WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR ONE TO RISE AND STAND IN THE GAP?
Marvin L. Weir
If elders, preachers, and all who consider themselves to be
Christians so desired, they could learn from faithful Old Testament
prophets. Ezekiel is such a prophet, and God on one occasion said
Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is
not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of
indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in
the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the
prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the
treasure and precious things; they have made her many
widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have
violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things:
they have put no difference between the holy and
profane, neither have they shewed difference between
the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes
from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her
princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening
the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get
dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them
with untempered mortar, seeing vanity, and divining
lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when
the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have
used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have
vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed
the stranger wrongfully (Ezek. 22:24-29).
Notice what God said was happening among His people. First,
they were a land not cleansed. Second, they devoured souls. Third,
the priests did violence to the law of God. Fourth, the priests
profaned holy things and made no distinction between the holy and
common. Fifth, people were not made to discern between the clean
and the unclean. Sixth, the princes in their midst were like wolves
ravening their prey. Seventh, the prophets were seeing false
visions and telling lies to the people.
As we contemplate history repeating itself, let us take
note of what is occurring far too often today in congregations
calling themselves churches of Christ.
First, many congregations willingly tolerate and
fellowship fellow members who are not clean from sin. What is
referred to are those who live in open sin and refuse to repent.
The sin of adultery is a case in point. So many today are living in
adulterous marriages while elders, preachers, and other members
extend the right hand of fellowship. Such a situation should never
be tolerated among Gods people!
Second, souls are devoured today by those who teach
what the Bible does not teach and refuse to teach what the Bible
teaches. The majority of those who call themselves elders
today have abandoned their charge to feed the church
(Acts 20:28). What is allowed to take place in many congregations
is an absolute disgrace. Denominational programs and gimmicks are
in great demand. Serious Bible study is in short supply. Souls are
being devoured while those who are supposed to be shepherds cater
to what the flock desires.
Third, so-called preachers are allowed to do untold
violence to the Word of God. Why, brethren, why? Never have
so many uncertain sounds been allowed to spew forth from
those who should be setting forth the Word of life! Do people not
study the Bible for themselves anymore? Why are so many so content
to allow false teaching to go unchallenged? Is it a lack of
backbone or do they just not care?
Why give the time of day to one who says he feels
that God has laid it on his heart to tell you something? God
has told us what He would have us to know in His inspired Word (2
Tim. 3:16-17). Where does the Bible teach that when one comes
forward confessing sin and seeking restoration that a crowd of
friends are to accompany him? Where does the Bible teach that one
should come forward and confess his joys, successes, etc.?
Fourth, that which is sacred and holy is being
profaned today and no distinction is made between the holy and the
common. God is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John
4:24) and not according to the feelings of man. Man-made
innovations are common and a dime a dozen. Where is the
respect for a thus saith the Lord?
Fifth, brethren are not being challenged with what
is right and what is wrong. The all-grace, all-love concept
many have adopted does not justify wrongdoing.
Sixth, why are false teachers (ravening wolves)
allowed to teach or preach to Gods people? Gods
truth is always undermined when a false teacher is allowed to
unleash his false teaching. Never invite wolves to the sheep pen!
Seventh, false visions and lies abound today.
This is what occurs when people fail to demand book, chapter and
verse preaching. Drama tickles feelings. The Bible builds faith!
God sought for a man to stand in the gap so the people
might not be destroyed, but there was none (Ezek. 22:30).
Are you willing to rise and stand on Gods truth?
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THE CHURCH NEEDS PREACHERS
Roger D. Campbell
Jesus made it plain that He wants the Gospel preached to
every person in the world (Mark 16:15). By inspiration Paul later
wrote, ...how shall they hear without a preacher
(Rom. 10:14). The New Testament makes it plain that there is,
indeed, a need for Gospel preachers or evangelists (Acts 21:8). The
church needs preachers.
Not every one that is called a preacher, though,
is a faithful servant of Jehovah. Judas Iscariot, along with the
other eleven apostles, preached to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel (Matt. 10:1-7). We know, however, the type of person Judas
turned out to be.
What kind of preachers do we need in the Lords church
today? There are a number of answers that one could give to such a
question, but please consider these three.
