The Need for Teaching Fundamentals (Part 1 of 2)

The church is composed of imperfect people. If the church was not designed only for perfect people, then the church would be imperfect because as Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The apostle John added, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). So, the church as designed by God takes imperfect people whom Peter called “babes” and builds them up in the faith (1 Peter 2:1, 2). Just as the nutrients from the various food groups provide energy for the physical body to grow, even so the Word of God provides the power which allows each member of the church to grow toward maturity. On one occasion Job commented that God’s Words were regarded of greater value than his own physical food. He said, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).

STEPS OF FAITH

The ancient patriarch Abraham carefully walked in steps of faith as directed by the Word of God (Romans 4:12). He is heralded in the Book of Hebrews for all he did “by faith” (Hebrews 11). The only source of faith today is the Word of God. Paul wrote, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Like Abraham, God is calling people today by means of the gospel to begin a walk of faith (2 Thessalonians 2:14).

  • The gospel of Christ is God’s power to save the sinner, but he must first hear the gospel (Romans 1:16, Ephesians 1:13).
  • Second, the gospel message must be believed, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10).
  • Third, since sin separates the soul from God, repentance from sin is commanded from Christ (Isaiah 59:1,2; Luke 13:3).
  • Fourth, confession of faith in Christ is done unto salvation for “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
  • Fifth, baptism by immersion in water for the remission of sins as commanded by Christ puts one into Christ where all spiritual blessings are and adds the believer to the church of Christ (Colossians 2:12; John 3:5; Acts 2:38; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Galatians 3:2; Ephesians 1:3; Acts 2:47).

GROWTH DEMANDS FAITH

Upon becoming an obedient child of God the believer is now ready to grow. Peter admonished, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). Just as the basic steps of faith taken to bring a person into Christ must emerge from the Word of God, even so the spiritual growth of the new Christian must come about as he is taught the fundamentals of the faith.

For part 2 of this epistle, check out The Need for Teaching Fundamentals (Part 2 of 2)

Parental Responsibility

We want to salute all mothers today for their love, guidance, and most importantly, their faithfulness to God.

The apostle wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). In this clear statement, Paul conveys the divine will that there is a specific relationship between children and parents. Children are to obey their parents, because God has designed the home with this order. “Children” are those who need nurturing, for they are developing; they require instruction and correction (Ephesians 6:4). They are not peers at this stage. There is an authority–subjection relationship in God’s family plan.

This authority is delegated by God, and a parent must exercise that authority with respect to God who gives it. No parent can demand, with intrinsic authority, this or that of a child. Too many parents act as if they are “the Creator” and the child is “the creature.” Parenthood is a gift from God (Psalm 127:3); faithful parents exercise limited, God-given authority for a God-given purpose.

Paul also taught that God’s domestic arrangement involves a special role for parents – authority in action. This is the communication of instructions and the application of correction; children are to listen and obey. Parents must assume the role decreed by God. They must provide instruction and correction, training their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; cf. Matthew 15:19). When parents are not parents, children still grow up, but their spiritual development is compromised.

Paul reminds us that the Christian family includes spiritual responsibilities. The parent-child relationship, and the exercise of the parental role, are designed by God to mature a person who is sensitive to spiritual realities – a person who accepts his own spiritual responsibilities. Children need to learn “what is right” (Ephesians 6:1). They must learn that obedience to the Lord is the ultimate motivation for all behavior (Ephesians 6:1). This is accomplished by parents who regularly teach their children to obey out of a sense of duty to the Lord.

Obedience is not mere compliance. Obedience means listening and doing what is required for the right reasons. According to the Lord, this is best taught early. Wouldn’t you agree? So that we may help our children learn to obey the Lord from the heart – the seat of behavior – we must teach them obedience from the earliest of years.

This spiritual quality is taught by the parents who:

  1. Give clear expectations, some of which are morally inflexible.
  2. Provide consequences to disobedience that are fair and clear.
  3. Show consistent follow-through with rewards and punishment.
  4. Demonstrate a concrete example in that parents themselves are obedient to the Lord.

Parental responsibility means helping your kids go to heaven. It takes time, attention, and divine insight. Be there for your children – be a Christian parent.

The church of the Bible

Every sincere person should desire to know what the inspired text states about what God says about the church. Many people are confused as to “what is right?” or “we can choose the church of our choice!”

When did Christ establish His church?  Its beginning was prophesied 700 years before in Isaiah 2:2, “It shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains.” We are now living in the last days or the last dispensation. Hebrews 1:2 says that God, “Has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”

Jesus sent His disciples to tell of His coming kingdom, the church. In Matthew 10:7 Jesus says, “And as you go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  It was at hand and soon to come into being. Jesus says in Mark 9:1, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste of death till they see the kingdom come with power.” 

The Lord’s spiritual kingdom, the church, was to come with power. Jesus told His apostles in Luke 24:49 to “tarry in the City of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”  Also notice what was to come with this power in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”  The Lord’s kingdom, the church, was to come with power and this power was to come when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles.

We see concerning the 12 apostles in Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance“.  Then Acts 2:47 says, “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  The Lord’s church was then a reality.

Any denominational church claiming to have begun before the Day of Pentecost of 33AD was too soon and can’t be the Lord’s church. All of the many denominational churches that had their beginning after this date were too late and can’t be the Lord’s church. Only the Lord’s church was established on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2. I would not want to be a member of a church the Lord did not establish. He only established His one church. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.”

God made a choice…I pray that we heed HIS call.

Doing God’s Will

The Bible must be our only authority in religion if we want to please God and go to Heaven. People must give up all the various false doctrines that propagate the many different kinds of denominations and go back to only the Bible. There were no denominations in the New Testament times and there would be none today if only the Bible was taught and practiced. There would only be the Lord’s one true church, the church of Christ.

