The most important question to ever be asked is the one asked by the
jailer of Philippi (Acts 16:30). He asked, “what must I do to be
saved?” When this question is asked of different churches,
different answers are given. That can be very confusing for one who
wants to know the truth of the matter. God’s Word is the truth
(John 17:17), and it is the only inspired document which tells us how to
be saved (Romans 1:26). The Bible must be accepted as the source
for the answer to the question, “what must I do to be saved?”
be saved one must have faith in God. Jesus taught this fact clearly
(John 8:24; Mark 16:16). What is often disputed is how one comes to
have faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that true faith comes from
knowledge of the Bible (Romans 10:17). Hearing the truth taught produced
faith in the hearts of those present in Acts chapter two. Peter
said it was God’s plan that men come to have faith after hearing the
Gospel (Acts 15:7).
When faith has been produced in the heart of the
individual through the Word of God, then that faith will be clearly seen
in the actions of the individual (James 2:14-26). The great
examples of faith in Hebrews eleven show us what the faith of these
individuals caused them to do. A proper faith in the truth will
cause one to obey God (Romans 16:26).
be saved one must repent. When the Jews asked Peter what they
needed to do Peter said, “…repent and be baptized, every one of you, in
the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
Without the remission of sins there is no salvation (Isaiah 59:1,
2). Without repentance there is no remission of sins.
can clearly be understood when looking at the way Christ used the word
“repent” in Matthew 21:28, 29 (King James Version). A man told his
son to go work in his vineyard, but the son refused. The Bible
says, the son later repented and went. Clearly then repentance
involves a change of mind that leads to a change in direction and
action. When one repents of sin he determines to no longer engage
therein then follows that up with the actions that give evidence of such
a determination. For example, the thief who repents will no longer
of faith in Christ is important for one who is a disciple of Christ
(Matthew 10:32,33), and for one who desires to
become a Christian (Acts 8:37). When the man from Ethiopia wanted
to be baptized, Philip said, “If thou believeth with all thine heart,
thou mayest.” To which the Ethiopian
replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” After
this good confession, the man from Ethiopia was baptized.
be saved one must be baptized. Jesus said, “He that believeth and
is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16). Peter told the
Jews on Pentecost they must be baptized to receive remission of sins
(Acts 2:38). Paul taught us that salvation is in Christ (2 Timothy
2:10) and that one must be baptized in order to get into Christ
one has been baptized the blood of Christ shall cleanse him from his
sins. Baptism is a burial into the death of Christ (Romans 6:1-4).
It was in His death that Jesus shed His powerful blood which is able to
remove sin (Revelation 1:5). It is at the point of baptism that the
sins are removed. That is why Peter said, “…baptism doth also now
save us…” (1 Peter 3:21).
be saved the Christian must continue to faithfully serve God. He
must devote his life as a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1,2 ). He must be willing even to die for his
Lord (Revelation 2:10). It is possible for Christians to sin and
fall from grace (Galatians 5:4). Christians who sin must ask God
for forgiveness and must repent of that sin (Acts 8:22).
one becomes a Christian and is living a faithful life he is on his way to
an eternal home in heaven with God. Let us help you make heaven
your eternal home.
walked this earth nearly 2,000 years ago and yet His teaching and
influence live on to this day. Salvation through Jesus Christ is
the theme of the Bible from beginning to end. What does the Bible
say about Jesus?
existed before the world was created (John 17:5). He has always
existed as a member of the Divine Godhead. He is one with the Father
(John 10:30). They and the Holy Spirit make up the One True God
(Deuteronomy 6:4). Because Jesus is a part of the One Eternal
Godhead He took part in the creation. The Bible teaches that Jesus
was the actual creative agent who created at the command of the Father
(John 1:1-14). Colossians 1:15-17 teaches us that all things were
created by Christ. Because all things were created by Him, He
cannot be a created being.
Jesus not only played a
role in the creation, but He also played a role in our salvation.
