6 things Jesus TAUGHT in His last week

Jesus spent His time on earth teaching and preaching. From the very earliest days He was found in the Temple hearing and asking questions, and all that heard were amazed at His answers (Luke 2:46-47).

Throughout His ministry He is teaching. Even when He saw the 5,000 that followed Him, having compassion on them, He TAUGHT them.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34)

Therefore, it should be no surprise that He was seen teaching even up to His last days on Earth.

During His last week He was in the Temple teaching amidst those who sought to take His life.

What was it that Jesus TAUGHT them that still has application for us today?

“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matt 21:12-13)

1) When Jesus TURNED over the money changers tables and cast out those that bought and sold in the TEMPLE, He is teaching us a lesson about proper authorized worship. In the New Testament age, the church is His TEMPLE (1Cor 6:19). We are to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). There is a right way and a wrong way to worship. He TAUGHT that it’s possible to have vain worship (Mark 7:6-7). It would behoove us to learn what it is to properly worship Him in our lives, but also when we gather together as a church. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 11:17-34; Heb 10:24-25)

“The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?”

(see Matt 21:23-27).

2) Jesus TAUGHT that there are only 2 sources of AUTHORITY; from above or from below. We must understand this lesson today. Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on Earth (Matt 28:18). He is to have the preeminence in our lives (Col 1:18). He is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1Tim 6:15). Therefore, we are to study His word to know what it is that He commands for how we are to speak and act (Col 3:17). (cf. 1Cor 1:10; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10)

“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” (see Matt 21:33-46)

3) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT a lesson that covers much of OT history and ultimately a lesson about UNITY with God. The record of the bible shows that God desires mankind to be UNITED with Him through His Son, and His word, but the world, and the children of Israel, would not. Today, we are UNIFIED through Christ into one body (Eph 4:3-6). We cannot expect any UNITY with God, any peace, unless we keep His commands. Many folks say there’s unity in diversity of doctrines. This contradicts the word. God is not an author of confusion. (1Cor 14:33; see Col 2:14; Heb 7:12; 9:16-22)

“And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.”

(see Matt 22:1-14)

4) In this parable, Jesus TAUGHT about the Kingdom of Heaven. Many are called, but few are chosen. Even those who respond to the call, if they don’t have the proper GARMENT, they will be rejected. The only way to understand this is by seeing what it is we are to put on and how. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27). People claim we are to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts.’ Not so. We are to put on Christ in water baptism through faith. (see Acts 2:38; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21)

“Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” (see Matt 22:23-33)

5) In the challenge from the Sadducees, Jesus TAUGHT about the proper way to HANDLE the word of truth. It’s possible to make an error, be mistaken, and be lost because we don’t know the scriptures on how to be saved and how to live a godly life. (see 2Tim 2:15; 3:15-17)

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (see Matt 24)

6) Jesus was asked about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. Since then, many have wrested this text to predict the end of the world when Jesus would return (1Thess 4:13-18). A careful reading will show what Jesus actually TAUGHT about the TIME of His return. Notice what He said regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matt 24:34). It’s very clear that much of what He said would occur within the lifetime of those who were hearing Him.

But of that day and hour…” The day of His return to Earth to gather the saints, to destroy the world, and to judge all nations, “…knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt 24:36; see 2Peter 3:10; Dan 2:31-45).

Close) Jesus TAUGHT throughout His life even up to His last moments. It makes me think about myself and the myriad of loved ones who do not know God and have not obeyed the Gospel. Shall we try to teach them?

— spencer

Spencer has been preaching in Borger Texas since 2014.

If there had been more love…

…there would not be any division.” You’ve probably heard something like this before. Another way of saying this is, “Let’s unite over the things we have in common and not divide over our differences.”

They contend that love will prevent any division among us. I would agree, but not in the way that they use love.

If love for the truth is what is meant by “more love” then I’m all in. However, it is evident that not everyone will love and accept the truth on some matters of faith.

