Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 12 December 2018
Page 11

Bring the Book

Cliff Holmes

Cliff HolmesIn Nehemiah 8:1-8, Ezra was instructed to “Bring the Book.” What book? The book of the Law of Moses, which was known and acknowledged to be “the Word of God.” It was read to the people; they heard it and paid attention to it. When the Book was opened, the people stood and revered it saying, “Amen, Amen”! They worshiped and bowed their faces to the ground, because they knew it was the Word of God. It was made certain that they understood it.

What has happened here? The book of the law, by which the people had not been abiding for a long, long time, was brought to them to hear, to learn, to know and to obey. They heard it, they paid attention to it, they were in awe of it and they revered it, but most of all, they understood it and obeyed it—starting that very day.

Please observe this. The whole Bible is accepted widely by godly people and many non-Christians, too, as “the Word of God.” In particular, today, the New Testament is as necessary to be heard, to be heeded, to be approached with reverence as God’s Word, to be understood and to be obeyed as the rest of the Bible.

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:24-29)

The Book of the Law that Ezra read (Nehemiah 8:1-8) was a guardian, a teacher or a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Now let us bring the Book again. The New Testament is the Book in which Christ said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but by Me.” Our Lord also said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given unto Me.”

Furthermore, Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” When Jesus spoke, it was (and is) the Word of God. When Jesus said this, John the Baptist was already dead at the hands of Herod. Therefore, John could not have built the church for Jesus. Our Lord gave instructions to Peter and the other apostles concerning the church, but it was the truth of Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of God,” that was the foundation for the church which Christ would build. Peter was to be the “key-keeper” and doorman to the church that was opened on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 33.

The entire New Testament is the plan, the pattern and the regulation for the church that Christ built. That plan, that pattern and those instructions are as readable and as understandable today as the reading of the Book of the Law was when read by Ezra the prophet. The New Testament is to be heard, heeded, revered, understood and obeyed today as it was when originally penned.

Jesus prescribed the plan, the pattern and the operation of the church that He built, through His words as well as through the divinely inspired apostles of Christ. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Christ wanted all of us to be His own special people—His bride that He would present back to God the Father at the end of time. Jesus Christ and His church are the plan, pattern and operation that will please God for all time.

However, men have devised plans to set up their own so-called “churches.” Historically, these men are associated with the beginning of manmade churches: John Smyth (Baptist), John Wesley (Methodist), John Calvin (Presbyterian), Martin Luther (Lutheran), Charles Parham (Pentecostal) and Augustine of Canterbury (Church of England). The list goes on and on until the world has been filled with thousands of so-called “churches,” but they all fail to follow the plan and pattern of the church that Jesus said He would build. Therefore, they are none of His!

Jesus intended and designed the church to be His body, His bride and His flock—in which He would have the whole of mankind to be an active, living part.

In Him (His body, His flock, His church), we can do all things, but He warned us in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.” That means that if you are without Him, the body of Christ, you are lost.

Hurry! Bring the Book—the New Testament. All the plans, patterns and instructions for allowing Jesus Christ to add you to His body, His flock or His church can be found in that Book. That is the only place where salvation from sin is to be found. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Members of the body of Christ are not egotistical enough to say that all in the church will go to Heaven, because we, like all other men, are human and subject to stray, to wander and to sometimes fall away back into sin. Once added to the church, one who falls back into sin can be lost. Prayer, however, affords us all the hope of repentance and redemption unto salvation, but one must first be in the body, the flock or the church to have that hope and security.

No matter how many so-called churches there may be, there is hope, safety, security and salvation in only one, and that is in Christ.

Bring the Book, read the Book, pay attention to it, hold it in awe and reverence, understand the Book, obey its teachings—today! May God bless you with the courage to step out in faith and do as you are instructed to do—in the Book.

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