Tag: Church of Christ

One and But One- Part 8

     The Church of Christ is exclusive—the special and only realm of the saved on earth—and it cannot be otherwise!!  The Bible teaches there in One faith, Ephesians 4:5.  This is to distinguish it from the Judaic faith that existed before the “faith once delivered” became a reality!!  There are not TWO faiths, Jewish and Christian, says inspiration—there now exist only ONE!!  This faith has “ALREADY, ONCE AND FOR ALL been delivered” by the apostles of Christ, received from the Holy Spirit, as the Holy Spirit directed their writing and speaking!!   They did NOT at the time it was spoken  BELIEVE, understand, or approve this message, themselves!! Acts 2:47; 11:17    There is no other religious document that can make this claim!!  Every religious creed book, manual, prayer book, catechism, written begins with the dead give away: ‘WE BELIEVE’!!  The writings of inspiration started off with a doctrine the apostles DID NTO believe!!  Exclusively, the faith “once and for all and evermore,” Jude verse 3, delivered, written, received by the apostles of Jesus Christ, makes a claim to authenticity that no other doctrine book, creed book, or testimony of faith can claim.  This exclusivity is further evidenced by the fact that it had to be written DURING the lifetime of the apostles to whom Jesus handed the KEYS to His kingdom, Matthew 16:13-20; 18:15-20; Mark 9:1 after He empowered them with the Holy Spirit in baptismal measure on the day of Pentecost, A D 33, at 9:00 am, that Sunday morning unlike the writings of Islam that did not come about until 300 years after Mohammed died!!  Jesus had told them: “In the regeneration (the period called “being born again”), when the Son of Man shall set on the throne of His glory; you shall set upon 12 thrones….” Matthew 19:28      

     This faith that was “once and for all delivered” was clearly delineated and therefore fully recognizable, identifiable, and never contradictable even though NO writings went before a REVIEW BOARD or DOCTRINE BOARD before they were sent into the entire World!!  Paul did not get Peter’s approval for what he wrote and spoke by inspiration, neither Peter, Paul’s!!  In fact Paul had been preaching this “faith once delivered” for about 10-15 years BEFORE he and Barnabas met with Peter, James, and John. Galatians 2: 9.   What a mess we would have been if the Gospel had had to await the Pope, John Calvin, Martin Luther, John Smith, Joseph Smith, or Ellen White’s or any other’s “lying testimony” as approval before it could be sent into ALL THE WORLD!!  Paul, in fact is on record as stating his gospel had been preached to “every creature under heaven” Colossians 1:23 and never checked by human eyes, certifying unto his readers that he received his message “not from man,  neither was taught it by man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”!! Galatians 1:12  The apostles “conferred with NO MAN, NO POPE, NO RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE, NOR THEIR MOTHER’S RELIGION.  Paul received his message FIRST-HAND, got his message from the Boss, Himself IN THE FIRST CENTURY!!  Find any denominational preacher, church, or holy man who can make such a claim!!  They would have to be 2,000 years old!!  If this is not exclusivity tell what it is??  This is both historically and Biblically accurate.

     If men devise other religious systems apart from “the faith once delivered,” they have not succeeded in producing a NEW faith; they have succeeded in producing NO FAITH!!  If faith comes by hearing the Word of God, producing “a” faith that is separate and apart from, different than, not according to, making distinctions from, separate from the ONLY INSTRUMENT THAT SHOULD PRODUCE FAITH, Romans 10:17, they have not produced the FAITH THAT WAS PRODUCED IN THE FIRST CENTURY!!

One and But One- Part 7

Christ loved the church more tenderly than any man ever loved his own wife!!  Paul writes: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25   To the Ephesians elders Paul stated: “Feed the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28   I submit for your learning the story told of Abraham offering his only begotten son, Isaac. Genesis 22: 1-13   It has been very few men in the ages of time that have given themselves purposely for their brides/wives but one and only one who prophesied He would so do!!  All the Old Testament prophets who foretold of the Messiah, who would come, told of His dieing to purchase His bride, redeeming her with His own blood!!

