What Is The church of Christ? (#2)Tuesday, February 07, 2017
“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.
What Is The church of Christ? (#1)Monday, February 06, 2017
“What Is The church Of Christ?” (#1)
When I talk to folks and tell them about the Caneyville church of Christ, there may be some who wonder about the church of Christ and the principles for which it stands. Those who are not familiar with the church revealed in Scripture (Rom. 16:16) generally have many questions. This is good, and I am always glad to answer Bible questions (I Pet. 3:15) and to study God’s word with others. Perhaps you have questions about the church of Christ; what we do and why we do it. I hope this writing will help you. Let us look into the Scriptures and see a description of the church of Christ.
First, the church of Christ is not a building. Rather it is a Heavenly institution made up of people who have surrendered their lives to Christ, i.e. Christians (Acts 2:38-42, 11:26). The church was established by Christ (Matt. 16:18), and purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28; Matt. 26:28). Because this is true, the church belongs to Christ (Rom. 16:16), and Christ is the head of the church (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22).
The church of Christ (individual Christians the world over), has no earthly organization. It is simply saved people who are added to the church by God (Acts 2:47) and thus are in a relationship with God and one another (I Cor. 12:12-20). They are called living stones in a spiritual building (I Pet. 2:5). Christians are those who have been “called out of darkness and into his marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9)
At the same time, Christians living in certain geographic locations form local churches. This is what happened in New Testament days, and we read about several local churches and their work. Some local churches mentioned are the church at Corinth (I Cor. 1:2; Acts 18:1-8), the local churches in Galatia (Gal. 1:2), Colossae (Col. 1:2), Ephesus (Eph. 1:1; Acts 19:1-7), Rome (Rom. 16:5, 16), etc.
While the church of Christ in the universal sense (all Christians the world over), has no earthly organization, a local congregation, in order to be Scripturally organized, is to be organized with elders, deacons, and saints (Phil. 1:1). The qualifications for the elders and deacons are found in I Timothy 3:1-7, 8-13 and Titus 1:5-9. The qualifications for saints are to hear God’s word, believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent of sins, confess faith in Christ and be baptized (Rom. 10:17; Jn. 8:24; Acts 17:30; Matt. 10:32; Mk. 16:16). Please notice that man defines “saint” much differently than God does. When reading the New Testament, it is made clear that a saint is simply a Christian (Rom. 1:7; Col. 1:2; Eph. 1:1)!
In addition to this, the local church has work to do. Though some churches are bigger in size, and others smaller, every congregation of God’s people can do what God expects. Each church has a work to evangelize, or spread the gospel message, both locally and world wide (I Thess. 1:8; I Tim. 3:15). God says the church has to work to edify (spiritually build up) its saints (Eph. 4:12; I Thess. 5:11). A third aspect of a local church’s work is to show benevolence to its saints (I Tim. 5:9-10, 16). This is work that can be accomplished daily.
The Necessity Of TruthSaturday, January 28, 2017
The Necessity Of Truth
When we think about truth, I wonder if we realize just how deeply woven truth is into the very fabric of our lives. There are “truth in advertising” laws in our country so that the consuming public is able to trust what is advertised by retailers. Even deeper than this, we expect the truth to be told to us. For example, if we go to a restaurant and choose a meal from the menu, we expect that meal to be cooked for us and that we will be charged the price listed on the menu. When we see a sign at the city limit that states what town we are entering, we believe that this sign has the truth written on it! There is a necessity in truth; for without it, we cannot function in society!
Truth is a necessity in our spiritual lives as well. Without truth, we cannot function, spiritually! God tells man to speak the truth (Eph. 4:25; Col. 3:9). When we consider God’s word, we see that it, in fact, is truth. Jesus said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (Jn. 17:17). The very words of Scripture are truth and are beneficial to our lives. We cannot know whether or not we are saved or lost without instruction from God’s truth.
Friend, will you listen to and obey God’s truth? If we want to be saved from sin, we need to obey God’s instructions (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). This truth is soul-saving!
"He Is Too Narrow"Saturday, January 14, 2017
“He Is Too Narrow!”
The observation is sometimes made about the preacher or teacher that he is “too narrow.” In our culture, absence of conviction is often mistaken for broadness of mind. Roy L. Smith said the following about “broad-mindedness” in religion; it is worth reading. He said:
“The preacher is sometimes accused of being narrow-minded because he insists upon the Christian’s forsaking all to follow Christ. Yet, all of life is narrow, and success is to be found only by passing through the narrow gate and the straightened way (Matt. 7:13-14). There is no room for broad-mindedness …
- … in the chemical laboratory. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The slightest deviation from that formula is forbidden.
- … in music. There can only be eight notes in a measure. The skilled director will not permit his first violin to put in even so much as an extra thirty-second note.
- … in the mathematics classroom. Neither geometry, calculus, nor trigonometry allows for any variation from exact accuracy, even for old time’s sake. The solution of the problem is either right or wrong.
- … in biology. One varying result out of a thousand experiments will invalidate an entire theory.
- … on the athletic field. The game is played according to the rules, with no favors shown for charity’s sake.
- … in the garage. The mechanic there says that the piston rings must fit the cylinder walls within one two-thousandths of an inch. Even between friends there cannot be any variation if the motor is to run smoothly.
“How then shall we expect that broad-mindedness shall rule in the realm of religion and morals?”
Reasons For Worship (#5)Friday, January 13, 2017
Reasons For Worship
Are we worshipping God in the way He wants? What does acceptable worship look like? I hope our series of studies these last few weeks have been helpful to you.
As we conclude this study concerning the reasons for our worship to God, I hope we can see why worship is so important to God. When we assemble together to worship, we are not assembling to please men, for free baby-sitting, to meet a date, or for “social hour” (Jn. 4:24; Acts 2:42)! Our worship needs to be taken seriously and reverently because we are assembling to offer our spiritual sacrifices to God Almighty (Heb. 13:15; I Pet. 2:5)!
After studying the reasons for worship, may we be humbled and embarrassed by the times we have asked, “Do I have to go?” or, when we offer a multitude of excuses for not assembling to worship the God of Heaven. We need to remember that God is holy and deserving of our worship. Let us examine ourselves and make sure we offer our worship to God in a way that is pleasing to Him (Jn. 4:24). We do this by offering our spiritual sacrifices cheerfully, lovingly, and whole-heartedly; recognizing that we are here to worship the God of the Universe, our Creator, and our Sustainer! (Acts 17:28)