Copyright © August 2017 - James Daniel - Overture and Doctrinal
Greetings and salutation. Welcome to the church of Christ located in south county Leitrim. Actually, we're the only church of Christ in the north west of Ireland as far as I know. Nevertheless, we're a small group (or congregation) that was planted in early 2011 whilst living in south county Sligo. Shortly after that we moved to the Carrick on Shannon area in early 2013. Since then, we've been working with one of the churches in Zimbabwe, in which, we have developed a strong relationship, and especially so for the cause of Christ. We also have a strong online influence to boot. In saying that, and despite efforts to evangelize our local area, including oppositions on several fronts; it seems that the gravity of the gospel appears to be of the lesser concern for many. In fact, most people just don't want to hear the gospel, which is no doubt a testimony to their unbelief. Now we're not overly surprised at this given the humanistic nature of mankind in general. I suppose, we could liken it to an effigy of the nature of man in the pre-flood era. According to the scriptures, the wickedness of man was great upon the earth in those days, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually - Genesis 6:55. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.. Look around you today. It seems that for the most part every one is for himself. The new kind of old I suppose - Ecclesiastes 1:99. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.. Humanism philosophizes man before God, whereas, the Bible teaches God before man. No doubt the Creator has the last say, and rightly so. With regards to the morals of men in our time, well, one only needs to look at the lack of modesty in dress to see the fulfilling of Romans chapter one. Paul said, that men would be lovers of themselves in the last days - 2 Timothy 3:2-52. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.. I often remarked, that the only time it seems that men pull together is when there is some kind of disaster. I think that speaks for itself, don't you? The rest of the time they act like enemies. Whilst for others, it seems to be the only time they call on God, when they want something, that is. This is the same pattern which was observed amongst the children of Israel. When they sinned, God would punish them. They would cry out, and God would forgive them. Then things would settle down, and they would soon forget the ways of God. They would sin, and again God would punish them. This went on and on until the fulness of time was come - Galatians 4:44. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,, and then they crucified the Son of God - 1 Corinthians 2:88. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.. Then God gave them over to that reprobate mind. My friend, the same is happening today. Men do not want to retain God in their knowledge, nor do they want to retain the knowledge of God - Romans 1:2828. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;. Man has no one to blame only himself when he refuses God. Almost all of the problems we see today are as a result of transgression. Now that's not to say everything is a result of transgression, but for the most part it is. However, certain things do happen by chance. For instance, Jesus said, Those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish - Luke 13:4-54. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.. Yet the ignorant continue to accuse God when things go wrong. Surely, you can't have your cake and eat it too?
My friend, knowledge is the prerequisite to obedience and salvation - Romans 10:1717. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.. How can a man know to obey God without first being taught? That is the work of an evangelist. Indeed it is the work of all that have obeyed the gospel and profess Christ. This is the work of the church. Nevertheless, we continue in every opportunity that presents itself to reach those that would to hear the gospel. Moreover, this website was designed with the sole intention of teaching men the way of Christ and salvation, and if I may say, only according to what the Bible teaches. After all, the Bible is the word of God - 2 Timothy 3:16-1716. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.. Without the Bible we'd never know the will of God, let alone, Jesus Christ and the things that pertain to salvation. We have an unction to preach Christ crucified as the Bible teaches to do. If Roman Catholicism doesn't preach Christ, and they don't, then who will? Paul said, How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God - Romans 10:14 & 1714. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God..
