WHATS WRONG WITH
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?
The sign over the door or in front of the
building that says Church of Christ, does
not always mean what it once did. Its what
goes on inside that reveals the real truth.
The religious community of today is prone to explain the Lords
church as being a sect which arose some two hundred years ago in
the rural Mid-Atlantic States. But we can read of its existence
much sooner 2,000 years ago. The builder Himself (Jesus Christ)
said, And I say also unto thee...I will build my church; and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto
thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt
loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matt. 16:18-19). On the
day of Pentecost we see Peter using those keys when he said,
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God
hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and
Christ (Acts 2:36). What other so-called church of today can make
this claim? None!
The religious community has a multiplicity of terms of
entrance into their respective organization. Some may say All you
need to do is believe, while others may suggest Just pray the
sinners prayer, and the list goes on and on. But what did Jesus
say? He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16). We know that belief
alone is not enough. What did James say? But wilt thou know, O
vain man, that faith without works is dead (James 5:20)? Ye see
then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only
(James 2:24). Neither was Paul saved by prayer. More was required
of him (Read Acts 9:11ff; Acts 22:16)!
The religious community may suggest people of all so-called
faiths will reach Heaven. But what did Paul have to say about that?
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
(Eph. 4:4-6). Since the Scripture clearly states there is one
faith, how can it be thought there can exist all the other
so-called faiths? Assuredly, they are of man and not of God.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is
the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body (Eph.
5:23). He will save His body which is His church! And no other!
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which
are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent
them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the
trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we
which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in
the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be
with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15-17).
While all this is of grave concern, what about that which we
see occurring within the Lords church itself? We should note that
the sign over the door or in front of the building that says
Church of Christ, does not always mean what it once did. Its
what goes on inside that reveals the real truth. Some have gone so
far as to alter their sign to indicate some exception or some
distinction that sets that group apart. Others may have simply
removed their sign altogether.
It is generally understood that churches of Christ are
autonomous; that is, each congregation acts separately and apart
from all others with each congregation having its own oversight
(elders). However, each congregation is a part of the universal
one body, the church (Col. 1:18). So, when we speak of the Lords
church in this context, we are speaking of its totality.
The literature it uses continues to show how the church as
a whole is being degraded by those who are unwilling to take the
Bible for what it has to say. Twisting and wresting of the
Scriptures, using versions of the Bible whose content has been
altered by sectarian councils and just wanting to be accepted by
the masses has resulted in some worship activities that violate
the Holy Scriptures. The sectarian world has for some years allowed
women to assume leadership roles. The Church of England (as of
01/2015) allows women preachers. So also, some churches of Christ
are trying to be like the world rather than the peculiar people God
intended (cf. 1 Peter 2:9).
We observe the following as examples of the gross violation
of Scripture among some churches of Christ today:
Rick Atchley (Richland Hills Church of Christ in the
Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area). Richland Hills is noted as being
one of the largest congregations in existence. Rick Atchley is said
to use the New International Version (NIV) Bible in his work. He
has managed to convince some fifteen of about seventeen elders to
allow a Saturday worship assembly where instrumental music and
communion are an ongoing part.
Naomi Walters (Harding Graduate School of Religion) Stamford
Church of Christ in Stamford, Connecticut. A woman has been hired
as a Minister in Residence to preach for that congregation. The
regular preacher at that congregation justified that decision
(without any Scripture, of course). It just seemed right to him,
he said. But what did Paul have to say? Let your women keep
silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to
speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith
the law (1 Cor. 14:34).
Lauren King (David Lipscomb University) Fourth Avenue Church
of Christ in Franklin, Tennessee. A woman who has been hired as a
preacher and justified by the local minister by his reinterpreting
some of Pauls teaching regarding a womans rightful place in the
church. It seems keeping up with the times is important to him and
those he leads.
In our immediate area of West Virginia there are
congregations that have a band, use women in worship activities,
offer communion on alternate days, use TV shows and other
activities that are contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:10).
