Does It Matter What We Believe?
Many today ask this question in reference to religious matters. Depending on who we ask, some will say that it does not matter what we believe so long as we are honest and sincere about religious issues. Others will say that what we believe matters, religiously. Which answer is correct? Let us look to the Bible and see whether or not what I believe “matters”.
If, in spiritual matters, it does not matter what we believe, why did Jesus condemn the Pharisees and the Sadducees for their behavior? Let us read Matthew 15:9. There, Jesus said, “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Does this sound like Jesus does not care how we worship him or what we believe? If it does not matter what we believe, then why did Jesus make that statement in Matthew 15:9? Another passage we ought to read is found in Matthew 22:29. Jesus condemned the Sadducees at that time and said, “Ye are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures, nor the power of God.” How could these people be “wrong” if it does not matter what we believe on religious matters?
Let us look at an early teacher and preacher of the gospel; a Christian by the name of Stephen. This space will not allow us to print the entire text, but please read Acts 6-7 so you can understand the entire context. We are introduced to Stephen in Acts 6, and Acts 7 records a time when he was opposed by the Jews for preaching about Christ. Toward the end of Acts 7, Stephen condemned the Jews for refusing to believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and that He is the Messiah. Please notice what happened, “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth...Then cast him out of the city, and stoned him” (Acts 7:54, 58). Does this sound like a reaction from folks who have been told, “It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as you are honest and sincere”?
Why do people insist that it doesn’t matter what folks believe in religious matters? We know that this idea of “It doesn’t matter what you believe” is not true in any other area of life. For example, we can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe about the rules of arithmetic. So long as you are sincere, any answer will do.” We can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe about the prices of items at the store. So long as you are a sincere person, any amount will be accepted.” We can’t say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe about stop signs. So long as you are a sincere person, any action you take at an intersection is accepted.” Since we know this to be true, why then do men teach that it doesn’t matter what you believe when it comes to religious matters? Put simply, it is because these folks do not want to do what God says, but want to follow their own will!
My friend, what we believe religiously, matters! What we believe concerning religious matters will determine whether we go to Heaven or Hell! This is how serious it is. If you are not sure, then please read John 8:24, and ask yourself if there is “room for interpretation” there. When people declare that it does not matter what you believe so long as you are honest and sincere, they are teaching something completely foreign to the Scriptures.
Unless The Lord Builds The House …
About 1000 years before Christ, David wrote, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…” (Ps. 127:1). These words are just as true today as they were when they were penned. Unless the Lord is building the house, (i.e., one’s family) the efforts of men are in vain.
How can the Lord build our house? Allowing the Lord to build our house means that we are allowing the Lord to take first place in our lives. All that we do and say in our home must be based upon what the Lord has already said (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11). When a husband and wife submit their lives to the Lord’s will (Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2-3), they will be truly blessed by God.
Some today try to say a family can include two men marrying one another, or two women marrying one another. Some have said that polygamy is acceptable before God. Yet, when we read the Bible, we see that God has described who can be married and why. In the beginning, we find that God created man and woman, and these two, male and female, are the ones to be married (Gen. 2:18-25). This was God’s plan from the beginning. Jesus also repeated the truth of Genesis 2 in Matthew 19:4-6.
Sadly, our world says that marriage should only last so long as it is “convenient” for both partners. In fact, one practice becoming more widespread is children being brought into the world without folks feeling the “need” for being married. There are many people today just “playing house”. Sometimes, people are living this way because they allowed their passions to get out of control, and what was beautiful within the relationship of marriage (I Cor. 7:2) was made ugly due to sin. Sometimes, this behavior is excused as a way to get a “tax break” or a check from the government. How terrible that we justify our sins in the name of money! We need to get acquainted with I Timothy 6:10! This society has forgotten the words of Scripture which say: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4).
