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Featured Farewell sermon - any advice?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Covenanter, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    We came to Southall, an immigrant area of West London, in 1962, as a newly married Christian couple. As we approach 80 we need to move to be near family.

    At present we attend Cranford Baptist Church, which is an independent baptist church with a Pakistani Pastor married to a converted Sikh. The majority of the congregation are South Asian, Indian & Pakistani, with 5 elderly English (soon reduced to 3) & a few Afro-Caribbean.

    Our exact moving date is uncertain, but on the first Lord's day in December I will be preaching what amounts to a farewell sermon. For the last 7 years I have been choosing hymns & playing the organ (keyboard) & preaching occasionally.

    Any suggestions on sermon text & thrust & hymns would be appreciated.
     
  2. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    You might think on Paul's valedictory remarks to Timothy. Thinking on them myself, I'd use them in the negative. As in, "It may seem like this to you. But, I'm not going home yet. The Lord is just moving us to another part of His harvest field."
     
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  3. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Fight the good fight, never give up, break the tape with Jesus on your lips. My favorite song is "Trust and Obey."
    God Bless

    Van
     
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  4. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    2 Timothy 4:5 But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
    6 For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come.
    7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
    8 From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.

    With the good Squire's admonition about "departure." :)
     
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  5. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Thanks folk.

    I'm preparing my testimony for the children. I started Bible reading at 13 and trusted Christ as Saviour at 18, and was baptized in December 1957.

    For the sermon I'm thinking towards completing Reformation history by preaching on what everyone has missed -
    The reformers continued with a state/church government, infant baptism and persecution of Christians who did not conform - Baptists and other independents as well as genuine heretics. And the argument about justification became separated from salvation by repentance and faith evidenced by works of faith and love.
     
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  6. Bro. James

    Bro. James Well-Known Member
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    The Depravity of Mankind and Jesus, The Christ, crucified. Also, "were YOU there when WE crucified The Lord?"

    This applies to every Jew, Gentile, male, female, bond, free.

    What a "genuine" heretic might be is a good backup. Use New Advent and Trail of Blood.

    Another: No merit have I of my own--all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.

    Most churches have a repentance deficiency.

    Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

    Bro. James
     
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  7. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    My children gathered together and knelt before me. It was as time to say a farewell as a parent prayer to God.

    It was a tender time, a time of imploring God to continue His guidance and wisdom in their lives, a desire for their safety, for unity in the truth of His Word, and great hope, as I relinquished the authority of "a shepherd/father" to them.

    You as the "under shepherd" should consider such commending, that as they have been taught the wisdom of God and that they can rely on such guidance from the Holy Spirit to select the one who will continue in your absence.

    The message is not that of instruction, teaching is now over, it is commencement.

    The message is that of a transfer of commitment, dedication, and longing.

    Think of Christ's last talk and His prayer, and conform your words to be like them, with hope, with longing, with desire for their safety, and for commitment in unity and truth...
     
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  8. Genevanpreacher

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    As I know how you are normally treated around some of these fellas commenting to you Ian, I would go with your idea over most suggestions given here, and follow your heart by using Gods word to make a great final statement in honor to your King, and Lord, Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God.

    And leave with no regrets.
     
  9. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    No, Russ. I welcome their brotherly suggestions. This isn't a controversial thread.

    I'm leaving people I've known for 30-50 years, including a number where I've been involved in their baptism - and some we've welcomed as new babies who have grown up & been baptised. & some who haven't - I've love to see them come to the Lord.

    And some I've worked closely only the last few years.
     
  10. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    There is an interesting story of an English pastor who accepted the position of another church having served faithfully.

    Perhaps you might be interested.

    Found here: Blest Be The Tie That Binds - PopularHymns.com
     
  11. Genevanpreacher

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    I apologize, to you Ian, and the others here. My attitude is adjusting. Thanks.
     
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  12. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Precious. I've heard that lovely story before. Thanks for reminding me.

    The Christian folk I have known for so many years are not in the present church where we worship. Our meetings with them are occasional now & after the building where we met was sold 8 years ago, we scattered mostly to other churches nearer our homes. We met weekly in house meetings for several years until the couple hosting the meetings died.

    So we're not leaving a church with the folk we've known for many years. We went there because we considered we could help a church replanting
    work led by a Pakistani Christian. The white members were growing old & dying, & only 3 remain, with us making 5 out of a congregation of 30-40.
     
  13. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    I'll post my sermon here in installments - I hope it will be helpful to many.

    Readings -
    James 2:14-26
    Acts 4:1-31

    This year has marked the 500th anniversary of what is considered the beginning of the Reformation, when Martin Luther nailed his arguments against the selling of indulgences – selling forgiveness of sin - on a church door in Germany.