Of grave concern is the direction many preacher schools
have taken in recent times. Fewer are the number who train Gospel
preachers that can and will seek the lost for which Jesus died
(Luke 19:10) and who earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3).
Instead, they are following the way of the religious world both in
thought and practice. Furthermore, congregations, especially the
larger ones, are insisting on ministers that have capital letters
after their name. What can we conclude but that the Bible is
simply not enough for some.
Not to be overlooked in all this is the lackadaisical
attitude and performance (or lack thereof) of many of those who
call themselves ministers of churches of Christ today. Many have
reinterpreted the command to go (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom.
10:13-15) as come and stay and never venturing outside. Church
growth is a natural product of conversions (Acts 2:38,41,47) which
are a product of preaching the Word to alien sinners (Rom. 1:16).
There is a general lack of earnestly contending for the
faith (Jude 3). The Lords church of today no longer enjoys that
great presence in society of just one or two generations ago.
Reprove, rebuke and exhort (2 Tim. 4:2) is generally avoided so
as not to offend anyone. Elders knowingly allow situations to exist
lest the congregation be split. Matthew 7:15-23 will not be welcome
words for many on that last great day! Jesus said, Beware of false
prophets, which come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they
are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men
gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good
tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth
evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither
[can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many
will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in
thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name
done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
While many individuals and congregations have departed from
the one faith and many others are yet departing, what about you,
where do you stand?
What is wrong with the church of Christ we read about in the
New Testament? There is absolutely nothing wrong with the church of
Christ we read of in the Bible and that exists in the world today
because it was built by Christ Himself (Matt. 16:18). It is of God
and not of man. It is the one for which Christ will be returning
when time on earth is no more (1 Thess. 4:14-18). He has not
promised to return for and accept any other. It is the one and only
one that will live eternally with Him in Heaven (1 Thess. 4:17). He
has not promised to save any other. And, anyone wishing to go to
Heaven when this life is over must of necessity align
himself/herself with His church, the church of Christ. So why wait?
We often sing the song Why do you wait? as an encouragement to
those who need to comply to the Lords commands. We need to
remember that no other will stand the test on that great day.
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Milton, WV 25541
Table of Contents
FINDING GRACE TO HELP #1
Garland M. Robinson
Hebrews 4:16, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
Why is that men often wait until the very last moment to
call out to God? Only after they have done all they can do, when
they are desperate for help, they seek the Lord. The story is told
of a man on his roof who lost his footing. As he began to slide
down, groping at everything he could possibly reach to catch
himself from falling, he cried out to God, help me, save me! Just
as he was about to tumble over the edge, a nail snagged his pants
and stopped him. He was then heard to say, never mind God, this
nail saved me. Is God only there as a life preserver? Is that the
only time we need him? Just at the last moment when all else fails?
No. A million times no.
Unless we seek God in both good times and bad times, all the
time, He is not going to be there for us when times get hard. He
does not simply want to be a part of our lives. He wants to be the
focus þ the very center of our lives.
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, seek ye first the kingdom of
God and his righteousness. When we obey the Gospel, we walk a new
life, a life where we are no longer a servant of sin (cf. Rom.
6:4,6). We now live unto God. Sin no longer reigns in our life.
Romans 6:13-14 makes this point very clear: Neither yield ye your
members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield
yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and
your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. 14For sin
shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but
Colossians 3:4 says Christ is our life. That means we live
according to His will 24/7. He is not there simply for emergencies.
However, when we need Him ever so close in times of despair and in
our darkest hour, we are able to boldly approach His throne and
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that
we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Ephesians 3:12 also speaks of this: In whom we have boldness and
access with confidence by the faith of him. We all need help. We
all are so vulnerable. What a blessing it is for God to be there
for us. We can and must depend upon Him for everything.
