For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

Why should I be baptized?

1.  To Follow the example set by Christ.

Mark 1:9 (NASB)  “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.”

 

2.   Because Christ Commands it.

 Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

3.  It demonstrates that I really am a Believer.

Acts 18:8 (NASB)  “Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.”

1 John 2:3 (NASB)  “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

What is the meaning of baptism?

1.  It illustrates Christ’s burial and resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NASB)  “For I delivered to you  as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

Colossians 2:12 (NASB)  “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

 

2.  It illustrates my New Life as a Christian.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Romans 6:4 (NASB)  “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

 

Baptism doesn’t make you a believer — it shows that you already believe.  Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Christ does that.  Baptism is like a wedding ring — it’s the outward symbol of the commitment you made in your heart.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Why be baptized by immersion?

 1.  Because Jesus was baptized that way.

Matthew 3:16 (NASB)  “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him”…

 

2.  Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion.

Acts 8:38-39 (NASB)  “And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing.”

 

3. THE word baptize means to “dip into water.”

The Greek word baptizo means “to immerse or dip under water.”

 

It best symbolizes a burial and resurrection!

Who should be baptized?

Every person who has believed in Christ.

Acts 2:41 (NASB)  “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”

Acts 8:12-13 (NASB)  “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.”

At First Baptist, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the meaning of salvation and baptism before we baptize them.  Some churches practice a “baptism of confirmation” for children.  This ceremony is intended to be a covenant between the parents and God on the behalf of the child.  The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his own personal confession of Christ.  This custom began about 300 years after the Bible was completed.  This is different from the baptism talked about in the Bible that was only for those old enough to believe.  The purpose is to publicly confess your personal commitment to Christ.

At First Baptist Church Millington, it is a membership requirement that every member must have been baptized the way Jesus demonstrated, even though many were “confirmed” as children.

When should I be baptized?

As soon as you have believed!

Acts 2:41 (NASB)  “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.”

Acts 8:35-38 (NASB)  “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”

There is no reason to delay.  As soon as you have decided to receive Christ into your life, you can and should be baptized.  If you wait until you are “perfect,” you’ll never feel “good enough”!

 

Can my family be baptized together?

Yes!  If each family member understands fully the meaning of baptism, and each one has personally placed his/her trust in Christ for salvation, we encourage families to be baptized at the same time.  It is a wonderful expression of commitment.  Young children who wish to be baptized are asked to meet with one of our ministers for a pre-baptism conversation.

However, it is important to remember that baptism is a personal statement of faith, not a family tradition.  It is usually not wise to delay your baptism while waiting on other family members to accept Christ, particularly children.  This puts an undue pressure on them, and delays your obedience.

 

What should I wear when I am baptized?

A baptismal robe will be provided for you.  You will need to bring an extra set of under clothes. You will also want to bring a plastic bag for your wet clothes.  We provide towels, changing rooms and hair dryers.  There will be a baptism team member who will be available to assist you.

 

Will I have to say anything?

No.  At the beginning of the service, the minister baptizing will briefly explain the meaning of baptism.  You will wait at the edge of the baptistery for your turn to be baptized.  The minister will introduce you, briefly lower you just under the water, and then you can leave the baptistery, dry off, and watch the others.  Later you will be mailed a certificate of your baptism.  We encourage you to invite all your relatives and friends to attend your baptism.

Jesus never asked His disciples to remember His birth.  But He did instruct them to remember His death and resurrection.  He gave the church two visible symbols (called “ordinances”) as reminders of His death.  These two ordinances are: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  The Lord’s Supper is an object lesson that represents a great spiritual truth for believers.

What is the Lord’s Supper?

 1.   It is a Reminder.

1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (NASB)  “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

  • The setting of the Lord’s Supper is the Passover.  Passover reminds us of how Israel was saved by applying the innocent blood of a spotless lamb on the door of their home.  The death angel passed over a door that was stained with blood and all the first born who were behind the blood-stained door eating the roasted lamb were saved from death.
  • The Lord’s Supper is primarily a reminder of the sacrificial death that Jesus offered for salvation.  The bread represents his body that was beaten and marred for us, while the fruit of the vine represents the shed blood that washes away all our sin.