“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2Thess. 2:10)

LOVE for the truth motivates the servants of the Lord to preach it and to exhort all to follow it (cf. 2Tim 4:2). Sadly, there are those who refuse to submit to the will of the Lord, and do not have the doctrine of Christ. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.” (2John 1:9a)

When some say that love will prevent division, they are using their definition of love which OVERLOOKS practices that are not found in the doctrine of Christ. These will place the blame of division on those laboring to practice the truth rather on those who will not accept it. Paul wrote, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph 5:11). Love of the truth would have adherents practicing the divine pattern of the truth, rather than advocating an umbrella of love that ignores it.

Certainly, the truth is to be spoken in love. “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph 4:15). We have a responsibility to speak the truth in love. Perhaps, those who cry that love would prevent divisions, dwell on the manner of presentation. Every preacher ought to work on the manner of presenting the truth in love (1Cor 13), but what right does anyone have to reject the word of God based on the manner of presentation? Salvation comes through obeying the gospel of Christ, and any failure should be placed on the hearts of the hearers (cf. Luke 8:11-15; 2Thess 1:8).

All the love in the world is not going to result in some people accepting the truth whereby brethren can walk together in truth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) “So there was a division among the people because of him” (John 7:43).

VIOLATION of God’s word is to be blamed for division, not a lack of love. Are we prepared to say that a lack of love from Christ resulted in division? May it never be!!

Was there a lack of love on the part of John toward Diotrephes that caused division? No, it’s the following of EVIL that causes the division. It was the lack of love for the truth on the part of Diotrephes that caused the division. “but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (2John 9-11). [emph mine seb]

Yes, we need more love “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” (Phil 1:9; cf. 1Thess 3:12). May there be more love of the truth that we may walk together in unity of the Spirit and have fellowship with God through Jesus Christ our Savior. “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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” (Eph 4:4-6)

—spencer

Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.

We’re Looking for a church, part 2

Last week we began to answer those who say, “We’re looking for a church.” To answer we had to first describe what the church is NOT.

  • It is not a DIVISION.
  • It is not a BUILDING.
  • It is not just a NAME.
  • It is not an ORGANIZATION for general benevolence.
  • It is not for ENTERTAINMNET.

In this article we will look at a few things to consider when looking for a ‘church.’

By the way; we use this language accommodatively. We’re looking for Christians who are coming together as a church to do the work of the Lord in a local area.

We must search the scriptures with honest hearts and answer such requests in a kind, loving and scriptural way. We also need to be careful not to treat the church of Christ as just another denomination by using denominational language. (1Peter 4:11)

What are you looking for in a CHURCH?

Are you looking for the church (people) that CONFORMS to the scriptures in the New Testament, or one that conforms to the CULTURE of our times? Are you looking for God’s people that CONFORM themselves to the doctrine of Christ, or one that conforms to your schedule, your likes, your daycare needs?

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” [Rom 12:2; 2John 1:9]

Are you looking for a church whose HEAD is Christ, sitting in HEAVEN on His throne, or one that has a HEADQUARTERS on earth with unqualified men at its head?

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” [Mat 23:9; Acts 2:30-36; Col 1:18]

Are you looking for a church that is scripturally UNIFIED with Christ, or one that is UNIFIED only in their diversity of practices, and tolerance of sin?

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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.” [Eph 4:3-6]

Are you looking for the church that will be RAISED up on the last day, or the many that will be REFUSED by Christ for their works done without His authority? Christ will only RAISE one church, His church.  

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.” [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; Eph 5:23]

Are you looking for the one that is being CONSTRUCTED by Christ, or the one that is being built in a way that is CONTRARY to Christ?

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” [Mat 16:18; Eph 2:19-20; 2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-10]

Are you looking for the church that you can read & HEAR about in the Bible, that requires a HEARTFUL obedience to God’s instructions? The one we can’t join, but are added to when we obey from the HEART that form of doctrine (water baptism).

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.” [Rom 6:17; cf 3-4; Acts 2:38-47; Col 2:12; 1Pet 3:21]

Much more can be said about how to Identify the Lord’s church. Would you like to learn what the Bible says about the church of Christ? We want to help you to be set free by the truth of God’s Word. [John 8:32]

— spencer

4 Wise Little Creatures pt3/4 Locusts

the UNITY of the Locusts.

