Many today reject the church as vital or even necessary for Christians. There are multitudes of people who consider TV, books, magazines, devotionals, or podcasts as their “church.” Is it possible to have a vibrant spiritual life and successfully nurture our relationship with God apart from a local church? Is it just tradition that tells us we much be a part of one? Is it possible to move closer to God and farther away from the church? Are there lots of alternatives to the church when it comes to our spiritual growth?
The answer to all of those questions, according to Scripture, is a resounding no! Far from being one of many options for the Christian, the church is the primary means through which God accomplishes His plan in the world. It is His instrument to evangelize the world and to sanctify those who are born into His family. Therefore God expects a commitment to the church from everyone who claims to know Him.
1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Continue Reading “The Primacy of the Local Church”
Separation from Worldliness
According to John 15:19, the believer is IN the world, but ought not to be OF the world, because the Lord has chosen us OUT of the world. Separation does not mean we must move into a compound or hide from everyone who is unsaved! The Lord has set us free from our old masters (the world, the flesh, and the devil) and has given us the power to live a life of righteousness that honors and pleases Him. So why should we desire to remain attached to the world system from which we have been delivered? John commands us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…” (1 John 2:15). The “world” is the ungodly world system in which we live. As citizens of heaven, we must not become attached to the things of the world nor gain affinity for the world’s ideas, philosophies, and programs that oppose God’s Word. John goes on to give three reasons for our separation from the world in 1 John 2:15-17. Continue Reading “Separation from…”
As believers, we are called to fellowship with God who “is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we separate from whatever is “darkness,” that is, whatever is in direct opposition to His nature and will for our lives. Separation from error and those walking in error is essential for our spiritual well-being and our usefulness in service for our Lord. “…Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19b-22)
Although the doctrine of separation is prominent throughout the Scripture, difficulty arises when actually attempting practice this truth. In some cases, it is very easy. For example, to reject the false doctrines of the cults is not too difficult and does not usually involve any great sacrifice. However, many believers have difficulty understanding and obeying God’s command to separate from churches or ministries that have compromised or failed to follow God’s Word. Yet God’s directive concerning evil is the same whether the sin is found outside or inside the church. Continue Reading “People of the Light”
The Bible clearly reveals the purpose of the local church through precept as well as example in the New Testament. As members of the church, the body of Christ, we need to understand what God desires concerning the purpose and ministry of the church. To fail to understand this has led many local churches into programs and practices that are not in accordance with the Word of God. We find from the Bible four basic purposes for the church today. Continue Reading “What is the Function of the Church?”
When we come to the New Testament searching for how God would have us make decisions, what categories do we find? Rather than directions on how to discern the individual will of God we are given principles of decision making. Rather than pointing us to hunches, inner voices and promptings, we are pointed to scriptural guidelines that enable us to make wise choices to the glory of God. The New Testament paints a picture of a believer who knows and obeys Scripture, indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and who has been given a mind whereby he is able to think, reason, discern and choose. He is an individual who is quite capable (due to regeneration, the Scriptures and the renewing of his mind) of making wise decisions which please God. It is for these reasons that God does not call for Christians to make subjective choices based upon what they “feel” God might be telling them. Rather we are to be students of the Word, knowing how God wants us to reason and choose based upon principles He has given us. Continue Reading “How Does God Give Direction in the Details of Life?”