Calvary Road Baptist Church

ďWE BELIEVEĒ

I appreciate the hard work and prayerful consideration of so many people to ensure that this yearís Roundup Sunday will be a success. As well, I appreciate your willingness to come here this morning to spend some of your valuable time with us. Some of you have been here before. Some of your have never been here before. Some of you have attended with some regularity. Thank you all.

Most of the time when a person attends a church worship service at Calvary Road Baptist Church he is exposed to the regular way our congregation engages in worship. Some churches conduct Sunday services that are all about visitors, while other churches conduct Sunday services that are all about those who regularly attend. We fall into that category of churches that seek to focus our attention on leading those who regularly attend to the conscious and intentional worship of the one true and living God. As was said a few minutes ago, our goal is to worship the Lord by means of a variety of activities that are conducted during the course of a church service. However, since today is a special day, with both you and our special friend Dave Shook with us, the service will be more focused than usual on you who are visiting us. Our evening service, which today will begin at 2:00, just after the Western Gospel concert, will feature a sermon from Godís Word that is more like our usual Sunday evening fare. This morningís sermon, however, is brought for the purpose of introducing our church to you. Whether this is your first time here, or you have been here before, or you have attended on numerous occasions, it is still likely that you do not yet know Calvary Road Baptist Church the way I would like you to know us. For that reason, I will bring a message titled, ďWe Believe.Ē

Some Christian denominations claim that they are the true church by reason of the principle of apostolic succession, that there is a legitimacy that comes to them by virtue of their claim of an unbroken chain of history from the days of the apostles of Jesus Christ to the present. History does not support their claims, since the record is not intact, and since they presently bear little resemblance to the Christian churches of Paulís and Peterís day. However, that is their claim. As I unfold my sermon this morning, I claim legitimacy for Calvary Road Baptist Church on the basis of our likeness and similarity to first century Christian churches. As I lay out for you what we believe, it will be left to you to ascertain if our faith is the faith once delivered to the saints, by the doctrines we embrace and by the lifestyle we exhibit.[1]

Time constraints limit my sermon to a consideration of only some of the most important doctrines we embrace. I will leave it to you to evaluate whether or not you see that we have the treasure of the gospel message in earthen vessels, living as flawed men who have tasted that the LORD is good.[2] Seven main points, declaring (without taking the time to prove from the Bible) what we believe:

First, WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE

Until the 19th century in the United States of America, Baptists have been a persecuted minority in every country of the world. Since most histories are written by those in the majority, only snippets of information are available to verify what Baptists have always believed. It is in the last few centuries that Baptists have sought to publicly declare our beliefs in what are called confessions to overcome the distortions of those who propagandize against us. The First London Baptist Confession, the Second London Baptist Confession, the Philadelphia Baptist Confession, and the New Hampshire Baptist Confession are but four written over the last four centuries.[3]

Resources can be supplied should you be interested in what Baptist groups of the past have believed, particularly about the Bible. May I say that in every instance where there is written evidence, Baptists by whatever name we were then known have claimed the Bible as our only rule of faith and practice. However, for our purposes today, and to demonstrate our solidarity with not only the Baptists of the past but also first century Christianity, I will assert two aspects of our churchís beliefs about the Bible:

First, the inspiration of the Bible. If you have a Bible with you, please turn to Second Timothy 3.16-17:

16     All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17     That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The key Greek word in this passage is pronounced qeopneustoV, literally God-breathed.[4] This is just one of many passages in Godís Word that asserts the Bible, this collection of sixty-books, to be of divine origin. Though penned by more than forty men over a 1600-year time span, the real author of Godís Word, the Bible, is God Himself. What do we mean by inspiration? We embrace the notion of verbal plenary inspiration, meaning that God is responsible for the actual words of scripture and not just general thoughts, and that every portion of the Bible is equally inspired. Thus, though the Bible is not a science text book (hence, the references to the rising and setting of the sun and not the rotation of the earth on its axis), using non-technical language that is practical and frame-of-reference oriented, it is without error. When the Bible indicates an event occurred, it occurred. When the Bible asserts a truth, it is true. There are no factual errors in Godís Word.