In His creation, God made many newborns to be able to fend
for themselves very soon after birth, but human infants are not in
that number. At birth, a baby is among the most helpless in all of
Gods creation. But when man grows to adulthood, God has given him
prowess (intelligence, skill, dominion) over all living things (cf.
Gen. 1:26-28). On the other hand, man is weak, helpless, feeble, in
spite of his often displays of pride, arrogance and independence.
In moments of tragedy this is displayed so vividly when man is
brought low and made to see his vulnerability and defenselessness.
Man is filled with sin and stands separated before God
because of it. In Romans we read, All have sinned and come short
of the grace of God. ... There is none righteous, no not one
(3:23,10). Man needs help. He needs spiritual help. To that end,
Jesus came into the world to save sinful man, to seek and to save
the lost (cf. Luke 19:10). While we were yet sinners, Jesus died
for us (Rom. 5:8). The blood he shed on the cross was for our
redemption. Ephesians 1:7 is a beautiful verse, In whom we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to
the riches of his grace.
Without the grace of God there would be no hope for any of
us. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: [it is] the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Just four verses
later shows the condition of the brethren at Ephesus before they
obeyed the Gospel in order to become Christians. That at that time
ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of
Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no
hope, and without God in the world: 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who
sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
God is a loving, merciful, forgiving God. He is not willing
that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (1
Peter 3:9). And, when men hear the saving message of the Gospel
(Rom. 10:14,17), believe that message concerning Jesus being the
Christ, the Lord, the son of God (John 8:24; Mark 16:16), repent of
their sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30), confess the sweet name of Jesus as
the Christ the Son of God (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:37), and are
baptized into water for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38;
Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21), they are saved saved from the penalty
and consequence of sin. Obedience to the Gospel, the Truth, is what
purifies ones soul (1 Peter 1:22).
Believing without obeying is useless as useless as
useless can be. Jesus made it plain when he spoke these words, Not
every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is
in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and
in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto
them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
Romans 10:13 says, For whosoever shall call upon the name
of the Lord shall be saved. The masses have no clue what that
means. Their concept is that all a person has to do, even at the
last moment before they die, is say they believe on Jesus as the
savior and they will be saved. What Jesus said in Matthew 7:21
makes it ever so plain that it does not mean that at all! It means
exactly the same thing Jesus said. Those who will be saved are
those who do the will of the Father in heaven. That means obedience
to his will! Jesus said it this way in Luke 6:46, And why call ye
me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Faith is not a
saving faith unless and until it is an obeying faith obeying
Gods holy word (cf. James 2:14-26).
The love and care of our Lord does not stop when one obeys
the Gospel. A whole new world opens up for the child of God. We now
live in a community of brethren that literally extends around the
world. Peter wrote ...to them that have obtained like precious
faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour
Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1). He said, Grace and peace be
multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our
Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things
that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of
him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:2-3).
As Christians, we have the shoulders of brethren to lean on.
Galatians 6:2 says, Bear ye one anothers burdens, and so fulfil
the law of Christ. What a tremendous help it is to have others
upon whom we can depend brethren who sincerely care for us and
are willing to help us bare our load. Certain burdens can be made
so much easier when we share them with others. What a blessing!
On the other hand, some burdens are ours and ours alone.
They cannot be shared with others. Galatians 6:5 says, For every
man shall bear his own burden. We cannot always shift
responsibility and put our troubles and fears off on someone else.
There comes a time we must step up to the plate, so to speak, and
deal with it in a proper and scriptural way. We will be stronger as
a result of it. We are the benefactor when we weather the storms of
life. One of the purposes of living in this world is to prove
ourselves. We are commanded to take responsibility for our actions.
Things are not always pleasant to deal with, but were better for
it when we handle it ourselves.
But then, there is another type of burden that we can
neither bare it ourselves nor share it with brethren. Regarding
such hardships we are told, Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he
shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be
moved (Psa. 55:22). One of the greatest blessings we have that
others in the world do not have, is a loving caring heavenly Father
upon whom we can depend. As Psalm 55:22 says, he shall never
suffer the righteous to be moved.