The church needs Preachers With Passion. By
passion we mean intense, driving, or overmastering
feeling or conviction...an ardent affection: love, a strong liking
or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
[Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary]. We need preachers
that love to preach! Preachers with a passion for their work have
a genuine longing to proclaim the unsearchable riches of the Christ
(Eph. 3:8). We need preachers that live to preach instead of
preaching in order to live (make a living). We need preachers with
a fire in their bones, who thrill at the very thought of teaching
the Bible to their fellow man. Jeremiah declared, Then I
said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his
name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in
my bones, and I was weary with forbearing [of holding it
back, NKJV], and I could not stay (Jer. 20:9).
Preachers with a passion for preaching are excited about
doing the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). They cannot wait
until their next opportunity to preach Gods word. While we do
not need our preaching brothers to get into an emotional, holy
roller mode in the pulpit, there is a need, however, for
preachers to deliver powerful lessons that challenge and exhort the
listeners to obey the word of the Lord like Peter did on the Day
of Pentecost (Acts 2:40). Like it or not, preachers that have no
fire in their sermon delivery have trouble keeping the attention of
their audience. Brother, if you and I dont have any enthusiasm
when we preach, how can we expect our listeners to be enthused
about what they hear? True, a truth-loving person will delight in
the word of God regardless of how it is presented, but there is no
denying that a sermon which is presented with intensity and
conviction is more influential and persuasive. May the Lord give us
preachers of passion, men that love their role of preaching and at
the same time forcefully proclaim Gods truth.
Furthermore, the Lords Cause needs Preachers With
Compassion. Jesus was a compassionate preacher. We read in
Mark 6:34, And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people,
and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as
sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many
things. There are also recorded occasions when we see
the Master demonstrating His compassion when He was not in the
midst of verbally teaching a lesson. He simply showed His genuine
concern for the affairs and needs of His fellow man. The Bible
declares that He was moved with compassion and healed the sick
(Matt. 14:14), fed the multitudes (Matt. 15:32) and caused the
blind to see (Matt. 20:34). While such miraculous powers are no
longer available, the need for compassionate preachers continues.
Preachers need to preach the truth, whether men like it
or not. Preachers need to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts
20:27), contend for the faith (Jude 3), and rebuke those in error
(2 Tim. 4:2). Jesus preached what men needed to hear, defended what
was right, and pointed out mens faults. But in all of it, He
showed compassion and love for those that saw and heard Him. We
need preachers that show a genuine concern for other people, not
only for their eternal destiny, but also a real feel for the trials
and tribulations they face as human beings.
Showing compassion can help open doors, but
cold-heartedness can keep doors closed. If folks sense that we do
not really care about them, and maybe even enjoy telling them that
they are not heaven-bound, then that could hinder their desire to
obey the truth. There is no reason why strong preaching and
compassion cannot go hand in hand. They did in the life and work of
The body of the Christ needs Preachers Of Fashion.
We do not mean that preachers should wear the latest styles of
clothing. To our way of thinking, at least, some preachers have
looked somewhat ridiculous standing up to preach in gaudy
fashionable clothes. When we speak of preachers of
fashion, we are not talking about trying to keep up with modern
fads or the latest denominational gimmicks that are used to try and
attract people. Gods saving, drawing power is still in the
Gospel (Rom. 1:16). Gospel preachers, just like all other
Christians, must not fashion themselves according to the
former lusts in which they lived before obeying the Gospel (1
Peter 1:14). Like all other saints, Gods evangelists must not
conform or fashion their lives after the ways of the world (Rom.
In what sense, then, is it true that we need preachers of
First, we need preachers that preach the message that
conforms to the pattern of the Lords doctrine. Preachers
must hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Tim. 1:13).
Preach the word is the ongoing, challenging task of every
Gospel preacher (2 Tim. 4:2). It is not a question of what men
desire to hear, but rather of what God wants them to hear. The Lord
knows exactly what mankind needs to hear. He knows that men need
His truth, because only that truth can save the soul (John 8:32).
Remember, not every one that is called a preacher
proclaims a message that pleases the Lord. In Galatians 1:8 it is
written, 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 (Gal. 1:8).