Then, there is the sufficiency of the Bible. Our conviction about inspiration leads to our conviction about sufficiency. We subscribe to the reality of a manís various issues and challenges related to his health and welfare being physical or spiritual, or a combination of interrelated physical and spiritual problems. Physical issues are best dealt with by doctors, physicians, medical experts. Spiritual remedies, on the other hand, are found in Godís Word. We do not subscribe to the false idea that mankind was left without remedies by God until an atheist named Sigmund Freud, who denied that man even has a soul and who ridiculed the notion of sin, somehow rescued our race from psychological hang-ups. We believe the Bible is our infallible rule of faith and practice for living life, and that it is sufficient to the task of providing all the guidance that is needed for the Christian to live a joy-filled and productive Christian life.[5] Furthermore, we believe the Bible is the complete record provided by God for the reconciliation of sinners to Himself. James 1.18 declares, ďOf his [Godís] own will begat he us with the word of truth [the Bible].Ē Therefore, we reject anything not in the Bible as inspired and helpful to deal with spiritual problems. Why are we a Baptist church? Because we disagree with Mormonism, Catholicism, Islam, and even psychoanalysis and their drug remedies for all the problems that afflict you. Our experience agrees with the scriptural declarations that Jesus Christ provides peace, and that the Holy Spirit gives joy, through the ministry of Godís Word, the Bible.

Next, WE BELIEVE IN GOD

It might seem strange to you that I would list our belief in the Bible before mentioning our belief in God, but I have a reason for that. It is because we embrace the notion of an objective faith that is written down for revelation, for reference, and for reflection. To be sure, men believe in God before they believe the Bible. However, unless you posit that the Bible is Godís eternal Word, forever settled in heaven, Psalm 119.89, you will have no clear idea of who and what God truly is. From the Bible, we know three kinds of things about God:

First, there is His revelation. Granted, the heavens declare the glory of God.[6] God does reveal Himself by means of nature. His creation shows His immensity and His awesome power, as well as His wisdom. However, apart from supernatural revelation, specifically the revelation of God through His Word, we would know nothing of Godís personality, of Godís goodness, of Godís kindness, or of Godís love.

Next, there are His attributes. Attributes are those aspects of Godís nature that makes Him who He is. But for the fact that most of His attributes are revealed to us in the Bible, and but few are discoverable in nature, we would know little about God. Allow me to list some of Godís attributes He reveals to us in the Bible: Godís unity (there is but one God), Godís spirituality (God is a spirit), Godís immensity (God is everywhere), Godís eternity and immutability (God is eternal), Godís omniscience (God knows all things), Godís omnipotence (God is able to do whatever He pleases), Godís goodness (God is infinitely benevolent), Godís truthfulness (God is a being of inviolable truth), Godís justice (God is perfectly just), Godís holiness (God is immaculately holy), and Godís wisdom (God is infinitely wise).[7] Of course, a God such as this is not the God of the Mormons or the God of the Muslims. There is yet another attribute of God that deserves our special attention.

Third, there is His tri-unity. Though scripture insists in both the Old and New Testaments that there is only one God, the Bible throughout also teaches, in His Word God also reveals about Himself, that He exists in the form of three Persons; The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Though He is neither the Son nor the Spirit, God the Father is shown to be God.[8] Though He is not the Father and is not the Spirit, Jesus Christ is shown to be God.[9] The Spirit is also shown in the Bible to be God, though He is neither the Father nor the Son.[10] Yet, there is only one God, we are taught throughout scripture.[11] That is the mystery of the trinity, and anyone who does not believe that is not a Christian. I cannot understand the mystery of the trinity. I cannot explain the mystery of the trinity. However, it is certain that the Bible teaches the mystery of the trinity, that God has revealed this about Himself in His Word, therefore we believe it.

Third, WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT MAN

Our churchís Bible-based view of mankind is starkly at odds with the majority viewpoint in our culture, and with most religions (including many so-called Christian denominations), though it is consistent with historic Christianity. To concisely state our view of man, it is that man is totally depraved. Manís total depravity does not mean all men are as wicked as they can possibly be, that all men are as wicked as Adolph Hitler. Total depravity means that all men are as bad off, as spiritually hopeless and as helpless as they can possibly be. That is, I am just as helpless to save myself as was Adolph Hitler. Total depravity is consistent with three things revealed in the Bible:

First, Manís creation. Notice that I said ďManís creationĒ and not ďManís evolution.Ē This is because evolution, no matter how one might want to gift wrap it, is entirely inconsistent with the Biblical record of manís origins. As they have proved to be in the past, many scientists are wrong about this. God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.[12] The Bible declares that and we believe that. Furthermore, as originally created, mankind was designed by God to be dependent upon Him. Man was not designed and then created to be autonomous, self-sufficient, answerable and dependent only upon him.

Then came Manís fall. Genesis 3 records the temptation of Eve by the serpent and then Adamís disobedience, resulting in what is termed the Fall, whereby mankind fell from his lofty position into the wretched trough of sin and spiritual death. As a direct result of Adamís first sin, mankind has since then been trapped in a wretched state, imprisoned in sin and separated from God by his sin. Paul stated it in Romans 5.12: ďWherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.Ē This is the only sensible explanation of death and the awful present condition of the world we live in. It is the sin problem we inherited from our first father, Adam.

