|Volume 23 Number 7 July 2021
Some non-members and possibly some members of the churches of Christ wonder, “Why don’t churches of Christ have garage sales?” The reason for which typically the churches of Christ do not have yard sales is the same reason for which they do not use instrumental music in Christian worship or convene for weekly worship on Saturday night instead of on Sunday.
The churches of Christ look exclusively to the Bible – God’s Word – to discern what is authorized by God. The principle found in Psalm 139:17 is valid today, too. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (NKJV). However, since we live in the New Testament era, we turn specifically to the New Testament to learn and to practice what is authorized by God today (Hebrews 8:13). Providentially, God preserved divinely inspired New Testament epistles that He wanted us to have. Only by scouring or searching the New Testament (John 5:39) can a person know what God has authorized. How the Lord’s church finances itself, whether to use instrumental music in worship or when to assemble weekly for worship are all authority issues – or understanding what is authorized.
The first day of the week is authorized for the weekly assembly of the church for Christian worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Only a specific kind of music – singing – is authorized for Christian worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Weekly, freewill giving is authorized by God for the needful expenses for which the church is responsible (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Galatians 6:6). One possible addition that Scripture authorized was also a freewill offering occasioned by an immediate and widespread need (Acts 4:32-37). Congregations may also be faced with selling non-monetary gifts (e.g., an estate sale of a deceased donor) or disposing of church property associated with changing locations of a local church’s place of meeting. Yet, the Lord’s church has no biblical authorization for actively attempting to generate funds through garage sales, car washes, bake sales, tourist attractions, investments, real estate transactions, etc.
Was There Law before Christ?
A visitor to our website for Gospel Gazette Online posed the question, “Was there law before Christ?” Most assuredly, there was divine law to which mankind was amenable before “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). The first law included the simple instructions that God gave to Adam and Eve, namely, to tend the Garden of Eden, but not to eat the fruit of a specific tree (Genesis 2:15-17). God continued to communicate with mankind through fathers of families for the next 2,500 years, during a period of time referred to as Patriarchy. For about the next 15 centuries, Israelites were amenable to the Law of Moses or Judaism (1 Kings 2:3). However, non-Jews or Gentiles continued to be responsible to Patriarchy until the time of Christ, at which time the Law of Christ replaced or superseded both Patriarchy and Judaism (Ephesians 2:14-16).