Authority in Religion:
We Must All Know Our Limitations

When God found that the children of Israel were becoming disobedient to Him, He spoke to them through Moses and warned them that He would bring forth a man like Moses to speak to them. Whoever disobeyed His word would perish Deuteronomy 18:15-19. This promise to the children of Israel was fulfilled by the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ Acts 3:19-26. He was born to redeem the world. But He was rejected by the children of Israel among whom He was born and grew up.

One day during His earthly ministry our Lord took three of His disciples and went up into a high mountain “. . .and He was transfigured before them. And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elijah with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear Him” Mark 9:2-7.

What was the meaning of all this? Moses stood for the Law. People should no longer follow the Law of Moses as a system of worshiping God. Sabbath-keeping, tithing, animal sacrifices, and instrumental music are no longer required. Elijah stood for the prophets who spoke about the coming on earth of a Saviour from the seed of David. Now that the Saviour has come, men should not go back to the Law and the prophets, but obey the words of Jesus Christ! Whatever Christ said was not of His own, but words from God the Father. “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak” John 12:47-50.

Many people do not obey the words of Christ. Even many religious people have turned away from the words of Christ and substituted their own thoughts. They do not think that Christ was right when he said: “I will build my church” Matthew 16:18. “My” indicates ownership. It is completely wrong for a man or a group of people to form their own denomination and worship the Lord there. Jesus said: “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” Matthew 15:13-14. The founders of human denominations are blind leaders. Those who worship therein are blind followers.

This is why Jesus warned: “Not every one 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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work in iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23.

At the Judgment, Jesus will deny certain ones, not because they did not worship Him, but because they did not do it according to His will. God promised to build a house Isaiah 2:2-3. This house is what Christ called “my church.” Jesus bought this church with His blood, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). No one has a right to form any other church or call it by any name of his own choosing. Let us respect God’s authority! We must not add to the things which God has commanded! We must not subtract any of the things God has commanded (Revelation 22:18,19). If we do not respect God’s authority in the Bible, we cannot be saved (2 John 9-11).

Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 3 of 3)

Parents must talk of these issues constantly with their children—when they bring school assignments home, while watching TV, when traveling on vacation, etc. We must return to the concept set forth in Deuteronomy 6:7. Someone is teaching your children; if not you, then who?

We must build reliable libraries for our children. Buy them good, professionally-done books on creation, Bible inspiration, etc., from a sound, biblical vantage point. Stay away from compromising materials which attempt to harmonize the Bible with evolutionary premises, e.g., the notion that the “days” of the creation week in Genesis might represent millions of years. I can guarantee you this. If we do not do a better job of fortifying the faith of our children, we will lose them by the thousands.

Finally, and regrettably, I cannot avoid adding this notation. It once was the case that parents needed only to guard their youth’s education in secular environments. That is no longer the case. Some schools that promote themselves as “Christian” institutions are as bad (or worse) than secular universities. They are perhaps even more dangerous because they operate under the guise of being “Christian” in character. Youngsters, therefore, are disarmed in advance. Some of these so-called centers of “Christian” education are hot-beds of the rankest form of anti-biblical ideology. It is later than we think. Be careful where you send your children for their education.

Miami Gardens….. Let’s save our children.

For part 1 of this epistle, check out Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 1 of 3)
For part 2 of this epistle, check out Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 2 of 3)

Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 2 of 3)

It is not enough to simply say, “evolution is wrong.” We must give them solid, factual data that expose the fallacy of evolutionary arguments (for example the false reasoning that simply because the human hand resembles the hand of a chimpanzee, this must indicate that we are related to the chimp! Similarities can as easily indicate a common designer, namely God.)

Teach Them to Revere the Bible

Third, it is imperative that our children be given mountains of evidence demonstrating that the Bible is a revelation from God. Its holy books were written by people whom Jehovah directed to reveal His message. The Bible’s instruction must be diligently sought and its authority respected. We must introduce to their thinking arguments like the phenomenal unity that is characteristic of the biblical documents. This argument will not carry much weight, however, unless they know the basic message of each of the sixty-six books of the sacred volume.

We must show that predictive prophecy (history revealed in advance) is testimony to the divine origin of the Bible. Since only God knows the future, if the Bible gives evidence that its writers spoke of future events, which they could not possibly have known by natural insight, that will constitute support for its heavenly origin. We must expose our children to the exciting discoveries in the field of archaeology which strengthen our faith in the reliability of the Holy Scriptures. With the items suggested above as representative of the type of instruction that is so necessary, we would make the following practical suggestions as well.

Practical Suggestions

We must take these truths, and others like them (e.g., the history concerning Christ, the rules of morality, etc.) and teach them emphatically and repeatedly to our children. We must be factual and firm. We must stop capitulating to false science and take a confident, dogmatic stand for biblical truth.

We must make our Bible school departments stronger. Elders must insist that the classes have a strong apologetic emphasis. Preachers must stress from the pulpit the urgency of these matters and bring thrilling lessons supporting these fundamental truths. Local churches should be encouraged to bring in guest speakers who are specialists in these areas. Their messages will ignite a flame of interest that could sweep through the church.

