Know Your Bible
October 2001

Would You Like To Be Simply A Christian?

If the title of this article appeals to you, how does this sound to you? Just simply follow the teachings of Christ found in the New Testament. "And for this cause he (Christ) is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." (Hebrews 9:15-17)

When we search the New Testament, we find no denominational organizations existed whatsoever. We simply read of people hearing the gospel, believing it, repenting of their sins, confessing Christ to be the Son of God, and being baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. Whereupon, the Lord added the saved to His church (Acts 2:36-47). As the gospel spread from Jerusalem, these Christians assembled together in congregations in various places. The only headquarters these early disciples knew was Heaven, where the Head, Jesus Christ, is (Col. 1:18). These local churches were under their own elders (Acts 14:23) who were given the responsibility of feeding and overseeing the congregation (Acts 20:17,28;1 Pet. 5:1-3).

The worship, we read about in the New Testament, was something that was participated in, not a spectator event. For example, on the first day of the week they eat the Lord's supper and heard preaching, Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:23-29. Also on the first day of the week, every one of them gave financially as they were prospered (1 Cor. 16:1,2). The worship was carried on by every Christian singing (Eph. 5:19) and all would pray as others would lead (1 Cor. 14:15,16). No solos, duets, quartets, or choirs. All things were done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40) as every Christian was involved in worship. No one could perform their service or worship for them.

Without complicated expensive organization, the gospel was preached to every creature under heaven (Col. 1:23). The disciples were known as Christians (Acts 11:26) and they wore no sectarian names. One thing is strikingly noticeable about the worship we read about in the New Testament: They sought to impress God and only God. One thing we see throughout the Scriptures is that God is always pleased with obedience to His will (Mt. 7:21).No where in the New Testament do we find the first Christians appealing to social or recreational activities as a work of the church. Their only appeal came through the presenting of the gospel for they recognized it as "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16).

What about you? Do you ever study your Bible and read about things the church, of which you are a member, doesn't even do or they are doing things the New Testament does not even mention? The time is far spent that we all should despair of involving ourselves in things the New Testament does not teach and to realize denominations are not necessary and only has and continues to cause division. We should all desire the simplicity of being only a Christian and letting the Lord add us to His church.

Have you ever wondered if it could be the same today as it is revealed in the New Testament? The answer is a simple but resounding, "YES"! In fact, there is probably such a group of people meeting within minutes of where you live. They worship and serve God in the same way the early disciples did. Christ is their ONLY Head and the New Testament is their ONLY creed. They are not members of any human denomination, they are simply a congregation, or church, of Christ. They would like to share Christ with you and with all the world.

YOU TOO CAN SIMPLY BE A CHRISTIAN and serve God without belonging to any denomination, bound by no denominational laws or obligations. If such appeals to you, please contact us or visit the services the church engages in on a weekly basis. If you live too far away for this to be practical, contact us and we'll do our best to put you in touch with others who are simply Christians and doing things according to the will of Christ.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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Things That Faith Will Never Do

No one disputes the necessity of faith. We certainly understand that "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6). But some folks, it seems, wants to place too much on faith, and leave off some other important spiritual considerations.

FAITH CANNOT SUBSTITUTE FOR THE TRUTH. Believing in something, no matter how strongly, does not make it so. The patriarch Jacob believed that a wild beast had killed his beloved son Joseph. He grieved as though it really had happened -- but it was not true (Gen. 37:31ff). Later, when told that Joseph was alive, he did not believe it -- but it was the fact (Gen. 45:26). Sadly, there are many today that trust their salvation upon things that -- though they sincerely believe them -- simply are not true. We must all search diligently for God's truth (Acts 17:11), for it is only the truth that can set us free (John 8:32).

Furthermore, FAITH WILL NEVER TAKE THE PLACE OF OBEDIENT WORKS. Calvinists will loudly protest, but the Bible plainly states that "faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). No right thinking person believes he can earn his way to heaven by means of meritorious acts. But we all must understand that the scripture plainly teaches that the only way to demonstrate our faith is through the things that we do (James 2:15-18). We must conclude that "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).

Finally, FAITH WILL NOT PREVENT ADVERSITY. Some are of the opinion that hardships come upon us due to a lack of faith. The solution to every problem, they claim, is to believe more deeply. While we would certainly encourage greater faith in every Christian, we must also realize that the history of God's most faithful servants includes a lot of pain and trouble. In fact, we are told to expect it: "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

We must realize that there are some things faith will never do. The apostles begged, "Lord increase our faith" (Luke 17:5), and we humbly make the same request. As we make this request, let us realize that "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

Adapted from an article by ---Greg Gwin

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