Free From Sin

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Romans 6:18 (KJB)

Our master was once sin.  We were enslaved to it, bound to do whatever the evil of our hearts desired. Sin kept us from doing the righteous thing; the thing that would bring honor and glory to God (Romans 3:23).

I am speaking of the redeemed, the regenerated believers, followers of Jesus Christ.  We were one “dead in trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1), but have been made alive through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Righteousness in the Person of Jesus has become our new Master.  We are no longer bound in the dregs, darkness, despair, and drudgery of sin; but we have been set free to do what is good, right, holy, and just.  We can now walk with God, hear His voice, see Him work in our lives and in people and things around us.

Sin causes endless fear, doubt, despair, and hopelessness.  Faith in Christ Jesus takes that all away.  I do not intend to mean that you will not have moments of those things; but that in those moments you do fear, doubt, and feel hopeless you will fall on your knees before your God and Savior in continued faith knowing He will care for you and meet your need.

The Christian is not without sin.  We do know where to go when we sin.  We are not free to live in sin.  We are free to live in righteousness.

Will you turn your life over to the One who died that you might be free from sin’s bondage and become a servant to righteousness.  That One who died was Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son who forever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).

Some Sermon Thoughts on Ezra 8:21-23

Being Dependent

Ezra 8:21 – 23

I.  THE PEOPLE HAD COMMITTED THEMSELVES.

  1.  They had boasted of God’s Providence and power.
  2.  They had sought His way in going through the lands of trouble – evil, bandits, and murderers.

II.  THEY WOULD NOT ASK HELP OR PROTECTION FROM MAN OR GOVERNMENT.

  1.  Due to their boasting in God.
  2.  The hand of God is on those who depend on Him.

III.  GOD GRANTS THEIR PETITIONS.

  1.  He provided their material needs.
  2.  He provided their protection.
  3.  He still does, for all those who will trust in Him.

Standing Fast In Liberty

Points from this mornings sermon (2/28/16).

Galations 5:1 ff

  1.  [When we..] Hold fast, stand pat in the liberty of Jesus Christ (Gal. 5:1-6)
  2. We will walk in love (vv. 7-15).
  3. We will walk bearing the fruit of the Spirit (vv. 16-26).
  4. We will be compassionate toward others (6:1-5)
  5. We will be generous in our Sowing, and God’s blessing in Reaping of the Spirit (vv.  6-10).
  6. We will boast only in the Cross of Jesus Christ, and give Him the glory (vv. 11-15).
  7. We too will bear in our bodies the “marks of the Lord Jesus” (vv. 16-18).

-Tim A. Blankenship

A Matter of Liberty

These are thoughts from a sermon I preached on February 07, 2016 at Shiloah Baptist Church of Jenkins, Missouri.

Galations 1:1-2:10

Explain the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

On the matter of “…or an angel” (1:8) Mohammed – saw an angel he called “Gabriel”, and he spoke of perverted scripture  570 A.D. at the age of 40.

Joseph Smith saw an angel (Moroni), was shown some “golden plates” and wrote from those plates “The Book of Mormon”

Both of those angels taught another gospel, another Jesus, and speak ill, evil of the cross of Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Son.

Any religion which adds a work – baptism [sacraments], communion, circumcision, keeping the Sabbath day, any of the holy days, etc. – in order to be saved perverts the grace of God.  It is legalism not grace.

This freedom, this liberty we have in Jesus Christ is unbound.  We have no freedom or license to sin; we do have freedom from sins bondage.  We are free to live for God apart from sin.  There is no living for God in sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship

 

Baptist Succession in 1838

“It is not expected that we should give a church history in this limited essay. All that will be done is to glance at the existence of the church in each successive century ; and we shall only be able to notice where the true church flourished in one or two places at the same time. . . . Owing to the different languages of those nations where the followers of Christ have lived. and to the asperities of their opposers, the church has been known by the name of Baptists, Anabaptists, Wickliffites, Lollards, Hugonots, Mennonites, Hussites, Petrobrusians, Albigenses, Waldenses, Paulicans, etc.; and to oppose image worship, infant baptism, transubstantiation, and the unwarrantable power of the Pope, have ever been characteristics of this people. . . . 
We should keep in mind that nearly every question has two sides; and while the controversy between us and the pedobaptists respects church origin, we are happy to have their full concession that they are recent dissenters from the Roman Catholics; and that the Baptist church is not only the true church of God, but that for her ‘it is easy to trace a succession of witnesses for Jesus Christ against His rival at Rome.'” 
(The above quote is from “The Convert’s Guide to First Principles” by Israel Robords, pastor of the First Baptist Church of New Haven, CT.  It was published in 1838, to instruct a large number of new converts in the church from a recent revival.  The quote is from pages 78, 79, 97, and 98 of the book.  Notice that in 1838 you have a New England pastor referring to a Baptist “succession” and a “true church.”  This is just further proof that J.R. Graves and the Landmark movement did not teach anything new in Baptist history.  A special thanks to Bro. Steve LeCrone for finding this important quote.  Note: The last sentence of the quote includes a phrase from Brown’s Bible Dictionary, p. 152. ) 