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

This article looks at another wise creature, the Locusts; “The locusts have no king, Yet go they forth all of them by bands;” (Prov 30:27)

The wisdom of the Locusts is about UNITY. Today, our society has a perverted view of UNITY. It’s being defined as having conflicting goals, conflicting agendas, and conflicting beliefs yet calling ourselves one. Is that what the Bible says?

While there’s something to be said about being kind to people with different beliefs, biblical UNITY is about so much more.

We are to be kind and to live in peace with all; “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” (Rom 12:18) However, biblical UNITY stretches far beyond just living at peace with folks. Unity could be explained on a spectrum…

UNIVERSALLY, we’re all living creatures, but are we in unity just because we have existence? Let’s ask the wolf & the lamb.

We often times define unity on a NATIONAL level, but we all recognize that this kind of unity is fleeting.

Unity can be seen by the INSTITUTIONS people agree together to support. This gets us closer to understanding unity.

TRUTH has the best chance of bringing about unity, but we have trouble unifying when everybody has their own truth.

A final approach to unity can be defined as two or more YEARNING for the same goal, agenda, or purpose. This is where we will learn the wisdom of the LOCUSTS, Unity through a desire for the same thing.

Calling for UNITY requires those unifying to come together under a set of core values and goals. What are some unifying qualities found in the scriptures?

A great place to start is with the words of Paul found in Ephesians 4; “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Here we see that unity is UNITY of the Spirit. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul writes about the ONENESS of the body, the Spirit, hope, Lord, Faith, Baptism and One God and Father of all. Here we learn that UNITY of the Spirit is more about God and less about self.

We try to define UNITY through our own agenda, but this would lead to as many agendas as there are people in the world. Biblical Unity is UNITED with the purposes of God.

This brings us to a second idea about how to find UNITY; we will never find unity through NARCISSISM. Biblical UNITY is seen in selflessness not selfishness, Christ being the best example. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

A third passage that clearly defines UNITY is 1Cor 1:10; “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” This UNITY only works IN Christ.

Building on these three we realize the need for this fourth piece of UNITY. An orchestra cannot be in unity while everyone plays from a different sheet of music, so too the church cannot be united without the TIMELESS Word of God, His Scripture. “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160).

Lastly, People coming together with varying levels of maturity can achieve UNITY if we all have a YEARNING to do the Will of the Lord. “Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” (1Peter 2:1-2). May this wisdom of the Locusts can help us to develop Biblical Unity.

SHOULD, WOULD, COULD & OUGHT

Do the words SHOULD or OUGHT mean God is giving us a Hall Pass for sin?

Someone recently asked me about the word “SHOULD” in the Bible. It’s being claimed that if there are commands we SHOULD do, then God is giving a recommendation, and that we have liberty NOT to do it and suffer no penalty. Is that the proper understanding of this word? Nope, you SHOULDN’T view it this way.

I can see where the confusion lies. In our culture of free love & do whatever feels right, we can see how some might think God is just recommending we do stuff, if we want to do them. If it’s convenient.

Additionally, in the error riddled world of denominations, and the false doctrine of “once saved always saved,” it’s easy to think that God is making recommendations because we’re all going to heaven anyway.

Both of these views are completely out of sorts with the biblical use of the word and a complete misunderstanding of free will.

How that they told you there SHOULD be mockers in the last time, who SHOULD walk after their own ungodly lusts.” [Jude 1:18]

First, let’s define terms. As you can see in the above verse, SHOULD is usually replaced today with the word WOULD. The word means, “SHALL Come to pass.” It’s usually used in front of a verb to express ideas such as necessity, possibility, intention, and ability. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;” [Heb 11:5] Enoch DID NOT die. [Gen 5:22,24], it came to pass that Enoch did not see death. In Galatians 1:10, Paul wrote, “…for if I yet pleased men, I should not (WOULD NOT NKJV) be the servant of Christ.” SHOULD is a modal auxiliary verb, as are can, could, may, might, must, ought to, shall, should, will, and would. If you seek to please men over God, they you WOULD NOT be a servant of Christ. The use of SHOULD is not giving you a hall pass of disobedience.

