Church of Christ
Mission USA

Unto Him Be Glory In The Church – Are We???

by Perry Sexton

            Are we bringing glory to God in the church?  The Scriptures teach that this is the place where the glory is to be brought unto God: "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Eph 3:21).  Note also (v.10): "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God," and (I Pet 2:5)  "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house [the church], an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

            Though some seem to have forgotten, the God given mission of the church is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10; Mat. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16, etc.).  Every church must be involved in this great mission.  We need to be reminded often of the God given work of the church: evangelization, edification, and benevolence.  As in olden times, God’s people often, and sometimes quickly depart from God’s way.  A means of accomplishing God’s work may begin very innocently at the first, but soon deteriorate into an unauthorized practice or unauthorized organization!  We must remember and never forget that we must have God’s authorization for everything we do in religion (Col. 3:17).  It seems this is not easy for mankind to do.

            It is so easy to give up on God’s way because it seems (in the eyes of some) it is not working.  This is nothing short of unbelief (cp. Heb. 12:1; 3:12, etc.).  Brethren, God’s way is the only way that will work!  God’s word will accomplish its purpose (Isa. 55:11).  Many seem to think that if the head count is not increasing they need to change!  Some preachers are willing to “change” their preaching in order to increase the numbers and “protect their reputation!”  That is, before men (cp. John 12:43), whereas we need to consider what God thinks!

            In many cases the church has given up on God’s work or at the least God’s methods and has become little more than a social club.  The church is not in the entertainment business or men pleasing business.  We cannot, nor should we have a desire to compete with the denominations in this.  Let us not “keep up with the denominations!”  God’s work is far superior to that!  For those who do not like God’s way or believe it – it is sad, but we must not compromise with them.

            Years ago many churches bought and used vans or buses to bring the less fortunate and children (who had no other way) to their services.  But many now use vans or buses to carry our own children to places of entertainment with little, if any, spiritual aim.  Again, some individual Christians have rented “camps” in order for their children to have (hopefully) good Christian companionship (entertainment and other such activities) along with some Bible teaching.  A word of caution: Christian parents need to know about the “camps” they send their children off to.  I strongly suspect many problems we have in the church today came from those influenced the wrong way in the “camps” of their youth.

            There is nothing wrong in itself for individual Christians renting or even owning camps and sending their children to good camps.  But, this is not the work of the church, nor is it the work of the “camps” to evangelize the world.  God has given that great work to His institution.  The church does not have the authority to set up another institution to carry out the Great Commission.  A little research into some “camps” will reveal some alarming things.  For example: “To help campers in learning to worship God in fresh and effective ways in the out-of-doors.”  I can imagine what will take place when that generation grows up and become church leaders and preachers!

            A brief summary of what I have found: some churches own and operate camps (where is Bible authority?); some seem to promote their institution (camp) far more than they do God’s institution; and many thousands (all added up surely would be into the millions) of dollars have been spent on the camps.  Just think how far that would go in evangelizing the world.  We need to consider what God thinks of this.  Someday we will give an answer – now is the time to know God’s will and we have it in the Bible.  Some camps have many acres (I read of one developing 156 acres) and many nice buildings, etc.  Even things that are good in themselves can become a snare unto us.  We need to be cautious in all things and be certain of the authority.

A Few Reminders

  • Evangelization is the work of the church (Mat. 28:18-20).
  • We must have authority for all that we do (Col. 3:17; John 4:24).
  • We have no authority to create institutions to take the place of the church in evangelization.
  • We need to get back to: Speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent – doing Bible things in Bible ways.  We are simply speaking of God’s way!  Not going beyond that which is written (I Cor. 4:6 ASV 1901). 
  •  "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Eph 3:21).
  • (Eph 2:10)  "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
  • We are to put God and His church first in our lives (Mat. 6:33).
  • "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" (II Cor 9:8).
  • "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (I Cor 15:58).
  • Let us: "be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men" (Titus 3:8).  But be certain of the authority! ♥

 

Is It Scriptural For The Church To Accept Funds From A Denomination [the organization] For The Lord’s Work?

(continued from last month)
by Perry Sexton

            Brethren, as of this printing, I have received one letter in response to last month’s article.  I greatly appreciate him writing to me and giving his view on the matter.  It is a legitimate Bible question that deserves and demands a Bible answer.  Some who have answered the question, in time past,  in the affirmative, have refused to give book, chapter, and verse for their answer, even though I have sought it by letter.  Neither did this individual give Bible for his answer.  It seems they can find no Bible for their position!  That is a very dangerous position!  Brethren, where are we?  Do we no longer demand book, chapter, and verse for what we believe, teach and practice???

            The only real point made by the individual concerning this matter was: “Money itself is not sinful.”  That is true and is a statement worth mentioning, but in reality it does not answer the question.  Sex is not sinful, but the source of it can be!  I think that answers his objection without anything else being said.

            Maybe to help us all to come to a proper Bible understanding of this important matter some other questions should be considered:  (1.) Can we participate with the denominations in the Lord’s work?  (2.) Is it participation when an organization gives money for a particular purpose?  (3.) What is God’s perfect plan for church finance?  (4.) Does it include funds from the churches of men?  Brethren, these and other questions, are worthy of consideration if we are concerned to do all things according to the will of God.  They deserve book, chapter, and verse.  We are to prove all things by the Bible (I Thess. 5:21).  We all should expect from our preachers and preachers of preachers to speak “as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11). It is not my word, it is God’s word.  We simply decide where we shall stand.  Your comments are welcome and anything that may shed light on this will be printed.  Remember II John 9. ♥