    I will speak about further aspects of the Reformation as they apply particularly to Baptists.

    Pastor Robin has preached on what are called the “Five Solas.” Five essential Christian truths – can you remind us of what they are?

    ? ? ? ? ?

    Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, & the glory of God alone.

    I'll put them into one sentence:

    The Holy Scriptures teach us that salvation is by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. I'll repeat that.

    When Robin preached he added a very important truth that James taught. We read it earlier –
    James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    The Reformers were so concerned that we are not saved by good works, but only by faith in Christ alone that Luther actually rejected the letter of James. I'll just read the last verse of the chapter we read earlier -
    James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    In addition to the 5 solas, the Reformation gave the church many wonderful blessings we enjoy today -

    the Bible printed for all to read in our own language;

    the Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone was preached in all the Protestant churches;

    worship in our own language instead of Latin, the “church language” which few people understood;

    hymns & Psalms for all to sing using poetry & tunes that were easy to remember & sing when we weren't in church.

    BUT
     
  14. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 2.

    BUT the Reformation continued serious errors of the RC church. It became a political movement.

    The Reformation leaders spoke up against the errors of the RC church & the RC leaders wanted them captured & killed.

    That would have ended the Reformation, but not the spiritual kingdom of God, spread by the preaching of the Gospel.

    Martin Luther risked his life when he challenged Rome.

    He was kidnapped by friends & protected by powerful local leaders who wanted to break away from the authority of the Catholic Church.

    Kept in secret he was able to work on translation & writing.

    Provinces, countries, became Protestant or stayed Catholic. And new church-state authorities were formed.

    Vicious wars between Catholic & Protestant countries took place that lasted many years, with many thousands of people being killed.

    England went from Catholic to Protestant, back to Catholic & then with Queen Elizabeth the Protestant CofE was established.



    The Reformation did not give freedom of religion. Independent baptist churches like ours were persecuted by both Reformed & Catholic churches. They could only worship in the homes, in secret. They were accused of practising evil because they met in secret.
     
  15. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 3.

    Why were baptists persecuted?

    The Protestant churches wanted state protection, so they became state churches claiming authority over the whole community. They continued baptism of babies into the state church, so everyone in the community was considered a Christian. You did not need repentance & faith in Christ alone to be considered a Christian. And those who preached the Gospel of repentance & faith before baptism, & rebaptised those who had been baptised as babies by the state church were persecuted as rebels against the state, because they preached the need for conversion of the nominal Christians in the state-church system.



    These baptists were called “Anabaptists” meaning rebaptisers. They were very similar to independent Baptists like Cranford. In those days churches like ours were persecuted by both Catholics & Protestants.
     
  16. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 4.

    How did the Reformation go so wrong?

    We need to look at the situation in the early church. We read Acts 4, which showed how the Jewish religious leaders expected the Apostles to submit to their authority & stop preaching about the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

    In Old Testament times the nation of Israel was governed by Laws given by God through Moses. God expected the leaders & the people of Israel to live by those Laws. That included the circumcision of baby boys so that everybody was included the Israelite community.

    The prophets were constantly warning the leaders & the kings of Israel & the people that God would judge the nation if they disobeyed God's laws.

    The passage we read in Acts showed the attitude of the Jewish leaders. They thought they were in the position of the prophets. However, first John the baptist, then Jesus were the true prophets. They showed that the Jewish leaders were guilty sinners leading the people away from God. The nation would be judged for their disobedience before that generation had died out.

    The OT has many promises & prophecies of a Messiah who will come & put things right BUT even he would be despised, rejected & crucified. Then he would rise from the dead to be a greater king than David.

    Until the Day of Pentecost, when Peter preached the Gospel of forgiveness of sin by repentance, baptism & faith in the name of Jesus, both religion and society were ruled by the religious leaders.

    At Pentecost the church was formed & became the spiritual organisation of the redeemed people of God.

    That combined church-state authority changed with the Gospel as sinners were commanded to repent & commit their lives to following Jesus – NOT the national religion controlled by the priests.
     
  17. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 5.



    It is like that in many countries today. Look around the world – most countries today are controlled by leaders holding to a national religion.

    Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, and even Atheism is a form of religion. Everyone in the country has to conform. You folk will know better than me the problems of being a Christian in your own countries, & when you are converted in families that hold other religions.

    Being a Christian is seen by religious leaders & the state as an act of disobedience. To be punished as a law-breaker.

    When the Gospel of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ is preached, people are converted, & they are rejected by their community. Christian communities are often persecuted by the majority religion. Even in Britain laws are being enacted that Christians cannot obey.

    Soon after Pentecost, believing in Jesus as Lord & Saviour was to be punished by prison & death.

