Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America
Annual Conference, June 16‐18, 2015, Winston‐Salem, NC
“Resolution on the Conference Theme: Occupy Till I Come!”
Upon the radical conversion of the publican Zacchaeus, our Lord rejoiced that salvation had come to that house. He celebrated this all‐encompassing purpose of His first coming: “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Zacchaeus had been sought, found, and saved by the One who can make a publican a faithful son of Abraham through His atoning death on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection victory over the grave.
The account goes on to indicate that due to their proximity to Jerusalem, some of the sons of Abraham failed to anticipate the coming cross, believing instead that “the kingdom of God should immediately appear” (v. 11). Recognizing this misunderstanding, Christ told a parable that would explain the purpose of His second coming and how that purpose differs from that of His first.
He referred to Himself as a nobleman who journeys into a far country to receive a kingdom, leaving his servants behind. These servants recognize the rule of their king, yet they live in a land where the citizenry is characterized by hatred for him. The citizens count him their enemy, and they will not have him reign over them (v. 14). Nevertheless, the parable is clear that this king shall reign, and his enemies shall be slain before him (v. 27).
The hostility of that environment notwithstanding, the king’s command to his servants is clear: “Occupy till I come!” (v. 13). He had entrusted them with valuable investment opportunities, some servants more than others, which each had to employ for the enrichment of their king and his coming kingdom. They were not to cower from nor neglect these duties, for their lord was an austere man, taking up what he had not laid down and reaping what he had not sown. He would come again and strictly assess their performance.
Upon his return the king’s faithful servants heard from him, “Well, thou good servant” (v. 17). They were rewarded for faithfulness over a little with responsibility in the new kingdom over much. The servant whose faithfulness failed, however, met with a different outcome. In the coming kingdom, even what he had been given would be taken from him. Rather than “Well done,” this servant heard his lord’s scolding: “thou wicked servant” (v. 22).
We are the blood‐bought servants of the King, Jesus Christ. The ever‐intensifying hatred of the citizenry of this world for our Master reminds us that He warned us it would be so. We remember also the warning to fear Him rather than the hatred of these enemies. He has commanded us to occupy until He comes. He has given us valuable spiritual minas to invest for the advancement of the coming kingdom not yet of this world (John 18:36-37), including the presence and power of His Spirit (John 16:7-11), the infallible authority of His verbally inspired and all‐sufficient Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17), the saving grace of His blessed gospel of salvation by faith alone (Rom. 1:15-17), and His unshakable promise to build His church (Matt. 16:18). The gates of hell shall not prevail.
Therefore, the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America, meeting at its annual conference in Winston-Salem, NC, June 16-18, 2015, resolves together to occupy until our King comes. Knowing that friendship with this world is enmity with God (James 4:4), we are determined to overcome the world (1 John 5:4), speak out against its evil deeds (John 7:7), keep ourselves unspotted from its stains (James 1:27), escape its pollutions (2 Pet. 2:20-22), die to it (Gal. 6:14), and refuse to be conformed to it (Rom. 12:2). We shall fear our King’s assessment more than the opinions of man, longing to hear Him say, “Well, thou good servant,” and not, “I will judge thee, thou wicked servant.”
With a hopeful expectation of His imminent return to rapture His church and bring destruction upon His enemies (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 1:7-10), we shall stand together to do the business of that coming kingdom, burdened to seek and to find each needy Zacchaeus, empowered by His Spirit, obedient to His Word, unashamed of His gospel, and faithful to His beloved church. Whether it be ten more, five more, or something less, we shall do our best to serve Him by the grace He has given in the hope of a good return. We affirm that this return shall yield a lasting reward in the day when the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15).