Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Boston Soul-Winning Marathon Results

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30

The Boston Soul-Winning Marathon this past weekend was a great success! We had 110 people show up to go soul winning! Sure we had more than that in Atlanta, Georgia, but this time, we were not the Bible belt. This was Boston, Massachusetts, which is located in a very liberal, left-winged part of the country. There were people there from Canada and all over the United States, but I was hearing a lot of New England accents, so a lot of people were local! We had 141 people saved and 11 baptized!

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:19

Not only that, but we had a great time of food and fellowship over breakfast and lunch at Panera Bread. These marathons are like rallies that help people across the country to get on fire for the Lord, and I think that it’s great that there are people who attend every marathon we put on!

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Hebrews 10:24

There will be another soul-winning marathon this weekend in Nashville, TN. Brother Richard Miller who is starting a church in mid-October in Nashville will be there and will be heading up a last-minute mini marathon. I won’t be able to make it to that one, but I encourage anyone in that area to attend as well as those of you die-hards that are able to travel long distances to the marathons. I appreciate your friendship and the sacrifices you make to attend these events.

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

In addition to the soul-winning marathons that have been put on by our church and other like-minded churches, there have been people organizing their own other soul-winning marathons across the country, which is great! Brother Peter James recently held one in the Bronx, New York, and brother Giancarlo Guerrero is trying to put one together down in Miami, Florida.

To find out the dates of future soul-winning marathons, check the "Events" page at the church website.

“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” Daniel 11:32

Here is a sermon to go with this post.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Churches That Take Baptist Off the Sign

In a day when many churches are removing Baptist from their name, we will continue to call our church a Baptist church. The purpose of a name is to identify something, and names in the Bible have great meaning and significance. Ambiguous names such as Crosspoint, Such and Such Christian Fellowship, or Adventure Church leave people scratching their heads as to what those churches believe.

At one time it made sense for a church to simply be called “the church,” when it was the only church in a particular city. The word "church" alone was probably enough to indicate a congregation of Christians. Later, the Baptist distinction was needed to differentiate biblical Christians from Catholics and Protestants. We don’t call ourselves “The Church at Tempe” today because that wouldn’t tell people much about our church. Not only that, but Faithful Word Baptist Church is not the only church in Tempe.

Many churches that have generic sounding names are in fact affiliated with a denomination, but when we talk about non-denominational churches, we are referring to all churches that don’t have an identifier in their name. You will often find something in the fine print somewhere about an affiliation, but churches will downplay that connection in order to attract people of other faiths.

We are an independent Baptist church, so we are not part of a denomination, but Baptists have traditionally believed certain fundamentals of the faith, so the Baptist label is a way to indicate that we believe those same truths. When someone walks into a Baptist church, he or she can at least count on a few things:

· All Baptists believe in baptism by immersion.
· Al Baptists believe baptism is for believers.
· All Baptists will at least give lip service to the fact that our doctrine should be based on scripture alone.
· Virtually every Baptist believes in the eternal security of the believer.

Non-denominational churches, on the other hand, will usually avoid taking a stand on much of anything so that everyone will feel welcome. This type of church has the backward philosophy of bringing the world into the church rather than going out and evangelizing the community through door-to-door soul winning. We want to reach the unsaved, but church should be geared toward the saved.

It’s not just the unsaved that feel comfortable in the average non-denominational church, but also people from other factions of Christianity. Unity is great within a local church, but we don’t need unity with everyone in the world. Church should be an assembly of born-again baptized believers that are in agreement because its members believe the same on the most important doctrines. We are not supposed to fellowship with people who are called “brother” yet are living in certain sins or are blatantly disregarding Bible doctrine.

There are a few churches out there that do not have "Baptist" in the name but are still great churches. I’m not saying that a church has to be called "Baptist" to be right with God. Calling our church "Baptist" is a preference as opposed to a conviction, but I believe it is beneficial to keep that identifying label. Not only does it help like-minded believers to find our church, but it will also cause people who promote false doctrine to avoid it.

It’s hard enough to find a decent Baptist church, but once you venture outside of the Baptist umbrella, it’s a jungle out there, folks. Finding a good non-denominational church is liking looking for a needle in a haystack. Looking for a church with Baptist in the name is a great starting point, but the right kind of church will usually add more adjectives to their website and other advertisements to help describe what they believe. Not only are we Baptists, but we are independent, fundamental, King James only, soul-winning Baptists. And these days we should probably add to that description that we believe salvation is by grace through faith, plus nothing, minus nothing. Those who would disagree with any of these specifics should remove the name Baptist off of their sign because we aren’t the ones who have changed.