He was born into this world miraculously through a virgin by the name of
Mary (Luke 1:26-35). As an adult He busily prepared the way for the
coming of the kingdom (Matthew 4:17), for which He was crucified.
The crucifixion of Christ was prophesied hundreds of years before it
occurred (Isaiah 53). The death of Christ was a part of God’s
plan. In becoming the sinless sacrifice for the sins of mankind
upon the cross Jesus made salvation possible. His blood purchased
the church (Acts 20:28), removes sin (Revelation 1:5), and makes it
possible for us to be reconciled to God (Romans 5:8-11; Romans
Jesus died, His physical body went to the tomb, but His spirit went to
Paradise (Luke 23:43). Three days later His spirit was reunited
with His body and He was resurrected from the grave (Matthew
28:1-15). There were many eye witnesses to the resurrected Christ
(1 Corinthians 15:4-8).
after His resurrection Jesus ascended into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11). At
this time His Second Coming was promised. The Bible tells us Christ
is coming again to raise the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He is
also coming again to destroy the earth (2 Peter 3), and to judge the
world (Acts 17:30, 31).
Bible is centered upon Jesus Christ and His sacrifice which was made for
the salvation of mankind. Jesus shed His blood for the remission of
our sins (Matthew 26:28). Have you contacted the saving blood of
Christ? Let us help to you to understand how to receive remission
of sins so that Heaven may be your eternal home.
Interest in angels has been steadily increasing over the past few
years. More and more books are written on the subject, while TV
shows and movies often have angels in their stories. In order for
us to gain a proper perspective on the subject we must turn to the Bible.
Angels are created
beings. Nehemiah 9:6 tells us the angelic host was created by
God. Psalm 148:1-5 shows us the angels were created at the command
of Jehovah. These created beings are free moral agents. In
other words, they are beings who can make moral choices for
themselves. They are required to obey God (Psalm 103:20, 21), and
yet some have chosen to rebel instead (Jude 6: 2 Peter 2:4).
Angels are not
physical beings. They don’t marry nor do they have children
(Matthew 22:29, 30). Further, because they are spirit beings they
are invisible to men. Balaam could not see the angel that was standing in
his way until God allowed him (Numbers 22:31).
appeared to men in various forms. In Ezekiel’s vision the cherubim
he saw each had four faces and four wings (Ezek. 8:4; 10:20-22). In
Isaiah’s vision the seraphim each had six wings and flew around the
throne of God praising Him (Isaiah 6:1-3). Angels have assumed the
form of men in the past. Some appeared as men to Abraham and later
to Lot (Genesis 18:1, 2; 19:1, 2). Jacob wrestled with an angel who
came in the form of a man (Genesis 32:22-28). The angel who rolled
back the stone of Christ’s tomb and announced His resurrection was in the
form of a man (Mark 16:5).
powerful. The angels who visited Lot were able to strike men blind
(Genesis 19:11). An angel of God killed 70,000 Israelites in 2
Samuel 24:15-17, and an angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in 2 Kings 19:35,
36. It was angel who shut the mouths of the powerful lions for
Daniel (Daniel 6:22), and an angel who enabled Peter to escape from
prison (Acts 12:10). No wonder the psalmist wrote angels are
“mighty in strength” (Psalm 103:20).
What do angels
do? Angels worship God (Revelation 6:4, 8) and yet refuse to be
worshipped by men (Hebrews 2:9; Revelation 22:8,9).
Angels have acted as messengers in the past (Genesis 18:10; Luke 1:11-19;
Luke 1:26, 27) and are ministers of God’s providence today (Hebrews 1:13,
14). We know that angels love children (Matthew 18:10,11), rejoice when sinners repent (Luke 15:10), and
carry the righteous to their reward when the righteous die (Luke 16:22,
The Bible may not
tell us everything we want to know about angels but it gives us
all we need to know (Deuteronomy 29:29). Not only does the
Bible tell us all we need to know about angels but is also tells us all
we need to know about how to make heaven our eternal home. Let us
help you make heaven your eternal home so that you can spend eternity
with the angels.
