THE OLD PATHS
The restoration plea is about calling people back to the “old paths” of first century, New Testament, apostolic (i.e., “as in the days of the apostles”) Christianity. In reality, there is no other kind of Christianity, for anything that differs from what was preached, believed, and practiced in the first century, during the days of the apostles, and as set forth in the New Testament is but a perversion of the “one faith” (Ephesians 4:4), “the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27), “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Those who preach “another gospel” are accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
As noted in an earlier essay (“The Restoration Plea: Is It Valid?”—September 19, 2017), in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (c. 640-609 B.C.), the prophet Jeremiah said to the people, “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’ ” (Jeremiah 6:16). How sad that many today do not desire “the old paths” as revealed by Christ and His apostles and as set forth in the New Testament. Any mention of “the old paths” brings a smirk to the face of some and a mocking, condescending comment from their lips. Now, as in the days of Jeremiah, people by their attitudes and by their actions are saying, “We will not walk in the good way of the old paths”! Rather, they seek their own way. Many are enamored by the latest fad in churches and that which appeals to their “felt” needs and their desire to be entertained. Simple, New Testament Christianity has little appeal to them.
As we continue our emphasis on the restoration plea, consider these thoughts concerning the “old paths” of biblical Christianity.
1. To be in the old paths we must follow the old guide. That old guide is the doctrine of Christ and His apostles as set forth in the New Testament (John 14:6; II John 9; Acts 2:42; II Timothy 3:16-17).
2. When we follow the old guide we will be in the old church, the church that Christ Himself and not man established, the one of which He is the sole head and savior, the one to which all the saved are added, the one spiritual body (church) of Christ (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18).
3. To be in the old church we must obey the old plan. We must hear and believe the gospel, repent of our sins, confess faith in Christ, and be immersed into Christ for the remission of our sins (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; I Corinthians 15:1-2; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:28; 22:16; Galatians 3:27).
4. When we obey the old plan we can wear the old name, the name Christian (Acts 11:26; 26:28; I Peter 4:16). The denominational names that are worn today were unknown in New Testament times for the simple reason that denominationalism did not characterize original, apostolic Christianity. You will find absolutely nothing in your Bible about Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, or Methodists, et al.
5. When we wear the old name we can worship in the old way. We can worship God in spirit and truth, offering those acts of worship that the Scriptures authorize (John 4:24; Acts 20:7; Ephesians 5:19; Hebrews 13:15; I Timothy 2:1-2, 8; I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 9:7).
6. When we walk in the old paths we can have the old hope, the one hope, the hope of everlasting life in heaven (Ephesians 4:4; John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 5:1; II Peter 1:10-11).
Reflect seriously on each of the above points. Read the scripture passages that have been provided. Ask for the “old paths” of pure New Testament Christianity and walk in them.
October 10, 2017
October 22: Nashville Road Church Christ, Gallatin, TN (6 p.m.)
October 29: Mission Church of Christ, Smyrna, TN (9 a.m. & 10 a.m.)