|Volume 18 Number 5 May 2016||
Can a Christian Worship
Anywhere on the Lord’s Day?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Someone posed the question, “Can a Christian worship anywhere on the Lord’s Day?” Though not entirely sure what the person asking the question had in mind, there are some things that we can answer respecting the query.
In the first century, Christians worshipped with each other, of course. The first benchmark for Christian worship is that Christians assemble together for the purpose of worshipping God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together” (Acts 20:7-8 NKJV). “…when you come together as a church…” (1 Corinthians 11:18). “…come together in one place…” (1 Corinthians 11:20, 33). “…the whole church comes together in one place…” (1 Corinthians 14:23). The writer of Hebrews cautioned first century Christians against failing to assemble with each other (Hebrews 10:25).
The location or where Christians assembled in the first century varied between public places (Acts 2:46; 3:1, 6; 5:42; 20:20) and private homes (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2). There were no church-owned meetinghouses for the first 200 years after the establishment of the Lord’s church. The place of worship was not as significant as the Christian worship itself. The place of worship wasn’t especially holy, but the worshippers were holy (2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 6:1) as well as in the presence of Deity during worship (Matthew 18:20; 26:29).
Today, Christians will assemble on the Lord’s Day to worship with other Christians, but the place where these Christians gather for worship is not as important as the worship itself. That worship will be in spirit and in truth. As such, then, assembling with denominational people, characteristically who wear manmade names, follow manmade creeds, practice manmade worship and refuse our Lord’s redemptive plan (Mark 16:16), is not the same as assembling for worship with fellow Christians.
Are the Gospel Records
Old Testament or New Testament?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Sir, I thank you and the group of Gospel Gazette very much for the marvelous work you guys are doing in America, and we in Nigeria are so proud of you. My question is as follows: I met a preacher, and he said that all the commandments of Jesus Christ and all of His teachings in all the books of the account of the Gospel before His resurrection are not for Christians. He said anyone who is quoting anything Christ said before His death as an authority is not a Christian and is guilty of following the Law of Moses. For example he said that we are not supposed to quote Christ in Matthew 19:4-12 when we are discussing marriage; likewise we are not supposed to quote Matthew 18:15-17 when we are resolving disputes with our fellow brethren. He also said that the Lord’s Supper command of Christ in Luke 22:16-20 is not a command but prophesy. He said that the reason is that Christ never revealed any of His New Testament doctrines to anyone before He died, and he supported his believe with Ephesians 3:3-5 and John 6:38. Please sir, help me out on this because I am really confused.
There is only one reason for anyone to deny that the Gospel records are part of the New Testament. The sole reason that even some Christian brethren deny the place of the Gospel records in the New Testament is in an attempt to set aside what our Lord taught very clearly on the subject of marriage-divorce-and-remarriage. In a desperate attempt to annul Christ’s obvious teaching about divorce and remarriage, desperate people are willing to jettison the entirety of the Gospel records, all four inspired books. That makes what King Jehoiakim did with his knife to Holy Scripture before throwing the pieces into the fireplace pale in comparison (Jeremiah 36:23).
Please take time to read the article from 2004 in the Gospel Gazette archive that deals with this subject. https://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2004/apr/page2.htm
There are hundreds of years of silence between the closing of the Old Testament Scriptures and the beginning of the New Testament Scriptures. Clearly, the Gospel records are part of the New Testament rather than part of the Old Testament.
Matthew 18:15-17 specifically mentions the “church.” Likewise, Jesus promised to build the “church” in Matthew 16:18. Therefore, Matthew 18:15-17 pertains to the church.
Matthew, Mark and Luke each record the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Not only did our Lord institute the Supper (i.e., He and His apostles actually went through the activities of doing it), Jesus said “do,” which is an imperative, present tense command. Jesus started the Lord’s Supper, and the apostles were to continue observing it in the future. The apostle Paul noted that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and therefore, Christians are to observe it. The words of Paul mirror the words of Jesus in the Gospel according to Luke.
The institution of the Lord’s Supper by our Lord was not a prophecy. It was an actual event. Furthermore, it was an event that He intended for His followers to continue doing. Don’t be “shaken in mind” (2 Thessalonians 2:2) by deceivers.
What in Ephesians 3:3-5 is called a “mystery” is now known to us as the “Gospel.” It was only a mystery until such time as God saw fit for it to be revealed. Yes, the apostles and prophets were in the process of revealing the mystery – the Gospel – as they penned the New Testament books. However, the Gospel plan of God for human redemption began to be declared in the Gospel records and during the events recorded in the Gospel records. “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NKJV). Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were some of those apostles and prophets referred to in Ephesians 3:3-5.
How strange it is for someone who denies the validity of the Gospel records as part of the New Testament to appeal to a verse of Scripture in the same Gospel records that he repudiates. In addition, John 6:38 has no bearing whatsoever on whether or whether not the Gospel records are part of the New Testament. It reads, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). The following two verses identify the will of the Father, that through Jesus Christ humanity might have the opportunity to obtain “everlasting life.”
In no uncertain terms, irrespective of whether one is a brother in Christ, to deny that the Gospel records are part of the New Testament, and further to reprimand other Christians regarding anything taught within the Gospel records, is evidence of one being a false teacher of the most dangerous kind (Romans 16:17-18; Philippians 3:17-19; Titus 3:10-11).