The result is Manís destiny. The Fall left the entire race of man spiritually dead, being estranged from God, who is life.[13] If man was utterly dependent upon God in his state of innocence, imagine his predicament as a fallen and spiritually dead creature. Manís sin condemns him to death, as we see each day of our lives on the evening news broadcasts, but not only physical death.[14] Everyone you know and have ever known has either already died or will someday die. That is the proof of manís sinfulness, over against the crazy notion some have of mankind being essentially good. If men were essentially good, God would not sentence guilty sinners to the lake of fire, as the Bible undeniably confirms.[15] As it stands, each individual is utterly helpless in his present spiritual condition, and woefully inadequate for the task of delivering himself from his just future punishment.

Fourth, WE BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST

Some people say they believe in Jesus Christ, all the while reckoning Him to be an angry Savior that sinners should avoid in favor of His mother Mary. However, that dishonors Him and reflects on nothing that is taught in Godís Word. Here is what is taught in Godís Word about Jesus Christ:

First, He is Godís eternal Son. Which is to say that He did not originate in the womb of the virgin named Mary, but left heavenís glory by means of a great miracle to take upon Himself human flesh and nature, yet without sin, when He was born of the Virgin Mary.

Next, His incarnation. This refers to Christ becoming a man by means of the virgin birth, Someone with two natures. He became by the incarnation at the same time both God and Man.

Third, His kindness. Though some would claim Jesus is angry with sinners, His encounters with them prove otherwise. He showed only tenderness to the woman at the well who had been married five times and was living with a man not her husband, John 4. He showed only mercy to the woman caught in the act of adultery, in John 8. He was greatly beloved by children, was felt to approachable by everyone, and became angry only with sinners who were religious hypocrites. Thus, the Bible shows Jesus to be an approachable Savior, not at all like He is wrongly portrayed by some who claim He is angry.

Fourth, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The word gospel comes from a Greek word that means good news. What kind of good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Turn to First Corinthians 15, where Paul reminds his readers what the gospel is:

1      Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2      By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

3      For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

4      And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

The gospel is good news that salvation has been provided by the death, burial, and resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ. Verse 3 points out the reason why Jesus died. It was for our sins, according to the scriptures. In other words, Jesus suffered the punishment that was actually mine to pay for my sins so that I might be saved from the punishment of my sins.

Fifth, Jesus is presently enthroned at the Fatherís right hand. Though many will tell you that Jesus is a spirit and is everywhere in the world today, or that He is in my heart, consider two important facts: First, consider that the Bible is very clear about Christís bodily resurrection from the dead. He was seen and actually touched a number of times after He rose from the dead. He is no spirit. As well, there are more than twenty-six verses in the New Testament that assert Jesus is presently at His Fatherís right hand in heaven, where He has to be in order to come from heaven at the time of His second coming.[16]

Fifth, WE BELIEVE IN SALVATION

Every false religion has this in common; doing good deeds of some kind to win Godís favor to gain heaven. In the Bible, however, we see that sinful man can do nothing to merit Godís favor, and that is the reason our loving God sent His Son to die on the cross in our place, the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God, First Peter 3.18.

That is why we believe in salvation from sins. How can a sinner save himself from his sins? How can something clean come forth from something unclean? Thus, we cannot save ourselves, and must be saved by someone other than ourselves.

That is why we believe from the Bible that salvation must be by grace. That is, no sinner deserves the salvation provided by Jesus Christ. Grace means that salvation is the gift of God, given to the undeserving.

That is why we believe from the Bible that salvation comes through faith. Four times in Godís Word we are told that the just shall live by faith.[17] Abraham was saved by faith.[18] David was saved by faith. Jesus Christ taught salvation by faith.[19] The Apostles, most prominently Paul, were saved by faith and preached salvation by faith. Salvation from sins can only come to those whose faith is set upon Jesus Christ, as Peter said in Acts 4.12: ďNeither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.Ē

To this point I have rehearsed to you some of what we believe at Calvary Road Baptist Church, focusing on five extremely important topics related to being a Christian. Now I conclude by mentioning two topics that distinguish Baptists from other Christian brethren.

Sixth, WE BELIEVE IN BELIEVER BAPTISM

We do not baptize infants because the Bible teaches, and therefore we believe, that baptism always follows conversion to Christ. There is no example in the Bible of someone being baptized prior to Christian conversion. Three things Baptists believe about baptism, what we refer to as believer baptism:

First, the mode of baptism. There is no example from the ancient Greek world of the word translated baptism or baptize referring to anything but complete immersion, to dunking, or to plunging into water. Never in the ancient Greek world was it sprinkling. The transition from baptism being recognized as immersion to baptism being something akin to sprinkling did not being until centuries after Christianity began and is quite foreign to the Bible. As well, baptism in scripture symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which symbolism is destroyed when immersion is replaced by sprinkling.[20]

Second, the subjects of baptism. Only those professing to be converted to Jesus Christ are proper subjects of baptism, such as with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.36-38:

36     And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37     And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38     And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

There are no examples of baptism in the Bible that depart from this straightforward pattern.