Satan is referred to in different ways in the Bible. The name
“Satan” means “the accuser, an enemy.” Another term used to refer
to him is “The Devil.” This word means one who is a false
accuser. He is called Beelzebub in Matthew 12:24-27, which means
one who is lord of flies and refuse. He is also called Belial in 2
Corinthians 6:15, which means one who has no good value in him.
descriptions tell us a little bit about his work. Jesus calls him
the father of lies, and a murderer (John 8:44). Satan lied to Eve
in the garden of Eden and brought death into this world. We die
because of Satan’s murderous and deceptive work.
Among other things
Satan is also spoken of as “the tempter” (Matthew
4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). He tempted the Lord when he thought the
Lord might be weak. He will use our own lusts and desires to tempt
us (James 1:14, 15).
Satan is a created
being. Only deity is self-existent, having no beginning or no end
(Exodus 3:14). Satan does not possess the characteristics of
deity. He is not all knowing (1 John 4:4), neither is he able to be
everywhere (Job 1:7). Because Satan is not deity he must be a
created being (Colossians 1:17).
Though Satan is a
created being, he was not created evil. The Bible says that all
that God created was very good (Genesis 1:31). Satan is
a being of free will who deliberately chose at some point to rebel
against his Creator. It is possible that Satan may be a
fallen angel. If so, then he is an exception to 2 Peter 2:4.
Satan is limited
in what he can do. God will not allow him to tempt us above what we
can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Furthermore, God can give us the
spiritual strength to resist the Devil (James 4:7).
will be punished and his power taken away. His downfall was first
predicted in Genesis 3:15. Ultimately his power shall be destroyed
and he shall suffer in everlasting fire prepared for himself and his
angels (Matthew 25:41).
Are you serving
God or Satan? If you are not serving God then you are serving Satan
whether or not you have made a conscious decision to be Satan’s
servant. When you choose to sin you choose to serve Satan.
Let us help you to serve God, resist Satan, and make heaven your eternal
There is much speculation concerning life
after death. Some deny there is any life after death, while each
major religion has its own views concerning what happens to a person when
he dies. Because God is the Creator of life, He most certainly
knows what happens in death (Genesis 1:1). The Bible is God’s
revelation to man (2 Timothy 3:16, 17). The Bible is the only true
and accurate source of information concerning what happens to a person
when they die.
The Bible teaches
that man is more than just a physical body. Man is a spirit inside
of a body. God is a spirit (John 4:24). Man is made in God’s
image (Genesis 1:26, 27). Man is a spirit housed inside of a
physical body (2 Corinthians 5:1-9). The body dies when that spirit
leaves the body (James 2:26).
Where does the
spirit of man go when it leaves the body? The place where the dead
go is spoken of in Luke 16:19-31. This place is “Hades” (Luke 16:22,23 - New King James Version). It is the same
place Jesus went when He died (Acts 2:27, 31 – New King James Version).
Luke chapter sixteen teaches us that Hades (the
realm of the departed spirits) is divided into two sections. There
is “Abraham’s Bosom,” as it is called in Luke sixteen, which is also
known as “Paradise.” Jesus referred to this part of “Hades” as
“Paradise” in Luke 23:43. Paradise is that part of Hades to which
Christ went when His body died on the cross. Paradise is that
section of Hades to which the righteous and faithful go when they
die. It is the place of reward.
The other part of
Hades is called “Tartarus” in 2 Peter 2:4, and is referred to as a place
of torment in Luke sixteen. This is the part of Hades into which
the wicked go when they die. This is a place of punishment.
also tells us there is no way one can cross from the place of torment
into Paradise because there is a great gulf fixed between the two (Luke
16:26). This means there is no second chance after death.
Once one has died his fate is sealed.
