As a church, we emphasise the truth that Paul emphasises in Titus 1:2: “God promised eternal life . . . before the ages began.” This truth is confirmed by the apostle John in Revelation 13:8 where he says that those who will worship the beast are the ones “whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” This truth, often referred to as the covenant of redemption, states that the triune God has covenanted with Himself to redeem, before this world was created, a people for His own honour and His own glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 explains it beautifully – the Father, who is the architect of redemption, chose who would be redeemed; the Son agreed to redeem the Church by the currency of His own blood; and the Holy Spirit agreed to apply Christ’s redeeming work to the elect. Charles Spurgeon, describing the covenant of redemption, says it this way:
“It is a noble and glorious thought, the very poetry of that old Calvinistic doctrine which we teach, that long ere the day star knew its place, before God had spoken existence out of nothing, before angel’s wing had stirred the unnavigated ether, before a solitary song had disturbed the solemnity of the silence in which God reigned supreme, he had entered into solemn counsel with himself, with his Son and with his Spirit, and had in that council decreed, determined, purposed and predestinated the salvation of his people.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Revival Year Sermons: Preached at the Surrey Music Hall During 1859, New edition (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1996), 39.)
So, by way of introduction, we believe that the covenant of redemption is central for placing evangelism back on the hinges of Scripture. This means evangelism will centre on two very important doctrines: the lostness of mankind and his need of salvation along with the preaching of the cross as God’s solution to man’s problems.
THE LOSTNESS OF MANKIND AND HIS NEED OF SALVATION
Frances Schaeffer once remarked that if he were given an hour to present the gospel to the person sitting next to him on a plane, he would spend the first fifty-five minutes explaining man’s bondage to sin and his state before a holy God before explaining the gospel itself in the remaining five minutes.
THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS AS GOD’S SOLUTION TO MAN PROBLEMS
The covenant of redemption will always point to the great message of the cross, for it is on the cross where Christ achieved salvation once and for all. Christ purchased His bride with His own blood, which the Father had promised Him. It is Jesus who saves and no one else. The 1689 Baptist Confession puts it this way:
“The Lord Jesus has fully satisfied the justice of God, obtained reconciliation, and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven for all those given to him by the Father. He has accomplished these things by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he once for all offered up to God through the eternal Spirit.” (8.5)
This means, in preaching and evangelism, we will explain the finished work of Christ. Therefore, we reject Catholic Mass and any attempt to create faith as a work we add onto what Christ has already accomplished. We believe that God gives faith as a gift, given by the Spirit, as a result of the great covenant of redemption. It is essential that Christians know how to live the Christian life based solely on the completed work of Christ. Therefore, we preach that salvation is from God, which was accomplished for them by the person, and through the work, of Christ alone. The whole person of Christ and the whole work on the cross, is God’s only provision for man’s salvation. The late John Murray once said:
“It is the very doctrine that Christ procured and secured redemption that invests the free offer of the gospel with richness and power. It is that doctrine alone that allows for a presentation of Christ that will be worthy of the glory of his accomplishment and of his person. It is because Christ procured and secured redemption that he is an all-sufficient and suitable Saviour.” (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2015), 65.)
We reject any belief and practice that is based upon the faulty conviction: “Christ did His part; now you do your part.” Christ did all that was needed for our salvation. Therefore, we teach that a believer observes God’s Word and does good works out of thankfulness for what Christ has accomplished on their behalf. Therefore, a true believer obeys God’s Word not to be saved (justification) through personal obedience but because we are saved through the person and work of Christ alone. The 1689 Baptist Confession states:
“These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruit and evidence of a true and living faith. Through good works believers express their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, build up their brothers and sisters, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of opponents, and glorify God. Believers are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, so that they bear fruit leading to holiness and have the outcome, eternal life.” (16.2) (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2015), 65.)
A LIGHTHOUSE ON THE ROCKS
Lynnwood Baptist Church seeks to fulfil the Great Commission by pursuing being an active lighthouse that shines the gospel light over the turbulent waters of a lost world. We join Christ who came to seek and save the lost and be restored back to God. By God’s strength we seek to fulfil our calling by presenting evangelical Bible studies (see Christianity Explored) and biblical preaching. Furthermore, we seek to train every member to live in light of the gospel (see Just for Starters), to be able to actively share the gospel and to live out the gospel for Christ in a lost world.
In conclusion, it must be understood that all evangelism success lies in the fact that the all-powerful triune God made a covenant with Himself to save a sinful people for Himself. Our confidence lies in the fact that the Father chose a people, Jesus saved them and the Holy Spirit draws them to Himself. That is certain. That is the reason for confidence in difficult times.