How then do we make sure that we are among the few who are saved and not among the many who are lost? Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone whom says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”. If you believe and call Jesus, “Lord, Lord”, you are still lost if you have not done what God says. If we are not obeying God, we are practicing lawlessness. If we ever hope to go to heaven, we must do the will of the Father. This is the only way. Not the will of men, but God’s will. Not our own will, but God’s will. Just because we call Jesus our Lord, this will not save us.

We cannot go to Heaven by just calling Jesus, “Lord, Lord”. Jesus says in the above scripture, on the Day of Judgment, many will be pleading with him, calling him Lord, Lord, and reminding him of the many wonderful works they had done in His name, but He will say unto them, “I never knew you, depart from Me you who practice lawlessness”. Why? Why? Because they had not done the will of the Father in heaven. They had done their own will or the will of men in their many differing denominations. This will be the worst thing that will ever be said to an individual, when the Lord on Judgment Day says to the majority of people, “I never knew you; depart from Me”. The majority of people will be told this and be punished forever in Hell. There will be no appeal to this decision. There will be no second chance.

We have to get it right now.

Facing Opposition – Joseph as Our Example

As members of the church of Christ, we must be prepared to face opposition from without and from within.

In 2 Timothy 3:12, Paul lets us know that “all who will live godly IN Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” The Christian life is not always easy, but understanding opposition will help us meet & conquer it (the biblical way). Opposition is defined as resistance; a hindrance; an adversary/enemy; a disagreement. In Acts 4:13-21, Peter & John were “opposed” by enemies (see verse 1-3). Other examples of opposition are found in 1 Timothy 1:18-20; Galatians 5:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:18.

It comes from within. The current state of affairs in the world we live in clearly reflects a departure from sound doctrine. Christians can and will begin to oppose the very doctrine they chose to obey. We must be prepared to face opposition from our own families-physically and spiritually. Although unexpected by many, we must come to grips with the devil’s device. Destruction from within historically has always been the most effective. Acts 20:28-31 “Grievous wolves from among your own selves will enter in not sparing the flock.” Joseph’s own brethren opposed him Genesis 37:1-8.

It comes from without. Jesus taught it– John 15:18,25. We must be different from the world, but understanding that the world loves its own, we will face hatred and persecution. Joseph faced opposition from Potiphar’s wife, she opposed his purity (Genesis 39:7-20). Daily he was “tempted” (tested)!, but he did not waver in his fidelity toward his master and his God. In her anger, she falsely accuses him, resulting in his imprisonment.

Saints, keep the faith. Do not waver in our responsibility to the Lord, but be ye also ready for opposition to come.

Our #1 Enemy

Our #1 enemy is Satan. His main objective is to cause each of us to lose our soul in the burning fires of Hell. We are warned in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” We must constantly watch out for Satan. He is very dangerous! Satan is real. He is not a fictitious character in a red suit, horns, and a tail and carrying a pitchfork. Satan can appear in many different forms. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness.” Satan is a master of disguise. He and his ministers can appear to us so innocently.

Satan’s main weapon is the lie. Jesus says concerning Satan in John 8:44, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” Satan knows all of our weaknesses and how to tempt and deceive us. In Genesis 2:16-17 God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. But in Genesis 3:4 Satan told eve, “You shall not surely die.” Satan only added the word “not” to what God said and changed it into a lie.

Satan will get what is due to him. Revelation 20:10 says, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…and they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.” But also notice verse 15, “And anyone not found in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” We must always be prepared in fighting Satan. In our preparation, Paul says in Ephesians 6:11 to “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.” In our fight with Satan, we are told in James 4:7-8, “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

God will help us.

The Church of the Bible…How Many?

I am convinced that those who are honest and sincere seekers of salvation are satisfied when teaching is substantiated by what is written in the Bible. Let me be clear….salvation is in Christ and in HIS church. A New Testament letter about the church says, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:23-25).

The exclusivity of the church as the unique body of the saved is a point of doubt surfacing in the brotherhood today. An examination of texts like Ephesians 5:23-25 can erase every vestige of doubt about so important a topic.

Observe from the text, first, the unique relationship of Jesus Christ to the church: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” The acceptance of pluralism in religion is totally foreign to the monogamous relationship of Jesus Christ to his church. The blessing of salvation in Christ is privileged only to his bride, the church (cf. Romans 7:1-4; Revelation 19:7).

Two, Christ is head of his church—one head, one body. The various heads and many bodies of false religion masquerading as churches today viewed from the vantage point of this Bible truth constitute a grotesque monstrosity. It is the pinnacle of deception to accept the position that Christ serves as one head over many bodies.

Three, the church is subject to Christ. The significance of this simple statement is seen in the truth that no one can be saved who does not submit to Jesus Christ. Consider John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Further, notice Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” The force of Hebrews 5:9 cannot be successfully evaded in relation to salvation resting exclusively with those who submit to Jesus Christ: “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Four, Christ “gave himself for it,” the church. Jesus shed his blood to purchase the church (Acts 20:28). But, his blood was shed for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28), and there is no forgiveness of sins apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Therefore, no salvation exists outside of the church of Christ because none outside of the church of Christ has the blood of Christ applied to the sinful condition of their souls and receive the remission (forgiveness) of their sins.

The penitent believers on the day of Pentecost were instructed to repent and be baptized for the remission (forgiveness) of sins. The ones who “gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). The one church of the Bible has the saved added to it by the Lord himself. The good news of the gospel is seen in the church of Christ.

Are you ready to be honest and sincere with yourself and God?