What The Bible Says
“What The Bible Says - Vol. 3 / No. 18”
What The Bible Says
Vol. III - No. 18 / January 31, 2021
WHICH CHURCH IS RIGHT?
With the situation in the religious world being what it is, this may sound like a ridiculous question to some. We so often hear, "Join the church of your choice," or "One church is as good as another"and "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you're sincere." This is what man says but is this what God says about it? Does it matter what church you join and support?
In Matthew 16:18 we have the first mention made of the church: Jesus said, "And I say unto you that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". Note that He said "church" - not churches. Jesus intended only to build one church and we must know that one is all He built.
Ephesians 4:4-6 teaches there "is one body and one Spirit, even as you 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." The "one body" is one church, for the body of Christ is the church, and Christ as the head of it (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18,24). If there is only one body and the body is the church, it follows that there is only one church.
When we look about us and see there are many "churches", there should be no doubt that something is not right! Instead of praising denominationalism, as we hear so many do, we should hang our heads in shame at the gross error and division that is its fruit. What we have now is not what Jesus intended at all.
So, which church is right? We must look to the Scriptures to know the answer and not to human opinions. We must first see what the scriptures teach concerning what constitutes the church. Who are members of the body of Christ, the church? In Acts 2:47 we learn those who were added to the church were those who were being saved. The next identifying mark of the true church is that they teach and practice only what the head of the church has authorized. Since Christ has been given all authority (Matt. 28:18), the true church follows the words of Christ. They have no creed but the Bible and no head but Christ. If a church has its own creed or recognizes anyone but Christ as its authority, it cannot be rightly called the true church. If you investigate denominations, you will find that very few do not have a creed, and most, though they claim allegiance to Christ, will reject some portion of Scripture because it does not agree with what they teach and/or practice.
The right church is the one that has wholly submitted itself to the will of Christ, and endeavors to continue in His will. The true, "right" church seeks to please Christ and not self. Even then, the "right" church will have its faults because it is made up of imperfect people; Christians still sin and they still make mistakes. If, in the true church, error is discovered, they will humble themselves and make corrections. You may not find a "perfect" church, but you can find the right one.
—E.R. Hall, Jr.
EVERY DIRTY WORD KNOWN TO MAN!
I was recently filling my gas tank when I heard a loud blaring noise coming from the car ahead of me at the station. I usually pay no attention to the "stuff," as I have no interest in it; but this time I noticed the presence of all kinds of foul language. As I listened more intently, not to enjoy but to learn, I probably heard nearly every dirty word that I had ever heard coming from the song. I have lived a sheltered life from this standpoint and my list of such words might be quite short compared to some lists. I know precious little about the modern music scene, but I think the song was a rap song, from what I have heard about that kind.
The scary part of the situation was that the two young girls in the car were obviously unashamed of the sound their radio/stereo was sending forth, as one of them paraded in her skin-tight clothes and talked to a carload of males who drove up. I suppose this is the modern scene, more than some of us are willing to admit it. I am concerned for our country (Prov. 14:34). I wonder about the parents of the girls (Eph. 6:4; 5:3-4). I am afraid for those young girls. I seriously considered speaking to them about the profanity they were advertising, but they left before I finished. What should I say to people in such a situation? As I think about this matter and discuss it with you, possibly I will cause some others to speak up in similar situations.
1. I believe we should start with the spiritual nature of the human being (Gen. 1:26; Zech.12:1). As God has created us in His image and endowed us with a nature like His own, we are primarily accountable to Him (Rom. 14:12). To assert our right to do as we like and to answer to none for our choices is to deny the hand of God in our creation and the voice of God in the Scriptures. To disregard our likeness to the Lord is to undermine our dignity, worth, and potential for good; to deny the voice of God speaking to our good is to leave ourselves alone on the sea of life, without chart or compass or guiding star when we reject His. It is no wonder that so many become aimless, resorting to drugs, promiscuous sex, fame, or some other source to fill the void that only God can fill (Eccl. 3:11).
2. I think also we should stress the formation of habits, both good and bad, results from the repeated thoughts and acts that we allow a place in our minds. Habits then form character. I remember the following short poem:
Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
(Quoted by Samuel Smiles in Life and Labor, 1887)
In many cases we have failed to instill in our young people, the relationship of what they think about and practice to the entirety of life. No one can expect to live a life dominated by good when he has chosen the bad of this world for his thoughts, speech, and behavior.
3. Personal responsibility and accountability to others is another lesson that I believe we must somehow get across to young people. The recognition of this depends on the understanding of our spiritual nature, as stressed earlier, and our need for each other. Influence and example must become concerns of all responsible people; what we do affects others. Teaching is the sole foundation for such a concern. We have it on the best authority that evil companionships have a corrupting influence on all, even on the best of us (1 Cor. 15:33). It is also true that the influence of a child of God can serve as salt and light (Mt. 5:13-16). Are you using your speech to edify others (Col. 4:6)?
4. I am satisfied also that we must embed in the thinking of our youth that a misspent life is not easily recalled or amended. I do not suggest that repentance is impossible or that sin is inevitable in its rule over us, for neither idea is correct (Acts 17:30; Rom. 6:12). Some turned to God from idols, and what a turn that was, given the associated vices of idolatry (1 Thess. 1:9). It is more the difficulty of breaking bad habits and rooting out the evil that has become second-nature to us that I hear emphasize. Patterns of speech and conduct can be changed, but to change them requires major and prolonged effort, beginning with a change of one's environment (friends). It is far better for a young person to determine to avoid the life of indecency that is becoming altogether too common among those too young to understand the bitter fruit of sin. It is undeniably true, however, that when we grow our roots in the field of sin, the fruit that we harvest cannot be expected in some other field (Gal. 6:7-8).
Each of us can use whatever influence he has for good in helping to salvage one or more such young person. Though that one might not have become a Christian, in such a case it is still possible to save a soul from death and to cover multitude of sins (James 5:19-20). I am afraid for our young people, as I said before; but with all of us working on this problem, the situation will not be as scary.
—Bobby L. Graham
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--- E.R. Hall, Jr.
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