 

2.  It is a Symbol.

1 Corinthians 11:25 (NASB)  “In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

 

3.   It is a Statement of Faith.

1 Corinthians 11:26 (NASB)  “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

 

Who should take the Lord’s Supper

Only those who are already Believers. (Mark 14:22-26)

Mark 14:22-26 (NASB)  “While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is My body.” 23 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

1 Corinthians 11:29 (NASB)  “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.”

How do I prepare for the Lord’s Supper?

1 Corinthians 11:27-28 (NASB “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

By…

Self Examination
1 Corinthians 11:27 (NASB)  “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”

Confession of my sins.
1 John 1:9 (NASB)  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Recommitment
Romans 12:1 (NASB)  “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

Restoring Relationships
Matthew 5:23-24 (NASB)  “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

When do we observe the Lord’s Supper?

Jesus never said when or how often believers should observe the Lord’s Supper.  He instituted it on a Thursday night.  Since it is a “supper,” it may seem more appropriate to observe it at an evening service.  We try to observe the Lord’s Supper once a quarter in our evening service and on special occasions.  Those services are in January, Easter Sunday night, July, and October.

The structure of the church should not be determined by culture, business practices, or even denominational traditions.

The nature of the church determines its structure.

The Church is a fellowship.

Acts 2:42 (NASB)  “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

A top priority in a fellowship is HARMONY and UNITY.

ANY attitude that causes disunity is sin.

Implication:  A good structure promotes unity and downplays DIFFERENCES.

1 Corinthians 11:17-18 (NASB)  “But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.”

The church is a family.

1 Peter 3:8 (NASB)  “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.”

So we operate on the basis of RELATIONSHIPS not  RULES.

1 Timothy 3:4-5 (NASB)  “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?).”

The church is a body.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NASB)  “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”

Ephesians 1:22-23 (NASB)  “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

We are a body — not a business!

We are an organism — not an organization!

 

Therefore, we function on the basis of SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

In an organization, “maintenance” becomes the focus.  But in an organism, “ministry” is the focus.

At First Baptist Millington we strive to structure so we can maximize MINISTRY and minimize MAINTENANCE.

 

Our Structure

•  The people are the “MINISTERS.

•  The staff are the “EQUIPPERS.

The church is a flock.

Matthew 25:33 (NASB)  “And He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.”

It is cared for and led by SHEPHERDS.

John 21:16-17 (NASB)  

Three different terms are used in the New Testament to refer to the same church leaders:

     POIMEN—shepherd—pastor

•     PRESBUTEROS—elder—leader

•     EPISCOPOS—overseer—bishop

 

Our structure could be summed up as follows:

  • God INTIATED.
  • Pastor/staff LED.
  • Deacon SERVED.
  • Team/Committee IMPLEMENTED.
  • Congregational APPROVED.

Business Meetings are held quarterly in January, April, July, and October.

Doctrinal Statement of First Baptist Church

1.     We believe the Holy Bible is the word of God. We fully accept the writings of the entire New and Old Testaments as the inspired, inerrant, and objective word of God. The Bible is the final authority in all matters of doctrine, duty, and decisions as individuals and as a New Testament Church.

2.     We believe in the Godhead. We believe in the only true God, the Creator, who is eternal, loving, just, merciful, holy, and unchanging. God exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in every divine attribute and executing distinct but complimentary offices in the work of redemption.

3.     We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son. He pre-existed with God the father before His birth in Bethlehem. He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit in the body of the virgin Mary. He lived a totally sinless and perfect life. He died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. He was buried and supernaturally raised out of the grave. He was declared victorious over sin, death, and hell. He is presently seated at the right hand of God in the place of authority in heaven. He is coming back to earth to bodily resurrect the dead in Christ and to rapture every living believer to be carried to heaven with Him.

4.     We believe in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son. The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner, regenerates the sinner, indwells, and seals the believer at the point of initial salvation. He fills and empowers the believer in order that they may live a holy and fruitful life. Every Christian should live their life under the control of the Holy Spirit of God. The evidence of the fullness or control of the Holy Spirit is in living a godly, holy, fruitful, and witnessing life. We do not accept the teaching that any of the sign gifts are to be sought as evidence of the Holy Spirit’s fullness. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience that takes place at the time of salvation and is not separate from salvation.

