The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
E. L. Bynum, 1967
Available in tract form. Contact the Editor.
Editor’s Note: This tract was written 45 years ago, yet the need now in 2012 for the gospel message to go out into the world has never been more urgent. Each day, an average of 150,000 precious souls pass into eternity. How many millions still have never been told the gospel? What will you do about it?
" .. . The fields . . . are white already to harvest." John 4:35
No other generation of Christians has ever faced the challenge that this generation of Christians is facing today. No generation in human history, has ever had as many lost people living at one time, as this generation.
AMAZING BUT TRUE: "One-half of all people born since the beginning of recorded history, who has lived to the age of 5, is alive today."
I. The Urgency Of The Hour
Due to the so-called "population explosion," the population of the world is increasing at the fastest rate in the history of the world.
World Population Over 3 Billion (3,300,000,000)
Yes, there are more than 3 billion people in the world. And the population of the world is increasing 160,000 every 24 hours. This is proven by comparing the birth rate with the death rate:
320,000 births every 24 hours.
160,000 deaths every 24 hours.
These figures show a net increase of 160,000 every 24 hours, or over 60 million increase every year. It is estimated that 2 million people are reached with the Gospel each year — only about 1 in 30 of the world's population increase.
If all the people of the world were to stand in a continuous line, spaced one yard apart, they would stretch out for more than 1% million miles, more than the distance of three round trips to the moon, or a solid army in close formation marching four abreast, encircling the earth at the equator 16 times! This is all the more amazing when we realize how rapidly this has come about.
It the people of China would march past a given point 4 abreast, they would never cease to march, because a new generation would be born and grow up, before this generation past. Nearly one-third of the world's population is Chinese.
We Are Losing Ground
The ratio of Christians is dropping every year:
You must understand that these figures cover professing Christianity. This includes modernists etc., so we have no way of knowing how many of these are really saved. If the decline continues as projected, by the year 2000 Christianity will be an insignificant percentage of the world's population. The year 2000 is only 33 years away.
YES, we believe in the soon corning of Jesus Christ. The signs of the times point to His early return, BUT what are we going to do about the 3 billion souls alive today, while we are waiting for His return?
There are over 3 thousand languages in the world besides English. There are also several thousand lesser dialects in the world.
Most of these people have no written language, and those who now have a written language usually do not have the whole Bible in their language. At the present rate of translation, it will take over 150 years to finish the job.
700 tribes have completely died off in the last 30 years as a victim of the white man's diseases. These never received the message.
100 Indian tribes exist in Mexico alone. Pioneer language work is being done in 84 of these tribes by interdenominationals. Perhaps 2 or 3 of these tribes have a New Testament Church.
200 Versions Of The Bible In English
YES, America has over 200 versions of the Bible available in English. New versions (or perversions), are constantly announced, printed and sold. Is not this a sad state of affairs, when over 2,000 languages have no Bible of any version in their language?!
WHERE ARE THE WORKERS?
"The harvest truly Is plenteous, but the labourers are few." Matt. 9:37
3 million villages of the world have no gospel witness. Indonesia, with a population of 90 million, has no Baptist missionary. Missionary personnel are shrinking 25% every 10 years, because of the population explosion. The number of missionaries now on the field is inadequate to reach the un-evangelized on the field, as the following figures will demonstrate:
We are told that there are 43,000 missionaries of the world occupying some 130 fields. We do not know how many of the 43.000 are Baptist, nor do we know how many of the 43,000 do not even preach salvation by grace, much less contend for New Testament Church truth. There are supposed to be 265 million Protestants and Baptists in the world, yet there are only 43,000 foreign missionaries. What a tragic testimony!
The United States Has:
Consider These Facts:
In time of war, soldiers who do not obey the orders of their Chief Executive are court-martialed and sometimes executed. Christian soldier, what about the orders given by our Lord Jesus Christ? (Matt 28:18-20)
Money For Missions
American Communists spend 38% of their gross income for their cause. American Christians spend less than 1% of their income for foreign missions. In fact the average American "Christian" (so-called) gave about 3 cents a week to missions or about $1.56 for the whole year. Most cigarette smokers spend twice as much each week for cigarettes as the average American "Christian" gave to missions all year!
The average U.S. Protestant gave $77.75 to their church during 1965. At the same time the average Southern Baptist gave $59.22 to their church for all causes. We do not have the figures on the giving of independent Baptists, but I am sure that we would be ashamed of that figure also.
The United States is the richest country in the world. The Christians in the United States make up the richest generation of Christians that have ever lived. No other generation of Christians has had as much money to spend in the spreading of the gospel as this generation. Yet, we often hear the excuse, "We just don't have any money to give to missions. It takes all we can rake and scrape, to just make ends meet." What about the money that Christians are spending on television, vacations, tobacco, luxuries, and multitudes of other non-necessary items?
Are these things more important than the immortal souls of men?