Finally, the authority to administer baptism. It would take more time than we have to do more than state that Baptists believe the authority to baptize is authority only congregations possess. This is related to our belief that spiritual authority is vested in the local church and nowhere else, as is suggested in Matthew 18.18, where Jesus said, ďWhatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Ē It is no wonder then, consistent with our Bible-based beliefs about believer baptism, that it was our enemies who first called us Anabaptists, or re-baptizers, thinking that sprinkling water on the forehead of a baby bore any resemblance to what the Bible says about baptism.

Seventh, And In Conclusion, WE HAVE STRONG BELIEFS ABOUT CHURCH

First, we believe that the church is the church of Jesus Christ (He said, ďI will build my churchĒ), that He brought it into existence, that He owns it, that He is the head of the church, and that ultimate loyalty belongs only to Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5.25 declares that He gave Himself for the church.

In First Timothy 3.15, the Apostle Paul declares that the church is the house of God, and is the pillar and ground of the truth. He meant that the church is not only the place where God is worshiped, but is also the place that holds up the truth for all to see.

In Ephesians 3.21, he further remarked that the church is the place where God has particularly chosen to be glorified, not only now but forever. This is quite significant, since Revelation 4.11 reveals to us that the whole purpose of creation is to glorify God. So you see, if all creation was brought into existence to glorify God, yet the church is particularly where God has chosen to be glorified, church must then be important. Surprised? Donít be. No one paid much attention to Bethlehem either, though it was the village where God had announced centuries in advance that His Son would be born.

Let me conclude my remarks about church by commenting on Hebrews 10.25: ďNot 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.Ē Baptists are convinced that it is Godís will for people to faithfully attend church, where they can be spiritually blessed in a variety of ways. This is why Baptists have been willing risk great persecution by gathering for worship even in countries where Christian worship is illegal and punishable by imprisonment, and in some cases by death.

These are seven of the important beliefs which identify us here at Calvary Road Baptist Church. Do we live up to our beliefs? Oh, my heavens, no. We are sinners, you see, saved by Godís grace through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ. However, we are different than we used to be, and different than we hope to be tomorrow by Godís grace. We are a work in progress after all. So, once you get to know us you will see that we have warts and blemishes, flaws of various kinds, and inconsistencies that we are constantly striving to deal with.

We are, in many ways, disappointing. However, we do have something perfect to offer our friends. It is really the only thing we have to offer when you think of it. We offer Jesus Christ in the gospel. That is who we are and what we are about.

We hope to get to know you better, and we hope you can hold your nose around us long enough to get to know us better. Once again, thank you for coming. If you would care to know more about our church, about us, you can call me and ask any question you want in person or over the phone, you can check out our web site, or you can come again to one of our services. We would love to see you again.



[1] Jude 3

[2] 2 Corinthians 4.7; Psalm 34.8

[3] Baptist confessions can be found in William L. Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions Of Faith, (Valley Forge: Judson Press, 1969)

[4]Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 647.

[5] Colossians 3.16

[6] Psalm 19.1

[7] J. L. Dagg, Manual of Theology and Church Order, (Harrisonburg, VA: Gano Books, 1982), page 55-94.

[8] Matthew 7.21

[9] John 1.1-3; Isaiah 45.23; Philippians 2.10

[10] Acts 5.3-4

[11] Deuteronomy 6.4; 1 Corinthians 8.4; 1 Timothy 2.5

[12] Genesis 2.7

[13] Ephesians 2.1

[14] Romans 6.23a

[15] Daniel 12.2; Matthew 25.46; John 5.29; Revelation 21.8

[16] Mark 16.19; Luke 24.51; Acts 1.9; 2.33; 3.21; 5.31; 7.55, 56; 9.3-5; 26.13; Romans 10.6; Ephesians 4.8, 10; 6.9; Philippians 3.20; Colossians 4.1; 1 Thessalonians 1.10; 4.16; 2 Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.13; 9.24; 10.13; 12.25; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 5.13; 19.11

[17] Habakkuk 2.4; Romans 1.17; Galatians 3.11; Hebrews 10.38

[18] Genesis 15.6; Romans 4.5; Galatians 3.6; James 2.23

[19] John 11.25

[20] Romans 6.1-6



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org