We’re taking this acrostic, B- A- P- T- I- S-T, to review and summarize Baptist distinctives.
The “B” stands for the Bible as our only rule for faith and practice. Of course, thinking about next year’s preaching conference and that theme of, “A Chosen Generation. ” Timeless truths of separation. Timeless truths of separation? Here is a big problem with a Christian school or a college. Here’s a big problem. That school or college gets to create a handbook. Has to really create a handbook, doesn’t it? If it’s going to have any order. And in that handbook, there is a combination of two types of rules. One is a rule that just helps the institution function smoothly. One of those type of rules is, lights out at eleven o’clock. Why? Because what if there is no lights out? What if there’s no white glove? No room check? If there was none of that, it really wouldn’t be a place anyone would want to attend.
A rule book contains two types of rules. There’s that type of rule that’s an institutional rule. But, not every rule in the rule book is an institutional rule. There are rules in there about men not dressing worldly and ladies dressing modestly. Those are more than just institutional rules, those are “timeless” truths of separation. Notice, those are rules that have an answer in scripture for why we practice what we do. Identification and modesty. Here’s the danger. For all the rules of the rule book to become institutional rules. And with that, “Oh, well we dress that way just because that’s a rule of the school. It’s an institutional rule. Now, when I get out of the school that’s no longer a rule; therefore, I don’t need to do that.” When we look at the Bible as our only rule for faith and practice, we understand that when we’re looking at Scripture and we’re building how we’re going to live based on the Bible, that issues of modesty and separation, worldliness, are rooted in Scripture; therefore, “timeless.” Not a rule to be kept while at that institution.
But, across the board, we’ll find out that for many people, Bible truths about modesty and personal conduct, they have limited them to nothing more than an institutional rule. And, their Christian life is as shallow then as that rule book and is built on the foundation of a rule book. Is that going to stand the test of time? Of course, not. That’s not going to stand the test of time. You’re not going to be able to explain to a new Christian in the church you’re at, “Oh, well you should do this because it’s our rule.” Do you understand how shallow and how empty and how that’s going to fall on deaf ears? And, after awhile people say, “Well, why are we doing it then?” The Bible’s only rule for faith and practice and that includes standards of holiness and modesty and separation and rejection of worldliness. So, a little note there about the danger of a rule book in your life. You may stay up past eleven o’clock after you graduate, we are not going to send the Fairhaven police after you to assign you demerits for that. But, there are other things; your time, your summer, your spring break, reveals what you believe about “timeless” truths of separation. Your summer vacation reveals what you believe about that. “B,” Bible is the only rule for faith and practice.
“A,” is autonomy of the local church and we studied that thoroughly.
“P,” is the priesthood of the believer. That’s direct access from you to God. No human intermediator, no priest. Here’s, the confession of your sins. No pope stands as the bridge builder between you and God. You are a priest before God with that direct access. You can enter the Holy of Holies. You “can” enter the Holy of Holies. It’s not to say you do, or I do, but you “can” enter the Holy of Holies. That was the ultimate privilege for the priest in the day of atonement to do that. And, we can do it anytime.
“T,” is two ordinances. There’s two key words with that point. Do you know what those are? So, two; not three, not seven. And, ordinances; not sacraments. Ordinances; memorial. Sacrament; a work done to obtain grace. There’s two key words right there. Two ordinances.
‘I,” is individual soul liberty and responsibility. It’s a good one for teens dealing with peer pressure. Individual soul liberty and responsibility.
“S,” separation. Separation in three realms; ethical, ecclesiastical, and political.
“T,” two offices of the local church. We just covered those. This would be pastor, deacon.
So, this is our acrostic. This helps us. It summarizes this semester and the baptist distinctives into seven
Rules; timeless truths; local church