Abraham was “tested” by God to see if his faith was completely in God.  He was told to sacrifice his only begotten son, Isaac.  The place chosen for this sacrifice was a place then called Mt. Moriah, but in the days of Christ while sojourning on this Earth, it was called in the Hebrew Golgotha and in the Greek, Calvary.  The specific place for Isaac to be sacrificed was chosen (as was the fact God would offer His Son) before it would become a reality.  “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” Genesis 22:4   This place Abraham found was not by a lucky guess, it was the place CHOSEN by Deity for Christ to be offered for the Church of Christ before the foundations of the world!!  When Abraham had prepared Isaac for the rendering of Isaac’s blood, God stopped him: “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.  And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.” Genesis 22:11-13   It would take a lot of help to miss this type and anti-type.

Christ died ONLY for His Church!!  “For God so loved the world (Church) that He gave His only begotten Son (for the Church, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 5:25) that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16   When you see the word world, the context has to decide what is being mentioned!  For example, in John 1:10, John writes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit these words: He was in the world, the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.”  Christ was on this planet (called the world) and the creation (world) was made by Him, Colossians 1:15-18, and the people (the world) to whom He came, the Jew, knew Him not.  Christ came to be a “ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28, but who were the “many?”  As “many” as call on His name.” Acts 2:21  How does one “call upon the name of the Lord?”  Ananias told Saul, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sons, calling upon the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16    Calling on the name of the Lord, doing what He has commanded, will bring the “forgiveness of sins:”  “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7

No thoughtful Christian would think of lieing about the church, that is also called the  “body of Christ.” There is ONE AND BUT ONE.  Paul writes: “And He is head of the body, the church.” Ephesians 5:25   How many times have you seen two-headed people?  How many times have you seen ONE head on two or more bodies?  Is there not usually one head on one body??  So, with the body of Christ, it has one head and that head sets on ONE body!!  “And He is head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first born from the dead: that is all things He might have preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

One and But One- Part 6

If, as we are declaring, Christ has but one Bride, why does God allow the others to continue to exist??  God never stopped man from killing His only begotten Son!!  Just because God does not reach down from the Heavens and snatch denominational preachers out of their pulpits does not mean He is not aware of their mis-deeds!!  Many “feel” that since God has not stopped them, their religion must be alright if for not other reason than there are so many people that are members of their denomination.  I had my dentist tell me the other day; “why, there are 19,000 members of our church,” as if to prove that that makes error alright and disdain for God’s authority acceptable!!  “What if some do not believe, will that make the faith of God of without effect?” Romans 3:3  What if the WHOLE world does not believe, will that stop God from condemning man who has not obeyed His precepts??  When you deny the Law of God, you deny His right to rule over you and diminish His importance as the Law Maker!!  MOCKING GOD is not going to win you any points when you face Him at death!!  Telling Christ that your wife did not agree with His words the apostles wrote down for your learning will not lessen the punishment that on you will be imposed!!

     Earth’s existence became a reality to test and try man, find out which among us is worthy of eternity with God.  We cannot expect to spend eternity with a Being whose Word we cannot respect enough to obey that Word!!  We cannot expect God to reach down from Heaven and pluck denominational preachers out of the pulpit and then God claim impartiality and fairness to those who made the hard choice and “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine delivered you” which cost them their lives, or maybe their jobs, wife, child, mother or father.  They who loved God enough to “give that last measure of devotion” will stand in the Judgment and demand your destruction, and they will have every right to do so!!  If it made no difference what is taught or believed you will have to get around the complaints of EVERY apostle of Jesus Christ—for it cost everyone of them their lives!!      When God demanded the Israelites to march through the Red Sea, He did not mean it was alright for them to go out and rent a barge to take them across nor cross the Sea 15 miles to the north of the Red Sea at a place known as the Reed Sea!!  If you do not plan on obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ just exactly as He had it written, don’t worry about the curtains in your new home in Heaven!! 

     It is what we have all been use to knowing, a kind and benevolent God, think what “without God” will mean!!  We have all fellowshipped and lived in the sunshine of His love all our lives—what will be worth losing all He has promised??  You think groping in spiritual darkness is hard and unfair—wait till you begin groping in the darkness of eternal Hell!!  He who promised to turn brother against brother, a daughter against her mother, and a child against his or her father will not think twice about condemning they who hold His word in contempt. 

     The hatred God has for sin is seen in the price He was willing to pay to remove it.  Pain and a broken heart for 4,000 years will not allow Him to brush aside His Word in any capricious fashion.  In Genesis 22 we read of the sacrifice of Isaac.  ABRAHAM WAS SPARED, GOD WAS NOT, HE PAID DOWN TO THE LAST MEASURE OF DEVOTION.  Man has never fully been able to appreciate the price God paid, nor will he ever be able to deny the planning and preparation that was demanded of God to bring the Church of Christ into existence.  Denying this did not happen will not Hell comforting!!

