The Apostle Peter charged Christians who were scattered over much of the Roman Empire during the First Century: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (I Peter 3:15). With this in mind we will discuss briefly on this site things that pertain to God, Christ, Man, Sin, Salvation, the Church, and Hope for Heaven.
THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD:
The Universe declares to us that there had to be a creator. The order and precision with which the heavenly bodies and the earth move, along with the complexity of all the functions of nature, and the precision with which we are functioning beings suggest law and order, design, purpose. These overwhelming evidences suggest that there has to be a designer, a law giver, a source of authority that is grander than the Universe itself. The Bible tells us that this creator is God (Psalms 19:1).
We believe in the One God as He is revealed to us first through nature, and who introduces Himself to us through the Bible. The accuracy of the Biblical record and the historical evidence of the Lord’s resurrection assure us that our faith is not in vain. This same confirmed Biblical record also declares that the “Lord our God is ONE Lord” (Deut. 6:4); “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph.4:6).
JESUS CHRIST, THE WORD, WAS PART OF THE GODHEAD:
According to John, Chapter 1, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). In verse three John declares, still speaking of “the Word,” that all things were made by Him. Then we learn that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We can know that this one described as “the Word” was Jesus. He was with God, was God, and became flesh. According to John 3:16, God “gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus was a part of the Godhead bodily: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). He declared forcefully that “any man that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” (John 14:9). He emptied himself of the splendors of Heaven to become Savior of lost mankind. (Philippians 2:5-11).
SALVATION IS ONLY IN CHRIST:
The Apostle Peter declared in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Not only was Jesus a part of the Godhead, He is now portrayed as the means, the only means, by which man can be saved. There are no other Saviors, not Moses, not any man before or after Moses, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all…” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9).
JESUS HAS ALL AUTHORITY:
No person has the authority or the right to alter the Will of Jesus and claim Heaven’s approval for doing so. Some have tried through the years but not with God’s approval. Jesus declared “All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:18-19). There are no latter day spokesmen with Heaven’s authority to speak any other Gospel than that which has been delivered (Galatians 1:6-9). According to Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” We look to Jesus and His Word for authority in all things religious. (See 1 Peter 4:11).
JESUS PROMISED THAT HE WOULD BUILD (ESTABLISH) HIS CHURCH:
Two thousand years ago, Jesus announced to the disciples His plans to establish His church.
(Matthew 16:17-18) “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Luke, the earliest church historian, gives us ample evidence of the implementation of this purpose: (Acts 2:38-47) — The church became a reality on that eventful feast-day, and for the first time in history people who were being saved were added to the body – the church. The Lord promised that He would establish or build His church in Matthew 16:18, and those who were being saved on the Day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter Two were added to the church. The church of our Lord is the most glorious institution in the world.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY THE CHURCH IS?
There are many words used in the New Testament to describe the church of our Lord. For example it is referred to as:
- The Body of Christ – Eph. 1:22-23
- The Family or Household of God – 1 Timothy 3:14-15
- The Temple of God and the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 2:21-22
- The Kingdom – Colossians 1:12-14
- The Bride of Christ – 2 Corinthians 11:1-2; Romans 7:4
- The Sheepfold – John 10:16
- The saved from sin – Acts 2:37-47
- Those purchased (redeemed) with the blood of Christ. They were the “church which he purchased with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28
- The sanctified – 1 Cor. 1:1-2
All of these words and phrases help us to see the various and wonderful ways in which the church is in a relationship with the Lord.
THE LORD CALLED FOR A UNITY OF BELIEVERS IN HIS ONE BODY, THE CHURCH:
John 17:20-21 (KJV) “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
1 Corinthians 1:10-11 (KJV) “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Religious division is of man and not of God. It was never His will that the church be splintered or denominated into the divisions we witness today. The church is His body according to Ephesians 1:22-23, and according to Ephesians 4:1-6 there is only one body. No one has the authority of Heaven to start a new kind of church today. We must all strive to be just members of the Lord’s body. It was His church and He established it. If a man starts another church that doesn’t teach and practice everything that the Bible teaches, his church is teaching too little. If a man starts another church that teaches and practices more than what the Bible authorizes, he is teaching too much. If a man starts another church and it is doing exactly as the Bible indicates in every facet, then this church isn’t needed for Jesus already established His church based on His will for mankind. We just need to be added by the Lord to His church.
