The Problem With Emotions
Do you feel good about yourself? Your relationship with God? Do you feel good about those with whom you have spiritual fellowship? Do you have joy without measure? A peace which passes understanding? Does a smile invariably crease your face when you contemplate your eternal welfare? It does? Good! Now for the most important question: Upon what do you base all of these positive emotions?
Hopefully, you have a ready answer to this last question. The proper answer would be, “From a study of God’s word, I recognize that I have been obedient to His will, and am a partaker of the blessings that are reserved for His children.” Now, you might not word it in exactly the same way, but the point is that your good feelings, your emotions, are based upon an intellectual recognition. You know you have been obedient to God. You know that God has promised blessings to those who are obedient. You know that God keeps His promises. Therefore you are happy. However, many experience that same happiness without that intellectual foundation.
Emotions are peculiar in that respect. You can be happy, sad, peaceful, worried, etc., without a proper foundation. A mother can be worried about the safety of her child, when in reality the child is perfectly safe. The people of a city can sleep peacefully in the supposed safety of their beds, not knowing an earthquake is imminent. A follower of Mohammed can glory in his certainty of an eternal reward, not knowing that salvation is to be found only through Jesus (cf. John 14:6). An emotion is valid only if it is based on fact. Worry is appropriate only if there is the potential of harm; a feeling of peacefulness only if there is actual safety; spiritual joy only if a relationship with God actually exists.
Herein resides the problem with the emotionalism prevalent among religious people today. Too many believe themselves saved, not because they have the facts, but rather because they feel good about themselves. We see that it would be unreasonable for a mother to fret about the safety of her child when she sees and knows her child is safe. Why is it that so many can not see how unreasonable it is to base their salvation upon a “feeling in my heart.” There is a popular notion that the facts don’t matter; that we should stop emphasizing the scripture, and just love one another; that we should emphasize the Man instead of the plan; that it does not matter what you believe, so long as you are sincere. This is simply not so.
Are you happy? It is an important question. But the second is equally important. WHY? Upon what do you base that happiness? Think about it.
God Has Spoken
What difference does it make whether one is a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, or Jehovah's Witness? Much, in several ways!
First, such designations indicate the wrong allegiance and perpetuate religious division. Was John the Baptizer crucified for anyone? Were the elders crucified for anyone? Was any Roman Pope every crucified for anyone? Are various methods of baptism taught in the New Testament? Have we seen Jehovah at any time? The Scriptures decry such allegiances and divisions! Note 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Jn. 17:20-23; 1:18; 1 Jn. 4:12; Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 6:3,4.
Second: -- Such religious designations
indicate that one is following a doctrine that causes failure to obey the Gospel
of Christ. Failure to obey God's plan of salvation means continued
separation from God because of one's sins, and ultimately, eternal punishment
for those who obey not the Gospel (2 Thess. 1:3-10). Several false teachings are
involved: the doctrine that baptism is not essential to salvation (Mk. 16:16;
Gal. 3:26,27); the doctrine that the voice of the Catholic hierarchy is the
source of religious authority rather than one's following the Bible only (2 Tim.
3:16,17; Jude 3; 2 Pet. 1:3; Jn. 8:31,32); the doctrine of salvation by faith
alone (Jas. 2:24; Matt. 7:21); the doctrine denying the Deity of Jesus Christ
(Jn. 1:1-4; Heb. 1:1-4,8); and several other teachings contrary to the
Scriptures, regarding worship, church organization, and personal responsibility
Are you truly a Christian? Stand with Christ upon truth and never be ashamed of it (Rom. 1:16). Never enter unequal yokes and wrong allegiances (1 Cor. 6:19,20).
You Can Start Your Own Church!
Yes, you can start your own church if you want to. Many have never thought of doing such a thing and yet others have done this very thing. Why? Because the church we read about in the Bible did not suit them for one reason or another, therefore they started their own. Yes, if others started their own churches, you can too.
(1) You have as much authority to start a church as King Henry VIII had to start the Church of England (cf. Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23.27;Acts 20:28).
(2) You can also call it what you want. After all, you have as much authority as any other man. Call it the church of the devil if you want to; men say names are not important anyway (cf. Romans 16:16; Acts 4:12).
(3) You can have hamburgers and Pepsi (or steak and coffee, it that’s your taste) on the Lord’s Table. After all you have as much authority to change the elements as others have for changing the time to monthly or quarterly observance (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Acts 20:7).
(4) Since it is your church, you may determine the terms of membership as you see fit. Men for some time, have been changing what the Bible says about the forgiveness of sins and becoming members of the Lord’s church (cf. Romans 10:17; Acts 3:19; Romans 10:10; Acts 2:38, 47).
(5) You can do all of these things because you are the head of your church, much like the conferences, conventions, and synods which make up the legislative bodies in denominationalism (cf. Colossians 1:18; Matthew 16:18).
Yes, you can start your own church, call it what you want to, have your kind of worship, determine the terms of membership and the kind of organization it will have. But, you must also accept the consequences. We know that such a church is nothing like the church which we read about in the New Testament, and it would be preposterous to try to prove that it is. Since it is your church, it could not hope to have the same reward which the New Testament church has (Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 1:5; 2Timothy 2:10). We know these things...or do we?
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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