Next, HAVING a choice in no way means you will be rewarded for choosing not to do what you SHOULD do. Free Will is not freedom from consequences. God has always given us the choice to do good or to do evil [Deut 11:26,28]. Just because we HAVE a choice, doesn’t mean God approves when we choose what we SHOULDN’T. “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?” [Rom 2:21,22] Would you say that God will give us a pass for theft just because He said we SHOULD not? In another passage, Christ gives a command to the Apostles: “…commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,” [Acts 1:4]. Are you suggesting they could wait elsewhere and have the same results found in Acts 2?

Third, OUGHT is another word confused by rebels. They will focus on this word in much the same way as they do the word SHOULD. In Acts 5:28-29, we see both words being used. Read these carefully and see if we’re being given liberty to go against what we SHOULD do and OUGHT to do. “Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” OUGHT we and SHOULD we obey God? (cf. 40)

We need to remember that UNITY with God comes from doing the things we “SHOULD” & “OUGHT” to do. “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.” [2John 6] Are you suggesting we can be UNIFIED with God and NOT do what we SHOULD do?

LANGUAGE may have evolved over time, but God’s word endures forever (cf. 1Peter 1:25). This is nothing more than a LAME attempt at wresting the scriptures to their own destruction [cf. 2Peter 3:16b]. An example of the evolution of a word is found in Genesis 1:28. “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” Replenish today means: “to fill again or anew. to make full or complete again, as by supplying what is lacking, used up.” In 1611, the meaning of Replenish meant to fill, accomplish, furnish. Biblical context clearly shows it means to fill something that is empty. SHOULD might appear today as having been given a recommendation or a choice, but that’s not how God uses the word. To fail to understand correct original LANGUAGE usage is to be in jeopardy of wresting the scriptures to your own destruction.

If you DON’T do that which you SHOULD do, you’ll get what you DIDN’T want. The Hebrews writer uses the word SHOULD to show who DIDN’T do what they OUGHT to have done; “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?” They DID NOT enter His rest. [Heb 3:18; cf. Num 13 & 14] Do you suppose that they had a choice about entering God’s rest? Sure, and they SHOULD have crossed the Jordan, but they DID NOT do what they OUGHT to have done and they SHOULD NOT (DID NOT) enter His rest.

In his letter to the Galatians Paul wrote, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” They WEREN’T obeying the truth, obeying the truth had come to pass [Gal 5:7, 3:1]. Are you suggesting that the Galatians or we SHOULD NOT obey the truth and get away with it? Are you saying that we have a choice to not DO what God has commanded us to DO, to obey the truth? Are you implying that those who refuse to do what they SHOULD do, like obeying the truth, will enter heaven? I wouldn’t put my trust in that line of reasoning. Consider what Jesus will say on the judgment day…

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [Luke 6:46]

If obey we SHOULD, then obey we COULD, and obey we OUGHT.

If obey the Gospel we DON’T, when obey the Gospel we OUGHT, then entering heaven we SHOULD NOT. (cf. 2Thess 1:8-9)

Preaching the Cross

Some will argue against the preaching of obedience to the gospel by crying, “PREACH THE MAN, NOT THE PLAN.” They may also say, “THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A LOVE LETTER NOT A LAW BOOK.”

How does one answer such charges? Are they correct in their assertions? Is preaching about baptism, the one church, and against the errors of liberalism & denominationalism opposed to preaching the Cross of Christ?

What does the Bible say? If our speech and preaching needs any revision, let us hear it from the revealed word of Jesus the Christ. Philosophies of preaching from liberal professors will not suffice. We shall appeal to the word of God for all things in word or deed [Col 3:17].

 As this article begins, we are reminded to ‘season our words with salt’ [Col 4:6]. We are not mad any anyone. Our desire is that everyone come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. It’s to that end that we “Preach the Cross of Christ.”

To preach the CROSS is to preach “CHRIST CRUCIFIED” [1Cor 1:23]. Preaching the cross is to preach the gospel [1Cor 1:17,18]. It is not “with enticing words of man’s wisdom,” “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,” which has been revealed by the Spirit of God in the book of God, the Bible [1Cor 2:1-13].