Others wish to make things “legal” and be married, but they have either divorced for an unscriptural reason, or have married someone who does not have the Scriptural right to be married (Matt. 5:32, 19:9). In such a case, they are not allowing the Lord to build their house, either. God does not sanction sin. He does not bless people spiritually for their wrongdoing. Since this is true, we know that those trying to build their house in this way are doing it in vain. They are trying to build a house without the authority of God (Matt. 7:21-23).
Are we trying to build our house without the Lord? If so, why are we doing this? David makes it clear that it is a waste of our time to do so. Let us humble ourselves before God and accept His way of doing things. God loves us and He always has our best interests in mind. Yet, when we try to build a house without the Lord, we will fail every time.
“What Is The church Of Christ?” (#2)
Yesterday, we studied about the church of Christ and learned that the church was founded by Christ and is made up of Christians (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47, 11:26). It is not a building, but saved people (I Cor. 12:12-14). We learned about the organization; the work God gave the church to do; and even that the church of Christ simply uses the Bible, and not man’s ideas, for its rule of faith and practice (I Pet. 4:11).
Another truth about the church of Christ is that it is not a denomination. In other words, the church of Christ did not separate from another religious body as the Protestants did the Catholic Church. Several hundred years ago, these people “protested” the practices of the Catholic Church and broke away from it. The church of Christ, however, did not break or sever ties from any other church, because the church of Christ existed BEFORE all other churches began (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:38-47; Rom. 16:16)! Therefore, those belonging to the church of Christ (Christians, Acts 11:26) are not a part of a denomination. They belong to the one body, the one church described in Scripture (Eph. 1:22-23, 4:4; Col. 1:26). The Lord’s church has been in existence since the first century and will be delivered up to God one day (I Cor. 15:24). Do you belong to a denomination? If so, why?
The worship of the church of Christ becomes a subject of discussion with folks at times. Jesus demands that our worship to God be “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). What does this mean? In this text, the word “in” means “in connection with.” Jesus was literally saying that true worshipers must worship God in connection with the spirit, and in connection with the truth.
The word “spirit” means those things related to the spiritual realm. Jesus shows that the true worshippers need to be focused on spiritual matters, not physical. Paul wrote, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). That is why true churches of Christ do not engage in pie suppers, raffles, bingos, church-sponsored schools, etc. Such is contrary to her spiritual nature!! What is the “truth”? Jesus says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). Jesus said God’s word EQUALS the truth. Scriptural worship demands that we worship God with our focus on things spiritual, and worship in connection with what the Bible says!
At the same time, God demands certain acts in our worship to Him. It is not left up to us to worship God any way we please (Jer. 10:23)! God has never left man to worship as he sees fit, but has always described and specified acceptable worship. Under the New Covenant, we see that worship to God includes partaking of the Lord’s Supper and giving of our means every first day of the week, as well as praying, preaching the gospel, and singing (Acts 2:42; Eph. 5:19; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2). These acts of worship to God were done in the first century, and the church of Christ continues to do them today.
Does your church worship the way the Bible teaches? Examine the Scriptures and compare what you do with what the Bible has specified.
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Acts 5:29
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” After having been imprisoned and threatened by the Sanhedrin for preaching the gospel of Christ, the apostles’ response was that they would obey God rather than men. What bravery and what boldness! What attitude do we have when facing those who do not want to hear the truth? How will we act when friends, family, and others want us to “tone it down” and not be so “judgmental” in their way of thinking? Regardless of what others say, we need to obey God rather than men. When the day comes that being a Christian is illegal, we must still obey God rather than men, just as the apostles did in the first century! Where is our allegiance?
- Jarrod Jacobs
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Matthew 28:18-20
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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.” Christ’s words before He left this world are words of action. By His authority, the gospel is to be preached, and those taught are to be baptized. These people are then to be taught “all things” Christ commanded, and the cycle continues on to this day. Before leaving this world and ascending to His Father (Acts 1:9-11), Christ gave His apostles a final commission – a Great Commission – that will continue to be fulfilled until the end of time.
- Jarrod Jacobs