5.     We believe that man is a sinner. Adam, the first man, was created in the image of God and in innocence. However, by his voluntary transgressions against the will and law of God, he fell into sin and incurred not only physical death, but spiritual death, which is separation from God. Consequently, all human beings are born with a sinful nature and are in need of redemption.

6.     We believe in salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith; it is the free gift of God. Man is saved by faith in the shed blood of Christ. A person must repent of their sin and by faith receive and trust the Person and provision of Jesus Christ as Lord in order to be saved. Salvation is a present reality, one can be saved and can know they are saved, and can enjoy their life of salvation. All who have been truly born again will be saved forever and cannot lose their salvation. Being saved is the most important experience in every individual’s life.

7.     We believe in heaven. Heaven is a real place that is lovely and perfect. It will be populated by the saints of God from all ages. The most important thing about heaven is the presence of the Lord Himself. A person must make proper preparations to go to heaven, and that preparation is to receive Jesus Christ as one’s own Lord and Savior.

8.     We believe there is a hell. Hell is a real place that was prepared for the devil and his angels. All those who die outside of Christ will spend eternity in hell. Hell is a literal place of physical, mental, spiritual, and eternal suffering. Every person will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

9.     We believe there is a devil. Satan is real person who was created and originally lived in heaven, but was cast out of heaven when he rebelled against God. He is totally sinful and deceptive. He is the powerful leader of a vast host of evil spirits who seek to keep unsaved people lost. He seeks to divide, devour, and deceive New Testament churches and individual Christians. Christ defeated the devil at the cross and Christians have authority and power over the devil now, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan will ultimately be cast into the lake of fire at the end of the age.

10.     We believe in the Christian life. The greatest privilege of a Christian is to live for Jesus in this present age. The Christian life is a supernatural life. It is Christ living His life in and through us. It is a spiritual life. The Holy Spirit of God empowers and enables us to be what God wants us to be. It is a life of warfare and a constant struggle between the flesh and the spirit. The Christian life is one of separation from the ways of the world. It is a life of faith that is totally committed to Christ, living by the promises of God and in obedience to the commands of God. It is a life of progress, spiritual growth and maturity, where we become more and more like Jesus. A life of fruitfulness where the fruit of the spirit is exhibited in our lives in the way we live and in the witness of our lives as we lead other people to the saving faith in Jesus Christ. Witnessing is a necessary and normal part of the Christian life.

11.     We believe in the local church. The local church is God’s instrument in this present age. All Christians should belong to and be an active part of a local New Testament church. The church is a body of baptized believers in whom Christ lives. The church is to live under the direction and discipline of the Holy Word of God. They are united together in the Holy Spirit for the purpose of evangelizing the lost, building up the saved, and glorifying the Lord. Christ purchased the church with His own blood. All members of His church should love Christ. And they should be faithful to the purpose. We believe in the separation of church and state. The church is a God-governed body with the pastor serving as the spiritual leader of the body.

12.     We believe in baptism and the Lord’s Supper as church ordinances. Baptism by immersion is the only scriptural mode. Baptism does not save, but it is the act of obedience to the command of Christ and a testimony to the world of one’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism identifies the believer with Jesus Christ and with the people of God. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolical ordinance which pictures Christ’s body broken for our sins and His blood shed for our redemption. It is not a saving ordinance, but rather symbolical. Every born-again, baptized believer should take the Lord’s Supper as an act of worship, praise, remembrance, and gratitude to Jesus Christ for what He has done for the sinner.

13.     We believe in giving. Every Christian should give at least ten percent of their income to the Lord through the local church. Every Christian should go beyond the tithe in their giving to Spirit-directed giving. The Christian’s time, spiritual ability, and money should be given back to God as an act of dedication and love to Jesus Christ and in order to fulfill the Great Commission.