Those that heard the preaching of the Cross RECEIVED the gospel [Acts 2:41; 8:14; 1Cor 15:1]. To receive the gospel, through the word, is to receive the ‘grace of God’ [2Cor 6:1; Titus 2:11-12]. To preach the cross is to ‘testify the gospel of the grace of God’ [Act 20:24].

Until one is OBEDIENT to the word of his grace, he has not been saved by the preaching of the Cross [1Pet 1:22; 1Cor 1:18]. Whenever and wherever one is obedient to the gospel he is saved by grace [Acts 10:48; 15:11]. When Paul preached the cross to the Corinthians, they were obedient in baptism in the name of Jesus the Christ [Acts 18:8; 1Cor 1:13]. This is how they were “washed” [1Cor 6:11]. Baptism is “in the name of the Lord Jesus” [Mat 28:19; Acts 10:48; 19:5], and baptism “in the name of the Lord” is “for the remission of sins” [Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5].

Then, as Paul rebuked SIN found in the church at Corinth, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ When he spoke against division, immorality, marriage, and the perversions of the Lord’s Supper, was he not ‘preaching the cross?’ [1Cor 14:37]. The entire letter is the command of the Lord, the wisdom of God, the Gospel.

When the elitist tells us to ‘preach the man, not the plan,’ without condemning the antichrist teachings of denominations, they have missed the mark regarding the connection of Jesus to His plan. To preach the Man without His plan is to miss the SYNONYMOUS terms spoken of salvation.

  • “Baptized into Christ” [Rom 6:3,4; Gal 3:27]. “Baptized into one body,” the church [1Cor 12:13, 20; Eph 1:22-23; Col 1:18, 24].
  • Reconciled unto God “in Christ” [2Cor 5:18-20]. Reconciled unto God “in one body by the cross,” the church [Eph 1:22,23; 2:16].
  • Saved, redeemed by the blood of Christ [1Peter 1:18-19; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14]. Church purchased with the blood of Christ [Act 20:28].
  • Christ “gave himself for me” and tasted “death for every man” [Gal 2:20; Heb 2:9]. Christ “gave himself for it,” the church [Eph 5:25].
  • “In Christ” – “made nigh” – “by the blood” [Eph 2:13]. “In one body” – “reconciled” – “by the cross” [Eph 2:16].

It is not off balance, nor out of focus, to speak about baptism into the body or church of Christ, to speak of reconciliation in one body, the church, to speak of Christ having purchased the church with His own blood. To speak of one, Christ, is to speak of the other, the church. Paul once “persecuted the church” [Act 8:3; Gal 1:13; 1Cor 15:9], but when the Lord appeared to him, He said, “why persecutest thou me?” [Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14]. To preach Christ, to preach the Cross, is to preach the church. If to persecute Christ is to persecute the church, then to preach Christ is to preach the church. It stands to reason, anyone against the doctrine of Christ, is against Christ [2John 9].

Let us therefore, speaking the truth in love, Preach the Cross.

When God’s Children Take a Stand

The language of the bible is clear, we are to take a STAND for the cause of Christ, for the Gospel.

We can and must be KIND…

Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

We can and must have LOVE…

1Co 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

Today, the Christian must STAND…

against SIN. 1Peter 1:16 because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

for the TRUTH. Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

in AGAPE Love. Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

NOTHING wavering. Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

Proclaiming the Lord’s DEATH til He come. 1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.

Letter to a friend (3o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 3o3)

When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body, the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12).

Denominations are not all part of “one universal church,” they are different churches. That is why we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word “churches” does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation.

It is too small to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church. Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a denomination.

What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the church of God’s choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1Samuel 15:22; 1John 1:6,7; 5:3; 2John 1:9). We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.

Friend, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship falsely and still belong to God.  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol worship, the principle remains the same for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.

The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1John 4:6). If a man, or group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he has separated himself from God.

Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God sword.

With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain…

Your Friend

How to have Biblical UNITY

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” [Eph 4:13]

Every few years there is a call for UNITY. Nobody likes arguing nor complaining. We all seek for UNITY to avoid such fighting.

It would seem that many think, as long as there’s no arguing, then UNITY must therefore exist. While this may give the appearance of UNITY, it is not biblical UNITY.