Here is a sermon to go with this article.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

By Reason of Use

Learn by Doing

“For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.” Hebrews 5:13

Everything in life is easier to learn by doing than just by hearing about it. To become skillful in any area, you will need to do more than just reading, listening, and watching. Eventually, you will need to learn by doing.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22

Bible Doctrine

A pastor who preaches sermons and goes out soul winning is more qualified to teach the Bible than some scholar who sits in an office all day. So-called theologians often don’t know as much as the average church member who is knocking doors and applying biblical principles in his business dealings and family life. It’s people who never go soul-winning who get messed up on salvation doctrine.

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who BY REASON OF USE have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14

Life Skills and Trades

When teaching others, it is important to let them actually gain hands-on experience. Let your children help cook dinner or fix the vacuum cleaner. Yes, give them the information first and supervise if needed, but then let them learn by doing. Even though I grew up watching my dad do electrical work, I became a better electrician once I had a boss that wasn’t afraid to let me mess up and gave me the opportunity to do the work myself. Yes, I made mistakes, but that was an important part of the learning process.

Foreign Language

If you’re going to learn a foreign language, you do have to study and memorize things, but once you know 20 words, you ought to start using them. You’ll advance faster by speaking right away and making mistakes than if you wait until you feel you are an expert in the language. It’s not about impressing people—it’s about learning to communicate. And don’t even get me started on these so-called Greek experts that couldn’t even order a meal if you dropped them off in Greece.

Soul Winning

Just like with learning a foreign language, when you start presenting the gospel, you might not sound very good at first. Start memorizing and underlining the verses, listen to the sermons, watch the soul-winning seminar, but there is no reason to put off becoming a silent partner. What you are studying at home will sink in better if you are actually experiencing it out in the field. If you wait until you feel completely prepared, you might never get out there. The next step is becoming a talker. Just start talking, and don’t be too proud to get stumped at the door. You can always go home and study up on a subject, so you’ll know the answer for next time.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

You do need to take in information through reading, listening, and watching, but once you’ve learned something, put it into practice right away, so you don’t forget it. Studying and being a worker go hand in hand.

Here is a sermon on Learning by Doing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Handling Legal Disputes Between Christians

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Matthew 18:15-17

The Bible makes it clear that it is never right to file a lawsuit against a brother or sister in Christ. There is a biblical protocol to follow when someone has wronged you: First, go to the person and try to make it right. If that doesn’t work, bring one or two witnesses to help document the conversation. If all else fails, the guilty party may need to be expelled from the church.

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.” 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8

“Going to law” in this passage is not talking about reporting crimes such as rape, murder, or child molestation. God put the death penalty on those crimes in the Old Testament, and we should never sweep something like that under the rug. Crimes of that nature should absolutely be reported to the authorities. What the scripture is referring to is suing another believer for financial reasons.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” Matthew 5:38-40

When you truly love your neighbor, you will loosen your grip on the things of this world. If you loan something to someone, make sure you can afford to kiss it goodbye. I’m not saying it’s right to borrow something and not give it back. The Bible makes it clear that people should pay what they owe.

“The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.” Psalm 37:21

That said, we should never sue other believers. Sometimes another Christian will wrong you financially, but if the church doesn’t give you justice, then too bad for you. Two wrongs do not make a right. It is wrong to sue your brother in Christ and it is wrong to sue a church, which is a body of believers.

Here is a sermon to go with this article.

Perilous Times

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1

We are living in a day when Hollywood movies, television shows, and commercials promote homosexuality and other violence, are effectively brainwashing the masses. Schools are changing their history curriculum. Sodomites and their sympathizers are protesting our churches. A dating site called “Christian Mingle” is adding a new search option for homos. Anarchy is breaking out in our streets due to a race war being fueled by the media and politicians. The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

Although we lament the condition of society, it is not cause to be discouraged. Instead of wishing that we had been born during a more peaceful era, we can be thankful that we were chosen to be alive during these tumultuous times and have the opportunity to fight for what is right. We can also be grateful that we still have the freedom to preach the Bible, even though we are facing more opposition now than in recent decades.

"Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this." - Ecclesiastes 7:10 

We are living in this time period for a purpose. Now is not the time to sit back and put our heads in the sand like so many Christians are doing. Cutting up your Target card isn’t changing much, folks. You need to support bold preachers and get involved in soul-winning churches in order to take part in the spiritual battle of today.

