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THE GOALS AND PURPOSES OF OUR CHURCH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, September 5, 2004
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).


Next Sunday evening will be an important time for us. We are going to baptize several new converts and have a big church banquet to honor them. I am speaking to them this morning, but you can listen in. If you are already a member of this local church my sermon will be a reminder to you of what our church is all about. If you are a visitor, perhaps here for the first time, this will let you know our purposes and our goals. If you decide to come back this is what you will be getting involved in.

There are some churches where they preach a "positive" message in the main Sunday morning service, and then, if you seem interested, they put you in a class where you learn what the church believes and practices. I personally dislike that approach. I believe we ought to tell you from the beginning what our goals and aims are. I think that you should know what you are getting into right from the beginning. That's why much that I will say this morning is already familiar to you. I think it ought to be that way. Our goals and purposes ought to be so plain and simple that no one will go away wondering what we think.

I. First, what does our church believe?

We believe in the absolute authority of the Bible. We believe that

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16).

We believe that all of the Bible, from cover to cover, is the divinely inspired Word of God without error of any kind in the Greek and Hebrew text, from which the King James Bible is translated. Abraham Lincoln once said, "Take all of the Bible you can by reason, and the rest by faith, and you will live and die a better man." We agree with Lincoln. We preach the absolute inerrancy and authority of the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God.

We also believe in the divinity as well as the humanity of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. We believe that Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God, conceived in the womb of a Virgin by a special act, in which the Second Person of the Trinity was placed in the womb of Mary, and thus born without the taint of Adam's sin, to live the only sinless life that any man has ever lived. Furthermore, we believe that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone.

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

We believe that Jesus Christ shed His unique and precious Blood on the Cross to cleanse us from all sin. Some so-called evangelicals downgrade the Blood of Christ today. But we do not agree with them because the Bible says,

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
    (I John 1:7).

The word "cleanseth" is present active indicative in the Greek text. It is present and it is active! It is real Blood that is just as present and as active as it was when Christ shed it on the Cross! The Blood of Christ was translated into Heaven with His Body, and is there now to cleanse every sinner who comes to Him by faith. This is proved by the present active indicative Greek verb for "cleanseth" in I John 1:7.

We also believe in the absolute necessity of the new birth. Jesus said,

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

The new birth occurs when a lost sinner sees the awfulness of his sin and turns to Christ in faith. We believe that salvation from sin is by faith in Christ alone, sola gratia,

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…" (Titus 3:5).

The only qualification for salvation is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
   (Acts 16:31).

Furthermore, we believe in the local church as the only organization created by God to bring the gospel of Christ to lost mankind. And we believe that the local church is the divinely created institution to which every true Christian should be a member and support with all his heart. Jesus said,

"Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

May God, in His mercy, protect and spare our nation. But some day America will no longer exist as a great world power. When that day comes local, Bible-believing churches will continue to exist throughout the world. You can count on it because Christ said so.

"I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

We also believe that every person who is born again should be baptized, thus affirming and bearing witness to his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life"
    (Romans 6:4).

When you are buried in the waters of baptism you show that you are united with Christ in His death and burial. When you rise up from the baptismal waters, you show that you are united with Christ in His resurrection, to live for Him. Baptism doesn't wash away any sin. It does not cleanse from even one sin. Instead, it shows that the baptized person has already been saved by the crucified and risen Christ. Immediately upon baptism, the person who is baptized is to be received as a member in full standing of the local church, which, by the authority of Christ Himself, baptized that person.

"They that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).

"And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

Jesus Christ Himself gave authority to baptize converts in the local church when He said,

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"
     (Matthew 28:19).

That is what we believe about baptism and membership in the local church.

Those are only a few of the things we believe. But they are the main things. If you are going to be baptized next Sunday, think them over very carefully. If you have not yet been baptized you should think deeply about these things and seek to be converted through faith in Jesus Christ. Then, when you are converted, you too should be baptized and join this local, New Testament Baptist church. Those are some of the main things we believe.

II. Second, what are the goals and purposes of our church?

To answer that, I should tell you about the goals of our church - what our church is all about.

Our church is about young people, college-age young people - young people who want to make something out of their lives. Now, I must tell you that this church isn't for everybody. Those who are satisfied with life as it is will not like our church. Those who want to follow the old hippies who teach on our college campuses will not like our church. Those who want to smoke dope and sit back and wait for a welfare check, or some other handout from big government, will not like our church. Those who expect to spend the rest of their lives dependent on their parents, or someone else to support them, will not like our message. Those who have no goals and no ambition will not like what we stand for.

This church may not be for you. We can only help those who are willing to work hard, study well, and make a success of their lives. That's what this church is all about - college-age young people who want to succeed in life and put something into this community, rather than live off of so-called "free" entitlements, paid for by others through heavy taxes.

