by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone?

NT Bible passages calling for obedience

The other day, a man said to me, “A person does not have to do any works of man or OF GOD.” That statement struck me as being contrary to the scriptures. I attempted to point out that there are only two types of commands, (1) those from man (2) those from God. I agree, the commands of man should be overlooked to be obedient to God, but the commands of God should never be overlooked.

In light of this discussion, I have assembled as many scriptures in the New Testament I could quickly find. Certainly, there are more. To stop the mouths of those who would accuse me of “cherry picking”, my only defense is to ask this, If I have cherry picked, so be it, but tell me then, what do these passages mean?

I plead with you, this article is written with love, kindness and a desire to know the truth.

CHILDREN OBEY PARENTS:
Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
Col 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. <KJV>

SERVANTS OBEY MASTERS:
Eph 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
Col 3:22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: <KJV>

The above passages are offered first to demonstrate that we understand what it means to obey. Now, let’s look at some other passages regarding obedience..

INDIVIDUALS OBEDIENCE:
Ro 15:17 Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— <NKJV>

Ro 16:19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. <KJV>

2Co 7:14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I am not ashamed. But as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting to Titus was found true. 15 And his affections are greater for you as he remembers the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling you received him. <NKJV>

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. <KJV>

1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. <NKJV>

Phm 1:21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. <KJV>

1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: <KJV>

NOT OBEYING THE GOSPEL:
Ro 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? <KJV>

2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: <KJV>

NOT OBEYING THE WORD:
2Th 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. <KJV>

1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. <KJV>

OBEYING JESUS:
Joh 14:15 ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
JJoh 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Joh 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Joh 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. <KJV>

Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; <KJV>

2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. <NKJV>

1Jo 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. <KJV>

OBEYING GOD:
Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, <KJV>

1Jo 1:5 ¶ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:<KJV>

1Jo 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. <KJV>

2Jo 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. <KJV>

OBEYING THE FAITH:
Ac 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. <KJV>

Ro 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: <KJV>

Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. <KJV>

Ro 16:26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— <NKJV>

OBEYING THE TRUTH:
1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: <KJV>

COMMANDS OF MEN:
Mt 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mr 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (KJV)

All of the passages listed mean something. Many are teaching a doctrine of salvation “by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone”. They then go onto say what the man I met said, “A person does not have to do any works of man or OF GOD.” I believe in the scripture, Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. It says it, and I believe it. This passage does continue……Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
One more scripture I wish to share with all of you. In the entirety of Scripture, there is only ONE PASSAGE that uses the phrase, “by faith only”. One, singular, only, there is no other passage, and here it is…….

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,
and not by faith only. Jas 2:24

Tell me, why is this the only passage in all of scripture to use this phrase if “by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone” is true? Will you believe this passage also?

My only desire is to know the truth, to teach the truth for there is no other place to turn…

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. Joh 6:68
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Joh 17:17

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8 things that happen when you read the Bible

One of the things we as evangelists work hard to do, is to get our members to READ their Bibles. I’m reminded of the great commandment that our Lord quoted from De 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Mr 12:30) The rest of the passage in Deuteronomy goes on to teach, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” (De 6:6 ) It appears that the continued study of God’s word is connected with the very Love of God.

There is much emphasis in the Bible for all Christians to study it. With that in mind, I would like to share with you

8 things the Bible says will happen to you when you read….

…you will….

1- Gain Understanding – The Apostle Paul wrote that we could understand what he knew by revelation, “when we read”. (Eph 3:4). Luke also wrote so that we, “may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” (Lu 1:1-4) With the instruction you will gain Instruction in Righteousness – By reading the Bible, we will have godly instruction and become “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2Tim 3:16, 17). In Romans, Paul tells us that even the Old Testament was “written for our learning.” (Ro 15:4) When you read, you will read better, be better at business, life and Godliness.

2- Gain Utterance – “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” (Eph 6:19)
You will become clearer about your faith.