How Americans Spend Their Money
Many sad but informative comparisons can be made in the above figures. Many people complain about the churches always wanting money, but the above figures show that the American people spent 4 times as much on recreation last year as they did on all Religion and Welfare.
The above figures show that over 100 times as much was spent for recreation as was spent on foreign missions. (Yes, 100 times is right). Over 20 times as much was spent on dogs, cats, and birds (pets) than was spent on foreign missions. Over 40 times as much was spent on tobacco, as was spent on foreign missions. Over 200 times as much spent on illegal gambling as was spent on foreign missions.
Nearly 2 times as much spent on greeting cards as was spent on foreign missions. Over 1 1/2 times as much spent on chewing gum as was spent on foreign missions. I could go on and on, but I believe that the reader can make his own comparisons. Oh, shame, shame, shame!
II. The Agency Of The Hour
During the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, He established the New Testament Church. ". . . I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18.
The word "church" (ekklesia in Greek) meant "Originally an assembly of citizens, regularly summoned." Vincent
"The Greek word EKKLESIA signified primarily the assembly of citizens in a self-governed State." Broadus.
In the New Testament the word EKKLESIA is sometimes used in an institutional sense. Today, we sometimes speak of the home as an institution. But if we are called upon to define a home, or display a home, we must of necessity come to the local visible home.
The "Universal Invisible Church" to which supposedly, all saved belong, DOES NOT EXIST and never has existed. It cannot be found in the Bible, because it does not exist. The Church of the New Testament was local, visible and could be assembled regularly… This was the kind of Church that Jesus built. "God hath set some in the church, first apostles…" I Cor. 12:28. It was this kind of Church that was given the rules for discipline. Matt. 18:15-19.. It was this kind of Church that was commanded to "keep the ordinances (baptism and the Lord's Supper), as I delivered them to you." I Cor. 11:2 and I Cor. 1:2.
The Church Is The Agency Of The Hour
It was to this kind of Church that Jesus gave the great commission. Matt. 28:18-20. It was to this kind of Church that Jesus said, "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power." Luke 24:49. It was this kind of Church that had about 120 members. Acts 1:15. It was this kind of Church that held a business meeting and elected a man to take the place of Judas. Acts 1:15-26. It was this kind of Church that was in "one accord in one place," to receive the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:1. It was to this kind of Church that the Lord added 3,000 souls in one day. Acts 2:41. It was to this kind of Church that "the Lord added . . .daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:47. It was to this kind of Church that "the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." Acts 13:2.
Paul Was A Church-Sponsored Missionary
Paul and Barnabas were selected by the Holy Spirit and sent forth by the Holy Spirit, but this was done through the agency of the Church at Antioch. Acts 13:1-4. After they had completed their first missionary journey, they returned to Antioch and reported to the Church. Acts 14:27.
Jesus did establish the Church. But you will search in vain through the New Testament, if you are looking for a place where He established a convention or association.
Paul wrote about the "churches (plural) of Galatia„ and the "churches of Macedonia (I Cor. 16:1, II Cor. 8:1), but he did not say anything about the "convention" of Galatia or the "association" of Macedonia. We read about the "churches of Asia" and the "churches of Judea," but we see nothing in the scriptures about the "fellowship" of Asia or the "union" of Judea. WHY? Because these organizations did not exist then, nor do they have any scriptural right to exist today.
Man has been busy organizing conventions, associations, unions, fellowships, faith mission boards, etc. No scripture authorizing such organizations has ever been found. Many sincere men devote themselves to promoting such organizations, no doubt thinking that the end justifies the means.
Any mission work that does not begin in a New Testament Church, and does not end in the establishment of a New Testament Church, is not Bible missions. Paul was a Church builder. As you read the book of Acts and the epistles of Paul, it is easy to see that he was interested in seeing a soul winning New Testament Church in each city. He wrote to young Timothy about "the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." I Timothy 3:15.
Paul did have one brief experience with "boards" while doing mission work. While on a voyage to Rome, the ship Paul was sailing on, was wrecked by a terrible storm While escaping to land, some of the passengers found 'boards" were quite useful. However, the context clearly indicates that the "boards" were all wet in this case. Acts 27: 44.
The Great Challenge Of The Hour
True New Testament Baptist Churches face a tremendous challenge. There is probably at least 3 billion lost people in the world. More than half of these have not even heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, and millions have not even heard His name. Communism controls at least 1 billion people. Modernism holds a death like grip on Protestantism, and sad to say, the same thing applies to the majority of those who wear the name Baptist. Of course, there are many interdenominational missionaries who do preach salvation by grace, but their efforts are largely wasted because of their failure to teach Church truth. This is also true of many who wear the name Baptist, because they are interdenominational in doctrine and practice.
