II Timothy 4:1-7, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”
Historically, we as Baptists have been known for building and battling. Soul-winning, the bus ministry, and loving people is what building a Church is all about. In order to keep building, we have had to battle enemies foreign and domestic. Foe and friend. Sinner and Saint. Battling is not a new concept. It is not something we make up so we can make people mad, criticize in a spiritual manner, or just have someone to fight.
Noah battled. Abraham battled. Jacob Battled. Joseph Battled. Israel battled. Daniel and the 3 Hebrew boys, Esther, Job, David, Samuel, Nehemiah, and Jesus battled. Apostles battled. You check your Bible and see how many of those Bible characters had to wage war on wrong and wickedness.
I love Nehemiah 4:17-18, “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.”
The thing about battling is that as a generation gets older, they become weary in the war, and don’t want to battle anymore. They are content to compromise, willing to roll over, and too tired to try. They see you and I, the next generation, still with a desire to build and battle. They call us overzealous, too young, and dumb. They try to talk us out of our position by defaming our disposition.
The hardest part of these battle is that many are fought among our own ranks. It is one thing when the enemy is shooting at you, but it is another when your very own friends, family, and famed heroes are attacking who you are and what you believe.
They will use excuses like,“We just need to love one another”, “That is judgmental”, “I never was convicted of that”, “That is just a preference”, “There are more important things”, “I have grown to know better than that”, “You cannot be successful and wealthy believing that”. Christians who you work with or get to know will attack you for what you believe, but then call you a Pharisee for saying anything convicting to them.
Then we hear our friends who grew up with the same Bible, same preaching, same standards, and same love for souls, say we are wrong for keeping the same stands. We hear our family discourage and defame the very things they once taught us and exemplified.
And what might be the worst of all, we hear a Preacher, a Youth Pastor, or a Sunday School Teacher who once championed the cause- explain why we should quit, why we are wasting our time, why what once was wrong is right, and why what once was right is now wrong. It is discouraging, depressing, disheartening, and to many it is deadly!
Paul said “I have fought a good fight”. He said I’ve been in it and at it, I haven’t quit, and I haven’t changed. Demas left me, Peter and I had it out, Barnabas and I fell out, but I KEPT battling, and I kept Building!
Let me give you some Baptist Battles you will have to Brave.
1. The BOOK
They are going to say your King James Bible is outdated, uninspired, and irrelevant. They are going to tell you it was written by men, King James was a Queer, it contains mistakes, the transcripts are old and outdated, and that the King James Bible could not be the only Bible. There are so many other good translations.
Where is the King James Only crowd? Independent Fundamental Baptist now will say, “I like the KJV the best for textual purposes.” How about the King James Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant, impeccable, and irreplaceable WORD OF GOD! Some hear a sermon referencing the KJB and we ignore that point. We say to ourselves, “I got that settled.” DO YOU? Because some people who have sat where you sit didn’t! Some Preachers you used to listen to at Youth Conferences and meetings didn’t!
As an Independent Fundamental Baptist, you need to be prepared to Battle for The Book. WHY DO YOU USE ONLY THE KING JAMES BIBLE? Study, read, and know why. You may think you don’t need to know until one of your friends switches, until someone in your family starts going to a church that uses the NIV, CSV, ESV, or NKJV, or until a leader you used to follow begins to use a different one.
Battle for the Book!
2. THE LOOK
We have a look. We believe men should look like men and ladies should look like ladies. We believe men should dress like men, not boys, sodomites, metrosexuals or Justin Beiber. We believe ladies should dress like ladies, not hookers, temptresses, or Taylor Swift. We believe Christians should not swear or use worldly slang. We believe Christians should listen to gospel music. Gospel music does not include CCM. We believe Christians should not be controlled by Hollywood. We believe Christians should be different than the world, we call it separation.
You talk about a Battle. Some of you reading this now do not agree with everything I just said. You have already gave up the Battle. Some loose lip lady sodomite at work has you thinking that wearing skirts all the time is “controlling.” Some spike haired whore-monger has you thinking that keeping those “dumb rules” is crazy. Some of you remember. You remember that man or lady who battled with you. You didn’t understand, you didn’t want to change, you didn’t want to give up that lifestyle, BUT THEY BATTLED, they pulled, they pushed, they showed you Scripture, they preached, they taught, and they fought for you to get it!
Separation, standards and convictions are a huge battle that Baptists must brave. Go to the largest IFB churches you know, and read what they believe under their statement of faith. I know of a few that include separation in their statement of faith. It is a battle.
Some of you went home for Christmas break that were not supportive of your standards. Some of you have family that is unchurched or backslidden. They mock, despise, and try to talk you out of your standards. They don’t understand why you don’t wear modest clothing, why you don’t go to the movies, Why you don’t like worldly music, why you “have” to be the way you are. When you try to explain why they call you a Pharisee, a judgmental “meanie”, and a hater of people.
You may even have a leader who has changed, I have seen it. Those who used to preach why you should be different, and now aren’t different anymore themselves. They quit Battling, and eventually were changed. They listen to Contemporary Christian Music now and say, “it is Christian music”, “the beat doesn’t matter, it’s the words”. The women wear pants now and say, “it’s a preference”, “that’s old Testament”, “i’ve been enlightened”. The men no longer lead, they “love people”, they “don’t want to offend” , and have learned to “show the love of Christ”.
Preachers who once preached to separate, now preach to congregate with the wicked. They jam to their CCM and stand behind a little podium, with a tshirt and jeans on, and talk about “love.” The truth they wont face is that they quit battling. They got tired of fighting and QUIT.
I know a bunch of former Church teens that went to the Christian school, saying in the choir, went teen soul-winning, went to Christian camp, taught Sunday School, worked on a bus, and made decisions for God who have stopped Battling. They were told standards of separation are, “legalistic”, “Outdated”, “unkind”, and “unscriptural”. They fought it for a long time, they battled, but then they quit. We as the next generation, must Battle for the Look.
3. The HOOK
Independent Baptists have always been known for soul-winning. We have Thursday night soul-winning, Tuesday visitation, bus ministry, teen ministry, senior ministry, homeless ministry, and a radio/TV ministry. You may ask, “why?” We print tracts, cards, brochures, visitor packs, postcards, etc. Why? To see people saved, to reach the world with the Gospel, and to win the lost to Christ. Because we want as many hooks in the water when we are fishing for men.
Why do you believe the KJB? Why do you believe we should look different, act different, talk different? Because you are better? WRONG ANSWER! So God loves you more? WRONG ANSWER! It should be so you can be a better witness and testimony for Christ.
Those who stop battling for the Book and Look eventually lose the Hook.
I do not know one person who uses the NIV and no standards that goes soul winning. They may talk about evangelism, but they are not soul winners. They have quit the Battle for the Book, so they have no authority. They have quit the Battle for the Look, so they can control their appearance. They are without an authority, and obtain a careless appearance. They are apathetic toward the lost. Oh, they will claim that not having standards and not standing for the KJV has helped their walk with God, their love for people and their Christian life. Despite all of that love for people they don’t carry tracts, go soul winning, run a bus, or witness to people.
We must Battle for the Hook.
I personally get tired of fighting. I have had friends, friends who I went to college with, QUIT! I have had family, family who once encouraged me to stand, QUIT! I have had heroes, Preachers, and leaders who I used to listen, emulate, and look up to QUIT! And not only Quit, but criticize, discourage, mock, discount and demean the Battle I am STILL FIGHTING ! You will face the same thing, maybe you already have, but don’t stop Battling the Battles Baptist Braves!
Youth | Assistant Pastor
Clays Mill Baptist Church