Hades (the realm
of the dead) shall not last forever. On the day of judgment Hades
shall give up the spirits contained there and then Hades shall be
destroyed (Revelation 20:11-14). There are at least two reasons why
Hades will no longer be needed after the day of judgment. First,
there will be no more death, for on that day death shall be defeated,
there shall be a great resurrection and no one shall die physically again
(1 Corinthians 15). Because there will be no more death, there will
be no more need for a realm in which to house the dead. The second
reason why Hades will no longer be needed is because there are two other
realms which are eternal, and into these other two realms mankind will be
sent for all eternity.
At the second
coming of Christ there shall be a great judgment (Matt. 25:31-46; Acts
17:30,31). At the judgment those who have
served God will be separated from those who have not. The wicked
(those who did not serve God) shall go into Hell for eternity. Hell
is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Hell is the second death
(Revelation 21:8). It is described as “a furnace of fire” and a
place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 2:13). It is the place of outer
darkness (Matthew 22:13). Hell shall last forever (Matthew 25:46).
When the righteous
(those who have served God) are separated from the wicked on the day of
judgment, they shall go into Heaven for eternity (Matthew 25:46).
This is the place where the faithful receive their great reward (Matthew
5:12). This is the place of great beauty figuratively described for
us in Revelation chapter twenty-one.
Where will you go
when you die? If you are faithfully serving God you will go to
paradise to await the second coming of Christ and your eternal home in
heaven. If you are not faithfully serving God when you die you will
go to a place of torment to await the judgment of Christ and your eternal
punishment in Hell. Choose today to serve God.
God is the self existent Creator of the
universe. He is the first cause that produced this universe and
life on earth. The Bible teaches us that God created both time and
matter (Genesis 1:1). Because He created such we know that He
existed before time and matter came into being. God identified
Himself to Moses as “I AM” (Exodus
3:14). God simply is. He always has been, He is now, and He
will always be. In other words, He is self-existent having no need
of an origin or a creator.
God is all knowing.
His vast knowledge is seen in that which He created (Genesis 1:1).
Further, God even knows what is in the hearts of men and women (Psalm
44:21). God sees all that everyone does (Psalm 33:13,14), and His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5).
God is able to be
anywhere He chooses. David spoke of the ability of God to be with
David at all times (Psalm 139:7ff.). The account of Jonah’s
attempted escape from God proves the same (Jonah 1:9).
all-powerful. With God all things are possible (Matthew
19:26). While this verse emphasizes the unlimited power of God we
must understand that there are some things, which God will not do (James
God is perfectly balanced
in character (Romans 11:22). He is a God of mercy and love
(Ephesians 2:4). Love is an inherent aspect of His nature (1 John
4:8). While a loving and patient God, He is also a God of
severity. The Bible teaches us that the anger of God will come upon
those who refuse to obey Him (Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 5:6). Those
who choose not to follow God should fear Him (2 Thessalonians
God is the self-existent
first cause. He is more powerful and knowledgeable than man can
imagine. Furthermore, God is perfectly balanced in character.
He appropriately extends love and mercy toward man while executing wrath
upon those who refuse to accept His grace and follow Him. Do you
serve God in the way He has commanded in the Bible? Only those who
do shall be in Heaven with Him someday. Let us help you make Heaven
your final and eternal home.
When there is no standard of authority there is chaos and
confusion. If there were no rules for athletic competitions sports
would be a disorganized mess. If there were not standards of
measurement we would never really know for sure how much gas we were
paying for at the pump. When anyone can treat others as they please
without laws telling us certain things, such as murder, are wrong you
have anarchy and mayhem. The religious world is no different.
There is mass confusion and chaos in the religious world because there is
no common standard of authority adhered to by all.
What should be our standard of authority in
religion? Obviously the standard must be the truth. Pilate
once asked Jesus Christ the question, “what is truth?” (John 18:38) Though
Christ did not immediately answer Pilate, He did reveal the answer to us
in one of His prayers to the Father. Jesus said, “Sanctify them
through thy truth, thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) The Word
of God is truth! It is the truth, which can set us free from
sin. (John 8:32)
The Holy Spirit revealed the Word of God to
inspired men. (John 16:12-15) These inspired men wrote down
the very words which God would have them record. (1 Corinthians
2:13) This collection of inspired writings from God is sometimes
referred to as the Bible. The entire Bible was given to man through
inspiration of the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 3:15)
The Bible is a complete work that gives man
everything he needs to be a faithful Christian. No other revelation
is needed. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) Man does not need God to whisper
into His ear today. Man does not need the Holy Spirit to reveal any
more truth, for He has already revealed all that we need to know.
