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Many, and probably it would be better to say "most," Baptist churches have a church covenant. What is it, and why is it important? I'll start off by saying that a church covenant is just a man-made document that does not supersede the Bible. The Bible is our rule for faith and practice. But a church covenant is an important. To start off with, let me copy our church covenant below, and then give three quick points as to what it provides for our church, Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wildwood, MO.

Cornerstone Baptist Church Covenant

1. Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

2. We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spreading of the Gospel through all nations.

3. We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions; to bring up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord; to educate our children in the truth of God’s Word; to seek the salvation of our families, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to strive to live a separated life, holy and acceptable unto God; and to be zealous in our service for the Lord. As we are the light of the world, and salt of the earth, we will seek divine aid to enable us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to avoid such sins of the tongue as backbiting, anger, and gossip, and to abstain from and oppose all conduct that undermines our upholding of the high, Biblical standards of Christian morality, such as those involving drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, sexual sins, worldly and sensual entertainment and activities, associations with oath-bound secret societies, and other such things that could compromise our Christian testimony, give an appearance of evil, or bring dishonor to our Lord.

4. We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready to secure reconciliation without delay.

5. We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other New Testament Church of like faith and practice where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

So, what is so special about a church covenant? It does provide three very practical things for our church...

  1. It provides a GROUND for unity. Those who are members of the church must agree not only with her doctrinal statement, but also with the standards set for membership and service.  The church covenant spells out those duties while leaving much flexibility in how they are carried out.  People ought to be taught that they have responsibilities toward the church and their brothers and sisters in the church and so shown what is expected of them in church membership to accomplish those duties.

  2. It provides a GUIDE for teaching and discipleship. The church has a responsibility to see each member grow to maturity in Jesus Christ.  This responsibility is not the sole responsibility of the Pastor(s), as if one can pay another to complete one’s own spiritual obligations.  The church covenant establishes a goal toward which the church may work with regard to each of her members while also providing guidance with regard to how these goals may be accomplished.  In working toward these goals, we acknowledge the necessity of the Holy Spirit to effect change and growth in the lives of believers but also acknowledge our responsibilities in this regard.

  3. It provides a GAUGE for discipline. Church discipline has fallen by the wayside in most churches today, but it is an important, though painful, part of the church’s responsibilities.  However, people cannot be faulted for not doing what they do not realize they ought to do.  The church covenant guides the members in encouraging each other toward spiritual growth and explains the basic elements of Christian growth.  When someone is disciplined, it should not come as a shock to them because they have understood from the very beginning what they must do to contribute to the spiritual growth of the church and themselves.

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Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Mark 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

There is a lot of emphasis today upon the subject of "transgender people." Proponents of transgenderism, the homosexual lifestyle, and the "transgender community" make it clear that they do not agree with the biblical definition of marriage, male, female, and other terms used in the Bible that violate their beliefs concerning these issues. How should a Christian respond? What should our mindset be? As Bible believers, we state that the Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice. Do we use it to guide our thoughts and words in relation to these topics?

It is clear from Scripture that God created us male and female. Organizations like Glaad (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) make a straw-man definition by telling us that sex (the classification of people as male or female) is something that is assigned at birth, based upon the physical characteristics of the infant. They then argue that it is actually a combination of many different factors (hormones, chromosomes, etc.)*. However, the truth is that we merely recognize sex at birth, not assign it at that time. A baby, from the time of conception, is male or female. Psalm 139:14-16 tells us that God knew ALL of our members (even those related to our sex) when we were still in the womb, and that we grew according to the plan that God had for our bodies (our DNA). The very fabric of our being establishes who we are, whether male or female.

Many though, do not feel they "fit" society's definition of a male or female, so they must be a homosexual, or transgender. What they do not understand, and what most Christians do not understand, is that society's definition is not God's definition. To be a male does not mean that one will have an intimate desire for women, and to be a female does not mean that one will have a desire to be a wife and mother. Not everyone will possess a desire (in an intimate manner) for the opposite sex. God has created some without that desire. The Bible describes them as eunuchs "so born from their mother's womb" (Matthew 19:12).

