How to start a church

What if there were no church in Borger, how would you start one?

I knew of a man that became a Christian. The way that he learned the truth was very motivational. He had suffered a debilitating accident which caused him to search for meaning. He began reading his bible. Upon completing the Old Testament, he said, “I’ve got to learn how to serve God, but I’m going to finish reading the Bible first.”

After completely reading the New Testament he said, “I’ve got to do be saved.” He then began seeking Christians. First he looked to the largest “church”. He was immediately disappointed because what he found didn’t match what he had read about in the Bible.

So he continued visiting churches, Baptists, Methodists etc. All along the way he kept asking the people at these places, “why do you do what you do and how do I get saved?” Their answers disappointed him, for they were unable to give an answer that matched what he had read in his Bible.

Then one day he responded to a newspaper ad offering a Bible correspondence course to people that wanted to study the Bible. He completed the course and was very excited because everything taught was completely consistent with the Bible that he read.

After the completion of the course, he invited the man that sent him the course to his home and asked to be saved. He already knew what to do, He believed, confessed Jesus to be the son of God, repented and wanted to be baptized for the remission of sins. [Romans 10:14, John 11:24, Luke 13:3, Matthew 10:32-33, Mark 16:15-16, 2Peter 2:20-22]

Because there was a group of Christians that met in his area, he began assembling with them until the day he passed from this earth.

What if there wasn’t a church in Borger?

What if he had read the whole bible, learning to obey the Gospel yet finding nowhere to worship as God had commanded? [John 4:24] How would he go about starting a New Testament church? Certainly he must find others of ‘like precious faith’. [2Peter 1:1] He would have read, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Matthew 18:20]

He would have either found them or taught them. Then what? Now that there are 2 or more, what do they do next? Certainly they have learned to serve the Lord, [Colossians 3:24] but how would they worship? [John 4:21]

You study the Bible.

How did folks do it before us? How did they do it in the Bible? They read and studied it. Paul wrote to the early Christians, “whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ;” [Ephesians 3:4] He also taught people to study the scriptures. [2Timothy 3:15] We can be honorable today, just like the Bereans when they searched the scriptures daily. [Acts 17:11]

Let’s imagine what might have happened, had this small group of people sought to serve God and begin a church in their city.

The Bible our only Guide.

So they read and studied their Bibles. The first thing they did, as a small group of Christians wishing to worship God and to serve him correctly, is to decide to use the Bible as their only guide. To speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent when it is silent. [1Peter 4:11; 2Samuel 7:7]

Scriptural Worship

Next they asked one another, “How shall we worship Him and what shall we do?” Turning again to scripture they learn that truth is necessary. [John 4:24] They find that Jesus commanded Christians to remember His death by observing the Lord’s Supper. [Luke 22:14-20; 1Corinthians 11:14-34]

Then one of them might ask, “When should we do this remembrance? Should we meet annually, perhaps once a month?” Back to the scriptures they go, seeking the TRUTH of the matter. It is there that they find this passage, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” [Acts 20:7] Since every week has a first day, and there being no additional instruction, they decide to meet every first day of the week, which is Sunday the day following the Sabbath.

While searching the answer to that question, they noted that the passage mentions Paul preaching. Remembering that he also taught to imitate him as he imitated Christ, [1Corinthians 11:1] they recognize that since Christ preached, they must also follow the Godly examples of the scriptures. [Mark 2:2] So they included preaching along with the Lord’s Supper during their worship assembly.

Praying and Singing

So they came together to worship. Then one may have said, “I wonder if we could pray during our worship?” So once again, they return to the scriptures to find permission to pray during the assembly. This answer came quickly, for multiple passages supported the exercise of prayer. [1Thessalonians 5:17, Acts 20:36, Luke 5:16, 1Corinthians 11:23-26]

Another asked about singing. Once again the scriptures showed them they could and should sing. [Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16] Another may have suggested an instrument to aid in the singing, but to their dismay, no command, example or suggestion of an instrument was found in the New Testament worship. They easily found those aids in the Old Testament, but somebody pointed out in the scriptures where it said, “In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete.” [Hebrews 8:13]

By now they have become quite accustomed to searching the scriptures for what they must do. Finding additional passages confirming that they were on the right path. Passages like, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:17]

Problems in the church

All was bliss until one of their number had a need for aid. Since the habit was now engrained into their minds for searching the scriptures, they once again sought the advice of the Lord. They found that money was an important aspect of completing the work. They found in the scriptures where the members were commanded to lay aside money for the work of the Lord. That this work included helping needy saints, but also was to be used for spreading the gospel through the support of preachers and edification of the church. [1Corinthians 16:1-4, 2Corinthians 8 & 9, 1Timothy 5:18, Ephesians 4:16; 1Corinthians 14:26; Acts 20:32]

What’s the name of the church?