3- Gain confidence / boldness – When the Apostles were preaching the gospel, the prayed for boldness, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,” (Ac 4:29 ). We can have boldness, not only through prayer, but through our continued study. (1Ti 4:13)
You will have more confidence to share your faith.

4- Know the Truth – “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (Joh 17:17) The Lord promised to send a Helper, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:” (Joh 16:12-13) We will also recognize error.
If you know the truth, the error will become evident.

5- Be Ready – Peter tells us to “be ready always to give an answer..” (1Pe 3:15) And Paul writes, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Col 4:6) If we read, we can be prepared to share our faith.

6. Apt to Teach – The writer of Hebrews rebuked the brethren, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers,” (Heb 5:12) There are plenty of passages about us becoming teachers, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Mt 5:14) as well as, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,” (Eph 4:11) – Ro 12:7; Eph 4:1Co 12:28;
You will be able to, and perhaps desire to teach.

7. Believe – Our Lord and Savior said that the written word served the purpose of helping folks believe, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God…..” (Joh 20:31)
You will become more firm in your faith.

8. Have Salvation – In the same passage He also said, “…and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (Joh 20:31) When questioned whether he would stay or go, Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Joh 6:68) By reading, we keep His word, “Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (Joh 8:51) By reading, we are showing that we are receiving His word, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him–the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (Joh 12:48) By reading the Bible, you will learn what it means to “…obey the Gospel.” (1Pe 4:17)
You can be certain of your salvation.

As I wrote this, I was reminded of the quote from Mark Twain, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” But his words pale in comparison to the words of God spoken through the prophet Hosea,

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Ho 4:6)

Touching Jesus

I’m sure you’ve seen photos of celebrities engulfed around a sea of people, some paparazzi, others just trying to get an autograph, still others seeking to touch them.

There are 3 stories in the NT of folks that were able to touch Jesus….

In Mark 5:21-34……25And a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, ……. 28she said, If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole. 34And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Why I love this story…..
This woman was desperate, spending all that she had seeking a cure. It reminds me of (Mt 13:46 “who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.) She didn’t want to bother Jesus, feeling so unworthy, yet had the faith, knowing if she was only to touch him, she would be cured. “Who touched me” He asked. He knew her sorrow, and He cured her. (Joh 2:24 because he knew all men,)

In another story…….
This one concerning a different woman in Luke 7:36

And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he entered into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37And behold, a woman who was in the city, a sinner; and when she knew that he was sitting at meat in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster cruse of ointment, 38and standing behind at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. …. 50And he said unto the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Why I like this story…….
We have this contrast between Simon and this sinful woman – Pharisee’s didn’t like to be touched (Mr 7:4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash.) Yet this woman, in a show of great humility, anointed His head with costly oil – perhaps worth 1 years wages? How much is too much to come in contact with the Savior? She washed His feet with her tears – How do your sins make you feel?

In this third story.….
We find one who wanted to touch Jesus for proof in Joh 20

But Thomas, one of the twelve, …27Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29Jesus saith unto him, Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Why I Like this story…………..
Many are like Thomas, “I’ll never believe unless I see Jesus.” Let me warn you friend, you will believe when you see Him. (Ro 14:11 For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”) We need to remember the words found in Hebrews, (But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb 11:6)

These are some touching stories…………..
All 3 strove to touch Jesus
All 3 had an attitude of unworthiness and a godly fear of Jesus (though Thomas got it after)
All 3 had faith that healed. Thomas finally saw what the others had already seen.
All 3 were repentant

THERE WAS ANOTHER THAT TOUCHED JESUS.

Mat27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered unto him the whole band. 28And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29And they platted a crown of thorns and put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30And they spat upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head. 31And when they had mocked him, they took off from him the robe, and put on him his garments, and led him away to crucify him.
The warning for us is to not do as they did. Heb 6:4 For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

But there is one more story………..YOURS…….Will He touch you?

Rev21: and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.

BUT ONLY IF YOU’VE TOUCHED HIS BLOOD
Our Lord said in Mt 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Then, in Ac 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Please notice, “for the remission of sin” is the same wording!! The Bible connects baptism with the shedding of Christs blood!!
(Ro 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.) Baptism is the only way we come in contact with the blood that will give us, “the remission of sins.”