When one is born without this desire, it does not mean that they have a desire for the same sex, but our current culture automatically declares that it is an either/or situation. The Bible describes homosexual desires as unnatural and inconvenient (Romans 1). Believers attempt to force society's definition upon others as well, and when someone feels "different," and acts "different," we look down our noses at them and shun them. Generally not accepted by believers, these souls find acceptance with open arms by the gay community. We have allowed the world, with its depraved mentality, to define the terms, and we wonder why the battle for society (and for our children, who are entering the gay community at an alarming rate) seems to have a bleak future.

Those created by God without sexual desire are in a position to serve Him in a very special way, without the "distraction" that those desires create. We need to recognize the special gifts God has given to each of us, utilize those gifts, and allow these individuals to serve in the capacity they were intended. Let us recognize God's created order of male and female, but not put a worldly definition upon what those terms mean. One can be a "man's man" and a real woman without the natural desire for the opposite sex, and still be normal, exactly what God created him/her to be. Above all, be thankful for how He created you, and fulfill that role in a godly, Christ-honoring way. Look to the Word of God, not secular psychology or pop culture, to determine what God wants you to be. Don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly, but meditate upon the Word of God, delight yourself in God's will for you, and live it by faith on a daily basis.


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In Acts 11:19-27, we are introduced to the church at Antioch. We see from this passage that it was started out of the evangelist fervor of those scattered from Jerusalem upon the persecution of Stephen. It was grounded in the word of God as Barnabas and Paul, over a year’s time, taught them the things of the Lord. It is no surprise that we continue to read about this church in Acts 13 as the evangelistic missions of Paul and Barnabas begin. It was a church born out of evangelism, and it was a church that continued to have a heart to see the Great Commission fulfilled. As we read through Acts 13, there are several characteristics that stand out about this missions-minded church.

First, we see that it was led by spiritually-minded men. These 5 men, prophets and teachers, were greatly used of God as they preached the Word of God and obeyed His will. One of them, Lucius of Cyrene, probably was one of the original evangelists that stepped out of tradition, which resulted in the planting of this church (See Acts 11:19-21). These men were not concerned with the narrow-minded opinions of others, but worked according to the Lord’s desires.

Next, we see this church was full of servants. It’s said of these men that they “ministered to the Lord.” This is not describing arm-chair theologians, but those who were involved in practical service to God’s people. When church members are continually seeking the welfare of other members, that church will possess the heart of God for evangelism.

Thirdly, this church was self-less. They practiced fasting. They were not focused on self, rather they denied themselves. When a church is willing to deny their mouth, they are usually willing to give their money and men to the work of missions.

Fourthly, we see that this church was sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost spoke to them, and they heard! How important it is for a church to be sensitive to this leadership. A lot of time and resources are wasted by churches as they labor in places where the Holy Spirit does not want them, and miss out on opportunities which are placed before them, because they cannot discern His leadership.

Fifthly, notice their skepticism of their own ability to rightly discern the Spirit’s leadership. Do you see it in verse 3? In verse 1 we see them serving and fasting, and then the Spirit speaking to them in verse 2. What do they do? Do they immediately set about the work? No! They fast and pray first. Why? They were in the practice of not believing every spirit, but of trying the spirits whether they were of God (1 John 4:1). They were proving all things and holding fast that which was good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). How important it is that a church doesn’t assume that every open or closed door is an indicator of God’s will! We must not trust our own discernment, but make sure we have the mind of the Lord.

The next mark is exciting! Once they discerned the Lord’s will and were sure of the Spirit’s leadership, they were steadfast in their obedience. “When they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” They didn’t set up a feasibility study, or contact other churches to see if they could help out in the work, or bounce the idea off of other preachers! No, once they knew it, they did it!

The last mark is that this church was surrendered. This sending away of Paul and Barnabas is described in Acts 14:26. It tells us that these men were “recommended to the grace of God for the work.” The word translated “recommended” means to surrender or yield up. God wanted these men, and though they were a great blessing to the church, and had helped them much in the previous year, the church yielded them to the Lord. What a sacrifice! If a church is not willing to send out its key men, that church will never fulfill its commission.

These seven marks were not just marks of the church at Antioch. They are marks witnessed in every missions-minded church, to one degree or another. What marks need to be developed more fully in our church? How can you be used of God to do that?

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