In the world, there have been kings many and royalties in
abundance, but none like our Lord. As Paul wrote to Timothy, Jesus
is King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15). Men will fail,
but the God of the universe will never fail. He is there. He will
sustain us. He will keep us. Paul wrote that he had to suffer many
things, ...nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have
believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I
have committed unto him against that day (2 Tim. 1:12). First
Peter 1:3-5 says, Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten
us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and
that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by
the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed
in the last time.
One of the things that troubled Paul was what he called a
thorn in the flesh. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 we read about it.
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance
of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the
messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above
measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might
depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for
thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly
therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me.
Many have spent countless hours trying to determine exactly
what his thorn in the flesh was. But the fact remains, we dont
know. It hasnt been revealed to us. What we should concentrate on
is what Paul learned from it and how we can benefit from his
example. God did not see fit to remove it from him. It is not in
Gods will to cater to his childrens every whim. The difficulties
and trials of life can serve to make us or brake us. Its our
attitude toward them that makes all the difference in the world.
Paul said he prayed about it and ask the Lord three times to
remove it from him. But the Lords answer was, my grace is
sufficient for thee. Whatever this infirmity was, it caused no
serious and lasting harm to Paul. No doubt it was a great
discomfort and nuisance, one Paul had to suffer through each day.
But, Gods grace was sufficient. Paul found grace to help in time
of need. Gods grace was enough. It would carry him through.
How often we dont understand the twists and turns of life,
the difficulties we face, the monsters that hound us, the stresses
that bare upon us. But, the Lord will see us through if we will
place our trust and confidence in Him. We too will find grace to
help in time of need.
Table of Contents
Postmodern Thinking #3
TRUTH IS RELATIVE
Victor M. Eskew
Postmodern thinking has invaded the United States of America and
the world. In conversations with individuals, it is easy to see how
many elements of this thinking have been accepted by the public. We
are saddened when we talk to those who profess to be Christians who
have embraced some of the tenets of this ungodly thinking. Dear
readers, we must be warned. If postmodern thinking fills our minds,
it will direct our behavior (cf. Prov. 4:23; 23:7).
Postmodernism seeks to convince us that truth is relative.
Truth is defined as: inflexible reality: invariable facts.
Absolute truth is true at all times, in all places, and for all
people. It remains the same. Truth does not contradict. Absolute
truth is established by law.
Relativism states that points of view have no absolute
truth or validity, they are only relative subjective values
based upon an individuals perception or consideration. In essence,
this view (thinking) is that truth is based upon a persons
feelings, opinions, and perceptions. Thus they say, what is truth
for one person may not be truth for another person. Relative truth
changes. Relative truth involves contradictions. Here are some of
the statements affirmed by those who accept the concept of relative
1. Truth is relative.
2. There are no absolutes.
3. No one knows what truth is.
4. There is no hierarchy of truth or values.
5. There is no right or wrong.
6. Everyone can believe whatever he wants to believe.
7. It is wrong for you to impose your values on me.
When we hear statements like these we are reminded of the
question Pilate asked our Lord Jesus Christ: What is truth (John
Most of the time, those who believe in relative truth do so
in order to release themselves from the constraints of religion.
They do not want to believe in God. They do not want to believe the
Bible is the Word of God. They do not want to be bound by any form
of moral law. They do not want to be judged by others. They want to
do their own things. They do not want to deal with any negative
emotions produced by their conscience.
Lets examine three points concerning relative truth:
Relative truth contradicts itself. Relative truth affirms:
Truth is relative. That means it is subject to circumstances and
conditions. The question that must be asked is: Is this statement
absolute truth? If the person says Yes, then he contradicts his
own beliefs. Remember, in a relative world, no absolute truth
exists. Relative truth also affirms that it is wrong for one
person to impose his values on another person. The question is:
Why is it wrong? If no right and wrong really exists (according
to them), what makes something wrong? The one who holds to the idea
that truth is relative is wrong for telling another person he is
wrong. He is doing the very thing he condemns others for doing!