Ac 22:16 ‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

we need to talk

You’ve heard it before, some one needs to “talk about stuff”. Have you ever noticed that when people want to talk about something good, they seldom tell you “we need to talk”?

Certainly, if we’ve done something wrong, we do need a good talking too. For the salvation of our souls, if we’re in sin. (Mat 18:15) But, often folks want to talk and it has nothing to do with sin, rather PREFERENCES.

How are we to handle it?

We need to recognize that we are all bound to the commands of God, for He has all authority, (Mat 28:18), and we’re to observe all things that Jesus has commanded, (Mat 28:20).

However, we are not God. We have no authority to…….

  • write laws for God (Mat 28:20)
  • bind laws that He has never bound (Mt 16:19)
  • enforce commands He has never given (Mt 15:9)

People mistake preferences for commands. We’re all different. We have different backgrounds, parenting styles, haircuts, clothing etc.. Because of that mistake, “we need to talk” comes around.

There’s another problem that occurs even before the talk, Gossip. Even before researching whether a matter is sin or not, we talk to others about it. Stirring up strife, fanning the flames. (1Ti 5:13) If a person has committed sin, the last thing you need to do is tell everyone else. You also want to keep it private for another very important reason, YOU MAY BE WRONG!

Before we have a talk with anyone, let’s ask 3 questions.
  1. Is it Sin? (James 1:15)
  2. Will I be allowed time to study the issue?(2Ti 2:15)
  3. Will I be allowed time for prayer and repentance? (Ac 8:24)

If you can answer yes (especially the first one) then a talk is likely a good idea. If you are unable to answer “yes”, definitively, then you may want to leave it alone altogether.

Is it sin?

If you believe there to be some sin, make sure. Bring the passage of scripture. Study it yourselves to make sure you understand the passage. Then approach the person in love and humility. Follow the process our Lord prescribed in (Mat 18:15-17)

Then, give them time for study and repentance. The person may be learning these principles for the first time. They may not know what you know about the meaning of these passages. Give them time. Time to study and time to repent.

Do it with love. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Ga 6:1) (1Co 10:12; 2Ti 2:25)

What should you do if you’re approached?

If you’re approached, you can nicely ask these questions…

  1. Is this regarding a sin in my life? Jas. 1:15
  2. Will you be discussing the doctrine of Christ (scripture) in this conversation? 2Jno.9
  3. Will you produce a passage(s) of scripture to indict me of sin? 1Jno. 3:4
  4. Will I need to repent, or be marked (withdrawn from) as one that walks disorderly? Rom 16:17

If no to any 1 of these say, “I would rather not discuss the issue.” This will help by preventing unwarranted conversations, or hurt feelings over matters of style.

7 steps for a better faith

In Lu 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. What a great desire, to have an increased faith. But….

How do you increase your faith?

If we study our Bibles, we can find a scripture that could help us;(2Pet 1:1-11; 5 And beside this, giving all diligence,) What is diligence? The definition is; constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything.

The biblical definition of the Greek word is quite similar;  spoo-day’  “speed”, i.e. (by implication) despatch, eagerness, earnestness:–business, (earnest) care(-fulness), diligence, forwardness, haste.

As we continue to study (2Pet 1:1-11), we find this list……

ADD TO YOUR FAITH…..

***note*** I will include the Greek word after the English word along with it’s definition from WE Vines.

  1. virtue; <arete> “whatever obtains superior evaluation for a person or thing.” What do others think about you? Do you have a good report? (Phil 4:8) 1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: How do others see us?

  2. knowledge; <gnosis> a seeking to know, investigation. Lu 1:77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Php 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, ( Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: 2Chron 1:10 Solomon’s request for wisdom.)

  3. temperance; <egkrateia> self control. Ac 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, (Self Control follows righteousness which is God’s claim, so self control is our response) Gal 5:23 against such is no law. Following knowledge, the point is to put our learning into action.