Second, we need preachers that fashion or pattern
their own personal lives after the word of God. Timothy and
Titus, both of whom were evangelists, were instructed to be a good
example for others (1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7). A Gospel preacher must
preach the truth every time he delivers a message, but orally
preaching the right message is not sufficient. Why? Because an
evangelist must also live the truth that he preaches! For him,
there is no substitute for living a life that is fashioned after
the glorious Gospel. Preacher, Take heed unto thyself,
and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou
shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee (1 Tim.
Our concepts about the work and life of a Gospel preacher
need to be based on the teaching of the Bible. Too many times
members of the church observe how some denominational
pastor conducts his affairs and conclude that
thats what our preachers need to do. Others talk
about how the former preacher operated. In both cases
folks are appealing to the wrong standard. The Bible and Bible
alone sets forth the work or role of Gods preachers. The
Lords church needs preachers. We need preachers of passion,
compassion, and fashion.
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How Shall We Live?
Should we put our Bible in the closet and keep it out
of sight and mind when we go on vacation? Shall we forget about it
when we are at work or school? Should we forget its Gods
manual for ordering our life in every area, no matter where we are
or what we do? Should it be ignored when we go to the polls to
vote? Should we be mindless zombies and defy all morality and
principle to support our favorite party? I think not. I know not.
And, you do to! Does Gods Word rule your heart and life?
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GOD IS THE SOURCE OF MORALITY
Parents have the God given responsibility to instill
morals in their children (Eph. 6:4). Therefore, they must know what
is right and wrong. Many will teach what their parents taught them.
This is fine as long as each generation faithfully transmits the
Scriptures to the succeeding generation (Deut. 4:9). But, how often
does this occur? Most of us have probably played the game
telephone line where the first player whispers something
to another person and the message is then repeated until it reaches
the last player. Rarely, if ever, does the message reach the end
without corruption. Parents must teach their children from the
Strictly speaking, there is only one source of morality
and that is God. Going to any other source means one cannot be
guaranteed of getting the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
The purest water is found at its source. The farther one is removed
from the source, the greater the possibility of contamination.
Water can pick up impurities like lead from the pipes that carry
it. So it is with morality. Just as lead poisons the body,
impurities in morals will corrupt the soul. The Lord has warned man
not to add to or take away from His word (Deut. 12:32).
Nevertheless, man often fails to teach the whole counsel of God.
Many do not make a diligent study of Gods word
regarding all aspects of human conduct. They may teach the
principles of the Ten Commandments but little else. Also, too many
parents rely on what they have decided is right. Long ago Gods
spokesman declared, O LORD, I know that the way of man is
not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his
steps (Jer. 10:23). We must seek Gods direction
from His word. Failing to study and live by the Scriptures means
one is relying on his own wisdom to decide moral issues. The Bible
declares this to be foolish (Prov. 16:25). Such a person is far
removed from the source of morality and has become spiritually
Some may argue that man has the right to decide moral
issues. If this is so, who decides whom the final judge will be?
Allowing man to be the judge reduces society to depending upon a
system of varying and conflicting moral standards. No sane person
would argue that everyone should be allowed to do whatever he
wants. If one was foolish enough to do so, he would soon change his
mind! Such thinking would mean it would be perfectly acceptable for
another to mistreat you. At the first instance of this behavior,
there would be an outcry to change the rules.
When man lives by a moral code of his own making,
society suffers. A few years ago HBO aired the movie
Cheaters. It was based on what happened about ten years
ago in the Chicago area. An English teacher at Steinmetz High
School helped his students cheat on a regional academic competition
between schools in the area. Eventually, the cheating was
discovered and the man lost his job. For years he denied any
wrongdoing. Even the students felt justified in their actions. The
only thing they regretted was getting caught! The ex-teacher is now
a businessman in the Chicago area. Would you want to do business
with a man who feels cheating is OK? Most of us would rather deal
with someone who follows the Golden Rule (Matt. 7:12).
God is the source of mans morality because He
created us (Psalm 100:3). He sets the rules and we must abide by
them or suffer the consequences (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Are you seeking
to know and obey Gods laws? His commandments are for our good
always (Deut. 6:24).