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Read your Bible more, pray more, go to church more, go soul-winning more, and take time to teach your children, younger siblings, and converts important Bible doctrine. Preaching the gospel to people is important, but it is only a part of the Great Commission. Most of us have weaker Christians within our circle of influence that we can bring to church and talk to about spiritual things. Do something every day to help further the cause of Christ. Sometimes even just sharing a sermon on social media or giving a friend a biblical DVD can get them fired up and start them on a whole new path. If we aren’t going to see the great tribulation, the next generation might, or their children might. Those of us who are more mature in the faith need to furnish the next generation with the knowledge they need to face uncertain times.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

Here is a sermon to go with this article.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

My Thoughts on Church Buildings

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9

The church is not a physical building, tabernacle, or temple. The church is the people. That said, it is very scriptural for a church to meet in a building. Even in the earliest New Testament church, they met in “the upper room,” which had to have been large enough to accommodate at least 120 people. We know that the church grew after that, so it was either a very large room, or they eventually moved to a different location. People who are against us meeting in a building are just silly because we can’t fit 300 people in our house, and neither can you. Faithful Word Baptist Church was started in a house since it was started from scratch, but when a new church already has over 50 members from day one, it no longer makes sense to start in a house.

Success is not Measured by a Building

People will criticize us for not owning a building, but God looks at our church as an assembly of people. We don’t need lofty spires and stained glass windows. In fact, we don’t want to pattern ourselves after Catholic cathedrals or Protestant palaces. We don’t care about impressing the gaytheists and fagnostics who make fun of us for meeting in an office space or strip mall. The average church member is happy with comfortable chairs and air conditioning, and we do our best to provide that.

Pitfalls of Buying a Building

It is impossible to anticipate the fluctuations in church attendance or changes in the real estate market. I’ve known a lot of churches that got into trouble financially by financing buildings. Just as people divorce over finances, church splits also happen for similar reasons. Buying a commercial property is different than buying a home. The minimum down payment on a business property is a higher percentage than what would be required to buy a house. Since we are not backed by a denomination, several people would have to cosign on the loan. When I get up and preach a face-ripping sermon, I don’t want to have to worry about running off wealthy trustees or cosigners who may not necessarily be the most spiritual people in the church.

I’ve seen churches split over finances, whether things went well or poorly. I can tell you about churches that did well financially, and it corrupted the pastor. I have also seen churches get smaller to the point where they could no longer afford the building. Even if a building just fell into our lap, I would not want to lose the flexibility of renting. When you rent a building, you can select the building for the size you are right now. There is no long-term commitment, so you can upgrade or downsize as needed. There’s no stress over the cost of major repairs since you can simply call the landlord.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

When there is money in a building, the church can be targeted. This could come in the form of a lawsuit, harassment from the I.R.S., or members trying to overthrow the pastor to gain control of the facility. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. I’m not saying it is wrong for other churches to buy or build buildings. I’m just explaining why Faithful Word Baptist Church will never own a building.

Here is a sermon that explains this concept in greater detail.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

God Commands us to Attend Church

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

The Bible commands us to attend church, which is defined as a local, called out assembly of believers. In Psalm 22:22, God uses the word congregation, and he quotes that same passage in Hebrews 2:12, substituting the word “church” for “congregation.” This proves that the word church means congregation. When you are listening to preaching on your computer or other device, you may be learning, but you are not congregated together with other believers.

Church is Powerful

There is something different about hearing the Bible read in church versus reading it at home, and we obviously need both. Not only is Bible reading different in church, but preaching is too. Listening to sermons remotely is never as powerful as experiencing the service in person.

The Spirit Moves

God’s spirit speaks to us in church in a special way through the preaching. I will often choose a sermon topic seemingly at random, and people will come up to me afterward and tell me that I preached on the very thing that they have recently been struggling with. The Holy Spirit often leads a pastor to preach exactly what you need to hear. You might be more distracted while listening to a recording and miss something that would have made more of an impact in person. Not all sermons in all churches are recorded. Not only that, but sometimes the recording equipment fails. Don’t miss out on a sermon that God might be leading the pastor to preach just for you.

Fellowship and Work

God knew that we needed the positive influence of other believers to succeed in the Christian life. We live in the world and have to interact with unbelievers all week. We need the fellowship of other Christians to keep us encouraged and motivate us to do more for God. We call the kitchen area at our church “the break room” because church is a place that sends us out to do the Lord’s work.

Psalms and Hymns

Even the singing is an important part of the church service. We don’t just schedule a few hymns at the beginning because we are expecting you to arrive late. The reason that it is so important that the songs we sing are doctrinally correct is that songs will often stick with us long after we forget the sermon.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

Online sermons can be a very beneficial supplement—I listen to sermons, too, but they are no substitute for regular church attendance. Realize the importance of being a part of the institution that God said he would build. The Bible says that Christ purchased the church with his own blood. Not going to church is a serious sin that will lead you into more sin, because you need fellowship, and you need to sit under the preaching.

Here is a sermon to go with this article.