  4. patience;< hupomone> perseverance. Patience which grows only in trials.  “By your patience possess your souls.” (Luke 21:19) ” And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; We can learn from the trials of others” (Rom 5:3); “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Ro 15:4 ); “Abraham endured. 1Th 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,”(Heb 6:15 ); “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (Jas 5:11 )

  5. Godliness; <eusebeia> Holiness. Contrast – “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.”(1Ti 4:7 ); “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1Ti 4:8 ); “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.”(1Ti 6:5 ); “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,” (2Pe 3:11)

  6. Brotherly kindness; <philadelphia> fraternal affection: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”(Ro 12:10 ); “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”(1Th 4:9 );  “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”(1Pe 1:22)

  7. Charity / Love. <agape> A Sacrificial affection. Love can only be described by the action it prompts. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”(1Jo 4:7-9-13 ); “If you love me.…”(Joh 14:15)

2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Imagine how your faith would grow as you diligently add these to your existing faith! Take them one at a time, or work on them in a group, but whatever you do….

…..grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2Pe 3:18 )

Let’s go out and have a good day, for we know, only God can make our day!

What church do you go to?

I live to get that question, only so that I can ask that question back. The answer reveals much, and gets us onto my favorite subject. Recently I received an answer that I had heard about, but never heard directly. This person I had asked said that they went to church so n so. (name covered for privacy) I immediately recognized who it was, it was the TV preacher from a neighboring state!

That story brings me to the thrust of this article, can you go to church at your TV and what is the church?

What is the Church?

If we look to the scriptures, we will find a reference for two churches. The first would be the universal church, and the second the local church. Let’s take a look at both.

The Universal Church

The church universal is that church Jesus promised to build – (Mat 16:18). It is referred to as the body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23) and that there is only one church in (Eph 4:4). This one body / church, is made up of individual members (Rom 12:4-5; 1Cor 12:27). In (Acts 2:47) we see that the Lord alone adds to this church.

Those in this one church are saved because Christ is the Savior of the body (Eph 5:23). They receive spiritual blessings, among which is the forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7).

As we continue to study, we see that members of the church universal have a requirement to not lose their head. In (Joh 15:1-8) we see the branches need to remain in the true vine, which is Christ.

The Local Church

(there’s one in Borger, Tx too!)

As we continue to study, we see evidence of a local church. In (Rom 16:16) we see a reference to churches, plural. Does this contradict the scriptures? No. We notice that Paul left Titus in Crete to “ordain elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). We see Paul in his missionary work as an Apostle to, “ordain elders in every city” indicating there were local bodies, churches.

Continuing our search, we notice the local churches assembling to worship and to observe the Lord’s supper. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:23-34; Heb 10:25) According to the pattern of the first Christians, they gathered together physically. How else can you “provoke one another to love” or to “admonish one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? (Col 3:16)

This begs the question, without a local church, how would the church universal assemble? What venue, how would you administer the Lord’s supper, the language barrier, etc.?

As we look at the examples and revelation of the New Testament, we find that the autonomous local body is the largest authorized assembly of the church for the specific purpose of worship and it’s work. (Eph 4:11-13)

There is a leadership to be in the local church. There is no example, command or inference of any larger earthly organization, in the scriptures, other than the local church. We also see that members are to obey them that have the rule over them in the local body / church, (Heb 13:17; 1Cor 16:13) as well as to submit to one another.

Think about the wisdom of this method of organization. If error springs it’s ugly head up in one local work, it’s very likely to die there and not infect all of the churches worldwide. Additionally, when people study their bibles honestly, churches of Christ emerge everywhere.

To What church do you belong?

Local church membership, must align with the church universal you’re added to by the Lord. It must hold to the doctrines of Christ (Mt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

One final thought, H Leo Boles offered 5 things that hinder the work of the church;

  1. Denominational Names
  2. Denominational Creeds
  3. Denominational Authorities
  4. Denominational Ordinances
  5. Denominational Tests of Fellowship