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Bloomington, IL 61701
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THE SIN OF LYING
Perhaps one of the most prominent sins is a misuse of the
tongue, and that includes the sin of lying. There is much in
Gods word relative to it. Included in the Biblical references
are such phrases as lying vanities (Psa. 31:6),
lying lips (Psa. 21:18; 120:2; Prov. 10:18; 12:22; 17:7),
lying tongue (Psa. 109:2; Prov. 6:17; 12:19), lying
words (Prov. 32:7; Jer. 7:4,8); lying wonders (2
Thess. 2:9). Of all the references concerning lying, not one of
them is complimentary. Other Biblical references include the
appearance of the words liar and liars over 20
times. As we shall see in this article, those engaged in such will
not be in heaven. Thus, it is a very serious matter.
The word lie (according to Vines) is
a falsehood, that which is calculated to
deceive, speaking falsely, to deceive by lies.
Therefore, we are dealing with a deliberate and willful perversion
of truth for the express purpose of misleading. Such is
accomplished in various ways. The most obvious means of lying is
the telling of something we know is untruthful. Biblical examples
can be found as Cain denied knowing the whereabouts of his brother
Abel (Gen. 4). Another example is that of Peter denying his
association with our Lord (Matt. 26). When we tell people we will
do something, knowing all the time we are not going to do it, we
There are other ways of lying. The definition of the
word involves the idea of deception. We often make statements which
are not false in themselves, but the intent is to leave a wrong
impression. Telling half truths is another way of lying.
Perhaps the case of Abraham and Sarah would be a good example of
this. Ananias and Sapphira would serve as a New Testament example.
Even by our silence we could leave the wrong impression and deceive
someone. With these ideas in mind, we should be impressed with the
need to be extremely careful with our speech, actions, etc. that we
do not deceive those with whom we have association.
We can further understand the seriousness of lying when
we understand the source of it. 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 (John 8:44). Note
Genesis 3 in this regard, as from the beginning he has proven John
8:44 to be the truth. Since it is of the devil and stirs the wrath
of God, what would cause one to engage in lying? A number of
reasons might be cited. In the case of Abraham and Sarah, fear was
the obvious motivating force. Those who fear that others will learn
of their conduct will often lie about it. In the case of Ananias
and Sapphira, a desire to appear better than they actually were
prompted their lying. Some have suggested that greed had a part in
their lying as well. Those who absent themselves from the worship
assemblies will often offer some excuse (actually lie) to try to
justify their actions. Other causes could be added to this list.
As we look further into the word of God, there are
other reasons why lying should not be a part of ones life.
Among those things listed in Proverbs 6 that God hates is a
lying tongue (v.16), and a false witness
that speaketh lies (v.19). Not only does God hate such,
a righteous man hateth lying (Prov. 13:5). The
Psalmist said, I hate and abhor lying (Psa.
It is also interesting to note those things with which
lying is connected. Lying is connected with cursing, hatred,
rebellion, destruction of the poor, corruption, swearing, killing
and vanities. That one fact alone would cause the righteous person
to avoid it. The Psalmist also connects lying with the mighty
man by saying that such a one lovest evil more than
good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness (Psa.
Lying, as well as the things with which it is
connected, is to be put away. Let the lying lips be put
to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously
against the righteous (Psa. 31:18). Wherefore,
put away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are
members one of another (Eph. 4:25). Those who engage in
lying are foolish. He that hideth hatred with lying lips,
and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool (Prov. 10:18).
Remove from me the way of lying; and grant me thy law
graciously (Psa. 119:29).
The Bible is also very plain as to the ultimate fate
of those who continue in lying. ...And all liars, shall
have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and
brimstone (Rev. 21:8b).
According to the actions of many, lying is not as bad
as some other sins. One who is found to be lying about a matter
usually receives little correction or criticism compared to one who
is found to be an adulterer or a murderer. Yet, in Pauls list
of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), those things we usually
consider less sinful are right in the middle of the list.
We must also note that the Bible does not make the usual
distinction in lies that men make, such as, little white
lies and other kinds of lies.
Can this problem be overcome in ones life? Indeed
it can. When it is our aim to provide things honest in
the sight of all men (Rom. 12:17b), lying will be put
out. When our thoughts are centered on whatsoever things
are honest (Phil. 4:8), lying will be avoided. When we
decide to walk honestly toward them that are without
(1 Thess. 4:12a), lying will be absent from our lives.
