AM I A MEMBER OF A DENOMINATION?
(Note: This week’s essay is pursuant to a sermon I preached this past Sunday morning, June 3, at the Mitchellville (TN) Church of Christ on the question, “Why Do You Say That The Church Of Christ Is Not A Denomination?”) Continue reading
A BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF THE CHURCH
(Note: The following was posted on my FB page on May 10. With a few emendations, I send it out as this week’s edition of “Hugh’s News & Views.”)
When a person says he (or she) left the church of Christ (which they often will think/speak/write in terms of “Church of Christ”) to join the Baptist Church or the Catholic Church or the Episcopal Church or whatever the denomination might be so that they and their spouse “would be members of the same church” (or for some other “reason”), I immediately know that they do not have a biblical concept of the church of Christ, nor are they and I “on the same page” when speaking of the church of Christ. They have one concept in mind, and I have an entirely different concept in mind. (Note: Contrary to the thinking of some, “Church of Christ” is not “the fellowship’s name,” as the editor of one publication recently asserted. In reality, the church of the New Testament does not have an official, exclusive, patented “name,” but, instead, it is identified by a number of descriptors of which “church of Christ” is but one). Continue reading
Definition of terms is always appropriate, especially here:
Church not a destination? Depends on your definition of church.
If the church is God’s present manifestation of his kingdom, absolutely that’s my destination.
“But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to be baptized, both men and women.”
Philip preached to Samaritans. The gospel began to reach more and more people. The proper response to the gospel is faith and baptism. All are welcome in God’s kingdom, men and women.
The gospel about God’s kingdom includes the truth about its present manifestation, the church. “… a proper understanding of the church is required to be saved in the church (Acts 8:12), …” (Webster 2018, 21).
- Allen Webster (2018) “The New Testament Church Is Distinctive,” Spiritual Sword 49:2 (January 2018) 21.
#votd #kingdom-of-God #church
The United Methodist Church is celebrating 50 years of its birth with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968. An article published today interviewed witnesses who recalled the birth of the new denomination.
The article’s title reminds one of Jesus’ words in Mark 9.1: “I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” The original witnesses to the new manifestation of God’s kingdom, in the church, have long passed away. Continue reading
“Now, brothers and sisters, you know about the household of Stephanus, that as the first converts of Achaia, they devoted themselves to ministry for the saints.”
1 Corinthians 16.15
Though they were the first converts in Achaia, Stephanus and his family did not consider it a position of honor, but an opportunity to serve. They did all they could for God’s people (CEV). They “spent all their time” doing so (NIRV). Such devotion means sacrifice of time, energy, and funds.
In what ways do you devote yourself to the serve of God’s family? Why is this a priority in the church?
#service #church #VOTD
Faith and footwork for the Lord,
Contented smiles to take the News,
Fervent prayers for family growth,
For added workers in the field.
A tropical sun to try the wavering,
Jeers and rocks from passersby,
A song of joy from Jesus’ sowers,
With seeds of hope for heaven’s folk.
Amazed disciples mind their brethren,
Fraternal love to teach and learn
The gifts of life, the gates of glory —
Here reigns our God, the rousing Father.
“Choose your own church.” “Dress as you please.” “Be entertained in worship services.” These are the appeals made to people who do not want to change. For Moses to approach Him, God said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5 NKJV). Reverential attitudes are reflected by our approach. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 NKJV); and “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47 NKJV). Jesus adds to His church those who obey His will for salvation. Church worship should “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV). Who chose your church?
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
By Johnny O. Trail
Women are an important part of the body of Christ. Indeed, many efforts that are attempted in the Lord’s church would fail miserably if godly women were not dedicated to supporting the work of the church.
God, through His word, selects people to serve in various ways in the body of Christ. The word of God is prohibitive in regards to the works of an elder and a deacon inasmuch as it outlines the requirements that one seeking such a work must satisfy to serve in such a capacity. If one is not qualified, he should not serve. All workers in the Lord’s church must seek authority for their actions and words whether male or female, elder or otherwise.