We should all strive to be just Christians, and we should all teach the same things the Lord has commanded. If individuals identify themselves as being members of the Lord’s church and were added by the Lord as He added men in the First Century then they should all be members of the same church – the Lord’s Church. This church is not a denomination created by man. It’s the church as Jesus established it in Acts Chapter Two.
We are then to endeavor to keep the unity: Ephesians 4:1-6 (KJV) “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
HOW DOES ONE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH or BODY OF CHRIST?
In the salvation of man’s soul there are two necessary parts: God’s part and man’s part. The love which God felt for man led him to send Christ into the world to redeem man. The life and teaching of Jesus, the sacrifice on the cross, and the proclaiming of the gospel to men constitute God’s part in salvation. It is best summed up by the word “Grace.” “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift if God; not of works, that no man should glory” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Though God’s part is the big part, man’s part is also necessary if a man is to reach Heaven. Man must comply with the conditions of pardon which the Lord set forth. It must be noted that the Bible teaches that no man can by his own merit cause God to owe him salvation. It is of Grace, lest we should boast. At the same time, the Lord has authored salvation for all those who obey Him:
Hebrews 5:8-9 “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
Matthew 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
Man’s part is clearly set forth as he transitions from the state of the lost to the state of the saved:
Hear the Gospel – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14).
Believe – “And without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
Repent of past sins – “The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30).
Confess Jesus as God’s Son – “Behold here is water; What doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, if thou believeth with all thy heart thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36-37). See (Matt. 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 4:15; John 6:69)
Be baptized for the remission of sins – “And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38 – American Standard Version). See 1 Peter 3:20-21; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16)
Live a Christian life – “Ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). (See Romans 6: 3-6)
ARE THERE MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO HEAVEN?
Jesus said “I am the way” (John 14:6); “I am the door” (John 10:7).
If everyone is doing just what the Bible says to do, we should all be doing the same thing. There is one way and it is the Lord’s prescribed way. Our plea is that we all go back to the Word of God and obey the Gospel that was preached on the first Pentecost after the Lord’s ascension back to the Father. What it took to make one a Christian on the day of Pentecost in Acts Chapter Two is exactly what it takes today. Those who do exactly the same thing, both then and now, will be added by the Lord to His church, His body.
Read Acts Chapter Two and do what the Apostle Peter told those guilty of crucifying Jesus to do. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38). In Verse 41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” In verse 47, “…the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT CHURCHES TODAY?
God’s plan for Christ’s body, the church (Eph. 1:22-23) is without fault, and it’s complete description is found in His Word. Read any description in the book of Acts or the Epistles and you’ll find congregations of “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1) who continued stedfastly in the “apostles doctrine” (Acts 2:42).
Unfortunately, you’ll also find churches that already had problems creeping in. The plan was perfect, but there were no perfect people. The apostles warned the First Century Christians of the danger of falling away (apostasy). Each generation was but one step away from apostasy and the apostles wrote the New Testament letters (Epistles) under guidance of the Holy Spirit to keep the churches faithful. 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV) “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Neither can one read the New Testament without being aware that the writers foresaw a falling away from the pattern.
Acts 20:29-30 (KJV) “For I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV) “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV) “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV) “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
This being the case, therefore we can expect a time to come after the close of the New Testament when there would be a need for a restoration back to the sacred pattern. In fact, through history one can follow step by step the many doctrines and innovations of men that were introduced which changed the very appearance of the church. Departures from The Faith continued to the extent that in the Sixteenth Century men such as Martin Luther and John Calvin began to voice opposition to errors they saw. History records that mankind saw this as the dawn of the Protestant Reformation Movement. Originally this was a noble effort to try correcting error, but it resulted in the establishment of many new churches with their own separate names, creed books, and doctrines.
There was no need for new churches, only a need to go back to the First Century church and restore the ancient order of things. This would not result in establishing a new church, but would mark a return to the Lord’s church, a restoration.
This Restoration Effort is an effort to lay aside all creeds and manmade doctrines: to go all the way back to the First Century church and just be Christians.
Now that you are aware of a church in the Twenty-First Century which is built according to the blue prints of Christ’s original church, we hope you’ll take your Bible and search the Scriptures to see if these things are so. You can be a member of the very same church that Jesus called “My Church.” In becoming a member of it, you will be called upon to do nothing which you cannot read in the New Testament. You will then live and worship just as the apostle-guided Christians of the First Century did. Not only is this return to New Testament Christianity a wonderful basis upon which all believers in Christ can unite, it is absolutely solid ground. If we do just what our Lord commanded we know that our salvation is certain. Come with us as we go back to the Bible, back to Christ and his church!