“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14–15)
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)
“The Bible: Our Only Rule of Faith and Practice.” This is a Baptist distinctive. When Paul wrote this to Timothy there was only one true church and there is still one true church. As pillars that bore inscriptions on the mighty buildings of the ancient world so it is that the church supports and maintains truth. The church of the living God, the church that Jesus built….we must remember that we did not author the truth, but we received the truth from God as given in His Word and are the only institution on earth given the authority to publish and proclaim the truth on the earth!
It is what sets us apart from the rest of the world.
H. Boyce Taylor, in his work “Why I Am A Baptist” wrote these words, “If it isn’t in the Bible it isn’t Baptist doctrine: if it is Baptist doctrine you can find it in the Bible.”
Tom Ross, in his excellent book “Teachings on the Local Church” made this statement:
“It is sad, but true, that there has been a widespread apostasy among Baptists during the Twentieth Century. Many so-called Baptists have sought acceptance and respect from the Mother of Harlots and her Protestant offspring. In order to do this, Baptists have had to sacrifice their doctrinal distinctive on the altars of compromise and ecumenicism. It is the firm conviction of the writer that true Baptists are obligated to believe and practice truth regardless of the cost.”
I agree 100% with these men.
It’s interesting that when you study the movements and growth of the Protestants (groups such as the Lutherans and the Presbyterians), they held up “SOLA SCRIPTURA” as their rallying cry but their actions speak differently don’t they? When they wrote those words they were also upholding the pillar of popary – infant baptism. And that’s just one glaring example, showing that they did not believe it really. Perhaps their banner should have been – “SCRIPTURE WHEN IT IS CONVENIENT”
The Lord’s churches have not been so. And they ought not to be so now.
“Buy the truth, and sell it not; Also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23)
There is never a good reason to compromise or to sell out.
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:14–17)
The passage before us shows us that doctrine (Greek, teaching, that which is taught) is absolutely necessary to the growth of the believer. Right doctrine is essential to right practice. Our doctrine always comes from the Bible.
“Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” (Acts 5:28)
The Word of God was so important to the early church that they were accused of filling Jerusalem with their doctrine.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2–4)
God’s Word is where it is at. Those who neglect the Word of God get turned to fables….in their preaching, their creeds and confessions, their practices and their way of living.
We are warned in Ephesians 4:14
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
It is sad when preachers will get on facebook or get up in their pulpits and brag about how they got carried away with a wind of doctrine. Somewhere, some how, they read or heard something that pulled them away from the truth.
This is why we have such strict test of fellowship:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17–18)
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 9–11)
How can we be watchful?
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
You want to live this out? Be following along in the Scripture when your pastor preaches. Take notes or listen again on Sermon Audio (www.sermonaudio.com/sgbcmansfield). See whether these things are so.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” (2 Timothy 2:15–16)
Study God’s Word. Don’t just look at it on Sunday. A Bible that is never read or studied will do you no good.
Let us be true Baptists and in doing so, let us remain true to our allegiance ton the Scriptures in all manner of faith and practice. And if someone asks us why we believe something, let it never be because the preacher said, or because we have always done it. Let it always be because “Thus saith the Lord.”