The Bible is the all-sufficient source of revelation from the Creator.
For this reason, we must conclude that the Bible, and it alone, is to be
the common standard of authority in religion.
The Christians addressed by the book of “Hebrews” in the Bible had been
ridiculed and persecuted because of their faith. (Hebrews 10:32-34)
These Christians had even given up their possessions for the faith.
They did so because they knew they had something better waiting for them
in Heaven. The hope of a home in Heaven encourages Christians to be
people of great faith and spiritual strength.
What does Heaven look like? Revelation chapter
twenty-one gives us some idea. Here we see Heaven figuratively pictured
for us as a city coming down from God. The walls of the city are
made of diamonds, while the structures within the city are made of pure
gold, and the gates are made of pearl. The walls are set upon
twelve foundations of various precious stones. These stones add
strength and beauty to the city. Some of the stones are clear while
others are blue, green, red, yellow, purple, etc. The light of that
city comes from the glory of God so that there is no need for a sun or
moon, and there is no need to close the gates of the city because there
is no night there. Truly this figurative picture of the real place
called Heaven gives us some idea of its great beauty.
One of the most wonderful aspects of Heaven is that
there shall be no suffering there. (Revelation 21:4) There is
no more pain, no more death, no more sorrow, no more suffering. On
this earth there is much suffering. In Heaven there is no
suffering. This ought to motivate all to try to make Heaven their
home some day.
Who shall be in heaven? All three members of
the Godhead shall be there. (1 John 5:7) Angels are in
Heaven. (Revelation 4:8) The saved of every nation shall be
in Heaven. (Revelation 21:24)
How do I become a part of the saved and get to
Heaven? I must hear the Gospel. (Romans 10:14-17) I
must believe in Christ and in His Gospel. (Hebrews 11:6) I
must repent of my sins. (Acts 2:38) I must be baptized into
Christ (Acts 2:38), and I must live a faithful Christian life (Romans
Let us help you to know the way to Heaven. Ask
for the free Bible lessons sent through the mail by clicking on
“Correspondence Course” on the web page.
Articles about the
non-institutional church of Christ
BINDING WHERE GOD HAS NOT
Over the past four
weeks we have devoted this space in the bulletin to a refutation of the
"anti," or "non-institutional" doctrines that have
divided the brotherhood. We have shown scriptural authority for
church co-operation in evangelism through a "sponsoring
congregation." We have shown authority for churches to decide
for themselves how best to take care of orphans, including supporting an
orphan home. We have proven scriptural authority for eating in
the church building. Also, we have shown scriptural authority for
using money from the church treasury to help those who are not
Christians. For that information please refer to the past four
Those Christians who have told us we cannot do the things mentioned above
without being guilty of sin are those who have made laws where God has
not. By binding laws where God has not they have become guilty of
sin (Rev. 22:18,19; Gal. 1:6-9; Gal.
5:1-4). Further, they are guilty of having caused division in the
body of Christ through the binding of their opinions. Those who
promote division are to be publicly marked and avoided (Romans16:17,18). This means we have no more scriptural
authority to join hands in doing the work of the church with our
"anti" brethren than we do with our "change-agent
(liberal)" brethren. Those who teach doctrines which divide
the body of Christ are to be admonished, and if they refuse to repent,
Unity in the church is important (John ,21). However, unity at all costs
is not scriptural! True unity is based upon speaking the same
thing, and that same thing we must speak is the Word of God (1 Cor.
1:10-13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17). We must be united on the basis of the one
faith (Eph. 4:1). If we are to have unity in working with
"anti" brethren they are going to have to publicly repent of
their error and confess their fault before men.