    We read in Acts 4 that the religious leaders ordered the Apostles not to preach in the name of Jesus. I'll read verses 18-20

    18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls for repentance, conversion & a living faith. Believers are baptised in Jesus' name, and come together as a church.

    However, we do not separate from the community we live in. We do not reject our families & neighbours. We live with them & pray for them. We live in the world, not in completely separated communities like monasteries.

    We are spiritually separate from the community & from the nation as a whole but we recognise that as citizens we must be law-abiding members of the community. As Christians we are a family within the community, united by our faith in Jesus.
     
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  18. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 6.



    Christians aren't trouble makers, so why has it been a problem for Bible believing Christians for the last 2,000 years? Why are Christians, & especially converts from other religions, still persecuted?

    Authority is a key word. Who is in charge?

    Throughout his earthly ministry Jesus spoke with authority, & the religious leaders hated him for challenging them.

    When Jesus rode into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday, he was welcomed by the crowds as the promised Messiah, the son of King David.

    BUT, he rode on a donkey, as the Prince of peace.

    He chased the traders out of the temple, & the Jewish leaders asked Jesus,

    By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” Mat. 21:23

    They are reasoning: “We are in charge of the temple, and we have God's authority. Who do you think you are?”

    So they arrested Jesus and accused him before the Roman Governor Pilate, that he was making himself a king. John 19:12

    12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, ‘If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.’
    13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

    Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.
    15 But they shouted, ‘Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’
    ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate asked.
    ‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the chief priests answered.
    16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.


    The Jews hated the Romans. They were not loyal to Caesar. They wanted a Messiah who would be a military leader. They did want a king, but a king who would drive the Romans out. Jesus wasn't the Messiah they wanted, so they had him executed.

    Jesus rose from the dead. He taught his disciples and commissioned them as his Apostles to take the Gospel to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up in the temple and proclaimed by the authority of the Holy Spirit of God the resurrection of Jesus & his ascension as King on David's throne. He promised full & free forgiveness to all who repented of their sin & were baptised in Jesus' name. Many thousands responded to God's gracious call.

    The Jewish leaders feared for their authority when they saw thousands were responding to the preaching of uneducated Galilean fishermen. They persecuted the Apostles & their converts. They ordered them not to preach in the name of Jesus. And the Apostles asked them the simple question - “should we obey God or men?” When they obeyed God they were persecuted.

    With different authorities, different religions dominating every country, that situation has continued ever since. Preaching the Gospel is seen as a challenge to the authorities. Christians are seen as rebels against the state. In some countries they are seen as allies of the “Christian” countries, Britain & the USA, as enemies who cannot be left in peace.
     
  19. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 7.



    How did the early church go wrong?

    When the Roman Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity in about the year 310, he ordered the whole Roman Empire to convert. Everyone was baptised, even babies so everyone was considered a Christian. Soon Gospel preachers were condemned as “heretics” by the state church. The state church called itself the Catholic Church. You may know the creed where people recite -
    “I believe in ….. one holy, catholic church.....”

    If Gospel preachers baptised as a believer one who had been baptised as a baby they were put to death as rejecting the authority of the state Catholic church.

    Through the years there were many Gospel preachers & churches, but all were persecuted. They were called “Anabaptists” - rebaptisers.

    That state of affairs continued for over 1,000 years until the Reformation. Martin Luther & other Reformers risked their lives when they challenged the authority of Rome.
     
  20. Covenanter

    Covenanter Well-Known Member
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    Part 8.

    However the Protestant churches became state churches claiming authority over the whole community.

    They continued baptism of babies into the state church, so everyone in the community was considered a Christian.

    Those who preached the Gospel of repentance & faith before baptism, & rebaptised those baptised as babies by the state church were persecuted by both Catholics & Protestants.

    They did not disagree with the Reformers about the 5 solas. But they did disagree about the affect of faith. Saving faith should be evident by godly living. Faith without works is dead. Faith is not obedience to the state church, nor is it reciting the “Apostles' Creed” but a living faith in the Lord Jesus as God & Saviour.

    The Reformers put many Anabaptist Christians in prison & many were put to death. Many were tied up & drowned by what was called “forced baptism.” 150 years after the Reformation began, when the hymn-writer Isaac Watts was born in 1674, his father was in prison in Southampton, “guilty” of preaching the Gospel without a licence from the CofE bishop. Isaac's Mummy would take baby to the prison window so Daddy & baby could hear each other.

    However, all this time the Bible was being printed & read widely. People were hearing the Gospel in the Protestant churches, & they were singing Psalms & hymns. Vast numbers were truly converted. Then in England, in 1689, the laws against baptists & independent Christians were repealed. We have the “1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.”. 170 years after the start of the Reformation England had freedom of religion, freedom to convert & freedom to baptise. Unless, of course, you were Roman Catholic.
     
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