14.     We believe in world evangelism. It is the responsibility and privilege of every member of the local church to do everything they can to make the gospel of Jesus Christ available to as many people as possible. Hence, evangelism begins at home as we lead people to the saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then evangelism spreads to the community, city, state, nation, and to the world. The energies of our church should be totally directed to getting the gospel to the masses of the world. It is our solemn responsibility as a church to do everything we can to fulfill the Great Commission.

Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions.  Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:

The Bible as the sole authority

2 Timothy 3:15-17 (NASB)  “And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living.  Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the Bible say?”  We practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization.  The Bible is the basis for all we believe.

Autonomy of each local church

Ephesians 1:22 (NASB)  “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church…”

Colossians 1:18 (NASB)  “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

Christ is the recognized head of our church, not any person, group, or religious organization.  While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denominational control.  Rather than a democracy (ruled by the people), the local church is a theocracy (ruled by God).

Priesthood of every believer

1 Peter 2:9 (NASB)  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, aholy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation.  We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry.  Every believer has direct access to God through prayer and Bible reading.

Tithing

Leviticus 27:30 (NASB)  “Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.”

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

WHAT IS TITHING?

Tithe means a tenth part.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TITHE AND AN OFFERING?

  • A tithe is giving the first tenth of my income to God.
  • An offering is anything I give in addition to my tithe.

WHY SHOULD I TITHE?

1.      Because God commanded it.

Leviticus 27:30 (NASB)  “Thus all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.”

 

2.      Because Jesus commands it.

Matthew 23:23  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”

 

3.      Tithing demonstrates that God has first place in my life.

Deuteronomy 14:23  “You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.”

 

4.      Tithing reminds me that everything I have was given to me by God.

Deuteronomy 8:18  “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

 

5.      Tithing expresses my love to the Lord.

Deuteronomy 16:17  “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.”

Psalms 116:12  “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”

 

6.      God says that refusing to tithe is stealing from Him.

Malachi 3:8-9  “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’  “In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”

 

7.      Tithing gives God a chance to prove that He exists and wants to bless you!

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

 

8.      Tithing proves that I love God.

John 14:15  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

2 Corinthians 8:7-8  “But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.”

 

WHAT SHOULD I TITHE?

The first part of what I earn, not the leftovers.

Proverbs 3:9-10  “Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.”

 

WHERE SHOULD I TITHE?

Where I worship and am a member.

Malachi 3:10  “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse [church], so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”

 

WHEN SHOULD I TITHE?

weekly or regularly

1 Corinthians 16:2  “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.”

Baptism by immersion

Colossians 2:12 (NASB)  “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

We practice baptism by immersion (under water) — the way Jesus was baptized and the way the Bible commands.

Spirit-led living

John 15:5 (NASB)  “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us.  So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right.

Telling others about Jesus

1 Peter 3:15 (NASB)  “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…”

It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those with whom God brings us into contact.  We practice personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends to church.

The Southern Baptist Convention

     It is the largest association of Christian churches in Tennessee and in America

One out of every 10 churches in America is affiliated with the SBC (44,000 churches and 16 million members — more than most other denominations combined).

     It is the most diverse association of churches

SBC churches include every race, nationality, and ethnic group.  Each Sunday, services are held in over 80 languages in the U.S.  One out of every three blacks in the U.S. is a Southern Baptist.  In Shelby County our association includes Korean, Chinese, Hispanic, Vietnamese, Laotian, Black, and Arabic Southern Baptist churches.

     It is one of the fastest growing groups

The SBC baptizes over 1,000 new Christians a day in the U.S. and begins nearly five new churches a day!

 

Every SBC church is completely independent.  There is no denominational control or hierarchy, as there are in most other denominations.  Each church is self-governed and determines its own affairs.

For example:

•     Every SBC church chooses its own pastor.

•     Every SBC church owns its own buildings and assets.

•     Every SBC church determines its own programs.

 

What are the advantages of affiliating with the SBC?

 

1.   It allows us to identify with other Christians around the world who are known for their commitment to the Bible.  Unlike other groups, the SBC has no man-made “creed.”  The Bible is our only authority.

2.   It allows our church to participate in the largest missionary organization in the world.  Through the SBC “Cooperative Program” we help support over 11,000 missionaries in 130 plus countries around the world.

Back to Top