Separation of Church and State, and Baptists

The phrase “Separation of Church and State” is nowhere mentioned within the Constitution of the United States or the Bill of Rights.  The idea there is for Government to have no State Church which is sponsored by Government.  It is also for the purpose of keeping the government out of Church business, from dictating to the Church how they are to operate, and function.  The people of every church has the right and privilege to have a say in elections, and at the voting booth, and the Church can inform its members of the moral issues, and where candidates stand on those issues.  We have an heavenly authority, and responsibility to do so.

Have Baptists ever been close to becoming a State sponsored Church.  At the last writing we read of a time the Baptists were one of four which were proposed to become State Churches.  The following is more info along that same idea.

“24. Some serious questions have many times been asked concerning the Baptists:  Would they, as a denomination, have accepted from any nation or state an offer of ‘establishment’ if such nation or state had freely made them such an offer?  And would they, in case they had accepted such an offer, have become persecutors of others like Catholics or Episcopals, or Lutherans or Presbyterians, or Congregationalists?  Probably  a little consideration of such questions now wouold not be amiss.  Have the Baptists, as a fact, ever had such an opportunity?’

‘Is it not recorded in history, that on one occasion, the King of the Netherlands (the Netherlands at that time embracing Norway and Sweden, Belgium, Holland, and Denmark) had under serious consideration the question of having an established religion?  Their kingdom at that period was surrounded on almost all sides by nations or governments with established religions — religions supported by the Civil Government.’

‘It is stated that the King of Holland appointed a committee to examine the claims of all existing churches or denominations to see which had the best claim to be the New Testament Church.  The committee reported back that the Baptists were the best representatives of New Testament teachings.  Then the King offered to make the Baptist ‘the established’ church or denomination of his kingdom.  The Baptists kindly thanked him but declined, stating that it was contrary to their fundamental convictions and principles.’

‘But this was not the only opportunity they ever had of having their denomination the established religion of a people.  They certainly had that opportunity when Rhode Island Colony was founded.  And to have persecuted others — that would nave been an impossibility if they were to continue being Baptist.  They were the original advocates of ‘Religious Liberty.’  That really is one of the fundamental articles of their religious faith.  They believed in the absolute separation of church and state.”

From THE TRAIL OF BLOOD, p. 53, by J. M. Carroll.

We Baptists may disagree whole heartedly with some forms of religion, but we also will fight with you for your right to believe it and teach it.  That is after all what Religious Liberty in our Nation is about, and what Religious Liberty the world around is about.

A Baptist State Church???

Once again I will be posting a quote from THE TRAIL OF BLOOD by J. M. Carroll.  This is from pages 51 & 52.  This is good information.

“21. We venture to give one early Congressional incident.  The question of whether the United States should have an established church or several established churches, or religious liverty, was being discussed.  Several different bills had been offered, one recommending the Church of England as the established church; and another the Congregationalist Church, and yet another the Presbyterian.  The Baptists, many of them, though probably none of them members of Congress, were earnestly contending for absolute religious liberty.  James Madison (afterwards President) seemingly was their main supporter.  Patrick Henry arose and offered a substitute bill for them all, ‘That four churches (or denominations) instead of one be established” — the Church of England, or Episcopal, Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and the Baptist.  Finally when each of the others saw that IT could not be made the sole established church, they each agreed to accept Henry’s compromise. (This compromise bill stated that each person taxed would have the right to say to which denomination of these four his money should go.)  The Baptists continued to fight against it all, that any combination of Church and State was against their fundamental principles, that they could not accept it even if voted.  Henry pleaded with them, said he was trying to help them, that they could not live without it, but they still protested.  The vote was taken–it carried nearly unanimously.  But the measure had to be voted on three times.  The Baptists, led by Madison and possibly others continued to fight.  The second vote came.  It also carried almost unanimously, swept by Henry’s masterful eloquence.  But the third vote had yet to be taken.  Now God seemingly intervened.  Henry was made Governor of Virginia and left Congress.  When the third vote came, deprived of Henry’s  irresistible eloquence, the vote was lost.’

