Yesterday I mentioned that the NTBF is not an organization, it is an event. What an eventful day it was today! A day full of God’s blessings, including two outstanding sermons by two of the godly pastors from our fellowship.
Before I get to the messages, I’d like to say a word about the warm welcome we have received from Maranatha Baptist University and Calvary Baptist Church. The Bible calls us to be hospitable to one another and our hosts have manifested this fruit of the Spirit in countless ways these days. A hearty thank-you from all of us to all involved. What a blessing you have been!
Our meeting includes many conversations and opportunities for personal fellowship. I try to meet some new folks at each fellowship meeting and was glad to build some new relationships this way. Many old friends were in attendance as well. It is more than a blessing to reconnect with all these familiar faces (I almost said familiar “old” faces, which is alas, too true!). Thankfully, there are some young faces in the crowd as well and some energetic little ones. We love to see them.
I should mention there are some practical workshops going on during our daytime sessions also. The ladies are being blessed by Miriam Merriott today and Claudia Barba tomorrow. Dave Barba and Jeff Musgrave are offering practical evangelistic advice as well. We are grateful for their continuing ministry among us.
Our morning message was from John Munroe, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, SC. His message, “The Universal Guilt of Mankind,” was an excellent exposition of most of Romans 3. He reminded us that the existence of a Great Saviour implies the need of deliverance from a great captor, and that captor is sin.
Our captivity is evident by that great Bible proposition: All men are guilty before God (Rm 3.9, 19). All are under sin, which means sin dominates our personalities, not simply that we have sinned a time or two. Because of this condition, all men are guilty which is more than a feeling, it is a universal truth: all men are born guilty.
The proposition is proved by apostolic recollection of pertinent revelation (Rm 3.10-18), which first addresses us generally (none are righteous, vv. 10-12), then zeros in on our personal behaviour (vv. 13-19) and finally gets specific: there is no fear of God in man (v. 18).
Despite the guilt in which we are found, God has made a great provision for us in Jesus Christ (Rm 3.19-31), it answers for our accountability to God, it overcomes our wickedness by the works of another, not the works of ourselves, God has undertaken our acquittal through Christ, and grants us the gift of justification through his grace.
Our evening message was a stirring challenge by pastor Mike Sproul of Tri-City Baptist Church in Chandler Arizona. His message was, “Whosoever Will Demands a Pure Church.” His text was Mt 13.24-30 and Mt 13.36-43. He made it clear that this parable was divinely interpreted for us by our Lord Jesus Christ. The “field” in the parable is clearly “the world.” He pointed out the mistaken interpretation of the field as the church and pointed out that the mistake goes back hundreds of years to Augustine and was perpetuated by Zwingli during the reformation as he persecuted those who dared to contradict him on baptism.
The message contrasted the coercive church of infant baptism/state mandate and the voluntary church championed by Baptists. The coercive church cannot demand a pure church, the voluntary church automatically does. Brother Sproul outlined several reasons for this, among them he noted that belief was a prerequisite for regeneration in the New Testament, that the apostles taught the need for a pure regenerate church, that church membership is a privilege, not a birthright or pedigree, that a pure church of true believers can practice discipline without resorting to civic punishment, including execution (as the Reformers did), and last, because a church without personal belief is no church at all.
The evening message is available at the Calvary Baptist Livestreaming page, look for NTBF Wednesday Evening in the listings on that page. We hope to have audio up on P&D shortly.
By the way, Pastor Sproul reminded us that our conference next year (June 11-13, 2018) is scheduled for his church in Chandler, AZ. You should start thinking about attending now. He comments on the weather… if the SBC can handle the heat this week (in their meeting this year), we are as tough as them, we can handle it too! I should say also that I’ve been in the church in Chandler several times, and it is well air conditioned! Make your plans to join us!
Submitted by Don Johnson is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada.