Vol. 12 No. 2 February 2010
During the late 1960’s, when this writer was only a young boy, my family was going shopping in Evansville, Indiana. Having arrived in the city, we were traveling one of the local streets. We approached a traffic light, and therefore, began to slow down. Over to one side of our car were some people who apparently made my parents feel uneasy, so they said, “Lock your doors.” Having noticed that we all reached about the same time for our locks, a lady from the car next to us called out in a laughing voice: “We won’t hurt you. We wouldn’t hurt you for nothing.” We weren’t laughing. Every day we are reminded we live in a dangerous world. We can be hurt, even by those who claim good intentions.
Today, it is quite interesting to find there are individuals who seemingly feel quite threatened by the Lord’s church. A lady was heard (or quoted) to warn another who was studying with some of our brethren: “I’ve heard about those people all my life. You better stay away from them.” She was uneasy about the association. From a personal perspective, if the matter weren’t so sad, it would be laughable. We won’t hurt you! Friend, give me one example of an individual who came to be in peril, spiritually, because of his association and involvement in the body of Jesus Christ with the distinctive doctrines and practices He has given her.
Friend, you know Jesus won’t hurt you. If Jesus won’t hurt you, neither will we. Jesus has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Being Christians, we now wear His name and seek to honor it by being faithful followers as God’s dear children. Jesus and His church are so closely connected that we won’t ask anyone to do anything that Jesus doesn’t ask him to do. We seek to imitate the holy and glorious life Jesus lived by having His heart and spirit within us. If you don’t fear the real Jesus, who came down from heaven bringing humanity His Father’s will, there is no reason to fear those who wear His name in truth.
Friend, you know Christ’s apostles won’t hurt you. If the apostles of Christ won’t hurt you, neither will we. If the apostles could come back and presently walk among us, we could naturally expect they would teach the same vital, powerful message and preach the same heavenly truths they faithfully declared during the 1st century A.D. They would not have to alter those fundamental truths to fit in with today’s culture because they are universal and timeless. Consider how God’s definition of sin has not changed, for instance, nor has his model of holiness.
If the apostles of Christ were here right now in your midst, would you shun them through fear? “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
The apostle Paul writes: “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
If you are not afraid of Christ’s apostles, there is no need to fear the church, which is founded upon the apostles and prophets with Christ being the chief corner stone.
Friend, you know the Bible won’t hurt you. If the Bible won’t hurt you, neither will we. It is our sole objective to teach only that which is found in the Holy Scriptures. “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:15-17). It is our desire to understand or interpret the sense of the Scriptures only in the way God intended. We seek to avoid inserting ideas and doctrines that passages were never intended in the mind of God. Peter writes of some who “wrest” the Scriptures “unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). Friend, there is no eternal benefit to those who personally abuse the text, nor to those who accept their fanciful theories and “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).
However, the truth of God is a blessing for those whose eyes and ears are open to receive it: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). In each of the seven letters to the churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, the admonition appears, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
If we are “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15), you are advised to run as fast as you can. Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (verse 16). Upon investigation of the fruit we are bearing for Christ, and finding we are truly “harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16), “come thou with us and we will do thee good” (Numbers 10:29). Jesus wants you to walk with us in the narrow path that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:14). Friend, we will not hurt you!