One and But One- Part 5

Man tries to rationalize that religion is for him and his appetite.  He wants a religion he likes and makes him feel good about him.  In a sense this is the same as “situation ethics” which teaches as long as it hurts no one and it please me, it is alright!  I hear people all the time tell me they are “looking for a church.”  What they mean is they are looking one they feel comfortable in, preaches a message they approve, has a class of people in it they associate with themselves, and require from its adherents just what they are willing to “put in” to the success of the church as to monies, time, and effort.  Rarely do you find people who are looking for a church God Almighty will approve!!  These  people are looking for a church that teaches ONLY the doctrine taught in the New Testament, taught in the first century, that was taught FIRST, in Jerusalem, that was taught by an inspired apostle of Jesus Christ, and that was the church ALL the apostles of Jesus Christ belonged!!  There is a world of difference between this type of church and the type that will suit man.

     Men are looking for a church where the needs of their children are satisfied and they let the children determine those needs!!  They look for the biggest congregation with children the ages of their children, a playground or gymnasium, fun games and coloring, cookies and ice cream, and one where the most important people in town attend.  They are not spiritually astute enough to look for a congregation that preaches ONLY the New Jerusalem gospel, where its teachers are studied and prepared to teach Bible Classes suitable for their ages and intellect, and where the preaching is Christ-centered, Biblically supported, and in love with Jesus Christ FIRST and the mores and values of men, last!! It is true the children may not have a plethora of friends “at church” and may be the only one their age that attends there their age while learning of Christ, and may not “try out” for the choir or receive their “first communion” like the world, BUT, at the death’s door and the Judgment Bar– their  child will stand all alone and be judged “by the words that shall judge them in the last day” John 12:48, there, they will be glad for that Bible School teacher that insisted on teaching Bible Lessons and the preacher that made sin look like sin and not like  a joke at which to laugh!!  In death and at the Judgment these type parents will be on their knees thanking God their little boy or girl hears: “well done, My good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many, enter into the joys of thy Lord.”   But the one who will be the most thankful at death and in the Judgment Day will be the child whose parent was spiritually alert enough to make SURE they attended the right congregation!!   What about the child that got to set the standard for which the church they attended and hears: “depart from Me, you wicked and sinful sinner, I never knew you.” 

     My friend, Jesus is coming back some day for His Church!!  I flew into the airport the other day and there were well over 100 women in the terminal, I only was looking for ONE!!  Was I narrow-minded, an elitist, or a cultist??  You see, I am married to as many women as the Lord!!  I have one and but one, she wears my name, has born my children, and satisfies my needs as a man, AND, she is the only woman I left the airport with!!  Does that offend you??

     I sent my children to school. I sent them to the best schools.  I did not care if they wanted to go where it would be easy to “slide by,” where their “friends” attended, where the most students attended, where the biggest gymnasium was or where the best football team played; I wanted them, educationally, prepared to succeed- AND YOU??

One and But One- Part 4

The results of the “insignificant” sin are enormous!!  What man thought irrelevant to his relationship to God proved to be “the stick that broke the camel’s back.”  Knowing right from wrong is not what it is advertised to be.  Satan was not the “father who knew what was best,” but, then again, he never claimed to be the “father” who cared for his offspring, did he?  Unaccountable for the actions he directed, absolutely, NOT!!  Satan might have thought he pulled off the biggest scam in the history of the world, but because of his direction, God “prepared Hell for Satan and his angels,” Satan will one day pay the price all those who follow him will pay.  Some ask the question, “Will he pay, enough?”  Never, my friend, underestimate God!!!  What sin cost man is his/her innocence?  Many do not realize the sheer joy of such a state.  This is the happiest time of man’s existence!! Existence in this state defines Christianity-this is called PEACE.  More can be said on this point, but nothing can restore the loss of innocence but the blood of Christ!!  You and I cannot handle accountability before the righteous and sinless God, the only way we can ever be ready for such a judgment is having the blood of Christ and Christ the older brother and high priest as our advocate and mediator!!