That said, the sole purpose of this website is to help men to better understand what the Bible teaches about obeying the gospel. Gospel obedience demands knowledge, and that can only be acquired by means of proper Bible study. Teaching the gospel is not a matter of conjecture, but of strict concordance with the scriptures. Any man who professes to teach the scriptures is bound under the law of Christ to speak as the oracles of God - 1 Peter 4:1111. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.. Yet, and for the most part, this is not the case. The fundamental problem in our time rests in the excess of confusion we see throughout religious Christendom, in that, they either don't teach what the Bible teaches, or they teach it in error. Nevertheless, the vast majority are only taught a shaddow of the truth, if even that, which in fact is no truth at all. The Devil has lingered about this thing for a long time now, and knows very well how to handle God's word deceitfully. I suppose that's why so many men are led astray, in that, ignorance in one way or another is always an easy target. The reality is that most people will not listen to sound doctrine that they might gain a more excellent understanding. The prophet Hosea spake concerning the Lord. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge - Hosea 4:66. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.. As I've said before, and I'll say it again: the apostle Peter spake, that if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God - 1 Peter 4:1111. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.. Speaking the truth is what plants the seed - John 17:1717. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth., cf. Luke 8:1111. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.. In saying that, God appoints men according to his own will and good pleasure - Ephesians 4:1111. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;. God gave some means exactly what it says. Now in retrospect, and with regards to 1 Peter 4:11 and Ephesians 4:11, I've always found it interesting that both quotations are numbered 4:11, in spite of the fact they are from different writers, yet they articulate the same thing. The more we gain in terms of the knowledge of God's word, well, it's the more amazing it becomes.
Well, I suppose the simplest answer is that the church is of Christ. No pun intended! I've often been asked by people as to whose church I belong? My usual answer is that I'm a Christian, taught from the Bible - Romans 10:1717. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God., obeyed from the heart - Romans 6:1717. 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., and added to the church by the Lord - Acts 2:3838. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost., 4747. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.. And just so we're on an even keel, the Bible teaches only one church - Ephesians 4:44. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;, so there's no other way to answer it truthfully, assuming you speak as the oracles of God, that is. Therefore, as the custom of the first century church was to meet on the first day of the week (which is a Sunday); to break bread and drink of the fruit of the vine in remembrance of the Lord Jesus Christ, well, so do we - 1 Corinthians 11:24-2524. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.. Some of the more educated call this pattern theology. I just call it what it is, obeying God's word. Now in saying that, the command of the Lord Jesus Christ is that all Christians are to assemble. Now if one will observe closely the pattern of the early church, they'll soon discover that only one day is mentioned wherein Christians assembled to worship God - Acts 20:77. 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.. Actually, no other day is mentioned anywhere in the holy record. That in, and of itself, should serve as a valuable illustration, not to mention, an example. Moreover, there are several warnings with regards to forsaking the assembling of ourselves, for example, Hebrews 10:25-2625. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,. Now it goes without saying, that we use unleavened bread and fruit of the vine, which is the unfermented juice of red grapes; when preparing the Lord's supper. We also give of our means on the first day as the Bible teaches to do - 1 Corinthians 16:22. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.. We offer Bible study on Wednesday evenings as a lawful expedient, and on a one to one basis if necessary. You see, most people tend to overlook the fact, that the most important thing they will ever learn in the whole of their lifetime is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, even that. When men obey that gospel, they are effectively translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son (Jesus Christ) - Colossians 1:1313. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:, which is the church, that is, of Christ, hence, the use of the term, church of Christ - Acts 2:4747. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved., Romans 16:1616. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.. However, the sad fact, is that, very few show any interest for the things which are Jesus Christ's - Philippians 2:2121. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's., let alone, the saving of their soul.
In saying that, did you know that the (Roman) Catholic church had its origins from within the church of Christ? Yes, this is indeed a historical fact. Now despite the conjectures of Roman Catholicism, is that, they were once a faithful church in the Lord. However, around the third century after the resurrection the church at Rome began to apostatize. To apostatize, is to turn away from, or forsake a religious tradition (or pattern), as in, that of the apostles and Jesus Christ, for example - 2 Thessalonians 2:1515. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle., cf. Acts 2:4242. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.. Thank God, we have the record of those traditions in the Bible, otherwise we'd be none the wiser. The Bible teaches men to become Christians (followers of Christ) - Hebrews 12:22. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God., whereas, the Roman Catholic church teach men to be Catholics - Mark 7:77. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.. There's a tremendous difference in the two forms. One will save whilst the other will condemn. You can't have both.
Well, the church at Carrick on Shannon is just one congregaion (or group of people) that meet to worship God on the first day of the week. There are many such congregations all over the world. Collectively, we are known as the churches, or church of Christ - Romans 16:1616. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.. A word of warning though, in that, the Lord's church has absolutely no association with the likes of the Mormon church, or any of the Pentecostal churches that use the term churches of Christ in any of it's forms, nor indeed, the Boston or International churches of Christ who have broken the scripture and transcended all scriptural authority in their current state of apostasy. We use, or go by the term "churches of Christ" just as the Bible teaches. However, anyone can use the term, and sometimes just for the namesake without ever keeping with the traditions of Bible doctrine. This, in and of itself, has caused more confusion than not. It also gives the wrong impression, and has done. In any case, we're not unmindful of who's behind it.