One final admonition For by thy words thou
shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned
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THE SIN OF UNBELIEF
From the beginning of time, man has had a problem with
unbelief in regard to the commands and warnings of Jehovah. The
first man and his mate ate of the forbidden fruit, even after God
instructed them NOT to. Apparently, they preferred the words of
Satan rather than those of the Almighty. They simply did not
believe God meant what He said.
THE CAUSE OF ALL DEPARTURE FROM GOD IS UNBELIEF
The Israelites found themselves wandering outside the
promised land for forty years. Why? Because they refused to believe
what they had been told by their Heavenly Father. In fact, the sin
of unbelief continued to plague Gods people throughout Old
Testament history. Their falling away was a direct consequence of
not believing God and His promises and warnings.
Things were no different during the days of Christ and the
Apostles. From the early beginnings of Christianity to the
Lords warnings for five of the seven churches of Asia, to
modern-day congregations that choose to ignore the Bible pattern of
worship and its teachings on grace, faith, and fellowship,
many of Gods children still disbelieve Him in regard to what
will happen if they continue to depart from His Word.
Unbelief is the rejection of testimony, even though the
testimony is supported by sufficient evidence. It is the closing of
our eyes against the truth and refusing to accept the Word of God
as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
UNBELIEF AND DISOBEDIENCE ARE THE SAME
More often than not, unbelief arises from a desire to
shift responsibility placed upon us by the Word of God, which, in
turn, leads us to do whatever we desire, regardless of what the
Bible says. Unbelief is the occasion of all sin and the very bond
of iniquity. It darkens and destroys. It makes the world a moral
desert wherein no divine footsteps are heard. Unbelief on the part
of anyone closes to that person the door of Heaven, even as the
door of Caanan was closed to the Israelites, who could
not enter in because of unbelief.
The Bible is very clear concerning the future of those who do
not believe Gods word. Referring to them that had
sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness, the writer
of Hebrews continues by stating, And to whom sware he
that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed
not (were disobedient, NKJV)? So we see that they could
not enter in because of unbelief (Heb. 3:18,19).
Furthermore, it is said in Hebrews 4:6, in regard to those who
shall not enter into His rest, Seeing therefore it
remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was
first preached entered not in because of unbelief
CAUSES OF UNBELIEF
It was unbelief that brought sin into the world, that
filled the world with violence, that brought the flood and the
downfall of Israel and will close the gates of heaven against all
that disbelieve God and any of His commands. Take heed,
brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in
departing from the living God (Heb. 3:12).
1. An evil heart The heart can become so set on
evil as to refuse to accept the truth. The heart is evil when it
cherishes evil. From the heart comes forth evil
thoughts (Matt. 15:19).
EFFECTS OF UNBELIEF
2. Ignorance or blindness of mind Those guilty
of such were the murderers of Christ, along with all who close
their eyes, stop their ears, and harden their hearts to the truth.
It is not the case that they cannot believe they simply refuse
to accept that which they know to be right. Israel had an abundance
of evidence. They had seen the power manifested by God in many
ways. But they were bent on evil and desired to turn back, in spite
of all that Jehovah had said and done.
3. The love of sin The Gospel demands the full
obedience of every human for Christ. Those who profess to be
Christians must come out of the world and be lovers of God rather
than lovers of pleasure. But because some do not want to give up
the pleasure of sin, they refuse to believe and continue in
unbelief. The reason so many are out of Christ is because of their
love of sin and refusal to believe that God means what He says.
4. The influence of the Devil The parable of
the sower presents a powerful lesson as it explains the seed that
fell by the way side: Those by the way side are they that
hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their
hearts, lest they should believe and be saved (Luke
8:12). It is not that they could not understand. They chose to
disbelieve and let the devil fill their ears with what they wanted
to hear. They heard the truth, but turned away and refused to
5. The pride of human nature All those who
love the truth believe the Bible doctrine of faith and the fact
that it humbles the soul. But the love of honor and social standing
leads to a refusal to accept the truth. Gods word has much to
say about the harmful consequences of sinful pride. The writer of
Proverbs delivered divine truth when he penned, Seest
thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool
than of him (Prov. 26:12). Guided graciously by the Holy
Spirit, James quoted from the same Old Testament book that
God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble
(James 4:6). And if there be any doubt as to the plight of
the proud, 1 John 2:16-17 should convince us, For all
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the
eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the
world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he
that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Many, many years ago, God pronounced that Cursed be
he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them
(Deut. 27:26). And, cursed also is he
that continueth not in all things which are written...to do
them (Gal. 3:10). Christians are also to understand that
if we profess to part of the law, we are debtor to
the whole law (Gal. 5:3). It is taught in James 2:10 that if
one keeps the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is
guilty of all.