     “It is not within man that walketh to direct his steps.”  We do not know the way home nor do we know how to find that “way”.  This demanded the grace of God.  “I am the way, the truth and the light.  No man cometh to the Father, but by Me;” came from the lips of the only Being to ever walk the shores of life having come from the Father’s presence who returned Home to prepare for us a place!!  Sinless and of the species called God, this Being we know as Jesus Christ.  He will be ‘ABLE’ to present us faultless before the Father. This is pointedly the reason we cannot trust man who has sinned as we have sinned, to lead to the Father!!  There is NO denomination or denominational body of believers who follow implicitly the directions of our Master.  They add to or take from His blood-bought Will or Testament to satisfy themselves, they claim equality with His authority to govern mankind, and those who they find like-minded as themselves, walk confidently, yes, many times boastfully, on their way to eternity.  Like mother Eve, they are satisfied with the religion originated by some man or woman in some other city other than Jerusalem, in some other century than the first century fifty three days after the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory, while the Roman Kings were reigning over the world, assembled in the Temple of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, 33 A.D. following a message that will re-turn that peace of innocence all eternity!!

     If man was to start a church that was to be in competition with our Lord’s Church would it not have been shown in prophecy?  Special men born for special times who did special things for the advancement of God’s plan were prophesied!!  Cyrus was mentioned by name years before he was born, Methuselah was named some 600 years before the definition of his name became a reality, and Jacob was chosen before birth to receive the birthright.  If they had the approval from God to start man-made denominational churches, would they not at least been prophesied before they were born? named so none would miss their special position before the Lord?, or at least shown to be allowed special recognition as did men like John the Baptist??  Their plans of salvation they advance, would they not been shown in prophecy as did that of our Lord?  Do you think it a lucky coincidence that baptism was defined thousands of years before it was commanded by Christ??  Were the flood, the Nile, Naaman the leper, and the building of the Tabernacle and Temple, not all connected- showing “water” saves”??

One and But One- Part 3

???? Many times things happen that seem insignificant, unimportant, and go without being noticed.? Some seem to think these incidences might even go un-noticed when compared to what they think in their lives is important.? Life can be changed by one event, homes can be broken, friendships ended and wrecked over what to the offender would seem irrelevant to really what they think truly is important!!? There is no way to determine the effects, good or bad, of taking the wrong turn, of making the wrong decision on ourselves and more particularly the cost it has on others!! ?Whoever thought the death of an unknown Jew in remote Galilee would affect every human being that had or would ever live??? In the ?important? events, the day the Roman soldiers put Christ on the tree, the events in Rome were FAR MORE noticed, yet no one knows just exactly what happened in Rome that Friday before Passover, but the world knows what happened in Jerusalem!!? One would never have considered that eating of a single piece of fruit would have brought the possibility of spiritual death to all humanity, either, but that day in the Garden of Eden mankind was forever deprived of the innocence that had before described his nature and allowed his unbroken fellowship with his Creator!!

???? Eating the forbidden fruit was no bid deal!? Who would ever get bent out of shape over just one bite (which probably did not taste good, anyway!!)?? Rationally, situation ethics would deny the importance of this the most famous bite in all the history of mankind.? It was, after all, just another fruit of one of many trees.? One tree was just as good as any other tree and to let on like the choice could be right or wrong just because some Being who visited only once a day could make such a demand, seems impossible, doesn?t it??? Do you mean to tell me God could be so demanding so as to choose JUST ONE tree for me not to eat from and after I had decided I liked the one He did not allow He would break fellowship with me?? ??That sounds awful narrow-minded for a God who is supposed to be LOVE!!

???? What would it hurt for Eve to take the fruit God had not allowed her to eat and take a bite? ?God did not say I couldn?t take ONE BITE, He said for me not to eat of this fruit that looks so good to me!!? Sometimes when you change a plan, you ?improve? it, right??? Denominationalism has changed the plan of God by which man is saved from his or her sins improving on what God had commanded and actually ?improved? on God?s idea!!? They think being saved at an altar, or in praying the ?sinner?s prayer? is a much better and easier way for man to be saved?and by the way what is the big deal?getting wet in water is never convenient AND it is just too much trouble??? Who will it hurt if I just change Jesus command in Mark 16:16 a little, God won?t care, He LOVES ME!!? After all, He is not here to stop me and sprinkling water on someone is much nicer and God never said: ?thou shalt not sprinkle water for baptism?!!? You see, we believe sprinkling water or baptizing you after you have been saved is just fine.? Remember, it is just fruit, God knows I love Him, and He?ll get over it!!? I don?t think Jesus will notice, I will sing and testify, put my monies in His work, and ?witness? for Him, everywhere.