The church began to grow, for they were doing exactly what the Lord commanded them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Mt 28:19-20] They were teaching others, teaching only what was in the Bible from God. There was one more problem that arose, the new comers began asking, “What do we call this church?

It hadn’t yet occurred to them that they might need a name. Again, as they have done for every question thus far, they searched the scriptures for a name. One person suggested they name the group after the founding member, Gus. He would have none of that telling them that he didn’t die for the church. [1Corinthians 1:13] As they searched they found several names. ‘They Way’ [Acts 19:9, 23] ‘Church of God’ [Acts 20:28] ‘church of Christ’ [Romans 16:16] ‘The general assembly and church of the firstborn’ [Hebrews 12:23]. What name should they choose, since so many were found? Then this scripture was read, “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:16-18]

This reminded them of another passage, “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;” [Ephesians 2:20] and others [1Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 5:23, 1Peter 2:6, 7]. After completing a full study of God’s word on the matter, the settled upon the church of Christ.

Everyone was happy, endeavoring for unity in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. [Ephesians 4:3-6] If any other “issues” arose, they would consult the scriptures. When difficulties came, they searched the scriptures. Whatever they did, in word or deed, they did all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. They were just Christians.

Would you like to be just a Christian? You may, if you do what so many others have done and what is shown in the Bible.

365 Daily Instructions for Life

10 March 2015
(Numbers 16.1-3)
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men. And they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”

God had appointed specific men from a specific family of a specific tribe to be priests.

Yet Korah (from the same tribe, but different family) along with Dathan and Abiram (from another tribe) reasoned that since God had made the nation holy, anyone could serve as His priests.
In fact, these self-appointed priests accused Moses and Aaron of self-serving bias, claiming they were guilty of transgression by exalting themselves above all Israel.

Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and those who followed them tried to set one part of God’s word above another, reasoning that since the whole nation was holy, then anyone could serve as priests without distinction. Yet, although God had sanctified the nation, He had also specified who would be priests: Aaron and his sons, of the tribe of Levi.

Many Christians reason accordingly today, claiming that all who have been sanctified in Christ are able to perform any function and fulfill any role of service for the Lord, in spite of clear passages to the contrary. We now have women speaking, teaching, and even preaching in the assemblies of the church, contrary to God’s word (1 Cor 14.35; 1 Tim 2.11-12). Some churches have ordained women elders, despite God-given qualifications (1 Tim 3.2; Titus 1.6).
Some churches have begun approving marriages which Jesus clearly rejected (Matthew 19.9), and even accept same-sex unions, though God clearly defined marriage as a commitment between a man and a woman, and condemned homosexual acts (Rom 1.26-27). We would do well to learn from the example of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (1 Cor 10.6,11), recognizing that God does not approve setting one Scripture above another to nullify one part of His covenant in favor of a misapplication of another. Those who went ahead and offered incense, though they were not called to be priests, were consumed with fire from God (Num 16.35). Their leaders, who promoted this disobedience were swallowed up by the ground (Num 16.31-33).

Clearly, God is not pleased when He specifies one thing and people veto His word by doing something else.

Stuart Tullis

Why I chose the Church of Christ

I like to talk with people, actually, I like it when people talk to me. The other day, while getting my haircut, I asked one of my “magic questions”. A magic question is when you ask a person an open ended question that acts as conversation starters.

This lady began talking about her church. She said that she had visited EVERY church in town, but always found herself back at the Baptist church. So, I asked her what it was about the Baptist church that “always brought her back”.

She paused, paused some more, and finally said, “You’re putting me on the spot.” I gently reminded her that she had brought it up and I was just curious. Noticing that she was uncomfortable I moved the conversation on to another aspect of church. This got me to thinking about my own choice for “church”.

Why did I choose the church of Christ?

Like this lovely lady, I too had visited numerous “churches” in my quest to learn about God. I had started a family and recognized that there was something missing. So I went looking. Actually, I already had been looking, even before I was married. I went to the Baptist, the Catholic, the Episcopal, the Methodist, the Universal Church of Christ and multiple other denominations over the course of my search.

In every single case, there was something that didn’t seem quite right. It was a logical feeling that I couldn’t quite place my finger on to know. So, we kept looking.

Would you like to study the Bible?

Then, my wife and I were asked if we would like to study the Bible by an older relative. This simple invitation clicked, no one previously had ever asked if we wanted to study the Bible. So we accepted. Do you know what? We studied the Bible and only the Bible. I asked questions, he answered with scripture. She asked questions, he answered with scripture.

More questions, more scriptures. Then came the question, which interestingly was asked for us by reading the scriptures. [Acts 2:37]

“What must we do to be saved?” [click here]

He answered with the scriptures. Multiple scriptures. He showed us the passages on belief. I asked about the sinners’ prayer. There wasn’t one. He said that he had looked and never found a prayer a non christian prayed and received salvation.