What we have is peace, but not UNITY. “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” [Rom 12:18]

What must exist for us to have biblical UNITY?

Fraternity or Fellowship? Living at peace with others is key to developing UNITY, but there’s much more involved in developing Biblical UNITY.

To illustrate the problem, answer this question; If two math professors are kind to one another, yet one teaches 2+2=8,346, do they have Mathematical Unity? Certainly not. While they may be agreeable, they do not agree on the facts, therefore they are not in UNITY. They have Fraternity, but not UNITY.

This illustration brings us to the very FIRST condition needed in developing Biblical Unity. An UNDERSTANDING of the Will of the Lord is essential to establishing Biblical Unity.

whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; [Eph 3:4]

For this people’s heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest, haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.” [Acts 28:27]

Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” [1Tim 1:7]

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” [Eph 5:17]

Without agreement on the doctrine of Christ, how can two walk together? [Amos 3:3]

Next, we can never achieve UNITY if we fail to be NICE in our words & deeds. “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” [1Cor 13:4]

Next, without personal INTEGRITY there can be no UNITY. Integrity is defined as; adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. We may speak about UNITY all we want, but without INTEGRITY no one will believe us. That’s hypocrisy. “If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” [1John 1:6]

Biblical Unity must also include TENACITY for the Truth without wavering. It should go without saying that UNITY is based on the TRUTH of God’s word. [John 17:17] “that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error;” [Eph 4:14]

Lastly, since we’re not perfect and we’re all in a state of growing and maturing, we may not yet know what we ought to know. People coming together with varying levels of maturity can achieve UNITY if we all have a YEARNING to do the Will of the Lord. With this Yearning, we can still have UNITY because we all want to learn and do the will of the Lord. This is the best understanding of “Unity of the Faith” in Eph 4:13. It doesn’t mean that we all have the exact same understanding. What it means is that we all have access to the same information, God’s word and our desire, YEARNING, to know the Word.

Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” [1Peter 2:1-2]

With these 5 elements we can develop Biblical Unity.

U- Understanding the will of the Lord.

N- Nice words & Deeds

I- Integrity

T- Tenacity, consistency

Y- Yearning to know the will of the Lord

–Spencer

Have no FEAR?

No Fear Inc Logo Decal Sticker

 

Can Caution become Cowardly? 

Rev 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Can Concern become Worry?

2Cor 11:28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Mat 6:25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life,

 

Can Obeying the Government become disobedience to God?

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Acts 5:29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

These are questions each of us must consider and answer as we continue to face this new world of COVID fear.

 

What is FEAR? 

FAILURE?

Mat 25:24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

 

Are we afraid of EVIL men?

Lu 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. Mat 10:28

 

Perhaps we’re afraid of the ANONYMOUS or invisible enemies.

Ro 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Maybe our FEAR has opened the door to RATIONALIZING our disobedience?

Num 14:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Num 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them (Joshua & Caleb) with stones.

 

We live in a new world now that COVID-19 has entered. Say what you will about the virulence of the virus, it matters not. The FEAR of it exists in many hearts regardless of the reality.

It’s easy to talk about FEAR when there’s not much to fear. It becomes much more difficult when you are facing the command to cross the Jordan into battle.

 

WHAT IS COURAGE?

Courage is not the lack of FEAR. Courage is taking action despite the fear.

Courage is not taking action without precautions. Paul was both ready to be bound, but also to die [Acts 21:13]. But that boldness didn’t mean he shouldn’t take precautions. The Lord told him he would make it to Rome, but it was Paul that foiled the plot against his life. It was Paul that stopped the Roman soldiers from scourging him by appealing to his Roman citizenship.

 

FEAR is a natural emotional response that protects us from harm. It is good when it prompts you to take precautions. We recognize fire’s power to burn, but it doesn’t stop us from utilizing it for good.

FEAR becomes sin [Rev 21:8] when it stops one from doing that which is right. When it stops one from obeying God.

 

Let us move away from fear. The answer to casting out fear is LOVE.

1John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

 

Let us LOVE God so much that we will do His will.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Mat 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Our Light needs recharging!