With all due respect, the church of Christ is the only church the Bible teaches. Mind you, it's not a matter of striving headlong, or blindsighted into something that is open to question; but rather, a taught religion, and by the authority of Jesus Christ; hence, the latter part of the term, being, of Christ. As I said before, of Christ is to say by the authority of Christ. If something is not authorized of Christ, then it has no authority. You see then how each of the congregations (assemblies) are of the number that have obeyed the gospel, and were then added to the church by the Lord - Acts 2:4747. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.? Unlike the apostate Roman Catholic church and misled Christendom, is that, the local assembly exists by the authority of Christ. In saying that, the individual congregations are known as local churches of Christ. The unusual thing is that the local churches of Christ are self-governing, or autonomous. That means, there is no central authority such as the Vatican is to the Roman Catholic religion. Well, after all, the church of Christ is patterned after what is authorized in the holy record. As for elders, they are to be appointed in all the churches according to the apostle Paul - Titus 1:5-95. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6. If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9. Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.. Common sense would have us to know, the adjective "elder" unequivocally refers to an older man, and within the context of scripture is given in the plural sense. Plural means, more than one, or no less than two. Very simple logic. Straightway, the shaddow of doubt is cast on any man who displaces the oversight of elders over a congregation, or indeed more than one congregation, and to be at fault. Yet such things are observed in the Catholic religion, and throughout so called religious Christendom as a whole. That in itself is a warning that something is grievously wrong, and indeed is wrong. According to the Bible there is no authority for that kind of oversight. Such things serve to warn us from that which is not authorized of God. It makes all the difference as to where and how you worship God. God gave us the Bible for a reason. Let's not ignore it.
Elders are men that God has authorized to have the oversight of a local congregation, or church. Now I'm not talking about just any church; but rather, a local church of Christ to be exact. Now the word church, itself, comes from the latin word ecclesia (or the Greek Ekklesia), which means to be called out. The word church is always in the plural, for as the Lord said, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them - Matthew 18:2020. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.. Now with regards to us in particular, we don't have elders at this time for the simple reason that we are a relatively young congregation with a small number of members. However, I have absolutely no doubt that in time this requirement shall be answered. Until then, we press on in our duty to teach the gospel in the hope of saving some, even that. Did you know that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth - Luke 15:1010. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.? Moreover, repentance is a condition of salvation. To define the noun "repent," it could be said, as an act of sincere regret or remorse. The Bible definition is to turn away, or change one's mind. Repentance is always associated with turning away from sin. All sin is a transgression of God's law - 1 John 3:44. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.. You see, unless a man forsakes, or turns away from his sinful ways, he will most definitely perish - Luke 13:313. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.. What's more, the vast majority nowadays refuse to believe that such a place as hell exists, that is, until one day their there. Whether men believe or not that hell exists won't change a thing. Actually, the Bible teaches that hell enlarges herself, and opens her mouth without measure - Isaiah 5:1414. Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.. That in itself is a scary thought. When men ignore what the Bible teaches about hell they are gambling with something so terrible that words fail to comprehend. Either way, if one was to believe that hell existed, and let's say it didn't, so what? At least it kept one on the straight and narrow. On the other hand, however, let's say it does, and I believe it does, then there's a lot to gamble for, so to speak. Moreover, the Bible teaches no such place as purgatory. For if purgatory existed; then Christ was crucified for nought. But that's not the case. The doctrine of purgatory is a false doctrine of Roman Catholicism. The Bible is so punctuated with warnings about a place called hell that it's impossible to ignore. God didn't mention hell just to fill the pages of the inerrant scriptures, hence, the inerrancy of scripture. Hell is so terrible that even the Bible describes it in few words. That's why the preacher warns every man of the misery that cometh upon him if he should die in his sins. When men refuse to be justified by the blood of Jesus Christ - Romans 5:99. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him., they are effectively sentencing themselves to hell. You see, the holiness of the God of heaven will not allow for sin, except it be forgiven. Christ the propitiation is the only hope of men. My friend, now is the accepted time with God - 2 Corinthians 6:22. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.). For as Solomon said, boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth - Proverbs 27:11. Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth..
