Some Things the Whole Church Needs to Remember

To Sum the Whole Thing Up: A Collection of Writings by J. C. Roady

We, as a body of people under the leadership of Christ the Son of God, need to remember that Christ is the head of this body, Col. 1:18, and that we are just members of it; that the Church does not belong to us but that we are members of the Church; that Christ is the Lawgiver over that body of people known as Christians and that there is not one thing we can bring into that body; that everything that is in that body must be placed there by the authority of that Lawgiver which is Christ (James 4:12). In Matt. 17:5, the voice from heaven said, This is my beloved Son hear ye him. That voice still says for us to hear Him. Paul said in Heb. 1:2: …hath spoken unto us by his Son. We need to keep in mind that it is the way He still speaks to the church. He doesn’t reveal something to me one way and to you, another. Our instructions come through that voice which speaks from heaven and which is recorded in the Bible. Christ has never set up any person or institution or body of men to speak for Him.

It is our duty to find out what He has already spoken and then for us to reproclaim it to those with whom we come in contact. We need to remember that when Christ built the church, He was able to see the wisdom of placing things in the Church that would meet the need of all future generations. Therefore He told the Church at Ephesus what He did in Eph. 3:21: Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.

The Lord does what He wants to do, He says what He knows to be right, and there is no way to add to it. Solomon said in Ecc. 3:14: What so ever God doeth it shall be forever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it. We need to keep in mind that the Church has no right to follow and endorse things just because others have them. We must speak as by the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11).

We need to know that institutions started and governed by man have no place in the Church of the New Testament. We should have it impressed on our mind daily, that the best defense man can put up is the one that the Saviour used in Matt. 4:4, when he met the devil and defeated him. His defense was, It is written…, and there He stood to the last and showed that no man need to be afraid of the wicked as long as he has what is written with which to defend his position. We need to know that in the Church alone we move. Personally owned enterprises have no place in the Church. They are fine in their place and it is possible to accomplish good with them, but they are not a part of the Church of the New Testament.

We need to know that Christ prayed for unity in John 17:21, that Paul taught and commanded it in 1 Cor. 1:10: Be perfectly joined together. We need to know that it is our duty to work for what Christ prayed for and what Paul commanded (Phil. 2:1-2).

At the same time we need to know what an awful sin it is to cause division in the Body among God’s people and when we do, we come under the condemnation the Lord has pronounced upon us and also are marked by the people of the Lord (Rom. 16:17-18). The body of Christ is divided into many different congregations and each congregation is a unit in itself. We should know that it is our duty to place over each one of these congregations the proper kind of an eldership—men who are able to lead the flock in the right way; men who are really examples to the flock. But we must keep in mind that the elder’s authority ends where it begins which is with the flock over which he has been appointed. As Peter explains in 1 Peter 5:1-2-3-4-5: Feed the flock of God which is among you. He has no authority over any other.

The eldership is the highest office there is in the church here on earth and the men who are appointed to that office should be respected by the members and should also show his respect to the church over which he is appointed. He is to feed the flock over which he is appointed, but none other. There are times when a man unworthy of that office has been appointed, but while we are opposed to the man who is guilty of wrong doing, yet we must respect the office and do every thing we can for it. The Lord placed that office in His Church and to reject the office is to reject the Lord.

We, as members of the Church need to know that it must be a divine institution. To be divine it must be fashioned after the model that is found in the New Testament. It must have a divine head, it must be governed by divine authority, and it must wear a divine name. To do that it must acknowledge the name that was placed upon it by divine authority (Rom. 16:16 and 1 Tim. 3:15). All names that God gave to His people and to His Church were not placed there by accident, but they had a meaning.

In closing this lesson may we remind you that the Church needs to know that it must have converted members (Matt. 13:15, John 12:40, Acts 3:19); faithful members (Rev. 2:10, 1 Cor 15:58); lively members (1 Peter 2:5); Bible readers (John 5:39, Acts 17:11, 2 Tim. 2:15); Church goers (Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7, Heb. 10:25); workers (1 Cor. 3:9, James 2:14, Phil. 2:12); humility (Matt. 23:12, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:6); thankfulness (Col. 3:15; 1 Cor. 15:57, Eph. 5:20); forgiveness (Matt. 18:35; Col. 3:13; Eph. 4:32); watchful overseers (1 Peter 5:1-3); preachers of the word (2 Tim. 4:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:2-15); competent teachers (Titus 2:3, Heb. 5:12, Titus 2:1-5).

Israel perished because the Israelites did not have the knowledge they should have (Hosea 4:6). We face the same danger. Israel became a byword among the other nations, because they would not obey what the Lord commanded them to do. Don’t forget that we need to profit by their mistake and that the Church can ruin her influence by not doing the Lord’s will just as easily as Israel did under the old law.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, To Sum the Whole Thing Up: A Collection of Writings by J. C. Roady. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Two Works

Sermon on the Mount: Instructions for Life

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

These works are the deeds that we might do in service to God. Jesus explained that not everything we do for Him is accepted by Him. There are right works and wrong works.

The right works are those that are according to God’s will (Matthew 7:21). God’s will is found in what Jesus taught. He said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16). This message would then be sent from heaven by the Holy Spirit to the apostles. Jesus told them, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26). These apostles were then commissioned to preach the gospel throughout the world and teach the disciples to “observe all that [Jesus] commanded” (Matthew 28:20).