Yet, so many seem to disbelieve that we are to accept and
do the whole council of God. They shut their eyes and
close their ears to the reality that a refusal to accept and
practice even one of Gods laws will result in their being
rejected by Him in the last day.
Those who are guilty of unbelief (including both those
outside the body of Christ and those who profess to be His
children) are joined together with those to whom Christ said,
Ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24). And what a
terrible death that will be. Because to die in sin (even one
unpardoned sin) is to die without God, facing an eternal torment in
the horrors of hell.
Failure to believe that God means what He says is the
biggest mistake a responsible person can make. One can lose his
soul by simply ignoring the consequences of not personally bringing
others to Christ or forsaking the assembly, or going beyond
Gods teaching on fellowship, acceptable worship, instrumental
music, marriage and divorce, and all other commandments given to us
by our Heavenly Father.
The sin of unbelief (in any or all of Gods Word)
continued in this life, will surely lose ones salvation and
hope of heaven in the eternal life to come.
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THE LORDS CHURCH
Unity is not attained by merely agreeing to
disagree. Rather, unity means oneness, a state of being
one. But it may be the case that the meaning of unity can best
be explained by the explication of how unity is attained.
Presently in our world there are millions of people who
profess to be followers of Jesus Christ but who yet are divided
into hundreds of denominations, with each of these denominations
bearing a name that is different from the name worn by every other
denomination. Each denomination espouses, teaches, and practices at
least some doctrine different from that believed, taught, and
practiced by every other denomination.
Generally, and basically, the cause of this situation is
the rejection of Christs authority. One rejects his authority
by rejecting His word, the Gospel. More specifically, this state of
confusion has been brought about by a number of things: 1) the view
that doctrine is simply not important, 2) the fact that millions of
people have a higher regard for the views of human ancestors than
they do for the doctrine of Jesus Christ, 3) the fact that many
people are impressed by the views that are widely held by
multitudes of people, and 4) the fact that there are millions of
people who seem to regard their own views more highly than they do
the Gospel of Christ.
Denominationalism is not pleasing to God! To set out
evidence for this claim, we will do four things: 1) show that
division is condemned, 2) show that false doctrine is condemned, 3)
show that false teachers are to be rejected, and 4) show that unity
The Bible plainly teaches that the unity of Gods
people is upheld and that division is condemned. After identifying
the church as being the body (Eph. 1:22,23; cf. Col. 1:18), Paul
says, There is one body... (Eph. 4:4.) Thus,
there is only one church which has Gods approval. This one
church is a vital element in the eternal purpose of God (Eph. 3:10;
cf. Isa. 2:1-4; Dan. 2:44; Jer. 31:31-34). The one church was
purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Therefore, every
religious institution that has come into existence as a result of
the ideas, plans, and actions of men are in competition with the
one true church. No mere man has been given authority to start a
church of his own. Jesus said, ...Every plant, which my
heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up
(Matt. 15:13). The psalmist said, Except the LORD build
the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep
the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Psalm 127:1).
Paul strongly condemned division when he said,
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there
be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly
joined together in the same mind and in the same
judgment (I Cor. 1:10). Among the works of the
flesh listed by Paul are factions, divisions and parties
(heresies) (Gal. 5:20). Further Paul said, Now I beseech
you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For
they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own
belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of
the simple (Rom. 16:17,18). Thus it is clear that Paul
taught that we should mark and turn away from those who cause
division contrary to the Gospel.
The apostle John said, 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. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine,
receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he
that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds
(2 John 9-11). No one can be a faithful child of God while he gives
approval to any teacher of false doctrine.
The Bible warns against: 1) false prophets
(Matt. 24:24-26), 2) grevious wolves who speak
perverse things (Acts 20:29,30), 3) false
apostles (2 Cor. 11:13-15), 4) those who by slight of
men, in craftiness seek to carry men about by every wind
of doctrine after the wiles of error (Eph. 4:14), 5)
those who pervert the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), 6) false
prophets who bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter
2:1), 7) those who teach the doctrine of demons (1 Tim.
