Institutional First Baptist Church Weekly Sermon
Delivered By
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr
Delivered On
March 22, 2015 at 10:45 AM
The Church: Its Prerequisites
Dr. E. G. Sherman, Jr. Sunday March 22, 2015
The Church: Its Prerequisites
“ ...upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Mt. 16:18 and Acts. 2: 46-47.
Most of the world’s major religions have an established 
place for worship. Each of the three Religions of Abraham 
has a name for its worship center. Judaism - the oldest of 
the three - uses Temple to denote its worship center. 
Christianity - the second of the three - refers to its worship 
center as a Church and Islam - the youngest of the three 
designates its worship center as a Mosque. 
Of particular interest today, on this Anniversary of 
Institutional First Baptist Church, is the concept Church. 
Hence, the subject is The Church: Its Prerequisites. It 
will encompass the following three components, namely: 
the ideational components, the behavioral components, 
and the materialistic components. 
Prior to a discussion of these components, it is deemed 
appropriate to briefly reminisce on this fellowship known 
as Institutional First Baptist Church. Although it has been 
over four decades ago when a little faithfully band of 
Baptist believers assembled to explore the options of 
organizing a church, it seems to this founding pastor, that 
it was just a few years ago. However, when he remembers 
that all twelve founding members, including his wife and 
sister-in-law are among those deceased twelve founding 
members, he fully comprehends the poetic expression, 
‘to shutter and grow sick at heart’. Concurrently, he 
appreciates the hymnal words. ‘ and are we yet alive to 
see each others’ face.... 
Against this personal reflection, attention will now be 
focused on the first component of the sermon which is - 
the ideational component of the church. Prior to delving into 
this analysis, it must be indicated that the threefold 
topology, but not the content, was formulated by a 
sociologist other than Dr. Sherman. Having so referenced 
the topology, the emphasis will be directed to the 
ideational component of the church. This concept, 
ideational, refers to the intellectual dimension of an 
organization. Within the church, this word denotes the 
creeds, doctrines, covenants, denominational anchor, 
and name(s) used to designate the ultimate spiritual 
ruler. Within the Baptist Church, Jesus is viewed as the 
founder as recorded in Matthew 16; 18 upon this rock 
I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it. Some of the additional ideational 
components include: salvation is by faith ( Rom 10:9 ) and 
not by works, regular attendance at worship ( Heb. 10: 25 ), 
the resurrection of the dead ( Jo. 11:25 ), the eternal 
judgment ( Rev. 22: 18-19 ) and the Baptist Church 
Covenant. It must be noted, however, that this delineation 
of ideational components is by no means exhaustive of 
all Baptist Churches. With this caution, the emphasis will 
now be directed to the second focus of the sermon which 
is - the behavioral component of the church. This 
designation refers to the actions that members display 
within the framework of their church affiliation. 
There is first the act of joining the church. The 
traditional Baptist Church recognizes four methods for 
membership, namely: candidate for baptism, by letter, by 
Christian experience, and watch care. The traditional 
Baptist Church does not recognize nor practice infant 
baptism. It does endorse infant dedication but not the 
act of Christening. The next behavioral component is that 
of observing The Lord’s Supper also known as Communion 
Services. Some Baptist Churches restrict this ordinance to 
the current membership ( Closed Communion ) while other 
Churches’ permit anyone one with a church membership 
can participate in the services ( Open Communion ), 
marriage ( male and female only ) is another sacred 
behavior observed in the Baptist Church, and an Eulogistic 
service is included within this denomination. 
The third, and final component of the church is known 
as materialistic. This word refers to the physical artifacts of 
the church. Usually, the facility in which the congregation 
assembles therein is known as the church. In addition to 
that physical building with its pews, lights, carpet, windows, 
draperies, sound/video systems, art works, is found 
an array of worship related artifacts are used to 
implement to service; some of them are The Bible, hymn 
books, musical instruments, and to aid in transportation, 
some churches have a vehicle pool of vans and buses. 
In addition to the essential material components 
necessary for worship, many churches are becoming 
more secular in their outreaches. Their multi orientation 
ministry has many secular parameters, some of which are 
child care centers, personal care homes, stores, credit 
unions, apartment complexes and social activism - to 
identify but a few of the non worship activities of the mega 
The so called ‘Underground Church’ was a forerunner 
to the church for recently freed slaves. That designation 
came from the secrecy that surrounded the gathering of 
slaves for worship services. Following Emancipation, many 
of the former slaves migrated to the Northeast and Mid 
America. In Chicago, there were many vacant stores and 
the newcomers refurbished them and, according to Frazier, 
those facilities were known as store front churches. 
Although over a century has passed since the beginning of 
those store front churches, there is a resurgence of these 
church types even here in Albany, GA. 
Resisting the urge to further elaborate on the three 
components of the church, this sermon will be closed by 
posing a critical question to our worshipers herein 
assembled along with the numerous internet readers. The 
question is which of the three components ( Ideational, 
Behavioral, or Materialistic ) do you consider and support 
as your membership Church? Amen.
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