We dare not make man's traditions law, because when we do so we make our
religion vain (Matt.
-19). The Judaizers of the first century
bound to Christians the doctrines of men (Gal. 2:4, 5). Our
restrictive brethren do the same today. To bind one's views in
matters of expediency is to sin (Rom.
14:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-5).
I have listened to my "non-institutional" brethren say we have
opened wide the door to liberalism and there is no end in sight for the
innovations that shall take place. I reject the charge for the
simple fact that we are standing firmly upon God's Word, having departed
neither to the left ("change-agents," "liberals"),
nor to the right ("anti", "non-institutional). We
stand opposed to the liberal change agents and we stand opposed to the
restrictive binders of opinion. We have clearly established scriptural
authority for those practices discussed in the past four articles, and
are not opening wide the door to liberalism. Furthermore, I believe
the accusation can more accurately be turned around on the
accusers. Our "anti" brethren have opened the door to all
manner of extreme restrictions. The binding of opinion has no end.
from the Church Treasury
Some of our "anti" brethren argue
that there is no authority for using money from the church treasury to
help those who are not Christians.It is taught by some that all the acts of church benevolence in
the New Testament were toward saints only.In order for these brethren to prove
this to be true they must be able to show conclusively that none of the
funds used for benevolence in any New Testament example were used for
those who are not Christians.What about the children of those Christians who were helped?Could they use the funds given to them by
the church to feed their children?If money from the church treasury can be used to feed and clothe
Christians only then non-Christian spouses, and children of Christians
could not benefit.
The contention that there are no examples of
money being used from the church treasury to assist those who are not
Christians in a benevolent way is wrong!2 Corinthians is referring to
a contribution that was used for benevolent purposes.The context is a reference to the same
contribution spoken of in 1 Corinthians 16:1,2.1 Corinthians 16:1,2
authorizes the existence of a church treasury and the use of it for
benevolence.2 Corinthians says that money
from the church treasury was liberally distributed "...unto them,
and unto all men..."The word
"them" in the context refers to the saints.The phrase "all men" refers
to a group in addition to the saints.The assistance was given to the saints and unto all men.The "all men" refers to
Some will argue that the word "men"
has been added by the KJV translators and should not be present in the
text.It is suggested the term
"all" simply refers to the saints also.Such a rendering would have this verse
saying the funds were liberally distributed to them (the saints) and unto
all (the saints).To have Paul
saying the funds were used to help the saints and to help all the saints
is folly.Consider also, on this
point that Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon says the Greek word
"pantas" should in fact be translated
"all men (p. 492)."The
fact remains.The funds taken from
the church treasury were used to aid the saints and all men.Saints and non-saints were assisted
from the church treasury.
The Greek word "pantas,"
which is translated "all men," is used in other passages that
clearly show what it means (Acts ;
1 Thess. ; ).In Acts we are told that
"...great fear came upon the church and upon all men (pantas) who heard these things."Clearly the term "church"
refers to Christians, while the words, "all men" refer to those
who are not Christians.The word is
used in the same way in 2 Corinthians 9:13.The money taken from the treasury and
used for benevolence was liberally distributed to the saints and to those
who were not Christians.
Some of our "anti" brethren will
teach that because 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 only
mentions the saints, that these funds must be used for "saints
only."Does Romans 5:1 teach
we are saved by "faith only?"Only faith is mentioned in that verse.However, when we compare Romans 5:1
with James 2:15-25 we understand that faith must be accompanied by
obedience and that we are not save by faith only.Does 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 teach
benevolence for "saints only" since only the saints are
mentioned there?Absolutely not!When we reference 2 Corinthians 9:13 we
see that the funds were also used for "non-saints."
Now, I have heard some of the
"non-institutional," or "anti" brethren suggest that
if we can use the money from the church treasury to help those who are
not Christians then we have a responsibility to help every needy
non-Christian in the world.This
argument is faulty, foolish, and proves nothing.Galatians ,
teaches us that we help the saints, and all men as we have
opportunity.When we have the
ability and the opportunity we have the responsibility.When we do not have ability or
opportunity we do not have the responsibility.
can use money from the church treasury to assist those who are not
Christians. To teach otherwise is to teach error.