‘Thus the Baptists came near being an established denomination over their own  most solemn protest.  This is not the only opportunity the Baptist ever had of becoming established by law, but is probably the nearest they ever came to it”

My how we should be grateful for our forefather’s who were wise in seeing the danger of being an established State Church.  This Nation would have been back to what many of the forefather’s of this Nation had fled.

Baptists and Religious Liberty

In the pages of the booklet “The Trail of Blood” we find some historical moments within the early development of the United States of America.  The previous article posted here was of three Baptist preachers defended in trial by Patrick Henry, this post has to do with churches receiving goverment support to survive.

“19. Evidently, one of the greatest obstructions to religious liberty in America, and probably all over the world as to that, was the conviction which had grown into the people throughout the preceding centuries that  religion could not possibly live without governmental support.  That no denomination could prosper solely on voluntary offerings by its adherents.  And this was the hard argument to meet when the battle was raging for the disestalishment of the Church of England in Virginia, and also later in Congress when the question of religious liberty was being discussed there.  For a long time the Baptists fought the battle almost alone.”

“20.  Rhode Island began her colony in 1638, but it was not legally chartered until 1663.  There was the first spot where Religious Liberty was granted.  The second place was Virginia in 1786.  Congress declared the first amendment to the  Constitution to be in force December 15,1791, which granted religious liberty to all citizens.  Baptists are credited with being the leaders in bringing this blessing to the nation.”

From THE TRAIL OF BLOOD by J. M. Carroll, p. 51

As Christians we all need to remember what Religious Liberty is all about.  It is not a freedom from religion, but freedom of religion.  It does not forbid Christians from participating in government, keep us from voting, nor to keep us from voicing our opinion during election time.  It, ie., the First Amendment was given to keep Government from establishing a State Church, and from dabbling into church business.

Baptists and Patrick Henry

This is a historical event which took place in the early days of the United States formation.  It concerns three Baptists preachers who were arrested for preaching the gospel.  This is taken from the booklet “The Trail of Blood” by J. M. Carroll, p. 50:

“Three Baptist preachers (Lewis and Joseph Craig and Aaron Bledsoe) were later arrested on the same charge (#16 of the booklet, same page).  One of them, at least, was a blood relative or R.E.B. Baylor, and possibly of one or more other Texas Baptist preachers.  These preachers wer arraigned for trial.  Patrick Henry, hearing of it and though living many miles away and though a Church of England man himself, rode those miles horseback to the trial and volunteered his services in their defense.  Great was his defense.  I cannot enter into a description of it here.  it swept the court.  The preachers were freed.”

In the early days of our Nation many wanted a State established church.  That is why many Baptists were persecuted for their beliefs.  We are grateful for the grace of God which saves us, keeps us, and gives us strength for every day.

We should continue to be a people who  fight for the “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

BF&M – Religious Liberty

The freedoms which the United States of America revere and cherish are due to the hearts and minds of godly forefathers who came to this land seeking freedom from government which had become unfriendly to religion.  The Constitution of the United States was written and signed by many men who believed in freedom of religion.  That is “Freedom of religion” not ‘freedom from religion’.

It is written, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.  The government of the USA is never to tell any church what they can do, and it is never to recognize any one denomination over another.  There is to be no State sanctioned religion.

This freedom which we have is endorsed and espoused by Baptists.  We love freedom.  Maybe because it comes from our Creator, and He is the One who gives the true freedom from sin, which is available through His Son Jesus Christ.

Our Statement of Faith on Religious Liberty:

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

Baptist churches are dependent upon the Lord for our support.  We receive tithes and offerings from members of our congregation, and believe that is how the church and its ministries are to be funded.  We are not, nor will not be dependent upon the government for our support.

We believe each Christian is responsible to our government to pay taxes, for the support of law enforcement, and maintaining services available for the benefit of our Nations people.  We are to obey our government when the things required of us do not violate our conscience or God’s Word, which should coincide with one another.  One of our responsibilities as citizens of the United States of America is to go and vote at every opportunity.  In our vote we have a voice, and can change the course of a Nation which is drifting away from God.

We also believe that prayer is the greatest means of changing the way our government operates.  The change of heart in our leaders is the only thing that will turn our Nation back to God.