The church of Christ (biblical designation - Romans 16:1616. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.), is made up of Christians - Acts 11:2626. And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch., both men and women who have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ - Mark 1:11. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;, Genesis 5:22. Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created., Galatians 3:2828. 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.. The church, as in, those that have been added by the Lord - Acts 2:4747. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved., are obligated under the law of Christ - Galatians 6:22. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ., to holdfast, that, which is the authority of scripture (the Bible) - Deuteronomy 4:242. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you., cf. Revelation 22:1919. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book., Proverbs 30:66. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.. The Bible contains the written and authoritative record of God's word. There's no other book like the Bible because of it's supernatural origins. A period of some fifteen hundred years, and forty men, have wrough the Bible with regards to the comfort of the scriptures - Romans 15:44. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.. Unlike all other books that belong to men, the Bible came from heaven by the power of God through the Holy Ghost made manifest in earthen vessels. With regards to authority in the church, well, it either comes from man or from God. If it comes from man then it's not from God. My friend, absolute authority rests with God. Why? Well, because God is the Creator. God is the judge. In Romans 2:22. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. we read, that the judgement of God is according to truth. All authority rests with God by virtue of his nature. He's omniscient, which is all knowing. Omnipresent, everywhere at all times. He's omnipotent, which is all powerful. He's eternal, without beginning of days, nor end of life - Revelation 22:1313. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.. He's the one that said, "I am that I am" - Exodus 3:1414. And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.. He is the self-existing one by the power of his word. He spoke, and brought all things into existence - Psalm 33:99. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.. He has set the rule!
That said, I guess you now understand who is the authority in the church of Christ. If you want to be a member of the church, then you also must believe that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh - 1 John 4:22. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:. Not only that, but by faith in Christ - Romans 3:2222. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:, repentance and water baptism for the remission of sins - Acts 2:3838. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost., then the Lord will then add you to the church - Acts 2:4747. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.. It is only then a man bcomes a Christian, and as I said before, is now obligated under the law of Christ to holdfast the doctine of Christ all the days of his natural life - 2 John 1:99. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.. To become a Christian is a life changing event. In one sense, it's out with the old and in with the new. Since the plan of salvation demands repentance (which is to change one's mind, or turn away from sin), either way, it's life changing. The religion of Jesus Christ is a taught religion, and not something we strive headlong, or in ignorance - Romans 15:44. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.. It's also a saving religion. No other religion can claim the salvation that is found in Jesus Christ except the religion of Jesus Christ - Acts 4:1212. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.. Some men condemn religion, and claim that religion is not of God. Many dictionaries fail to provide a proper definition for religion. The proper term for religion is a system of beliefs and practices. When we learn to do, we learn religion. We learn to assemble on the first day of the week. We also understand that every week has a first day - Acts 20:77. 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.. To imitate something repeatedly is to do it religiously. The religion of Jesus Christ is easily understood, and not something that is hidden or obscure. Do what God said and it will go well for thee. That's what the Bible teaches. For reference sake - (Old Testament) Deuteronomy 6:1818. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers.. You know, Paul said, to cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ - 2 Corinthians 10:55. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;. That's religion my friend. To do what God said to do requires religion. Religion is a system of do's and don'ts. Religion is something we do every day in some form or another. There are many religions in the world, but only one which is of Christ. There is only one religion that saves, and that is the do religion we read about in the New Testament - James 1:2222. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.. There's no such thing as running head long or blind sighted with Christ. We study - 2 Timothy 2:1515. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth., and learn to be obedient, as Christ also learned obedience by the things which he suffered - Hebrews 5:88. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;. An obedient faith is a saving faith. There's no two ways about it.
You see then, my friend, man is not the authority in the church of the living God, and that includes me. Elders are the closest thing you will come to in terms of authority in the church, and they only administer by authority, as in, delegated authority. God gave some implies a higher authority, and the only authority. Isaiah spake concerning God, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts - Isaiah 55:99. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts..