EATING IN THE CHURCHBUILDING
The early Christians ate meals together on
a frequent basis (Acts ; Jude 12).Eating meals together was both a symbol
and an act of Christian fellowship.The evidence of this lies in the fact that Christians were not to
eat with those from whom they had withdrawn their fellowship (1 Cor. ).Clearly, we have scriptural authority
for Christians eating common meals together.Historians show us that those meals
often took place immediately before or after worship (F.W. Mattox, The
Eternal Kingdom, p. 52).
We have just
shown that there is scriptural authority for Christians eating meals
together.Because we have
established the scriptural authority for the meal we can conclude that we
also have scriptural authority to have a location for that meal to take
place.We have the command to
assemble in Hebrews 10:25.The
command to assemble necessitates a place to assemble and thus we have
authority for church buildings.The authority for eating together gives us the authority to have a
place to eat in.
taught that those who eat in the church building sin.If they are teaching the truth we
should be thankful for their warning.If not, they are making laws where God has not, and by such have
become the ones who are guilty of sin (Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 21:18, 19).
common passage referred to by those who teach that eating in a church
building is a sin is 1 Corinthians 11:22.In the context Paul is discussing an abuse of the Lord's
Supper.The Lord's Supper is not a
meal to be eaten for the purposes of filling the belly.It is a not an act of worship to be
partaken of only by those who have available to them the bread and fruit
of the vine (1 Cor. ,21).Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their
attitudes and actions when he says, "What?Have ye not house to eat and drink
despise ye the churchof God,
and shame them that have not?What
shall I say to you?Shall I praise
you in this?I praise you
not."When we are
worshipping we observe the Lord's Supper, we do not eat a meal while
worshipping.A meal can be eaten
before or after worship but the Lord's Supper does not need to be turned
into a meal.Paul's words in 1
Corinthians 11:22 are to Christians who had turned the Lord's Supper into
a meal.He tells them they can
take care of that at home.
words of rebuke teach us that we can only eat at home?If so, then Christians should not eat
together at McDonalds or any other restaurant.Paul is only rebuking those who had
turned the Lord's into a meal.Paul is not addressing the love feasts that Christians clearly had
authority for in the first century (Jude 12).He is not telling them they cannot have
"fellowship meals," but rather is telling them they cannot turn
the Lord's Supper into a meal.
words of rebuke teach us that we cannot eat in a church building?Consider the fact that there were no
church buildings in Paul's day.Also, remember that the early Christians often met in homes (Acts :
Rom.16:2-5; 1 Cor.
16:19).Did they eat in their
homes?Yes.Did they worship in their homes?Yes.Did they eat and worship in the same place?Yes.It is not a sin to eat and worship in the same place.
building is not a sacred or holy structure.It is simply a place to worship, a
location, an expedient authorized by the command to assemble (Heb. ).God does not live in the church
building (Acts ).The church building is not God's temple
(1 Cor. , 17).The church building is not the church (Rom.
16:5).We need to be
careful we do not make the church building a holy sanctuary as do the
denominations.Because it is not
sacred it can be used for activities other than worship, as long as those
activities do not violate God's word.We can have a wedding, a baby shower, or a love feast in the
church building.There is no
inherent evil in Christians eating together.The practice is scriptural, authorized,
and even beneficial.Therefore, it
is not unscriptural for Christians to get together before or after
worship (not as a part of worship) in order to share a common meal.
To teach that it is a sin to eat in the church
building is to bind where God has not (Rev. 22:18,19).
To bind where God has not is to assume an authority above and beyond that
which was given the apostles (Matt.
see NASB). To bind where God has not is to assume an authority
equal to the Lord or greater (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18). To bind
where God has not is to sin and fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). To fall
from grace is to be in danger of eternal hell fire (2 Peter
-22). Our "anti" brethren who bind these man made laws
are lost and in need of repentance.
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