Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The ONE Church

We only have to open the telephone directory and look at all the different churches that are listed to wonder "what church is the right church?" There are books that are written about various churches, most claiming to be spiritually and doctrinally correct. We can read where all kinds of things are taught such as praying to Mary, baptizing babies, some priests can marry, others can't, the social work of the church, no life after death or there is life after death! How can we know which church is the church that Jesus built?

I Will Build MY Church
Jesus said: "...I will build my church..." (Matthew 16:18). Jesus said this way back in 30 A.D. Therefore, the church that Christ built was built long ago. Every denomination that is in existence today was built long after Jesus said "I will build my church". Most are proud to tell you the exact date that their church was established and the creed in which it was established on. Since Jesus said "I will build my church", that must mean that the church in which Jesus built belongs to Him. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:22-23: "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Here we can clearly see that HIS BODY = HIS CHURCH. In Colossians 1:18 it is pointed out that Christ is "the head of the body, the church". Since Christ is the head, He decides, controls, and guides His church.

There Is ONE
The word ONE is mentioned several times in the New Testament. Let's look at a few references to this. In Ephesians 4:4-6 we can read where "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." Here we can plainly read where there is just ONE of each. Yet while most will acknowledge there is ONE God, they recognize several churches! Paul said that we should be unified (1 Corinthians 1:10). Only when we're doing all things exactly as God has stipulated can we truly be ONE, which is to be unified.

Jesus said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" (John 10:27). In John 10:16 we can read where there is ONE fold and ONE shepherd. Therefore, in the New Testament (the testament we are under today), we see that there was only ONE CHURCH!

Doctrines Of Men
The Bible is very plain on Christ's teaching about His church. Yet many still want to preach and teach more than ONE church and various other ways of doing things that are in direct violation of God's teaching in His Word! Jesus condemned man for teaching his own ideas and doctrines (Mark 7:7-9). Because man did change the teachings of Jesus, we now have denominations. Some denominationalists teach that denominations are simply branches of Jesus' church. This cannot be so, for in the Bible we read "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:5-6). Disciples are the branches, not churches! 

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Some say "He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved." Who shall we believe, Jesus, or the doctrines of men? We cannot pollute the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). When Christ's doctrine is polluted with the doctrine of men, it makes man's worship of God empty of any value, it is vain! 

Could it be that you are following the traditions and doctrines of men? Or, are you really striving to abide in the doctrine of Jesus Christ?

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Love of Man

In John 14:21 Jesus says: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” If we truly love Jesus, then we will keep His commandments, which also shows that we love the Father. In addition to Christ and God the Father, we should love the brotherhood. Peter writes: “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). Unfortunately some Christians in the church today feel like they can treat their brethren wrongly and still be true to Christ — but God’s Word tells us this is not so (1 John 3:14-15). We also have an obligation to love our neighbors and our enemies (Galatians 5:14; Matthew 5:44). Our love should also extend to loving the truth of God’s Word, for without it we cannot be saved. The apostle Paul states: “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

How Should Man Love?
Our love should be a whole-hearted devotion to God. Listen to what Jesus says in Mark 12:30: “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength…” There is no doubt that if every Christian exhibited this kind of love for the Lord, then true Christianity would be practiced every day. A clear example of how we should love is recorded in John 13:34: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another”. If we will love others, as Christ loved us, then our life will be pleasing to Jesus and to others. I encourage every Christian to read, understand, and apply the passages of Mark 12:30 and John 13:34 to their life every day! Children of God should love sincerely and perfectly as they strive to be like Christ (Romans 12:9; 1 John 3:18; 2 Corinthians 8:8; 1 John 4:17-18).

Why Should Man Love?
We should love because Jesus loved us first. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Do we want to be known by God Himself? In order for God to know us the Bible teaches that we must love Him (1 Corinthians 8:3). What is it that demonstrates to God that we do love Him? Jesus said: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Here we can see that if we really do love God, then we will keep His commandments that He has given to us through His Word, the Bible. It is a foolish thing to say that we love God and at the same time fail to keep His commandments and/or love the brethren. In order for us to have life we must love the brethren and God (1 John 3:14). In John 13:35 Jesus says: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We show others that we truly are disciples of Christ when our love for one another is demonstrated. Do you want to go to heaven? Of course you do! We all want to go to heaven but the problem is that many people who say they want to go to heaven do not strive to do the things that God has asked them to do in order to receive the crown of life. Please notice what is recorded in the book of James 1:12: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Once again we see that we will only obtain our heavenly crown when we love Him.

I want to encourage all of us to make sure that we truly demonstrate our love for God, Christ, and one another. If we fail to do so, we will forfeit our eternity with God, Christ, and each other!