Know Your Bible

VOL. 13                                                                                                                          May 4, 2014                                                                                                                            NO. 9



Many today would tell you that it does not matter which church you go to, one church is just as good as another church, and go to the church that fits you the best. We must realize however that the Bible often calls upon us to do things that might not “fit my preferences”, instead I must learn to deny myself and submit to Christ (Matthew 16:24). Rather than seeking for a church that “fits” us, we should be looking for the Church that “fits” God.

When Jesus talked about the Church, He only promised to build one church (Matthew 16:18). If someone was to say it does not matter who builds your house, one person is just as good as another, would you agree with them? You would not. A contractor is going to do a much better job building your house than say an accountant or someone who has never built a house and is not qualified to do such. So it is with the church, those churches built by men are not as good as the Church built by God. We find that those who follow things not planted by God will be uprooted (Matthew 15:13) and such will be the case with many churches on the last day. Most people realize the importance of being in the Church that Christ built, yet by realizing this, they admit that a church built by man is not as good as the Church built by Christ and therefore one church is not just as good as another. However, when we look at the religious world around us we find many churches that have been built by men. Sadly, some even wear the name of a man openly in their title. For example, the Lutheran Church and the Wesleyan Church are churches that wear not the name of Christ but the name of a man because they were founded by men. Any church that you cannot read about in the Bible is certainly not the Church that Jesus built and therefore has the wrong builder.

The argument that there are many different churches all approved by God is in direct contrast to very clear Bible passages. For example, Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just 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.” From this passage we are taught there is simply one body, but what is the body? In Ephesians 1:22-23 we find, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” In this passage we learn the church is the body and since we have already noted there is only one body, there is only one church. Notice the inconsistency of those who argue all churches are alright. The same passage of scripture that teaches there is one church is the same passage that says there is one God yet they do not say it is alright to worship the God of your choice. The reason we cannot say one church is just as good as another is because the Bible only speaks of one church and Jesus only built one church. In addition, notice that Jesus is “the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). Notice how there is only one Savior (Acts 4:12; John 14:6) because it simply speaks of “the Savior”. Yet at the same time, there must only be one body (one church) because it simply speaks of “the body”. Any argument opening the door to multiple churches approved by God, by the same logic, opens the door to multiple saviors approved by God.

In order to be added to the church that Jesus built, one must be saved (Acts 2:47). Upon meeting the terms of forgiveness as laid out in scripture, God will add you to the Church built by His Son (Colossians 1:13) not to some church built by men. In order to be saved and added to the Church, one must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of past sins (Acts 2:38), confess one’s faith in Christ (Acts 8:36-37), and be baptized (Acts 2:38, 41, 47).

—Derek Long

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Are ALL believers required to share their faith with non-believers? It appears that some professing Christians think that as long as they assemble with the saints, pray, give of their means, and strive to live godly, that that is all God requires of them. They think it is the preachers’ job to spread the gospel, but not theirs. But is God really pleased when professing believers neglect to ever make any effort to speak of their Lord to others? 

The more I think about this, the more I cannot understand how anyone (not just teachers) who has the knowledge that will prevent a soul from suffering eternal torment, would not feel some sense of DUTY to share that information with anyone who is willing to listen.

If God is not willing that any should perish (2 Pet. 3:16), then how can any person claim to love God if he/she does not share at least some of that love and concern for lost souls? Can a person truly believe and appreciate the sacrifice that our Lord made, and then keep that to themselves and only talk of Him to like-minded believers? Should so called Christians not feel ashamed if they are keeping their faith to themselves? Even the wicked rich man who died and was in torment felt a duty to ask for some way for his living family to be warned (Luke 16:27-28).

What would we think if a person were in a burning building, they saw the fire, got out of the building, and saved their own life but did nothing to help those still inside? If they are not a trained firefighter, then we of could would not expect them to do what they have no training to to do, but would they not bear some guilt if they never said anything to anybody, never at least pulled the alarm, or called 911, or something? It does not take an eloquent speaker to tell someone there is a fire in the building. 

You get my point? Many are lost and who will ever tell them if we don’t? We all need to do a better job. Why do we pay a preacher? So he can evangelize and the rest of the members don’t have to? Of course not! We who are fully devoted to preaching should do more of it, but that doesn’t mean other Christians should not share that responsibility. If only preachers have this duty then perhaps we should only sing that one song to preachers: “You never mentioned Him to me.” 

—Andy Mitchell

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Paul told Timothy to "preach the word; be instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim. 4:2). It has been suggested that this phrase literally means to preach when folks like it and when they don't. In another place the apostles prayed for "boldness" in their preaching (Acts 4:29). So, preachers are to boldly proclaim a message that will sometimes be unpopular.

In the process of doing this work, a preacher is in a precarious situation. This boldness may cause his hearers to think that he is over-confident. Some may imagine that he is close-minded. There may be the impression that he is not open to other points-of-view, or that he wants to stifle what others have to say. Sadly, in some cases and with some preachers, these accusations are true.

However, no preacher 'worth his salt' wants to discourage open discussion of issues. And, while he may speak forcefully on a given topic, he acknowledges his own limitations and the possibility that he can err in understanding the Scriptures. If he is obedient to the Word, he knows that he (like all others) must continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18).

In this age of "political correctness" it has become increasing unpopular to tell people that they are wrong about anything. But, of course, that is a significant part of what preachers do. Those who are doing their best to "reprove, rebuke and exhort" (2 Tim. 4:2) will inevitably touch some areas that are 'close to home.' When this happens, we urge you to seriously consider what has been said. Honestly examine yourself to see if you need to apply the lesson. Be willing to re-think your previous position. And, finally, do not hesitate to share your thoughts and concerns with the preacher. If he is the kind of man he ought to be, he will gladly discuss any issue with you. Give him the chance to do so! 

—Greg Gwin


Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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