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?

The Truth About Easter

As members of the church of Christ, WE DO NOT CELEBRATE EASTER as a religious holiday BECAUSE IT IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY GOD.

  1. The word “Easter” does appear in the King James Version of the New Testament. (Acts 12:1-4)
    1. This is the only place in the English translation of the Bible that the word “Easter” appears.
    2. This same Greek word is used in Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1 and many others passages and in every instance it is translated, “Passover.”
    3. The New English versions (NASV, NKJV) have the word “Passover” in Acts 12:4.
    4. The context shows that what was being done could not correspond to our modern-day Easter. Herod was not celebrating the resurrection of Christ, but was trying to please the Jews by persecuting Christians.

    The Britannica Encyclopedia (Fourteenth Edition, Vol. II, p. 859) says, “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament or in the writings of the apostolic fathers. The sanctity of the special time was an idea absent from the minds of the first Christians.”

  2. If Easter did not come from the apostles and prophets, where did it come from?
    1. The American People’s Encyclopedia, Vol. 7, p. 486 says “Easter” is “derived from Eastra, a teutonic goddess of spring,” and “many of the popular observances of Easter are pagan in origin. Some may be traced to the feast of the goddess of Spring, Eastra. The Catholic church (Catholic, D.R.) endeavored to give Christian significance to such pagan rites as could not be rooted out…
    2. Externals of the Catholic Church, p. 205 says, “Instead of attempting to repress totally a practice which was misguided indeed, but which showed an instinctive reliance on higher powers, the Catholic Church in many instances took the religious customs with which the people were familiar and made these Christian customs.”
  3. Many other similar quotes could be given. “Easter” came in the time of the dark ages when the Catholic Church adopted a pagan ritual and gave it a religious significance.
    1. Thus, the only authority one has for “Easter” is the Roman Catholic Church, just like Christmas, instrumental music in worship, baptizing infants, and many other things.
    2. The denominations have simply adopted Easter from the Roman Catholic Church.
    3. The church of Christ is NOT a denomination (which means divided). The ONE body of Christ (Eph. 4:4-5; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22-23) is not a division of any OTHER religious body.

WE ASK, “WHAT ABOUT THE SECULAR ASPECT OF EASTER?”

  1. As in the case with Christmas, there are two aspects regarding the Easter holiday – the secular and the religious.
  2. In many cases, the Christian must observe its secular aspects (no work on Good Friday, store closings, school closings, and the like)
  3. As long as Christians place no religious significance on Easter, they may:
    1. Dye, hide, and look for eggs.
    2. Give gifts: chocolate bunnies, baskets of goodies, flowers, and the like.
    3. Visit with family and friends.
    4. Wear new clothes. There is nothing wrong with wearing new clothes to the assembly on “Easter” or any other Sunday. It becomes wrong when the assembly becomes a fashion show rather than a period of worship. When we begin to concentrate on how we and others look, it distracts us from proper worship.
    5. Remember, in any of these things, if we are doing them because it is Easter, because we want to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, it becomes wrong.
      1. Paul showed that eating meats which had been offered to an idol offered no problem. 1 Cor. 10:25-27
      2. However, when one ate the meat “as a thing offered to an idol,” it became sin. 1 Cor. 8:7

Final Points

  1. Easter is a man-made holiday, both in the secular and religious aspects.
    1. The secular we can take or leave (eggs, chocolate, bunnies, etc.)
    2. However, the religious we must avoid because our soul’s salvation is dependent on doing exactly as the Lord directs.
      1. Remember Nadab and Abihu who did something which was not commanded.
      2. Remember the Scribes and Pharisees who added their own traditions.
  2. Let us continue to celebrate and rejoice in the resurrection as we partake of the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week as the Lord ordained.
    1. Let us continue to live in preparation for His coming, which His resurrection assures.
    2. May God be with us in our efforts to serve Him in truth and sincerity.

Wages of Sin

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This verse of scripture from the apostle Paul draws a contrast between the gift of eternal life and the wages of sin, which is death. It is interesting that both selections are available by choice however; you can only choose one of the options.

In speaking of death, Paul talks about the “wages,” a word which from the Greek referred to a soldier’s pay. Thus it refers to something which you earn; in this case payment for your sin. Yes, you earn something for a life of sin. The reward for such labors is “death”. This is not a reference to physical death, but spiritual death.

The original word for death means, “a separation”. A life of sin will allow you to earn separation from God (Isaiah 59:1-2); a separation which will last for all eternity (Matthew 25:46).

In contrast, Paul speaks of the “gift of God”. The word “gift” is set purposely in contrast to wages. Here Paul refers to something which you do not earn. The American Standard translation of 1901 emphasizes the gift by using the word “free”; “the free gift of God”. A gift is something which is given to you without obligation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The gift, in contrast to death, is “eternal life”. As opposed to being separated from God for all eternity, the gift is the blessing of being with God for all eternity. It is a marvelous gift. Paul conveyed that to the Corinthians. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

What is unfortunate is that most people opt for the wages of sin which leads to death. If you have never made a choice between the two options, then you have already chosen death. But if you want the gift, then through Christ you can obtain it through faith and obedience (John 11:25-26; 14:6; Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:8-9).