There is not even one person alive who lives in a world of
complete relative truth. The law of gravity is absolute. Denying
the law of gravity will not change it. If a person who believes in
relative truth denies gravity, he will still plummet to the ground
if he steps off the roof of a building. 2+2=4 is absolute truth. A
child in a class will be graded down if he answers 2+2=5. One can
claim that truth is relative all day long, but it will not change
the truth that 2+2=4.
The fact is, all of us need and want absolute truth in our
lives. If I spend fifty cents, I want fifty cents back from my
dollar. If a store clerk only returns a quarter to me, I will
confront him and tell him he did not give me enough money back.
What if he said: I believe truth is relative. I believe that
seventy-five cents is equal to a dollar? We would be upset. Too,
we would not allow him to get by with his false statement. A dollar
is one hundred cents regardless of what the clerk believes. If
someone enters my home and steals my possessions, I want that
person prosecuted for theft. I do not want someone trying to
explain to me that right and wrong do not exist and that this mans
theft was acceptable in his eyes. The same would be true if a forty
year old man tried to have a sexual relationship with a fourteen
year old girl. Just to say that the pedophiles truth says such a
relationship is justified does not make it right. My friends, if
truth is relative, our society would collapse due to moral
Absolute truth exists because there is a God in heaven who
is truth and who does not change (See Malachi 3:6; John 14:6; Psalm
19:9-11; Matt. 7:24-25). The God of heaven and earth created this
world and filled it with physical laws that do not change. He also
gave a spiritual law to mankind that is truth (John 17:17). It
reveals what is right and wrong. Those who deny that absolute truth
exists in the Word of God will never change the fact that it
It is essential for God-loving people to confront the
relativism that exists in the denominational world. Many people
believe that the Bible is open to many interpretations. These
interpretations can contradict one another and religious people
seem to be okay with this result. They will claim that two
conflicting statements are truth. This is relativism in another
garment. Remember, absolute truth never contradicts itself. The
reality is that there is only one true interpretation of the Word
of God. This is made clear in a discussion Jesus had with a Jewish
lawyer. The lawyer asked the question: Master, what shall I do to
have eternal life (Luke 10:25)? Jesus immediately pointed him to
the standard the absolute truth, the Word of God. He said unto
him, What is written in the law? How readest thou (Luke 10:26)?
The lawyer responded with this answer: Thou shalt love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself (Luke
10:27). Now, listen to Jesusresponse: Thou hast answered
right... (Luke 10:28). The lawyers interpretation of the law was
right. Had he been wrong, Jesus would have corrected him. Jesus
would never acknowledge a wrong interpretation to be the truth.
Jesus did not accept relativism. My friends, there are many wrong
interpretations of the Word of God, but there is only one correct
interpretation of Gods Word. We must not be ashamed to accept
Gods word as absolute truth.
Friends, Truth is not relative. It is absolute! We all
understand this deep down inside. Was truth relative to Adam and
Eve? Absolutely not! Their failure to abide by the truth brought
death and destruction to mankind. The same will happen to our
society and to the church if we embrace the postmodern idea that
truth is relative.
In the long ago, Solomon exhorted Gods people correctly,
saying: Buy the truth, and sell it not... (Prov. 23:23).