???? ?The fruit looks good, it will satisfy Eve!?? Sin compliments our desires, it looks like fun. ?How can it hurt so much, I?ll only do it ONCE!? We have no experience with the results of sin?it might hurt you but it will not hurt me!!? It looks too good to pass up; the end results cannot be all that bad!!? Sin looks like what I REALLY want, how can it be that harmful??? It provokes in me a curiosity I cannot extinguish from my mind, I have to have it!!? I?ll give anything for it!! ?God want care, I will make it up to Him!! ???

One and But One – Part 2

Truth is always acceptable to those who are seekers of it and unacceptable to those who do not!!? What blocks the entrance to truth??? Most times prejudice.? Opinions would rank second, and probably indifference, thirdly.? Whatever the state of mind one finds themselves, truth WILL have its day of recognition. Hebrews 9:27; John 12:48? ?And it was our Lord who stated: ?You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!!? John 8:12?? What a break!!? God has reached out to man with a plan that will free him!!

???? Truth may not always be appreciated or accepted.? Those whose minds are closed on any subject will find it difficult rejecting what they have always believed (if they have believed anything with their heart) and change their minds when the facts contradict what they have believed.? Age brings with it a hardening effect.? People who have believed something all their lives will not find it comfortable or satisfying to find they have always been incorrect.? Believing something that is wrong, no matter how long it is believed, will not make the wrong, right and will never alter the fact that error is wrong when truth, which exposes that error!!? There was not one man or woman in the New Testament who believed what they were taught by the apostles of Jesus Christ BEFORE they heard their message.? Some rejected what was told them and we often muse over that rejection, but the end of rejection to truth is always the same; they all will be punished.? Unfortunately, so will those they influence.? It is recorded in Holy Writ; ?they that gladly received their word were baptized and the same day there was added unto them about 3,000 souls.? Acts 2:41 ??Some did not. Hebrews 4:1-2?? ?

???? Truth will never be altered by whether or not some dead loved one did not know it nor obeyed it!!? What you and I do with truth will determine our eternal destiny, but what someone who is dead has done about that truth will never alter my being punished or blessed by that truth.? It does not matter how many people disbelieve.? ?What if some do not believe, shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?? God forbid: let God be true and every man a liar.? Romans 3:3-4?? ?And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.? He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.? ?1 John 2:3-4

???? There are those who claim to be a follower of Christ who has never seriously investigated what Christ demands of them.? They have never read His Testament and are about as much home with the Bible as an aborigine is with a computer.? They are of the opinion that IF they do or do not believe, all will be well with God.? They are of the opinion that it is narrow-minded to demand an allegiance to the inspired Word of God, that all they have to do is mentally accept the fact that there is a God and everything will be just fine-that God just really does not care what they do, if they do anything!!? ?Do they intend to offend God or mock His Son, no, not at all!! ?They want to stay as far away from ?judging? hoping they will not be ?judged?. ?As long as they ?feel? everything is alright between them and God (and nobody awakens them to the reality that it is not), they will go along merrily to eternity never having the thought that God may not be pleased with them, at all!!

???? Burrowing your head in the sand will not make evil go away!!? Running away from the facts stated by Christ and His apostles will not allow you escape.? ?Behold! He cometh,? is a cry they never consider hearing.? Wanting to be just ?left alone,? some are offended when checked by a book, chapter, or verse from God?s Word!? Death is as much a part of life as is breathing air.? Judgment is that which comes with death!! Hebrews 9:27

One and But One

One of the most resented subjects mentioned by a member of the Church of Christ is the topic of these articles.? This subject usually brings anger, resentment, and many times the loss of friendships, YET, the member of the body of Christ is bound, constrained because of their love for Christ, to present this to everyone they have enough contact with to study the Scriptures.? People think the member of the Church who tells them there is One Church and but One in the plan of God from eternity is suffering from a big ?ego trip? that someone has sold them and cannot be speaking of the God of Love that they and their loved ones think they know so well!!? To them the most ridiculous thing they can be told is that the Church of Christ is exclusive and there is One and But One!!

