Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                           May 22, 2011                           NO. 20

 The Relation Of Christ To His Church
     This is a misunderstood subject. Some believe that the church has nothing to do with one's salvation. The Lord can save an individual and he can never "darken the doors" of any church building and yet be saved some think.
     Others believe that the church has practically everything to do with one's salvation. If a church can "sprinkle" an infant and administer Last Rights at the end, little in between matters.
     Still others believe that it doesn't matter which church one is a part of, but to be saved people need to be in "some" church. In fact, some think if they just attend or have some relation with some church, somehow God will save them.
     The truth is that Eph. 5:22-33 teaches there is an inseparable relation of Christ to His body, the true church. The teaching is that just as there is a relationship between our physical heads and the bodies to which they are attached and lead, the same is true between Christ and His spiritual body, the church. In this relation, Christ is its Head and Savior (vs. 23), He loves it and died for it (vs. 25), He sanctifies, cleanses and washes it (vs. 26), He will present it gloriously and without spot or wrinkle, to His Father in the end of time (vs. 27). As people are saved from their sins by His blood and as they are then by Him added to His church, and as they live righteous lives He will nourish and cherish it (vs. 29).
     The church's relation to Christ is that it is His body and is what He saves (vs. 23), it is to be subject to Christ (vs. 23), holy and without blemish (vs. 27), and it belongs wholly to Him.
     As a head directs the activities of the body connected to it, so must the church, the body of Christ, be directed by its Head, the Christ. If it refuses to respect the Head's authority, it isn't properly "connected" to the Head.
     The only way to know if the church of which one is a member is truly the body belonging to Christ, one can ask if the teaching and practice of that church corresponds to the direction of the Head, Jesus.
     For example, the Head instructs that the gospel concerning Himself should be preached, that people should believe it, repent, and be baptized to be saved (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16: 15,16; Lk. 24:46,47). If the church of which you are a member does not teach this, or modifies it, that church is not following the directions from the Head.
     The Head instructs relative to the what, how, and when of worship (1 Cor. 14:5,26,15; 11:23-26; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-4) Preaching and teaching, eating the Lord's supper and giving as one has been prospered the first day of each week, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, and praying are what the Head directs. If the church of which you are a member does not teach and practice these things, it is not following the directions from the Head.
     The Head directs that members of its body should live righteous and moral lives (Gal. 5:19-21). Each member of the body should avoid fornication (1 Thess. 4:3-7) and cut himself off from anything that leads to it (Matt. 5:27-30). Marriage is to be for life (Matt. 19:6), and the only honorable end to a marriage is either by death or divorce for the cause of fornication when a mate is guilty of such (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). If a body (church) does not teach and insist on these matters as the Head directs, it is not connected to the true Head.
     The spiritual mission of the Head (Jesus) is seen throughout His life. He came to seek and save those who were lost (Lk. 19:10). While on occasion He fed thousands by miracles, the purpose of such was to establish faith in their hearts that He was the Messiah (Jno. 20:30,31). When people followed Him for food, He disappointed them by refusing to provide for their physical desires. His mission was to feed the spirits not the stomachs (read all of John 6). Likewise, His body (church) has a spiritual mission. It is to support the truth preached (1 Tim. 3:14,15) since it is truth that saves people (Jno. 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:22). It is to edify itself through further teaching of the Scripture (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 14:5,26). Whenever the body has members who need physical assistance, families and other members are to help (1 Tim. 5:3-16; Acts 11:27-30). However, if a body (church) provides social meals, recreation, builds and maintains "fellowship (?) halls," family life centers and other social programs for the fun and frolic of its members, it has disconnected itself from the Head. The Head never gave directions for such, and consequently these activities are without authority from the Head.
     While the church is Christ's body of penitent, baptized believers seeking to do His will, the church does not save. It is the saved. God, Christ, and the gospel save, and each person who is added by the Lord Himself to His church make up the saved (Acts 2:47).
     Further, the church will not judge each person. God will judge each individual by Christ (Acts 17:30,31), and the standard of judgment will be the gospel of Christ (Rom. 2:16; Rev. 20:12). Some think if the church of which they are members endorses a practice, such activity must be right. That makes the church the head rather than Christ. The church has no authority to legislate spiritual law; the Head has already spoken. The church has not authority, but its Head, Jesus Christ, has all authority (Matt. 28:18).
     Is your life directed by the "Head," Jesus Christ? Does your life reflect His will, and are you an active, functioning member of the Head's body, His church? If not, you need to be for the eternal well-being of your eternal soul. We will be happy to help any way we can.
---Phillip Owens
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Preparing The Soil

     Pioneer preacher “Raccoon” John Smith was once asked, “If the gospel is so plain, as you say it is, why do you have to labor so hard to get people to understand it?” Smith replied, “I have often prepared ground in the wilderness for a turnip patch, and though I had the kindest soil and the best seed, and the sowing was easy, I never got top nor root until I first took my ax and hoe and briar knife and went in and hacked and grubbed and cleared the ground. The Lord knows I do not esteem it hard to preach the simple gospel to those who are prepared to receive it, but it is labor indeed to root out prejudice, and cut down the systems, and clear away the sectarian trash that cumbers the minds and hearts of the people.”

---Adapted from “The Life of Elder John Smith”
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