Know Your Bible
September 2001

"One Body"

"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 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." (Ephesians 4:4-6).

God wants us to understand there is "one body" and He has revealed that "body" to us through His word. Despite what we think this "body" refers to, God's word clearly reveals what it is. "And hath put all things under his (Christ, ERH) feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:21,22). "And he (Christ, ERH) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18).

What is "the body"? The Scriptures reveal that it is "the church". There is "one body" thus there is "one church", for the inspired Scriptures teach that it is.

However, people today do not speak in terms of "the church" but instead they ask, "WHICH church are you a member of?" Some say they believe all churches are acceptable but, while they say it, they don't really believe it. For example, at a local nursing home, Tim Shepherd and I were trying to make arrangements for one of the residents to attend services with us. The supervisor of the home had permitted him to attend a denomination but when we began making arrangements for an ambulance to transport him to and from services at Wise, the supervisor said, "It doesn't matter where you go to church for they all are OK." She made this statement and yet refused him to attend services with us. If it really didn't matter, why didn't she allow him to go with us since we had already made arrangements? Even though she said all churches are OK, she really didn't believe it because here was her opportunity to practice what she preached.

Just recently I was talking to one of my relatives who maintained that all churches (religions) were OK and before our conversation ended, she was expressing concern for her brother being a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. If all churches are OK, the Jehovah's Witnesses are just as right as all the others because they have their doctrines and practices that are peculiar to them like all churches do. Again, I say that I've yet to meet the first person who says that all churches are OK who really believes what they say.

The Scriptures do not teach nor has God ever said that all churches and religions are OK. If all religions and churches are OK where are the teachers of FALSE doctrine and where are the VAIN worshipers? "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (1 Peter 2:1,2) Where are the false teachers and where are the many who are following them if all churches are OK? "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9) Are there any churches in existence that teach the commandments of men for their doctrines? When you have one church teaching that baptism has nothing to do with saving and another church teaching people to be baptized for the remission of sins, which one is teaching the commandment of God and which is teaching a commandment of men? Both can't be teaching the commandment of God because they contradict each other and teach the exact opposite of one another. Any church that teaches the commandment of men causes their worship to be rendered vain. Is it alright if you are a member of a church that renders vain worship? Then it does make a difference, doesn't it?

We must go to the inspired Scriptures for therein we find authorized what God would have us to teach and practice. If it's not in the Scriptures it cannot be a commandment of God but rather a commandment of men. If it matters whether our worship is acceptable to God or vain, it matters which church we are a member of.

---E.R. Hall, Jr.

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The Principle Of Authority

Perhaps no other doctrine is emphasized so frequently as the principles of authority. The Bible speaks clearly that from the beginning of man's existence God has always demanded man's behavior be based upon His will. We have no right to formulate our own ideas concerning religious truth. We must submit to His approved standards in all that we do. This is clearly stated when we read, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Colossians 3:17)

In Acts 4:7 Luke records that Peter and John, when brought before the Jewish leaders, were asked the question, "By what power or by what name have you done this?" The word "power" refers to authority. These leaders were disturbed that these men were advocating things pertaining to Christ. They are now demanding that Peter and John tell them by authority they were teaching. What authoritative source had approved or sanctioned their actions? Peter responds in telling them, "by the name of Jesus Christ". In other words, these men were not acting upon their own ideas, but were following the direct instruction of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:19: 18:18).

Think about the enormous implication of this Biblical principle. No human being has the right to introduce anything into religious practice which doesn't have God's stamp of approval. We are simply not free to fashion our own religion. Cain (Genesis 4:1-12), Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1,2), and Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6,7) learned this principle the hard way. Notice that these are examples of PEOPLE ENGAGED IN RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES. These were religious people! They were not pagans, infidels, or skeptics. They were attempting to worship God as believers, but they FAILED TO CONFORM TO GOD'S PATTERN. This failure incited the anger and wrath of God. Their actions were not authorized, thus were works of lawlessness.

Jesus teaches it is possible to do many things, claiming to have His authorization, but still contrary to His will. "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 iniquity." (Matthew 7:20,21). It is a lesson mankind needs to heed today lest we suffer the same fate.

---Greg Legg, Adapted

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How Readest Thou?

It is one thing to read the Bible through,
Another thing to read to learn and do.
Some read it with design to learn to read
But to the subject pay but little heed.
Some read it as their duty once a week,
But no instruction from the Bible seek.
While others read it with but little care
With no regard to how they read, nor where.
Some read to bring themselves into repute,
By showing others how they can dispute;
While others read it for the wonders that are there--
How David killed a lion and bear;
While others read it with uncommon care,
Hoping to find some contradiction there.
Some read it as if it did not speak to them,
But to the people at Jerusalem.
One reads with father's specks upon his head
And sees the things just as his father said.
Some read to prove a pre-adopted creed,
Hence understood but little that they read;
For every passage in the book they bend
To make it suit that all important end.
Some people read, as I have often thought,
To teach the book instead of being taught.
And some there are who read it out of spite.
I fear there are but few who read it right.
But read it prayerfully, and you will see,
Although men contradict, God's words agree;
For what the early Bible prophets wrote,
We find that Christ and his apostles quote.
So trust no creed that trembles to recall
What has been penned by one and verified by all.


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