For part 1 of this epistle, check out Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 1 of 3)
For part 3 of this epistle, check out Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 3 of 3)

Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 1 of 3)

“My son was raised in the church. We taught him the Bible. As a youngster he sometimes helped to serve the Lord’s supper. He even gave talks occasionally. After he was in college a while, something changed. He began to question the teaching of the Scriptures. Now, he professes no faith at all. What happened?”

This is a story that is heard over and over again across the years, Many of our youngsters are losing their faith? Why is this? Perhaps there is no simple, single reason; however, it may be sufficient to observe that one of the causes of this growing defection among our young adults is the fact that for years they were operating on a borrowed faith. In too many instances they had superficial instruction from mediocre teachers in their church Bible classes. Added to this is the fact that they were given no substantial intellectual training at home. Accordingly, when they encountered the crass, humanistic environment of the university atmosphere, they were unable to survive.

It is time that we awaken to the reality that if we wish to preserve our children we must take more seriously our responsibility to educate them in the most important issues of life—that of the existence of our Creator and His inspired Word to humanity. Our work is cut out for us. Here is what we must do if we really care for our offspring—and the youth of the church in general.

Teach Them to Reason

First, we must teach our children how to logically reason. This will serve them all of their lives. For example, when they are asked as to why they believe in the existence of God, our youngsters should be able to call attention to the law of cause and effect. Wherever there is an effect (e.g., the Universe) there must be an adequate cause. Matter is not sufficient to explain itself. There is no known process by which matter can create itself. Thus, one must look for a non-material origin of the Universe.

Children can be taught early, and drilled with information, concerning the fact that where there is design, there must be a designer. If the universe bears the marks of design—and it surely does—then it must have had a designer. The entire realm of nature is a classroom for the teaching of these principles.

Teach Them Their Origin

Second, we must educate our youth in the factual matter of human origin. From the time they are able to sit up and watch television, they are brainwashed with the ideas of evolution. They are taught evolution from their earliest days in school. They are indoctrinated with evolution through their toys, tee-shirts, etc. (witness the dinosaur mania and the common propaganda line that the dinosaurs lived millions of years before man arrived on earth).

For part 2 of this epistle, check out Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 2 of 3)
For part 3 of this epistle, check out Fortifying the Faith of our Children (Part 3 of 3)

Be Not Conformed to This World

With so much religious confusion in the world today, it is imperative that the church of Christ let people know clearly and precisely what God has to say in His word about becoming a member of the church. In the Bible we find that when people obeyed the gospel of Christ and became Christians, God added them to His church (Acts 2:47). Thus when we speak of terms of admission, we are really discussing what one must do in order to be saved.

The following steps are necessary to one’s salvation:

  1. One must hear the gospel of Christ. Paul writes, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
  2. One must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. Jesus said, “…for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
  3. One must repent of his sins. Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5).
  4. One must confess Christ. Paul writes, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
  5. One must be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).

When we look at the example in Acts chapter two, the apostle Peter told the Jews “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). In verse 41 it then says, “Then they that gladly received His word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” The chapter then closes by stating, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

Note that when people did as they were commanded, the Lord added or admitted them into the church. There was no voting and no required series of studies before admittance; just simple obedience to the gospel of Christ.

If we would be part of the Lord’s church today, we must do what He commands in His word, and then He will add or admit us into the church, the body of the saved (Ephesians 5:23).

We at the Miami Gardens church of Christ are willing and ready to assist today!

The Sin of Denominationalism

As we study on denominationalism, let me remind you of the purpose of teaching on the various religions: 1) To lead souls to Christ through the teaching of the TRUTH. 2) To expose false teaching so that mankind can understand and make an informed biblical decision about their soul. 3) Because God requires us to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15-16).

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 says, “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.” Please pay attention to God’s Word and not man (Acts 5:29)

The Lord’s church

“The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Only those who are saved according to God’s instructions are in the Lord’s church. But how many churches does the Lord have? Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” The word “my” shows possession and that the church belongs to Jesus. The word church is singular not plural. The Lord only promised to build His one church.

In Ephesians 4:4-6 we read, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all.” Just as there is only one God, there is only one body. What is this one body? In Ephesians 1:21-22 we find out what this one body is, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body.” Here we see that the Bible says the church is the body. So the one body is the one church which belongs to the Lord. One might as well believe in more than one God as to believe that the Lord has more than one church.

Today we hear the sincere but mistaken plea to “attend the church of your choice.” Why not attend the church of God’s choice; the only one that Jesus “purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Christ did not shed His blood to purchase any denomination. The one church that Christ purchased with His own blood belongs to Him and the name it wears must honor Him. We read in Romans 16:16, “The churches of Christ greet you.”

We read in Ephesians 5:23, “Christ is the head of the church, and he is the savior of the body.” Christ is only the savior of His one body, His one church. The Lord only adds the saved to His church (Acts 2:47). In the Lord’s scheme of redemption, He has only planned to have one church. He is only going to save His one true church.