Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 14 No. 11 November 20121
Page 11

Still True Today

Dean Kelly

Dean KellyAncient words have a place in a modern world, and especially the Book of 1 Corinthians is applicable today. First of all, the Bible is still active and powerful. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) reads, “For the word of God is living  and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.“ The “ancient words” revealed by the Holy Spirit through inspired men are still the “power of God to salvation” as they reveal to us the great and glorious Gospel message. We must walk in these words, with hearts that are filled with faith, motivated by love and obedient to the message.

Secondly, the letter to the Corinthians was written to a troubled congregation. Paul loved them and expressed that love, despite their myriad of problems. He called them brethren, and he addressed them as saints. They had been sanctified by the blood of Jesus. I do think that some points need to be noted, though.

1. The Corinthian church had problems with: division, eating of meats, the “covering,” misunderstandings concerning marriage, misuse of the Lord’s Supper, fighting over the spiritual gifts, denying the resurrection (have I left anything out?).

2. Not every member was involved in the false ideas and teaching. Some, like the house of Chloe, were standing strong against the problems in the church.

3. Paul did not say, just keep doing what you are doing, grace will cover it all, so it does not matter what you practice. Quite to the contrary, he rebuked them in each particular area, and called for change.

4. To me, one of the most ludicrous arguments against the concept of the restoration of the New Testament church is when someone asks, “Which church are you going to restore: Corinth, etc.” Someone recently said something like, “We do not want to restore the church at Corinth.” Obviously, we are not trying to duplicate a group of problems that any church may have had. We are, however, striving to restore the church to the form that God intended. There is a pattern in the New Testament. Actually, part of the pattern was made clear when these congregations made up of frail human beings were misguided and Paul and the other inspired writers wrote to instruct them on correcting those problems.

5. Let me illustrate my point: An architect creates plans for a house. The builders come and take those plans and begin to build the house. However, to save costs and make more money, they fail to build a part of it according to the specifications that the architect gave them. In a short time, the shoddy materials and poor workmanship begin to cause portions of the house to sag, and holes to appear. Ultimately the house has to be repaired and the mistakes corrected, according to the original plan. Eventually the house is no longer in existence. Years later, someone says that they are going to build a house by those same plans. Someone reacts and says, “But that house was a poor house, surely you do not want to build that house again.” The new builder reacts, “That house was not a good house because the builders did not follow the plan. If we build by the architect’s original plans, following that precisely, we will have a wonderful house!” If we build according to God’s plan and pattern, we can restore New Testament Christianity to be exactly what it was intended to be in the first century.

Finally, the answers for the problems of today’s world still lie within the pages of the ancient words of the Bible. We can find hope, peace, rest for our souls, encouragement, guidance and love, all through those sacred pages. If we will “hide it in our hearts,” if we will “meditate upon it day and night,” then it will truly be a “light to our feet and a lamp to our paths.” These ancient words for a modern world will comfort us and guide us to an eternal home in heaven, if we will but listen to them.

A Better Church Begins with Me

Royce Pendergrass

Royce PendergrassThis country is only as good as its citizens. For the country to be better, its citizens must become better citizens. If we expect to stand the test of time, this nation must work toward making this country morally and physically strong. Likewise, the church can and will become better if the individual members begin the process with themselves.

Therefore, to make the church better, each member must realize that he or she is important to the work of the church. The body cannot function properly without each of its members contributing (1 Corinthians 12:20-26). Our Lord expects all of us to do what we can to strengthen and nourish the church. “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). Each member must be willing to help the church grow.

After you realize your importance to the church, you must then start to do something for the church. The obligations of the church can most easily be placed into three categories: (1) Evangelism – teaching the Gospel to the lost. (2) Edification – encouraging the existing members and (3) Benevolence – helping the needy to get those necessary things for everyday living. To that end, each member can contribute in a multitude of ways. Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). The world can also be taught in this manner because it will notice the way we treat one another (John 13:35).

To have a better church, each of us must invite others to share our blessings. When you bring a friend or family member to Bible study or worship, you are helping him or her to know that God has provided many blessing for those in Christ. God has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Physical blessings are there also, but the spiritual ones are far more important. You may be the only one who will ever share the Gospel with your family or with others. If each of us does not share what we know with others, there will be far less people with a hope of heaven. To have a church that grows, members must be concerned for and really love the lost (Mark 10:21).

Yes, a better church begins with me and the time to begin is now!

The above article was written by brother Steve Preston on his website, “Bible Talk” and I found it very appropriate. We must realize that the “church” is not a building. We often hear (and even say such things ourselves) someone speak of “going to church” as if the building is the church. The church is the group of Christians who make up the body of Christ. “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). He was not adding people to a building, but He was adding them to the group of saved people. This Scripture teaches that others were being taught the Gospel, were obeying it and being added to the church. Christ is the Head of this body of believers. “Christ is the head of the church and He is the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). We understand that today’s church is the same; it is obvious that the saved are those who are faithful to Christ.

Let us work hard to reach out to those who are not in a saved state and bring them to hear God’s Word proclaimed. Care enough for the souls of others to bring them to hear the Gospel message, the Good News. Remember my ten little words: “If it is to be, it is up to me!” No one else can do for you what you should be doing; it is up to you! You are important to the work of the church and the future of the Lord’s church is in the hands of His faithful followers. Jesus, Himself, proclaimed “I must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). Where does that leave each of us?

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