Presentation on theme: "N EW D URHAM B APTIST C HURCH P ASTOR F RANK C UOZZO L ESSON 11 “P ERSONAL A CCOUNTABILITY TO G OD IN THE F IRST C ENTURY C HURCH ”"— Presentation transcript:
N EW D URHAM B APTIST C HURCH P ASTOR F RANK C UOZZO L ESSON 11 “P ERSONAL A CCOUNTABILITY TO G OD IN THE F IRST C ENTURY C HURCH ”
-The Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice. -We are people of the Book. -We must preach the whole counsel of God which includes all sixty-six books of the Bible. -If we are going to be spiritual people, we must be scriptural people. It is impossible to be a spiritual person without being a scriptural person. Romans 14:11-12 says, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” L ESSON 11: “P ERSONAL A CCOUNTABILITY TO G OD IN THE F IRST C ENTURY C HURCH ”
-Religious tolerance is something created by government. It is a gift of government to it’s people. -Soul Liberty is something established by God when He created us. It is a gift from God! It does not rest upon the legal documents of our nation- it is rooted in the Word of God. -Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Baptist History & Personal Accountability: For almost 400 years, Baptists have saturated their life and literature with appreciation for liberty of conscience. John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, Baptist pastor’s, set the pace in the early 1600s. They wrote bold statements of support for this conviction. In fact, Helwys died in an English prison because King James I, who would not tolerate such liberty, put him there.
-Baptists’ first two pastors in America also experienced persecution. Roger Williams, banished from Massachusetts by religious authorities, formed America’s first Baptist church at Providence, Rhode Island, in the late 1630s. And John Clarke, who founded the second Baptist church, at Newport, Rhode Island, was imprisoned in Massachusetts for preaching. Williams and Clarke set in motion a long line of colonial Baptists who suffered jailings, banishments, public whippings, and dismissals from high posts because of their commitments to freedom. -In the late 1700s, Isaac Backus in New England and John Leland in Virginia wrote powerful arguments in favor of liberty of conscience. They boldly advanced their positions in the contexts of the persecution of Baptists by the authorities of church and state.
-Leland’s 1791 "The Rights of Conscience Inalienable" put forth a critically important position. He claimed that every person must give an account to God, and therefore should be free to serve God in a way which best reconciles to personal conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, it should control them in religious matters; otherwise, government should let all persons be free. -Baptist historian Henry C. Vedder claimed in his important book Baptists and Liberty of Conscience (1884) that the "glory of Baptists" was that they were the first to advocate religious liberty for all people. The corollary of this doctrine, he continued, was the rejection of all human authority and the assertion of the right of all persons to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
-E. Y. Mullins, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, claimed in 1908 that "the significance of the Baptists in relation to the individual is soul freedom." Further, "the doctrine of the soul’s competency in religion under God is the distinctive historical significance of the Baptists." Mullins then claimed in 1913: "The great principle underlying religious liberty is this: God alone is Lord of the conscience." -Liberty of conscience has figured prominently in Baptist World Congress meetings since 1905. At the inaugural BWA meeting in London in 1905, J. D. Freeman, pastor of Bloor Street Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, delivered a key sermon in which he advocated liberty of conscience: "We did not stumble upon the doctrine. It inheres in the very essence of our belief." Continuing, he urged that the conscience is servant only to God, and not to the will of other people. "This truth has indestructible life. Crucify it and the third day it will rise again."
-Charles Spurgeon made this statement concerning Baptist’s: “We believer Baptists were the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the Reformation; we were reformers before Luther or Calvin were born. We have always existed from the very days of Christ. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others, nor any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man.” “We are not ready to accept any help from the State, to prostitute the purity of the Bride of Christ to any alliance with government, and we will never make the Church the despot over the consciences of men.”
Let’s look at some Bible Principles: #1) Personal Accountability to God. When God created man, He created him capable of giving personal account of himself to God. God did not create puppets. He gave man the right to choose. In Genesis chapter three, we find Adam chose to sin and disobey God’s commands. Genesis 3:6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” The remainder of chapter three deals with the consequences for this sin. Adam was personally accountable to God.
#2) The Priesthood of Every Believer This simply means that every believer can go directly to God through the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Timothy 2:1-6 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” As believers, we have direct access to God. Each day, we must come before God as needy sinners approaching Him through the finished work of Christ and Christ alone.
#3) The Power of Influence The teaching of the priesthood of every believer and our personal accountability to God should lead us to recognize the importance of the power of influence. Since we know that we cannot force people to become Christians or force our religious views on people, we must live godly lives and be shining lights in a dark world. Philippians 2:15 states, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
The more that churches get like the world, the less influence they are going to have in the world. We will never make a difference without being willing to be different. A sick church cannot help a sick world. The worldly church is a great harm to the lost world. Because of what we find in the Bible about soul liberty, personal accountability to God and the priesthood of every believer, we must use the power of influence to win the lost to Christ. If we conform to the world, we will lose our influence. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world : but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”