Category Archives: Baptist Basics

Westboro Baptist Church: Supreme Court vs. Supreme Judge

There are few days when I am ashamed to be labeled “Baptist” but this week it was embarrassing to bear the name. The Supreme Court ruled that the vile, hateful speech of Westboro Baptist Church was protected by the First Amendment.

Justice Roberts wrote:

“Speech is powerful,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain.”

But under the First Amendment, he went on, “we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.” Instead, the national commitment to free speech, he said, requires protection of “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

If you don’t know the story of the “church”, these are the people who protest at the funerals of fallen American soldiers with hurtful signs celebrating the deaths of some of our finest sons and daughters. Granted as a Baptist we believe deeply in freedom of religion and in soul competence, but we also believe in the sovereignty of a holy God who watches over us all.

The Supreme Court may allow these actions based on its reading of the constitution, but Jesus declares these hurtful actions to be out of bounds, and terribly wrong. Jesus declared that his followers were to “love our enemies, and bless those who cursed us.” He declared his followers should “love their neighbor as themselves.” Even the most pointed Old Testament prophet never spew the kind of venom these deceived men and women spread.

As followers of Jesus we must stand up against this kind of hate speech in the name of the Jesus. I am not critical of the Supreme Court and its ruling. I accept this is part of the freedom in our land, but I would remind the members of Westboro Baptist Church that they will one stand before our Risen Lord to give an account, and I fear it will be a dreadful day for them unless they change soon.

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Baptist Basics: Congregational Rule (Sermon Outline)

Baptist Basics

“His Voice, Our Voice: Congregational Rule”

Acts 6:1-7

Fully devoted followers of Jesus make decisions together about the future of their church.

  1. 1. The Principles for Congregational Rule

2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Acts 6:1-2 (NIV)

  • Jesus is LORD of His church.
  • Jesus expresses His will through the will of His followers.

  1. 2. The  Process of Congregational Rule

2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”  5 This proposal pleased the whole group. Acts 6:2-5 (NIV)

  • Leaders identify the opportunities and challenges facing the local church and make appropriate recommendations.
  • The people decide the best course of action.

  1. 3. The Product of Congregational Rule

7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7 (NIV)

  • The local church makes healthy decisions about how to face things together.
  • The local church positions itself to continue to grow and thrive.

Final thoughts:

Congregational rule can be complicated and messy at times, but it is the most healthy way for the body of Christ to work together under the leadership of the LORD.

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Baptist Basics: Salvation by Faith Alone (sermon outline)

Text: Ephesians 2:1-10

Fully devoted followers of Jesus trust Him alone for their salvation.

  1. 1. Salvation by Works: Hopeless

  • No one can live a perfect life.

1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, Eph 2:1 (NIV)

  • No one can cover their sin by doing enough good works.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph 2:8-9 (NIV)

  1. 2. Salvation by Grace: Amazing

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– Eph 2:8 (NIV)

  • Salvation comes by grace alone as a priceless gift.

  • Salvation comes by faith alone in Christ Jesus.

Final Thought:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”—Jesus (John 3:16 NIV)

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Separation of Church and State Sermon Outline

Over the past several weeks I have been preaching a sermon series entitled: “Baptist Basics”. I decided to post my sermon outline from this week. I hope it stirs some ideas and thoughts.

Baptist Basics

“Separation of Church and State”

Matthew 22:15-22

Fully devoted followers of Jesus advance the work of the Kingdom for the sake of the nation.

  1. Don’t pass the buck: Render only to Caesar what is Caesar’s

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matt 22:21 (NIV)

  • Government has a divine assignment separate from the mission of the church.
  • When government reaches beyond its divine boundaries by promoting or restricting faith the spiritual vitality of the people suffers.
  • God did not sanction the government to be the guardian of the soul.
  1. Let the Church be the Church: Render to God your life and service

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matt 22:21 (NIV)

  • The Church has the divine assignment to be presence and voice of God in society.
  • Freedom of religion should not mean the same as freedom “from” religion: God expects His people to be the light and the salt of the earth.
  • The Church gives God all He so rightfully deserves—their very lives.

Final Thoughts:

  1. The Church in the United States needs to step up and be the people of God.
  2. Most of what is wrong with the United States can be addressed most effectively by the advance of the Kingdom of God, not the promotion of political solutions.

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