Our church is about enablement - encouraging young people to do something meaningful with their lives. Our goal is to encourage the development of character and stamina, hard work and stedfastness. Why? Because the Bible teaches those character traits. It says,

"If any would not work, neither should he eat"
     (II Thessalonians 3:10).

It says,

"Not slothful [not lazy] in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).

It says,

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
     (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

This church is for young people who are willing to be guided, exhorted, and inspired to do hard work - hard work in college, hard work in business, and hard work for God in the local church.

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might"
     (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

And that's where us older people come in. Yes, we welcome people who are over thirty. Yes, we encourage you to come as well. But this church must never become a safe haven for selfish middle-aged people. As I said, this church isn't for everybody. If you are over the age of thirty, this may not be the church for you. Anyone who is satisfied keeping his life as it is will not like our church. Anyone who wants to kick back and enjoy an extended vacation in his "golden years" will not like our church. As I said, this church isn't for everybody. If you are over the age of thirty, and you want to become part of our church, we expect you to shift gears and become a mentor and helper and guide to these young people. That will require zeal, enthusiasm and commitment - not just attendance for an hour or two on Sunday morning.

If you are over thirty, and are looking for something meaningful to do with the rest of your life - then this is the place for you! Come and help us enable these young people to be a success in life. Come and help us lead these young people into a better way of living and a better future. We solicit your help. We invite you to awaken and take action, to rise up and help us equip the next generation to live the Christian life in and through this local church. If that sounds challenging and exciting to you, then we say,

"Come over into Macedonia, and help us" (Acts 16:9).

This church is about young people and their mentors. This church is about enablement, encouraging and helping young people to meet their full potential in life. Come and help us.

Then, too, this church is about fellowship. By "fellowship" I mean companionship, partnership, participation, joint interest, membership, affability, good company, jolly companionship, and lasting friendship. Whether they know it or not, that's the greatest need of people in our society today. And nothing can quite take the place of fellowship, hearty friendship in the local church. That's the reason we say repeatedly, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church! Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"

III. Third, what are the responsibilities of those
who will be baptized next Sunday?

You should remember that you are being baptized into the membership of this local church. The Bible says,

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…For the body is not one member, but many" (I Corinthians 12:13-14).

"But now are they many members, yet but one body"
     (I Corinthians 12:20).

It was very common when I was young to hear people say, "I am a Christian, but I'm not a member of any church," or "I believe in Jesus, but don't expect me to become a member of the church." All of that kind of talk reflects the nihilistic, existential, self-absorbed isolationism that has created a lonely vacuum, where each person is cut off, in a cubbyhole, by himself. People who buy into this mentality would rather be lonely than take on the responsibility of joining hands and hearts together with others. That is the spirit of this present evil world. But you must reject it. You are being baptized into the membership of this local church. This means that you are taking on the responsibilities of a church member. We expect you to come to evangelism and prayer meeting, as a member of this church. We expect you to tithe your income, whether large or small, as a member of this church. We expect you to attend worship service every Sunday morning and every Sunday evening, as a member of this church. We expect you to read the Bible every day, have a daily time of prayer, and pray before every meal, as a member of this church. We expect you to live your life for Jesus Christ, and for His glory, as a member of this church. And we expect you to be enthusiastic in singing, enthusiastic in witnessing, enthusiastic in giving, and enthusiastic in praying, as a member of this church.

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord"
     (I Corinthians 15:58).

Please stand together. Will those who are candidates for baptism next Sunday night please come and stand in front of this pulpit. Our deacons, Dr. Christopher Cagan, Dr. Kreighton Chan, and Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith, will now come and pray for you. (The prayers of the deacons). You may be seated.

I must not close this service without making plain the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins. He shed His Blood to cleanse your sins. He rose physically from the dead, and has ascended to the right hand of God in Heaven.

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
     (Acts 16:31).

And be sure to come back to church next Sunday night at 6:00 PM to witness the baptism of these prospective church members. We will have a great banquet for you immediately after the baptism next Sunday night. Come and enjoy this special time with us. May God bless each person here this morning.


(END OF SERMON)

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Romans 6:1-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Blest Be the Tie that Binds" (by John Fawcett, 1740-1817).

THE OUTLINE OF

THE GOALS AND PURPOSES OF OUR CHURCH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

 

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).

I.   What does our church believe? II Timothy 3:16; Acts 4:12;
I John 1:7; John 3:3; Titus 3:5; Acts 16:31;
Matthew 16:18; Romans 6:4; Acts 2:41, 47;
Matthew 28:19.

II.  What are the goals and purposes of our church?
II Thessalonians 3:10; Romans 12:11; Ecclesiastes 9:10;
Acts 16:9.

III. What are the responsibilities of those who will be baptized
next Sunday? I Corinthians 12:13-14, 20; 15:58;
I Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 16:31.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."