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Table of Contents
Christianity and Islam #3:
Since miracles confirmed a true apostle, what
does the absence of miracles say about
Muhammad, the self-proclaimed apostle of
A major difference between Christianity and Islam is their
presentation of prophets. The God of the Bible always confirmed the
word of His messengers. He empowered them to perform undeniable
miracles and through them revealed prophecies concerning the
future. Without such evidence, the people were to reject anyone who
claimed to be from God. If Allah is another name for Jehovah, then
he should operate in the same way. The Quran should be filled with
the miracles and the prophecies of Muhammad. If he is truly the
final prophet with the greatest revelation ever given, then surely
he would have been divinely confirmed in spectacular ways. Yet, the
Quran contains nothing that substantiates Muhammads claim to be
a prophet. Instead, it calls for blind faith and resorts to threats
against unbelievers. This is not the God of the Bible. Jehovah
supplies mankind with evidence upon which to build their faith. He
does not desire the worship of cowed, ignorant slaves, but a
restoration of fellowship with those He lovingly made in His own
image (1 Cor. 1:9; Gen. 1:26).
God appeared to Moses in a flame of fire from the midst of
a bush (Exodus 3:2). Jehovah informed the trembling shepherd that
he had been chosen as the one through whom Israel would be
delivered. Moses began giving reasons (actually excuses) as to why
God should choose someone else for the task. He asked But, behold,
they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will
say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee (Exodus 4:1). Jehovah
supplied Moses with three miracles to convince the people.
In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses addressed the Israelites
for the last time. He foretold the coming of Jesus the Christ who,
like himself, would serve as a mediator between God and man (Deut.
18:17-19). Moses then gave a way to distinguish a true prophet from
a false prophet. When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD,
if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing
which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it
presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him (Deut. 18:22).
This same test is the basis for Gods assurance to Ezekiel, when
this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that
a prophet hath been among them (Ezek. 33:33). During the period of
the judges, the word of the LORD was precious in those days;
[there was] no open vision. Then God spoke to a young man in the
middle of the night. And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him,
and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel
from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel [was] established [to
be] a prophet of the LORD (1 Sam. 3:1,19-20). How did Israel know
that God had chosen Samuel as His mouthpiece? The Lord gave them
In the New Testament, God continued to confirm His true
servants. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee,
and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him
(John 2:11). Jesus urged a disciple to recognize that His teachings
came from the Father. If the disciple still doubted, the Lord said
...believe me for the very workssake (John 14:11). After the
Lords ascension into heaven, the apostles ...went forth, and
preached every where, the Lord working with [them], and confirming
the word with signs following (Mark 16:20). The Hebrew writer
described the great salvation ...which at the first began to be
spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard
[him]; God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and
wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost...
Christianity is a religion confirmed from heaven above. What
of Muhammad and Islam? Muhammad recognized a difference between
himself and the former prophets. There was no prophet among the
prophets but was given miracles because of which people had
security or had belief, but what I was given was the Divine
Inspiration which Allah revealed to me. So I hope that my followers
will be more than those of any other prophet on the Day of
Resurrection (Bukhari 7274). Muhammad specifically acknowledged,
Jesus came with clear signs (Surah 43:63). Although the Quran
records several accounts of people asking Muhammad to perform a
miracle, it never attributes a single sign to him.
After Muhammad preached to a Jewish community, they
responded Verily, Allah has taken our promise not to believe in
any Messenger unless he brings to us an offering which the fire
(from heaven) shall devour. Muhammad responded verily, there came
to you Messengers before me, with clear signs and even with what
you speak of; why then did you kill them, if you are truthful
(Surah 3:183)? Although Muhammad correctly charged the Jews with
killing the prophets, their guilt does not exempt him from proving
his own claim.
The Quran impresses upon its readers Muhammads status as
an ordinary man. When unbelievers asked Why is not a sign sent
down to him from his Lord, Muhammad responded, Allah is certainly
able to send down a sign (Surah 6:37). Would anyone be convinced
to adopt a new faith by such an answer? Another passage records
Allah informing Muhammad if you were able to seek a tunnel in the
ground or a ladder to the sky, so that you may bring them a sign
(and you cannot do it, so be patient) (Surah 6:35). In Surah
17:90, unbelievers declared We shall not believe in you (O
Muhammad), until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth
for us. In verses 91-93, the people suggested other miracles that
Muhammad could perform in order to convince them to accept Islam.
