This lesson gives us the marching orders of the Lord Jesus to His churches before He went away as to what He wanted them to do while He is gone. The first passage in His intercessory prayer to His Father in John 17 clearly reveals in one of the most solemn moments of His life, His will for His churches and His disciples. Whatever His mission was in the world, our mission is in the world. His mission was to save the world, He said. John 3:17. So is ours, if He meant what He said when He told the Father that we are sent into the world for the same purpose that the Father had sent Him into the world. Oh, the pity of it that so many of Christ's churches and Christ's disciples are failing utterly in the one mission that their Lord and Master gave them to do!
The passage in Acts tells us again what our mission is and our source of power. Our mission is to witness for Christ to the uttermost parts of this earth. The power is the empowering and enduement of the Holy Spirit. Note well what that passage says. Not the power of education or organization or even of co-operation makes us mighty to do this work. "Our sufficiency is of God." "Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit saith the Lord of hosts." But the central passage, Matthew 28:16-20. is the very heart of oar mission and contains the whole of our commission. Nothing less than that, nothing more than that should be included in our program. That should be the horizon of our visions and the limits of our tasks. Note well what that commission includes.
1. Make Men Christians.
That is our first task from our all-powerful Lord. Make disciples or Christians. A disciple is a Christian None are real disciples until they are the sons of God. The Master did it that way Himself. In John 4:1 we are told that He made men disciples or Christians before He baptized them. That was His practice and His orders conform thereto. They are to be made disciples or Christians by preaching the gospel to them. The gospel reveals Christ to men. Men are disciples as soon as they receive Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Receiving Him. makes one a child of God or a disciple or a Christian. John 1:12-14. Baptism is no part of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 1:17. Men are saved by the gospel. Romans 1:16-18. This conmmission is a Baptist commission because it puts salvation before baptism. It was given to nobody else; it is obeyed by nobody else.
2. Make Them Baptists. The same all-powerful Lord, that commanded us to make men Christians, commanded us to make men Baptists. After they are discipled He commanded them to be baptized. The folks to whom He gave this command were all Baptists. We know that. They were all baptized by the first Baptist preacher. Read Acts 1:15-26 and you will see that no man could be one of the twelve apostle unless he had been baptized by John the Baptist. C. I. Scofield and all the other heretics, who want to make this dispensation begin with Pentecost and say that John's baptism was not Christian baptism, do so for no other reason in the world except to try to disparage and repudiate Baptist baptism. In doing so they line up with the Pharisees and other hypocrites, who "rejected the counsel of God against themselves, not being baptized with the baptism of John." This commission was given to none but Baptists. All present were Baptists, because they had been baptized by John or by the twelve, all of whom were baptized by John the Baptist. It was given to them, not as preachers or as individuals, but as a church. for it was to be obeyed to the end of the age and none of them would live that long. But the Master had promised that the church He founded, would not be destroyed by the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18) and to that church and other churches founded through their missionary labors the Master gave this world-wide and age-long commission. No infants, no seekers, no probationers, no sinners, no proselytes, none but disciples or Christians, are included by the Master in His orders to be baptized. This commission was given to Baptists, for every one present was a Baptist. It is a very definite command to make men Christians by preaching the gospel to them and then make them Baptists by giving them Baptist baptism, for that was the only kind there was at the time this commission was given. No one else but Baptists can obey this commission because no one else has the kind of baptism that Jesus commanded Christians to submit to. And no one else can do what this commission enjoins, namely make the disciples Baptists by giving them Baptist baptism.
3. Indoctrinate Them.
First make them Christians and then make them Baptists and then make them orthodox Missionary BapŽtists by teaching them all Christ's commands. The Master was not a Fundamentalist. He did not divide His commands into essentials and non-essentials and tell them to teach the essentials or fundamentals. God forbid. This commission was not given to Fundamentalists but to BapŽtists, who stand for all Christ's comŽmands, big or little, essential or non-essential. His presence and blessing were conditioned upon their carrying out this commission to the letter, namely, teaching all things whatsoever He commanded.
In Matthew 5:19 He tells us that He thinks His least command is of so much importance that the man (and all Fundamentalists that we know of belong to that class), who breaks and teaches others to break even the least of His commands shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven. Poor comfort to Fundamentalists and Unionists in that. What disappointment they are doomed to meet when they stand before their Lord. They think He will commend them for contendŽing for the fundamentals or essentials, when He has told them plainly that He will censure them for selling out and compromising the "least commands," which they call the non-essentials. God have mercy on such "hucksters of His Word!"
4. Missionary Baptist Document.
We started out with the subject of this lesson as "New Testament Churches Missionary Baptist Churches." Is it really so? Test all others by this commission and see if they do not fail at some vital point. Hardshells fail utterly. They do not "go." They do not preach the gospel. They have no gospel to sinners. They do not teach. They do not believe in Sunday Schools where the Word of God is taught. Hardshell churches are not churches of Christ and have no commission from Him. Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Catholic and all other churches that baptize babies do not make disciples before baptizing. They fail at every point in the commission. They too are not churches of Christ and this commission was not given to them. Campbellite churches (Fiddlers and Anti-Fiddlers) baptize sinners to make them Christians, thereby reversing the orders of the Son of God to make men Christians before baptizing them. So do the Mormons and Adventists and other heretical sects. None of these are churches of Christ and the commission was not given to them. This commission was given to a church that had these distinguishing marks. The Founder of that church was baptized by the first Baptist preacher and organized his church out of material baptized by that same preacher.
Its members were all baptized by the first Baptist preacher or by those who were baptized by him. Its Founder and His disciples had for three years made it their business to make men disciples or Christians before baptism and had uniformly baptized no one else. This church had no overlords or ruling elders or bosses. The Founder had said "One is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren." Those distinguishing marks fit no other church but a Missionary Baptist church. It was therefore a Missionary Baptist church to whom the Lord gave this commission and since all other New Testament churches, except this first one, were organized by those working under this commission, therefore all New Testament churches were Missionary Baptist churches.
[From a small folded-tract published by News and Truths, Murray, Ky. Document provided by Ben Stratton, Farmington, KY. Scanned by Jim Duvall.]
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