Simple Truths For Honest Hearts
The Book of God speaks of "the first principles of the oracles of God" and also of the "milk of the word." (Heb. 5:12; 1 Peter 2:2) This article is written in kindness with the hope that you will study it carefully being sure to search the scriptures to see if the things written here are so. (Acts 17:11)
"By What Authority Doest Thou These Things?" Mt. 21:33
All that we do in religion must be done by the authority of Christ (Col. 3:17) God gave Jesus ALL authority. (Matt. 28:18; Matt. 17:5) This means that preachers, parents, popes, councils, conferences, conventions, or colleges have absolutely no authority to legislate in spiritual things.
If we are to be saved in heaven we must do everything that we do in religion because we have the book, chapter, and verse for the activity. It is absolutely essential to have a "Thus saith the Lord," to "speak as the oracles of God," and to stay within the bounds of the doctrine of Christ. (see Matt. 4:4; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 John 9)
The most casual observer notes that many well-meaning people prefix a preacher's name with the title "Reverend." Instrumental music, using language unknown to the hearers, worshipping Mary, calling pouring and sprinkling baptism, financing the work of the church by begging or selling merchandise, and countless other things are done. Your question, and mine, should be, "By what authority doest thou these things?" We are perfectly in order to ask for Bible authority for any religious practice. When we are asked for book, chapter, and verse for that which we do we must not get angry but rather give the answer and cite the passage that proves the topic under consideration.
"Understandest Thou What Thou Readest?' Acts 8:30
The evangelist Philip asked the above question to an intelligent man who was reading his Bible. At first, this man from Ethiopia did not comprehend the passage he was reading. Philip "began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." (Acts 8:35) This man of Ethiopia had an honest and good heart and following a careful study of the passage from which he was reading he was baptized into Christ.
Many people read their Bible but do not comprehend because they fail to rightly divide it. (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15) To rightly divide simply means to teach the scripture accurately. Why do we not burn incense, use instrumental music, and offer animal sacrifices in worship to God? "All of these things are in the Old Testament, are they not?" Yes, but if we rightly divide the word we will quickly understand that when Jesus died on the cross he took away or abolished the authority of the Old Testament and brought into being the New Testament. (see Col. 2:14; Heb. 9:15-17) We are "under law to Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21) and His Will is our complete and final guide in religion today. (see 2 John 9; 2 Tim. 3:16-17) If we are to understand what we read when we read the Bible we must first recognize this vital point: The New Testament is our complete and only guide.
Jesus Came To "Seek And To Save That Which Was Lost" — Luke 19:10
This was His mission in the earth. If we get to heaven we will get there by following the directions of Christ for he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) Every soul which will not hear the prophet, Jesus, shall be destroyed. (Acts 3:22-23) Truly, it is foolish to hear Christ and then fail to do what he says. (Matt 7:21-26) We are now ready to let Jesus tell us how to be saved. He is qualified since He is the Savior of the world.
.... If you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24) ".... Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3) "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16) How, in the light of this, can your preacher get up and say that baptism is not essential to salvation? If the preacher contradicts Jesus he is a false prophet Let the Load Jesus Christ direct your path and heaven will be your eternal abiding place.
"Keep The Unity Of The Spirit" — Eph. 4:3
"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) That there is division in the religious world, no one will question. Various people teach exactly opposite doctrine on the same subject. People correctly rebel at the very thought of preaching that there is more than one God, more than one Lord Jesus Christ, more than one Holy Spirit, or more than one hope. But the same people will believe and teach that there is more than one church (body) and will have the audacity to thank God for the many different churches with their contradictory practices!
When people quit calling for book, chapter and verse for every religious practice; when people fall for the emotionalism and sensationalism of preachers who do not give book, chapter, and verse for their doctrines; when people will not calmly sit down and discuss what the Bible says on subjects that are controversial, then the unity of the spirit is broken.
I have written these words in the prayerful hope that they will be of assistance to you in pleasing the God in Heaven.