In fact, the church of Christ is neither a sect nor a cult, however, to answer the question properly, we need to first determine what is meant by the term cult. According to the Oxford dictionary, a cult is a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. With regards to the faith of Christ, well, the object of a Christian's faith is Christ, or at least should be. The difference between Jesus Christ and all other objects of veneration is that he is deity. Deity is the Creator. Deity is the judge. Christ is the second person of the Godhead - 1 John 5:77. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one., cf. 1 John 1:1414. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth., and for emphasis - Mark 1:11. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;. With regards to the church of Christ being a sect, well, in one sense it was, to the Jewish religion under the Mosaic law. The coming of Christ brought about the end of the Mosaic law whilst at the same time established the law of Christ. The intervening period, otherwise known as the fulness of time - Galatians 4:44. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,; compassed also the appointing of the twelve apostles, and thereby establisthing a new system of religion. This was seen as extremely contrary to the religious traditions already established, and therefore, vigorously and violently opposed by the Jews of that day. Needlesss to say, it culminated with the crucifixion of God's Son, and founder of the faith, Jesus Christ. In saying that, to this day, the religion of Christ is seen as the most offensive religion in the world. Why? because the Bible condemns sin, and the church which is built upon the foundation of Christ and the apostles - Ephesians 2:19-2019. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;, teaches what the Bible teaches. It's a well known fact amongst Bible scholars that any violation of the scriptues is sinful. When men fail to declare the whole counsel of God they are effectively transgressing the authority of the scriptures. There are several warnings pertaining to this. Paul said, if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins - Hebrews 10:2626. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,. Sin is a transgression of the law of God - 1 John 3:44. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.. Mind you, it's better to read up than to remain ignorant, that's for sure. Jesus said, his word will judge us in the last day - John 12:4848. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day..
Now the religion of Jesus Christ is monotheistic, which means, it's characterized by the belief that there is one God. That said, it's not a matter of proving whether God exists, because he does, but rather to prove what is right before God, and in the sight of men - 1 Thessalonians 5:2121. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good., cf. 2 Corinthians 8:2121. Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men..
Did you know that Christ was accused of being the ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes? - Acts 24:55. For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:. Moreover, whilst Paul was in Rome, the chief Jews enquired concerning the sect of the Nazarenes because that every where it was spoken against - Acts 28:2222. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.. The churches of Christ in the present time are no different. For the most part they are spoken against because they holdfast to what the scriptures teach with regards to obeying the gospel. It's my understanding that the church of Christ is the only church that accentuates the necessity of obeying the gospel for one to be saved and added to the church, and obviously to become a Christian. Yet, and contrariwise, the predominant religion in so called Christendom is that of Roman Catholicism, not to mention, her protestant and denominational progenies. Roman Catholicism doesn't even teach the gospel, let alone, obey it. Moreover, the misconception that religious Christendom represents the religion of Jesus Christ is nothing more than a surreptitious and pseudo-display of all guile and hypocricy. Man made religions that claim to represent the God of heaven. This is what the world is led to believe - 2 Corinthians 4:44. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.. With all due respect, the religion of Jesus Christ is a minority religion, and the only religion that can save, that is, if men will keep with the traditions of Bible doctrine. The general consensus amongst those who are caught up in religious Christendom, is that, they don't need to obey everything that the Bible teaches. Let's say, for example, the use of musical instruments in worship. You may well have heard that the church of Christ doesn't use musical instruments in worship, and for what ever reasons. Either way, the New Testemant doesn't authorize the use of musical instruments in worship, so why use them? When men use musical instruments to worship God it only shows that something is wrong. In spite of that, there are those that say that they don't need to obey everything as long as their heart is right with God. Yet Paul said, that Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him - Hebrews 5:99. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;. It seems there's a grevious contradiction on their part, for if God is the one who does the saving, then God is the one who determines what's said and done.
Work in progress....