These things being said, God loves all people equally—men and women. John 3.16 says, “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.” Galatians 3.27-28 says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” God does not love an elder any more than He loves a preacher. Nor does He love a man more than a woman. Simply stated, there is a distinction in the works they are authorized to be a part of in the church (Ephesians 4.11). Continue reading
By Douglas M. Williams, Sr.
- “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
- “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (Acts 5:11).
- “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1).
- “Greet the church that is in their house” (Romans 16:5).
- “To the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2).
- “Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.”
- And “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:23-25).
As shown in the above verses and others the church is often referred to as “the church.” Since it was the only one that existed, it was not always necessary to identify the church in any other way. Of course, the church belonged to Christ as He promised to build it, and He bought it with His blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28). Then at Romans 16:16 it is identified as the church of Christ.
The word is from the Greek language, and the English spelling is ‘ekklesia.’ It means, “Called out.” So those who are called by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), from the world by their obedience to the gospel of Christ, are those people who make up the church. They are sanctified or set apart as written in the article last week.
Please notice that the church is singular as the spiritual body of Christ. Jesus said He would build one church (Matthew 16:18), and at John 10:16 He said, “there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus is the shepherd and the church is the flock (Acts 20:28).
Among the seven things that Paul mentions of which there was only one, was the church or spiritual body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6). The one body is the church as stated in Ephesians 1:22-23.
“The churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).
“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 16:18 NKJV). The word “church” means “assembly,” so when Jesus was raised from the dead, His “disciples were assembled” (John 20:19 NKNV), and before He ascended into Heaven, He “assembled together with them” (Acts 1:4 NKJV). Once baptized into Christ to wash away his sins, Saul of Tarsus came to Antioch with Barnabas, and “for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26 NKJV). Only the Devil would convince people they can be Christians without assembling with the saints! Only the Devil would convince people they can be saved by Jesus Christ without needing “church!” Without “church,” sinners are alone!
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
I’m not a fan of Rick Warren, but this quote that appeared today in my Hubzilla feed is quite good and represents fairly well the type of relationship that the Lord provides us in the church of God.
If you are a member of a small group or class, I urge you to make a group covenant that includes the nine characteristics of biblical fellowship: We will share our true feelings (authenticity), forgive each other (mercy), speak the truth in love (honesty), admit our weaknesses (humility), respect our differences (courtesy), not gossip (confidentiality), and make group a priority (frequency).
The “group covenant” he speaks of might better be described as every saint’s commitment to obey the Lord and to love sincerely and intensely one’s family in Christ, 1 Pet 1.22-23:
You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
Other terms and phrases could also stand a tweak, but the above quote captures much of the interaction necessary to be a true people of God. Of course, Warren misses most of the biblical pattern for the nature of the church and the way of salvation, truths about which we must be receptive and honest before we can truly love the Lord and his people.
#church #brotherly-love #fellowship
QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTIANS ABOUT THE CHURCH
1. What is the church? (Write a simple one sentence definition of the church.)
2. When did the church first exist in the mind of God?
3. Was the church a subject of Old Testament prophecy?
4. Who was the founder of the church?
5. When was the church established as a historical reality? Continue reading
“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” Ephesians 2:22.
With love over everything that we do, one of the prime directives of the church is edification. Most believe that edification is just teaching & preaching. After all, the members are “edified” when solid, biblical, Christ-centered teaching & preaching is fed to the flock.
But it is so much more than this. Edification gets to the shepherding of the sheep and so involves nourishing each of the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of individual members. Continue reading
If, on the report I made yesterday, you read between the lines, you might have figured out that the first place we went after arrival from Brazil in the US last month was … a Brazilian restaurant. Our son Joel drove from Henderson to Nashville to pick us up at the airport and that restaurant is a taste of home for him. So we were happy to indulge his desire.
The name of the restaurant is “Café Mineiro.” (See photo of The Missus and me in the restaurant here.) “Mineiro” is one who is from the state of Minas Gerais. Joel was born in that state’s capital, Belo Horizonte, where we lived our first 10 years in Brazil. Continue reading