words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the
Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." - 2 Timothy 1:12-14
The apostle Paul wrote these words to Timothy exhorting him to "guard... the treasure" which had been entrusted to him. In other words, he was to remain faithfully committed to the teachings that he'd received. This appeal is still applicable to believers today, but how can we protect and preserve the Christian faith if we don't know the fundamental beliefs of Christianity? Simply put, we can't...
Knowing what we believe is extremely important, and it reaps many benefits as well. When a Christian is grounded in their faith, it helps them to live above their worldly circumstances. Less fear, less anxiety, more confidence, more peace. It also helps them make better, more Christ-like decisions. Being guided by His word, believers can more successfully resist temptation and avoid the pitfalls of sin. And those who hold firm convictions are more likely to talk about their faith, share it, and successfully defend it from those who would attempt to lead them astray.
When a body of believers - such as a local church - know and understand their core beliefs, they become more strongly unified as a like-minded people. Unfortunately, many within the church have no idea what they believe, which often leads to disagreement, division, and discord among the body. A church that stands strong for what they believe in is attractive, because this world is searching desperately for absolute truth. People want to be a part of a group that actually stands for something. In short, a church that knows what it believes and acts upon those beliefs grows and thrives.
So... as Baptists, what do we believe? What differentiates us from other Christian denominations? “The Baptist Faith and Message” is the confession of faith for the Southern Baptist Convention. It is intended to summarize the fundamental beliefs of SBC churches. “The Baptist Faith and Message” is not a creed to be recited, nor is
it intended to replace or supersede Scripture in any way. Rather, it simply serves as a guide to help define and
distinguish the Baptist faith.
Over the next several weeks we will thoroughly review the 18 position statements contained in "The Baptist Faith and Message" as we explore in depth the foundational doctrines of the Baptist faith. What we believe is important, so it seems wise that we would take the time to discuss it. It is my prayer that through these sermons God will strengthen our faith, deepen our fellowship, and empower our ministry to reach "the least of these".