What is your choice Miami Gardens?

Be Not Conformed to This World

Paul tells us “that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:1-2. Giving ourselves as “a living sacrifice” requires that we “do not be conformed to this world”. If we conform to this world, the living sacrifice of ourselves becomes polluted and unacceptable to God. As Christians we are not to be conformed to the world in our speech Ephesians 4:29, thoughts Matthew 15:19; dress 1 Timothy 2:9-10, or actions. We are to be transformed or changed. We are to “Put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man” Colossians 3:9-10.

Worldliness has no place in a Christian’s conduct. Worldliness is a malignancy eating away at the very souls of people. Worldliness weakens and destroys our love and respect for God and sets us in opposition to His will. One becomes worldly when he loves the things the world does. Worldliness begins with wanting to fit in and to get along with the world. “Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” James 4:4. John tells us “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” 1 John 2:15-17.

As members of the Lord’s body, His church, we are not to have “spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” Ephesians 5:27. We must “keep oneself unspotted from the world” James 1:27 so we can go to Heaven. We tend to become like those with whom we associate. “Do not be deceived, evil company corrupts good morals” 1 Corinthians 15:33. We are not to participate in the sinful deeds of the world but, “Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord” 2 Corinthians 6:17. We must carefully choose those with whom we associate. “I am a companion of all who fear you, and of those who keep your precepts” Psalms 119:63. We cannot become a hermit even though we live in a world with sin all around us. But we must live in a way so, “That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:15. We are to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” Ephesians 5:11. It is not sufficient just to abstain from the evil practices but we must also speak up against them.

But “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” 1 John 1:6.

Even though we must provide for our families, many people in this materialistic world equate individual success with the size of their cars, wardrobes, houses, and bank accounts. “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” Luke 12:15. We are to “Set your mind on things above, and not on things of the earth” Colossians 3:2. True success is pleasing God so we can go to Heaven. We are to be “a peculiar people, zealous of good works” Titus 2:14. In not being conformed to this world, you will “make your calling and election sure” 2 Peter 1:10 and be assured of a home in Heaven.

The Sin of Denominationalism

The word “denomination” comes from the same root word as denominator in fractions, which means to divide. Division is sinful. 1 Corinthians 1:10,13 say, “Now I plead with you…that there be no divisions among you…Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” The doctrines of men caused division in the first century and they continue to divide today. The gospel of Christ taught, believed, and obeyed brings unity and eliminates denominationalism.

There is no salvation in denominationalism. Salvation is only in the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23) which is His one church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Galatians 1:7,9 says, “There are some that trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ…if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” To get into a denomination one has to leave the teaching of the New Testament and do something different. Many people are going to be lost because of denominationalism (Matthew 7:22-23).

Every denomination has prostituted God’s plan of salvation with such things as “faith only” and “once saved always saved”. They have also perverted the worship with instrumental music, speaking in tongues, fake healing, etc. 2 Peter 2:2 says, “And many will follow the destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” But we are warned in Colossians 2:18, “Let no man cheat you of your reward.”

Because people want to do things their way, 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 says, “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they may all be damned who believe not the truth.” We must not fellowship religious denominations in their error. 2 John 10-11 says, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God’s speed: for he that bids him God’s speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” We sin if we fellowship religious denominations by becoming a partaker of their evil deeds. And as Ephesians 5:11 also says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them.”

God sent His only begotten Son to die for ALL of mankind. Paul’s rhetorical question: Is Christ Divided? The answer is clear….. Absolutely not. You cannot seek to serve the One Savior in many different churches. He died for ONE and He is coming back for the ONE body (church-Colossians 1:18) which has many members, yet ONE body.

Why not become a Christian today?

The Authority of the Scriptures

In an army there must be authority; else there would be a helpless mob and no army. In a nation there must be authority somewhere. It may be in a constitution made by the people, or elsewhere, but there must be the source of final appeal or anarchy (lack of authority; no common standard or purpose) and chaos would reign. In a court, there must be authority; else no such thing as a court could exist. In that the law is the authority. The judge himself must keep to the law, judge by it, and be judged by it.

In religion likewise, there must be authority else there could be no religion. There must be a guide, a source of knowledge, which is final, to which men may go for sure guidance, accurate knowledge and final appeal. This authority for Christianity rests in the scripture-the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

There are two kinds of authority. There is primary authority, such as rests in God, and there is delegated authority. Just like the constitution (primary authority) delegates or assigns certain authority to our President, who may, in turn, delegate certain authority to one whom he appoints; i.e. Captain of the Army.

It is plain in the Bible, that God the Father gave Jesus all authority (John 5:25-27; Matthew 28:18), He (Jesus) gave certain authority to the apostles; it stops there. Their word is final, and that word WE have in the Scriptures.

The authority of the Scriptures rests on the fact that they were produced by inspired men. The writers of the New Testament were directly guided by the Holy Spirit, sent by Christ (2 Peter 1:20-21). Since God gave Christ All Authority and since the almighty God is the Final Authority, beyond whom there is and can be none other, we can rest assured that when we have learned the Scriptures, we know the will of the one God.

Let us not add nor take away from God’s Word.