We studied the scriptures for several weeks previously, but on that night, the same hour of the night, my wife and I obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. [Mr 1:1; Acts 16:33]

  • We had been hearing the word of God. [Rom 10:17]
  • We believed that Jesus was the Christ. [Acts 8:37]
  • We confessed the same thing before men. [Mat 10:32]
  • We repented of our sins. [Lu 13:3]
  • We were baptized [by immersion] for the remission of our sins. [Acts 2:38; Gal 3:27]
  • We committed to live a Godly life. [Mat 28:1-208; Acts 2:42]

Why did I choose the Church of Christ? It was the only one that used scripture, book, chapter and verse for everything that it teaches, everything it believes and everything it does.

Would you like to study the bible and have your questions answered with the Bible? [click here] and I would be happy to study with you.

Spencer – Borger, Tx  806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10

 
   

 

A church worth investigating

A member recently brought me a bulletin for the Franklin St church of Christ from April 1959. It held a timeless message that I wanted to share with you all.

A church worth investigating

The church of Christ was not established on a sudden whim of the Lord, nor was its establishment merely an afterthought. It had been God’s intention throughout the entire history of the world to build the church. All of the many centuries were spent in preparation for the establishment of the church. The church and its work is “According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Eph. 3:10

About 800 years before Christ came to this earth the prophet Isaiah foretold that the government of the Lord’s house should be established at Jerusalem, and all nations should flow unto it. –Isa. 2:2. This could not have referred to the house of Israel, for that had already been established and it was not for all nations. What then is the Lord’s house of which the prophet wrote? Turning to 1Timothy 3:15, we read, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” So we see that the house of God is the church, and of this house Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before Christ. What more is required to show the importance which God has placed upon the church of Christ?

Why the church of Christ is important

This brings us to the following question: WHY IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IMPORTANT? The church is important because God’s wisdom is seen in it: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,” — Eph 3:10. Is it important to know the wisdom of God?

Again, there is glory to God in the church: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” — Eph 3:21. Is it important to glorify God?

Also the church is important because its purchase price was the blood of Christ: “…feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” — Ac 20:28. Do you believe the church is worth the purchase price: The church of Christ is important because Jesus “loved the church, and gave himself for it.” –Eph. 5:25. Would you give yourself for something that is not important to you?

Finally, we shall mention that the church is important because all of the saved are added to it: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” — Ac 2:47. It is surely regrettable that denominationalists preach that the church is not important.

Not a denomination

The church of Christ is not, and cannot be, a human denomination because the church does not wear a denominational name. All denominations wear names which distinguish them from “other Christians”, as they say. But the church of Christ does not seek to distinguish itself from others who are Christians, since we firmly believe that ALL Christians are members of the church of Christ. There is nothing denominational about the name which we wear, for it only honors Christ, and is worn by His command. –Acts 4:12, Rom. 16:16.

The church is not a denomination, furthermore, because we do not subscribe to a creed written by men. We believe in Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the New Testament, but we refuse to accept human interpretations of the New Testament. It is sectarian to make any book of human origin the standard of fellowship and communion. We extend our fellowship to any who follow only God’s word.

The church is not a denomination because we have no earthly headquarters. Christ is the only head of the church, Col. 1:18, Eph. 1:22-23, Matt. 28:18, and His is in heaven. Thus our headquarters is in heaven. Instead of all of the churches of Christ being tied into one central unit, each church is directly, and independently, responsible to Christ.

Almost all religious people are in agreement on one important point; that is, that the church we read about in the Bible is the right church. Most folks will also agree when asked that the Bible mentions only one church. Where, then, does the idea come from that one church is just as good as another? If the Bible only mentions one church, ad this is the right church, it follows that all other churches are wrong. This is the case whether we wish to accept it or not. By this position we are not trying to consign all of the members of the other churches to hell, but rather we are trying to teach them the truth so that they can be saved.

Nor is the idea true that all denominations are simply branches of the Bible church, for all denominations contradict one another in points of faith, doctrine, name, and practice. The Bible does not contradict itself, so all of the many churches could not be parts of the Bible church. For a church to be the right church, it must be identical with the church that we read about in the New Testament. This is true of no religious body save the church of Christ. We do not need to make a labored attempt to distort history, and trace an unbroken chan of churches all the way back to Bible times, because we can prove by the Bible itself that everything we teach, and everything we do, was taught and practiced by the church under the direction of the apostles. This makes it the right church, and nothing else can make a church right. We invite you to attend the services of the church of Christ and to investigate it. We believe that it is a church that is worth investigating.

–Gordon Wilson, Sacramento, CA 1959

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