Many of the Independent Baptist Churches that are sound in the faith are sound asleep. Many are strong on orthodoxy, but weak on "orthopraxy." Many are missionary in name, but fewer are missionary in practice. Many are scriptural in the local Church work, but support unsound and unscriptural mission work on the foreign field. Some support missions enough to try to sooth the conscience, but few are sacrificial in giving and going. Some Independent Baptist Churches and preachers seem to think that their calling is to criticize the mission work that other groups are doing. Remember, God did not call us to criticize, but to evangelize. Criticism of another man's method does not constitute obedience to Christ. The servant must give an account to his own master.
Somehow, someway, we must do more than we have been doing. As great as the challenge, the hour is not hopeless. Though our number be few and the need so great, if we will only become available for God to use, there will be a miraculous advance in the mission work that we are doing. When we work in the energy of the flesh, what is accomplished is dependent upon what we can do. But when we are yielded and surrendered to God, what is accomplished is dependent upon what God can do. And there is a VAST difference between the two.
III. The Unction For The Hour
"But ye have an unction from the Holy One . . . " 1 John 3:20.
Someone has said, "It takes a Divine unction to make Orthodoxy function." That unction is promised to the children of God. The "Holy One" referred to in this verse is none other than Christ. Jesus was the "Anointed One." "God, even thy God, ha* anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Hebrews 1:8, 9. The context is clear. Over against the Antichrist and his system with its many followers, God places His Anointed One and His anointed ones. "AN UNCTION. The word means that with which the anointing is performed—THE UNGUENT or OINTMENT. THE ANOINTING is from THE ANOINTED." Vincent.
In both the O. T. and N. T., the anointing oil was a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
If we are to accomplish the urgent task of the hour, we must recognize and utilize the power of the Holy Spirit of God. We are not advocating a second work of grace, because the Bible does not teach this. We do not need wild-fire, "strange fire," or fanaticism.
Power For The Hour
After Jesus had given His commission to the Church, He told them, "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Luke 24:49. "But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me . . . unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8.
The task assigned to that little band of defeated, disheartened believers seemed to be far above their capability. Their leader had just been rejected by the nation of Israel. He had indeed risen from the dead, but He had departed from them. From every human standpoint, Christianity had come to the end of the line. Both Jew and Gentile had rejected His message. There seemed little hope that such a small movement, led by men who had deserted their commander in the heat of the battle, could ever survive in such a hostile political, moral and religious climate.
But in just a few years, Christianity had spread to the remote areas of the Roman Empire. The converts were numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and many churches had been established in Europe and Asia. By the year 56 A.D., it could be said "that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." Acts 19:10. WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE? It was the power of the Holy Spirit. The Church had tarried and the Lord bad kept His promise.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place." Acts 2:1. The Holy Spirit came, and that Church at Jerusalem was never the same again. On that wonderful day, that old ex-fisherman who had cursed and denied his Lord less than two months before, stood and boldly declared the gospel of Jesus Christ. On that one day 3,000 souls were saved, baptized and added to the Church.
Today, we do not need to pray for the coming of the Spirit, or for the "baptism of the Spirit." God kept His promise. Every truly born again believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling within. The reason we do not have the power of the Spirit, is because we so often "quench" and "grieve" the Spirit. 1 Thess. 5:19; Eph. 4:30. Then we fail to "walk In the Spirit," and afterward speculate on why we are barren and unfruitful. Gal. 5:25.
We are commanded to be "filled with the Spirit." Eph. 5:18. When filled with sin, we cannot be filled with the Spirit. The question is not whether the believer has the Spirit, but rather, does the Spirit have the believer? Simon Peter said, ''WE ARE HIS WITNESSES…AND SO IS ALSO THE HOLY GHOST..." Acts 5:32. We need the glory of His presence and power of His person, but we cannot claim this without separation and consecration.
A Wonderful Example
In the great Church at Antioch, we see a wonderful example of the relationship of the Holy Spirit to missions.
“Now there were in the Church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they (the Church) had tasted and prayed, and laid their hand on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia" Acts 13:1-3.
Thus we see the beginning of the great missionary journeys of Paul, which resulted in many souls being saved and many Churches being established.
Please note some wonderful truths set forth in this example of how God works:
(1) God was working in and through the Church at Antioch.
(2) The Holy Ghost chose the missionaries.
(3) The Holy Ghost spoke to the Church.
(4) The Church was identified with the missionaries by the laying on of hands.
(5) The Church sent the missionaries away. V. 3
(6) The missionaries were sent forth by the Holy Ghost V. 4
(7) Notice the complete absence of any man made organization in the sending out of these missionaries. There was no convention, association or board involved.
We do not believe that man can improve on God's plan. In the last days of this dispensation, as we approach the midnight hour, let us once again return to this great work of carrying out the great commission. With God's message, God's method, and God's motive, we can still reach countless souls. We need, and must have the power of the Holy Spirit.
Statistics contained in this tract have been obtained from many different sources. It is our belief that they are reasonably accurate.