???? What do I mean by being exclusive?? I mean the Church of Christ is in a special realm, the only one of its kind on this planet called Earth.? There is nothing else like her, there is nothing else to which she can be compared, and no other assembly that meets on the various days of their stated worship times meets for the same purpose she meets!!? She, then is truly exclusive.?

???? I know that many who are reading this think I am egotistical or ignorant of God and His love for mankind and that I have as much tact as a barbed-wire fence, but if it turns out to be the truth of God?s Writings called, the New Testament, it is a truth they must face either now or at death.? If they wait till death, it then will be too late!!?

???? I have been in many conversations with religious people of differing denominational faiths when this truth is presented and the mockery, sometimes insults, and outright disdain reaches a higher pitch than one might expect.? The first thing most will do is ?close the door of their minds? and stop everything that might be called reason and proof from entering.? They are happy with their religion (or else they are looking for a change) and do not want to be bothered with something they think personal and frankly ?none of your business?!!? They will immediately climb up the ladder of defense and because anger enters into their emotional make-up, they immediately close the door of the mind.

???? ?Who are you?? and ?what makes you right and everybody else wrong,? or ?do you think you are ONLY one who is saved when they know hundreds of good, religious, pious people both alive or dead who were never even heard of the Church of Christ.? Yet, there is one thing they NEVER consider in thinking about the subject-what does God think about this question??? Are you interested in what He has had written??

???? Religious people never consider God in a discussion like this for they think this comes only from the petty little mind of an egotist.? The one to whom they are misfortunate enough to have run into.? The very idea of ?judging? someone?s relationship with God to most is totally inconsiderate and resented.? People who base their religion on ?experiences? or ?emotion? feel violated when we who are members of the Lord?s Church inquire about their relationship which to them is TOTALLY private!!? Most received their religious convictions from their parent or grandparents, their husband or wife, or a sainted religious pastor or priest they have known and ?you do not have the right to ?judge? them, especially if they were real good to them and are now, dead.?

???? After they get over the initial shock–anger, mockery, or indifference usually overcomes them.? With these people be patient, it is like telling them the Earth is really flat?or that their mother never did love them!!? You might even find the curious minded who will actually discuss the subject a little, then turn on their used to be friend, for they now feel ?judged?.? Very few people are ?open-minded? because they think this private!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 18

???? Philip was later found again in Caesarea, where Luke records that he now was an ?evangelist,? they who originated first in Jerusalem.? Time had passed but time finds Philip faithful to his calling.? Blessed of God, we see Philip had four virgin daughters ?that prophesied.? Acts 20:8-9?? Entering the house of Philip, Paul had his third visit to Caesarea, for now Philip had preached the gospel in Caesarea for almost 20 years.?

???? We find the word ?evangelist? used by Luke in this text.? The word evangelist is a translation of a compound Greek word made up of eu, meaning well or good, and angelos, a messenger.? We need to look real close at this word!!? Perhaps, the title was given to Philip because of the type of missionary work he did, that he was located in a certain area and field of endeavor.? What about the rank of the office of an evangelist?? Immediately the question must be faced whether the listing of offices in Ephesians 4:11 is one of descending authority.? If so, the office of evangelist is next in order to that of apostle and prophet.? This in turn raises the question of the evangelist?s position in relation to that of elder (pasturing teacher).? Even if we insist that Ephesians 4:11 lists the offices in the order of descending authority, we never teach that the office of evangelist gives him absolute authority as some of our brethren have taught of the elder!!? The word seems to imply the evangelist was one who proclaimed by word of mouth the glad tidings, the good news, the Gospel.? The office or function of evangelist is mentioned two other places in the New Testament, Ephesians 4:11 and 2 Timothy 4:5.? From these limited sources, the following implications have been drawn: first, it is not easy in every case to distinguish between the activities of an apostle and an evangelist, but it is easy to distinguish between the evangelist and the eldership.? Evangelist was the name given to the writers of the four Gospels.? Two of those were apostles, too, you might remember.? The distinction between apostle and evangelist then might be given in this little formula: all apostles were evangelists but not all evangelists were apostles!!