As for the churches of Christ and what they teach in terms of doctrine is a very important, not to mention, what is acceptable in the sight of God. Mind you, from a panoptic point of view, religious Christendom seems to teach everything and anything except for what the Bible teaches, and especially so with respect to obeying the gospel - Mark 1:11. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;. The echoic nature of denominationalism has a resounding tone of self-righteousness in what they say, and believe, and do, and what have you? That's not teaching the Bible. That's only teaching what they make up themselves, and then believing it as if it was from God. What's more, the Bible teaches no such thing as patchwork preaching except for when false doctrine is exposed. You see, false teaching never saved anyone. It only denies salvation to those that would otherwise have opportunity to be taught correctly, even that. Denominationalists call it unity in diversity. The Bible calls it going to hell. When God sent his Son into the world - John 3:1717. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved., it not only made it possible for men to be saved; but also upset the religious systems of that day, and continues to do so unto the present time. A conservative estimate suggests that there are at least 4,200 religions in the world today. The Bible teaches only one religion. That's the religion of Jesus Christ. In fact, it's the only religion whereby men become Christians. All other religions that claim to be Christian have their beliefs well grounded in duplicity. By their very existence they oppose the cross of Christ.
Did you know that there are at least nine recognized major religions in India, including so called Christendom? The Lord's church, the church of Christ, has also a presence in India, but as a minority religion. India is just one of 195 countries in the world. In fact, the religion of Christ is a minority religion in general given that the majority reject the gospel at all costs. If men only knew the cost of what they are rejecting. You know, the statistics are scary when we consider the average age of man which is threescore and ten years (70) - Psalm 90:1010. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.. That said, and to all and sundry, are the claims that we are now living longer lives. When you compare that to the antediluvian world (pre-flood) that is, well, there's no comparison. Noah lived to 950 years with no GP services or hospitals to boot - Genesis 9:2929. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.. So how can men say we are living longer when in actual fact we are living shorter lives. It's not a matter of health equalling longevity, even though it's a good thing to live healthier no doubt - 1 Timothy 4:88. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come., but rather what God has determined. You know, not everything we take for granted is as it seems. More often than not, the truth of the matter is well hidden, and for reasons unknown to most of us. Such is the nature of the world we live in.
The same is true with regards to how the gospel is preached today. You could say, part truth and part lie, even that, which in fact is no truth at all. Men spoil the gospel effort when they intrude upon the inspired record with the doctrines of men. In other words, with the leaven of false doctrine. As Paul said, preach the word - 2 Timothy 4:22. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.. There's no other way than to speak the truth. That's how you plant the seed of the word of God in the hearts of men. Peter said, if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God - 1 Peter 4:1111. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.. Any other way is to lead men astray. A man of God is a man who preaches after God. As for the rest, as in, all who preach after the doctrines of men, well, they can say what they want because they don't preach after the authority of Christ. In any case, when men deviate even the slightest from what is authorized in the scriptures, they preach after the doctrines of devils, and not God - 1 Timothy 4:1-21. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;. The devils have no interest in preaching the truth, but rather to deceive. God has judged them, and they know that their condemnation lingereth not. The devils desire to bring as many souls as they can to hell with them. You see my friend, they know the horror of what's coming to them. Satan's objective is to preach the lie. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it - John 8:4444. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.. When men fail to preach as the oracles of God, they become false teachers and liars, and thereby do the bidding of them which are already judged. When men fail to preach the full counsel of God, they are effectively condemning their hearers to the torments of an eternal hell, that is, unless they hear thee gospel, and obey it. Mind you, there are some even within the ranks of the Lord's church who shouldn't be there. Paul did warn about that you know - Acts 20:3030. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them., cf. 2 Peter 2:11. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.. The onus rests on both the preacher to preach - 2 Timothy 4:22. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine., and the hearer to hear - Matthew 11:1515. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.. Men are better informed upon hearing the gospel - Romans 10:1717. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.. However, given the number of imposters and deceivers all claiming to teach the way salvation, and what have you? Is it any wonder the truth is obscured amidst that dungheap, and evildoers? God will take to task all who handle his word deceitfully. Paul said, if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them - 2 Corinthians 4:3-43. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them..