The right works will be those works that are authorized in the word of God. Paul wrote, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). He told Timothy, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me” (2 Timothy 1:13).

The wrong works include whatever we think will honor the Lord. Notice that Jesus described people who claimed to do things in His name but were actually practicing lawlessness (Matthew 7:22-23). The problem is that we, as mere men, do not think like God. Yet many fail to see this. They believe that if they think a particular action will please God, then it must actually be pleasing to Him. The Lord rebuked the wicked, “You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21). Too many fail in this regard – they think that God is like them. Yet as we noticed earlier, the ways and thoughts of God are infinitely superior to our own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

There is only one set of works that is right. These are the works that are revealed in the word of God. Again, Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable…so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Following the Scriptures exclusively to determine which works are good will make us different because most people think that anything we do for the Lord is good. Yet we must do what He has told us to do. Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). We must do what has been authorized in His word (Colossians 3:17), not presume to know what would please Him. When we attempt to make such presumptions regarding the will of God, we will fail. Paul explained why this is: “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). The only way we can know God’s will is to look at what He has revealed in His word. Therefore, the only way we can do what will please Him is to look at what His word defines as a “good work.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Sermon on the Mount: Instructions for Life. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Take Courage: Lessons from the Example of Josiah (Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from the book, Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith.

Take Courage (cover)As we seek to restore (or maintain) faithful service to God, we should learn from Josiah’s example.

First, we must be willing to change when necessary. No one is perfect. Paul reminded us of this when he said, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even Christians can be wrong, as Peter (Cephas) “stood condemned” for his sin (Galatians 2:11). When we are wrong, we need to repent – whether that means repudiating sin in our individual lives (Acts 8:20-22) or correcting errors in the congregation with which we worship (Revelation 2:4-5).

Second, we must not allow ourselves to be enslaved to tradition. Though the word tradition in regard to religious matters carries an immediate negative connotation with some, not all traditions are wrong. Paul told the brethren in Thessalonica: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth, or by letter from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:15). But we must abandon the traditions of men that are contrary to the law of God (Matthew 15:6-9) – no matter how long we or those before us held the tradition.

Third, we must not place family above our service to God. The Lord must come first in all things. Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37). Following Christ will sometimes put us at odds with those who are closest to us in this life. It is difficult to see these ties threatened. But it is far worse to be “severed from Christ,” as this means we have “fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Fourth, we must be willing to oppose error. This means we must oppose those who promote error: “Keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17). It also means we must oppose those who practice error: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Many prefer the path of compromise in their attempt to be more tolerant than God. Because of this, we will often face opposition, not just from the errorists, but from weak-kneed brethren who sympathize with them.

Fifth, we must submit to a higher law. King Josiah was certainly not exempt from God’s law. We are not either. Jesus has “all authority” (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, we must “do all in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17). He will save “all those who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:9). So we must be sure we measure up to His standard of judgment (John 12:48).

You can read more about the courage of Josiah and others in Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Local Church Needs to Be Focused on Its Work (Plain Bible Teaching)

Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years

The following is an excerpt from the book, Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years.

The local church needs to be focused on its work. Besides the fact that such “fellowship meals” are unauthorized (as we have already noticed), adding works like this to the church distracts from the God-given work of evangelism, edification, and limited benevolence. When Paul wrote to Timothy about the care for certain widows, he said, “If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed” (1 Timothy 5:16). Caring for all widows was good. However, Paul said that only certain widows were to be cared for on an ongoing basis by the church. If a widow had family, those family members were to care for her. Why? So that the church would “not be burdened,” because this would distract it from its work of caring for “widows indeed.

A similar principle is found in the record of the early days of the church in Jerusalem. When certain widows were being neglected, the apostles called upon the congregation to select certain men to handle this work. Why could the apostles not help these widows themselves? They said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables” (Acts 6:2). The apostles were charged by Christ to preach (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20). While it was important that those in need were cared for, it would hinder the apostles’ work for them to do it. This principle applies to the local church. The works of evangelism (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:8) and edification (Ephesians 4:11-16) are ongoing. Placing additional works upon the church which the Lord never authorized the church to do not only violates the New Testament pattern (2 Timothy 1:13), but it also hinders these other works.

You can read more in Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Local Church is Capable (Plain Bible Teaching)

Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years

The following is an excerpt from the book, Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years.

The local church is capable of accomplishing what God intends. The church does not need to implement man’s ideas in place of, or in addition to, God’s. The church does not need the aid of human institutions or sponsoring churches. Christians do not need to form human organizations through which they can engage in spiritual works. They have the church for this. This is God’s design. We do not need to try to improve it.

Yet some will say, “Look at the good we can do” by engaging in some unauthorized practice. But we need to remember that what is good has been defined by God. The word of God is able to make us “adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If we cannot find authority for a practice in the word of God, we cannot classify it as a good work. If something is a good work, it has already been authorized by God in His word.

Others might say, “We can do more this way.” Such a statement indicts God as providing something that is inferior to the inventions of man. Is God’s design inadequate? “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” (Job 40:2). Who are we to say that we have come up with something superior to what God has given in the church?

We do not need to rely on our own wisdom (Proverbs 14:12). We simply need to trust in God that His way is best (Proverbs 3:5). Let us have enough faith and trust in God that we will not look for a better way. Instead, let us simply do things in the way He has directed, through the organization He has established.

You can read more in Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!