4:1-5), 8) those who teach fables (2 Tim. 4:1-5), 9)
false prophets who come to you in sheeps clothing, but
inwardly are ravening wolves (Matt. 5:15), 10) false
apostles, deceitful workers who try to make themselves appear
to be apostles of Christ but who are really
ministers of Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15), 11) those who do
not walk by the same rule (the Gospel), thus, who are enemies of
the cross of Christ and whose end is perdition (Phil.
John commends those who could not bear evil men
and who tried them who call themselves apostles and they are
not (Rev. 2:2). Paul and Jesus both taught that those who
believe a lie (false doctrine) will be damned (2 Thess. 2:8-12;
Mark 16:15-16). Gods people are to stand fast in the
faith (1 Cor. 16:13), to contend earnestly for the
faith (Jude 3), to be set for the defense of the
Gospel (Phil. 1:16), to be ready always to give
answer concerning the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).
In order to be free (from sin) we must know and walk in
the truth (John 8:32; 2 John 1-4). All religious teachers are to be
tested in the light of the Scriptures (1 John 4:1; Acts 17:11).
Jesus said, Upon this rock I will build my church (Matt.
16:18). Jesus said, my c-h-u-r-c-h not my
Although there are many individual members of the church,
the apostle Paul taught there is only ONE body (1 Cor. 12:13). By
learning and obeying the truth, one can be certain that he is a
member of the church for which Jesus died (Acts 2:41-47).
The unity of Gods people is also upheld by the use
of various figures. In 1 Timothy 3:14-15, the church is
referred to as the house of God. Thus we see that the
church is Gods family that is, the church is the
body of people who have been born again into Gods
family (John 3:3-5) and therefore have become sons of God
(Gal. 3:26,27). Since God has but one family, and since the family
is the church, it is clear that God approves of but one church!
Unity is not only desirable, but is necessary if those
involved are to be pleasing to God.
29511 Bock St.
Garden City, MI 48135
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NOTE: Many have asked for us to let them know when we start to
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give would be greatly appreciated. You can read from the MailBag of
the good were doing. Thank you so much for your continued
Thanks so much for the October issue. It is very alarming how
far we have come in such a short time. It is sad to hear Christians
say they are against these things, but plan to support candidates
who promote them. Obviously they have not thought this through in
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encouraging word. Thanks again for the great issue ...Tom
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issue of Seek The Old Paths. I just heard about what is
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I serve as an elder in the church at Clarkridge, AR. Can you send
us a bundle of a least 50? ...Mickey D. Pendergrass, Clarkridge
Church of Christ, Clarkridge, AR. Dear brethren, I
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all the work you have done and are currently doing with STOP. It is
greatly appreciated! May God bless you in your efforts
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it. You are right, setting aside a specific day to celebrate the
resurrection of Christ is not authorized in the Bible. But neither
is using the church money to mail out newsletters and publications.
But they both reach people dont they? Isnt that what
its all about? ...Vicki Hutcherson, Grain Valley, MO.
(Editors note: the Great Commission of Mark 16:15 covers
newsletters and publications such as Seek The Old Paths.
If it did not, then we could not send Bibles either). A member
introduced us to STOP. We have enjoyed reading the material and
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IN. It is a wonderful publication that I enjoy very much.
By the time I get it passed around and around, I get to read it
after it was published about a month ago. But it has always been
worth the wait. I have just finished reading the January 2004
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by those who claim to be Christians. They are being blinded and
used by Satan. Keep up the great work ...Tim Cooke,
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publishing this paper, of which I have heard many accolades through
the years, and may the Lord continue to bless you in His service.
For the Cause and in the fight ...Bronwen Gibson,
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you trying to keep the wolf out ...Mary Burleson,
Dearborn, MI. This is one of the best magazines in the
brotherhood. I pray the work will continue ...C. Johnson.
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get around at times. I love to read my Bible. I like to read all I
can get about the Bible ...Nellie Yocom, Gassville, AR.
I visited a church of Christ in Cadiz, Kentucky. As I was
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impressed with the clarity and Scripture support. I would like to
read more of what your paper has to say ...Billy Grammer,
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that I begin taking Seek The Old Paths. There is a real
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