???? Apostles and prophets were not limited to one congregation, where elders are.? Prophets and evangelist were commissioned to all churches within in a given area.? This seems to be what distinguished Philip from Peter and Paul.? The listing of this office is then geographical in nature!!? A question then has to be asked.? Is an evangelist or prophet (preacher) under the oversight of elders, or an ?outside advisor to the elders? when he is serving with any given congregation.? How were the evangelist appointed?? Evangelist, from the beginning received their commission from the churches, and not directly from Christ, as did the apostles of Christ-see Acts 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:14? This can be shown from the case of Timothy in which the hands of the eldership were laid on him for the purpose of setting him aside for the work on which he was embarking, and by parity of argument from the case of Philip.? Paul laid hands on Timothy evidently to impart to him those spiritual gifts which in that age were necessary in order to enable him to fulfill the commission which he had received from the church through the hands of the elders, 2 Timothy 1:6.? Was the office of evangelist temporary (like the office of apostle), or permanent (like the elder and deacon?? Timothy was told to commit the Gospel to faithful men, who in turn would be able to commit it to others, 2 Timothy 2:2.? This has properly been taken as a prerogative for setting aside evangelists-preachers chosen among the members of the church, by the church, not just the eldership, who showed an intense love for Christ during the mature age of the church, that they might fulfill their lives. ??Preach the Word,? resounds from the halls of eternity for such men!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 17

Some might object to calling the ?seven? in Jerusalem prophets.? Remembering ?He set some in the church; first apostles, then prophets?Ephesians 4:11, tells us WHEN this was done??when He ascended!!?? When Jesus ?rode on a cloud to the Ancient of Days,? Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 1:11, ?He was brought near before Him.? And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom? as we hear the words of the Ancient of Days; ?Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.? A scepter of righteousness (the standard of acceptance in Thy kingdom is obedience to the commands of Thy covenant) is the scepter of Thy kingdom.? Hebrews 1:8-12? Much to the chagrin of the pre-millennialism, God, the Father calls the Church of Christ, CHRIST?S KINGDOM.? Christ IS NOT COMING BACK to ?set up a kingdom? when returns the second time!!!!?

???? So, in the early church at Jerusalem, we see the apostles delivering the rules and regulations of the new covenant and prophets preaching the message, getting to the hearts of the listeners.? Stephen lost his life and Philip went to Samaria, then to the Eunuch, and finally, Luke records him being in Azotus, then Caesarea. Acts 8:40? ?To some this sounds like a filler that Luke used?read on!! ?Philip was raptured to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Azotus (near the site of ancient Ashdod, about 20 miles from Gaza).? It was about 60 miles from Azotus to Caesarea.? The plains of Philistia and Sharon are included in this area, as are many towns including Lydda and Joppa.? Perhaps, we can trace some of the effects of Philip?s evangelistic work in the appearance later in Acts of flourishing churches in both these towns (see Acts 9:32; 36).? It was a field of evangelism sufficient to occupy many years of Philip?s time.? Evidently, it seems Philip made this his headquarters from this time, on.? It was at Lydda that Peter, by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, healed Aeneas and at Joppa (Japho in Joshua 19:46, famous for its visit by Jonah) that he raised Dorcas from the dead using the same command Jesus used in Mark 5:41.? It was from Simon?s house in Joppa that Cornelius sent for Peter!!? With this kind of notoriety, no wonder Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter!!? By the way, it is recorded that a bishop from Azotus was present at the councils of Nicea (where Constantine (the first Papa of Roman Catholicism) divided the Church of Christ causing the Roman Catholic church to break from our fellowship in 314 AD) and then at another council at Chalcedon at even a later date! ???

???? The next mention of prophets of the New Testament is in Acts 13:1-4.? It might be that three of these brethren are well-known to the church, today, the others are not.? Saul and Barnabas, we know. It is said that Niger, meaning black, was none other than the son of Simon, the Cyrenian who carried Christ?s cross. Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26??? Then, there was brother Lucius; known for being the first member of the body of Christ to bring the gospel to Antioch, Acts 11:20.? Finally, there was Manaen who was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch (Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist).? He was said to have literally been a foster brother of Herod who had grown up in the castle with him!!? ?It is said of the effort of these prophets that ?the hand of the Lord? was with them.?? This phrase frequently was used in the Old Testament of the mighty manifestations of the power of God in behalf of His people.? This was the same phrase that was said of Philip in Samaria in Acts 8:5-8 as he ?confirmed the Word?!!? As David was king before he sat on the throne so Saul of Tarsus work was made successful by the providential working of the Almighty which Saul had to wait to do?SO??then departed Barnabas for to seek Saul?!! ?Saul had waited, now was the time.? Some have never learned this lesson!!