When pressed to prove himself, Muhammad confessed Am I anything
but a man, sent as a Messenger? Others wondered Why is he not
given the like of what was given to Moses (Surah 28:48)? The
Quran incredibly states And they say: Why are not signs sent
down to him from his Lord?Say: The signs are only with Allah,
and I am only a plain warner.Is it not sufficient for them that
We have sent down to you the Book (the Quran) which is recited to
them (Surah 29:50-51)? Muhammad argued that mankind should take
the existence of the Quran as proof of his divine inspiration. Is
this not circular reasoning? The Quran is divinely inspired
because it claims that it is divinely inspired?
The Quran offers no evidence to support its claims. It
presents Muhammad as a mere man who did nothing to prove that he
possessed divine inspiration. The apostle Paul demonstrated that
God had sent him. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among
you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds (2
Cor. 12:12). If miracles confirmed a true apostle, what does the
absence of signs say about Muhammad, the self-proclaimed apostle of
Allah? Paul answers this question. But though we, or an angel from
heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have
preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say
I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than
that ye have received, let him be accursed (Gal. 1:8-9).
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WILLFULLY FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLIES
When growing up, I heard many sermons on the sin of willfully
forsaking the assembly. At the close of a great many invitations,
many would respond confessing the sin of forsaking the assembly and
requesting the prayers of the saints and to be restored. Here we
are, lo these many years, and seldom if ever do brethren hear such
messages, along with a number of other doctrinal subjects. The
abandoning of doctrinal preaching is directly linked to elders and
preachers! That the world has invaded the Lords church in far too
many places is an undeniable fact! When congregations dismiss
Sunday evening services for the Super Bowl, and other worldly
holidays, they demonstrate a lack of spirituality! Furthermore,
when preachers state it is legalistic to oppose such departures
from the faith speaks volumes about them! No one is entitled to
directly or indirectly preach any doctrine that undermines truth!
When it comes to willfully forsaking the assembly, it is very
evident many brethren do not believe it is a sin. How can any
sincere Christian think for a moment they are setting their
affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2)
by willfully forsaking the assembly?
There is no question that the path to complete apostasy
deals with our mind-set toward God and His word! The Lord gives
warning after warning in the book of Hebrews, lest we depart from
the faith. Hear the word of the Lord, Take heed, brethren, lest
there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from
the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called
Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of
sin (Heb. 3:12-13). Brethren will you hear his voice as the Lord
speaks to us though His inspired word?
I am told that the word forsaking is a present participle,
which indicates that the meaning is, do not keep on forsaking the
assembling of yourselves. When one reads Hebrews 10:25-29, they
quickly see the consequences of continually forsaking the
assembling of yourselves together! A commentary on what takes
place by continually forsaking the assembly is Hebrews 2:1,
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things
which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
[The American Standard Version states, lest haply we drift away
from them.] Note, drifting always leads away from God!
When children of God willfully forsake the assembling of the
saints, observe, please, what takes place:
- They demonstrate a rebellious attitude toward Gods
command to assemble with the saints (Heb. 10:25).
- They fail to partake of the Lords Supper (1 Cor.
11:23-29; Acts 20:7).
- They Disobey the command to give as they had been
prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
- They have set a poor example which could well lead
others, perhaps their own family, to drift away from the
Lord (Matt. 5:13-16).
- They are turning their nose up at Gods Word (Gal.
- They are merely giving lip service while their heart is
far from God (Matt. 15:8).
- They are neglecting valuable lessons taught from Gods
Word (Acts 2:42).
- They are not receiving the strength derived from
collectively assembling with the saints (Heb.
- They are failing to stay prepared to meet God (Mark
- Unless they repent and are restored, they are well on
the road to completely leaving the faith (Heb. 2:1;
It is indeed a very serious mater when Christians refuse to
assemble with the saints. Remember, any sin not repented of will
cause one to be eternally lost (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31)!
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