Now with regards to whether God exists or not, and because some are inclined to deny the existence of God by merely claiming a lack of evidence, well, I say, the irrefutability of something that is unexplainable only proves the incontrovertible existence of God in the first place. In other words, just because you can't see God doesn't mean that God does not exist. On the contrary, the rational mind will conclude mind before matter, which is the same as saying, God before creation. It's a well known fact that matter does not produce matter. Ask any honest scientist and he will tell you the same. In saying that, all things exist by design. This is irrefutable. Design itself testifies that there is a Creator. Mind you, even the simplest organism has design. How could anything function without design? We take so much for granted in this world without ever considering the origins or end thereof, even the end of our own life. All it amounts to is injustifiable ignorance - Romans 1:2020. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:. Men are now taught to reason more like animals than moral agents. Mind you, the vast majority consider for naught the things of God, irrespective of their responsibility to him with whom they will have to do - Hebrews 4:1313. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.. Now here's a real goodie. All the money that's spent on research toward a manned mission to Mars. Who in their right mind would want to colonize a dust bowl like Mars? What's wrong with the earth that God created? If they want dust, well, there's plenty of that in the Sahara. There's as much hope of men colonizing Mars as there is in proving the Bible wrong. When man walked on the moon it didn't put food on our table, that's for sure. The point is, the utter waste of resources that could otherwise profit those in need. The emphesis here is on God leaving things up to men. Jeremiah said, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked - Jeremiah 17:99. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?. The simple fact of the matter, is that, men do not want to retain the knowledge of God in their hearts - Romans 1:2828. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;. Very few delight in the knowledge of God nowadays. I suppose another reason why so many will be lost to damnation and eternity. However, for those that do delight in the word of God, they are blessed of the almighty. I have absolutely no doubt in saying that. You see my friend, the inherent cause of the separation that exists between God and man is sin - Isaiah 59:22. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.. The efficacy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, wherein the blood of Christ is the agent by which men are reconciled to God through the forgiveness of their sins, is the means by which God has determined that man must walk therein. The blood of Christ was shed for the remission of sins - Matthew 26:2828. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.. Without the blood of Christ there is no remission of sins - Hebrews 9:2222. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.. You know, there was a time when it repented God that he created man - Genesis 6:66. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart..
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The Bible teaches that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth - Genesis 1:11. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.. Therefore, God is a, and thee, Creator. The Bible also teaches that God is a Spirit - John 4:2424. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.. Not only that, Paul wrote, that God is the Father of spirits - Hebrews 12:99. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?. James said, that God is the Father of lights - James 1:1717. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.. The gospel of John proclaims the one true God - John 17:33. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.. That's the same as saying, there's no other God. Paul indeed spake unto Timothy concerning God, in that, God is eternal, invisible, and wise - 1 Timothy 1:1717. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.. John said, God is love - 1 John 4:88. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.. We also read that God is the one lawgiver - James 4:1212. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?, and that fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge - Proverbs 1:77. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.. Peter spake concerning the Lord, in that, one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day - 2 Peter 3:88. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.. In other words, God is not bound to the hands of time as we are. Man on the other hand, is a creation of God, and not just any creation; but made in the image of God - Genesis 1:2727. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.. Unlike the rest of creation, man is accountable to God - Romans 14:1212. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God., cf. Hebrews 9:2727. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:, Matthew 12:3636. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.. God created man an intelligent being with the inherent capacity to choose right from wrong. Therefore, mankind is accountable to God for the freedom that God has given him. Animals don't have the same capacity to choose right from wrong, nor are they answerable to God.
So who is God? My friend, God is the power behind all of the creation. Moreover, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God - Matthew 4:44. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.. James said, the body without the spirit is dead - James 2:2626. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.. Job declared that there is a spirit in man, and that the spirit of God hath made him, and the breath of the Almighty hath given him life - Job 33:44. The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life., cf. Job 32:88. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.. The Bible teaches that God is no respector of persons - Acts 10:3434. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:. Now when the Bible says that God is no respector of persons, well, it means exactly what it says. What's said, is said for all. When the Bible refers to God, it refers to Jehovah (the name of God), or literally, "the self-existing one." God also means, supreme, absolute, and final authority. God, as in the word itself, is an english word, and addresses the all powerful and self-existing one, who is the Creator of the spirit, and matter, and time, and the everlasting. There is no other God besides him - 1 Chronicles 17:2020. O Lord, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.. God is the beginning and the end - Revelation 1:88. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.. God is the one with whom we have to do - Hebrews 4:1313. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do..
Work in progress....