Baptist Church Covenant Lesson 2
Mutual Obligations Under the Covenant
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"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 contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
Our Walk "Spirit Led in Unity and Love"
The aid of the Holy Spirit. (Everything that a Christian does in serving God and everything that the church does in carrying out God’s will is only possible with the power and assistance of the Holy Spirit.)
2 Corinthians 3:3-5 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; ,
Galatians 5:16-18 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
To walk together. (With the aid of God’s Spirit working in each of us, we are to strive for unity
1 Corinthians 1:10 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Romans 15:5-6 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In Christian love. (Unity is always through the bond of God’s love given to us and then shared through us.)
1 John 2:8-10 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. 9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Our Goal "The Advancement, Prosperity and Sustenance Of Our Church"
Advance in knowledge (This knowledge is the deepening of our relationship and life with Jesus Christ)
Ephesians 1:17 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Colossians 1:10 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Advance In Holiness (Separation from the world and separation to God)
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4,7 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;…7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
2 Corinthians 7:1 1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
1 Peter 1:14-16 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Advance in comfort (The care, sharing of burdens and help given to fellow members of the church.)
1 Thessalonians 5:11-14 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
Isaiah 35:3-4 3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
Isaiah 40:1-2 1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.
By promoting its prosperity and spirituality (Prosperity in the New Testament is always in terms of spirituality, never in terms of physical wealth.)
Ephesians 4:11-16 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
By sustaining it worship. (Be in the Lord’s house, with the Lord’s People on the Lord’s Day.)
Hebrews 10:25 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
By sustaining its ordinances (There are only two, baptism and the Lord’s supper but they are not optional nor can they be modified else they lose their symbolism and ultimately the salvation they memorialize.)
Matthew 3:13-15 13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
By sustaining its discipline (The church soon ceases to be the Lord’s and takes on the character of the sinful world without consistent discipline according as the Bible instructs.)
Matthew 18:15-17 15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.By sustaining its doctrines.
Acts 2:42 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
1 Timothy 4:6,13,16 6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. …
Our Means "Cheerful and Regular Giving"
Giving should be without coercion or obligation and regular.
2 Corinthians 9:6-10 6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;The ministry is to be thus supported. Gal. 6:6; I Cor. 9:7-14; 1 Tim. 5:17,18
The ministry is to be thus supported. (From the Old Testament to the new, the servants of God are to be sustained by the people of God.)
Galatians 6:6 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
1 Corinthians 9:7-14 7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
1 Timothy 5:17-18 17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
The expenses of the church raised through tithes and offerings
1 Corinthians 16:2 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
The relief of the poor. (Contrary to the beliefs of today’s society, the church was never meant to be a relief agency for the unsaved. Giving to the poor through the church is primarily to help its own members in times of need.)
Acts 6:1 1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
Acts 11:27-30 27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. 28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
2 Corinthians 9:1 1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
2 Thessalonians 3:10 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
The spread of the gospel. (This is and always must be the primary work of the church and our giving must be primarily for the preaching of the Gospel and sending of those who will be those preachers.)
Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Philippians 4:14, 18-19 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. …But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Being a member of a church is not a passive relationship, membership is meant to be active and involved. The church is the Lord’s institution upon this earth to spread the Gospel and show the lost the character of Christ. This cannot be done solely by individuals; this was never the Lord’s design or intent.
He called the original 12 from among the other disciples, formed them into an assembly, with Himself as its head and then commissioned them to go, disciple, baptize and teach. That commission is our duty and it is to be shared mutually among the members of the local church. The commission cannot be rightly fulfilled in any other way and we, as members, share in the duties, tasks, obligations and support of that local body of believers carrying out that commission. The Church Covenant is meant to be a reminder of those duties and obligations.