Seek Ye Out The Old Paths
There are many fine lessons contained in the pages of the Old Testament. In reflecting upon these lessons, Paul said "Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come" (I Cor. 10:11). What then happened to those in the Old Testament days was recorded as a warning to us. From these many lessons, perhaps some of the richest are those contained in the prophets, and particularly is that true of the prophet Jeremiah, who recorded the following:
Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk there in. And I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken. Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, 0 congregation, what is among them. Hear, 0 earth: behold I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words; and as for my law, they rejected it. (Jer. 6:16-19).
It is indeed a sad commentary on religious affairs today to find division and denominations warring against each other. Still, even today, the Lord's plea is to seek out the "old paths," and return to the church as He originally intended for it to be. Christ did not build many churches, for He only said, "I will build MY church" (Matt. 16:18). There is but "one body" (Eph. 4:4), and that "one body" is the church (Eph. 1:22-23, Cot 1:18). All baptized believers become a part of this "one body" (I Cor. 12:1213). The Bible doesn't approve of the division and discord of the world today (I Cor. 1:10-13). Nay, but rather Christ's plea was for the unity of mankind that the world might believe in Him (In. 17:20-21).
And, how can this unity be obtained? By once again seeking out the "old paths," by returning to the Bible and the Bible only, to pattern ourselves after the New Testament church, and then practice only what we have the authority of God for (2 John 9, I Cor. 4:6, Gal. 1:6-8, Phil. 4:9).
This means that we will call ourselves simply "Christians" as is found in Acts 11:26, 26:28, I Pet. 4:16, and refer to the church simply as the "church of (belonging to) Christ" (Matt. 16:18, Rom. 16:16). The church was not built on some man, method, or practice, that we should seek to place that above the shed blood of Christ which purchased it (Acts 20:28). Likewise, if we truly seek out the "old paths," we will do away with all human opinion, and take the divinely revealed plan of salvation (Luke 24:47, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, Rom. 6:3-4, 10;9-10). Then, we'll completely surrender our lives to Him (Rom. 12:1-2), even though it might require our lives (Rev. 2:10), that we might have hopes of obtaining that promised crown when we die (James 1:12).
The plea of the Lord was, and is, to return to His commands, and to the examples of how His will is to be obeyed, and to abide therein. But, Alas! Modern denominationalism continues after their man-made creeds and doctrines and practices. In effect, they have said, "We will not walk therein." The rejection of the Lord's way is to be their downfall. Christ answers, "Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up" (Matt. 15:13). If, and only if, we return to the "old paths," to the ways of the Lord, do we have His assurance of protection and guidance (Rom. 8:31-39). We cannot escape! There is no alternative! The Lord pleads for us to seek out the "old paths" and walk therein before it is too late (2 Pet. 3:9). And, all eternity depends upon our answer.