Tag: vero beach

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!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 16

When Philip went to Samaria in Acts 8, under what authority did he journey?? He was not an apostle for he had not been with the Lord from the baptism of John (see Acts 1:22)? Some venture among us that Philip had this special gift through the ?laying on of the apostle?s hands,? but did that empower Philip with his message?? Both Philip and Stephen had had this ?laying on of hands? but so did Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas.? Did anyone hear of these other brethren prophesying or working miracles as did Stephen and Philip??? Did the ?laying on of the apostles hands? authorize the prophets message (Acts 6:8 and 8:6) or did the miracles not function as in our preaching, today, when we use a book, chapter, and verse to prove the delivered message??? Is there any record that Philip when at Azotas or as he went through until he came to Caesarea, not work miracles to sustain-prove his message??? I have some of the best in helps on the book of Acts, but none of them prove what I cannot find in the text.? Did these brethren receive this ability to speak from the ?laying of the apostle?s hands??

Is it not interesting that these brethren were already in an established function and were known as ?the seven? as the apostles were known as ?the twelve????? Don?t forget that the seven filled a void in service the apostles could not, should not, and did not attend!!? It is said of Stephen, as well as the other brethren, that they were qualified, already ?full of faith and of the Holy Ghost? BEFORE the apostle?s hands were laid on him, this was a requirement laid down by the apostles!!

I have read many of our brethren who taught these men to be the ?first deacons?!!? This makes no sense, for these men to have been deacons; there first were seven (this always means perfection).? This is not just a coincidence, nor was it luck.? The apostles were delivering the ?word of God? and it has been inferred by some that they were the only ones preaching the gospel at this time?this cannot be sustained, these men were ?full of the Holy Ghost??? If these brethren were the ?first deacons? then all deacons thereafter would have to be full of the Holy Ghost BEFORE THEY WERE APPOINTED IN EVERY CONGREGATION, something that is not even mentioned for the elders!!? They would be better qualified than the eldership under which they were serving.? They would have been set in the church BEFORE any elder would have been, they would have to been married men with children, there would have had to have been elders before them or they could not have been schooled in the art of working with the families of the church (these men were also ?full of wisdom,? again, a qualification that the eldership does not have), and there would have been no greater degree (1 Timothy 3:13) to which these deacons could have attained for they were already BETTER QUALIFIED than any elder they could have served under!!? Finally, there would have been deacons before there were elders?the word ?elders? was the synechtoche (a part standing for the whole) that the Holy Spirit had Paul and Barnabas ordain in every congregation on their second visit to the new congregations of the Lord, Acts 14:23.? So, without too much effort, we are in enough trouble making these men ?deacons?!!? What we are not in trouble with, though, is that these men were qualified, known as qualified, and were classified, were already functioning WHILE, AS, DURING the time the apostles were giving the ?Word of God? to the assembly!!? James did not send someone like Barnabas to check on their message as he did in Acts 11:22-23.? Let me introduce to you the first mentioning of the prophets, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, a like group that was in the church at Antioch in Acts 13:1-3!!? It had to begin first, at Jerusalem, remember?!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 15

We have come to the end of a study which I hope has been interesting and informative to you.? I am sure someone else has done a better job with this in other times in the history of the Church.? Prophets are mentioned in the New Testament with little or no elucidation.? They receive no understanding from the readers of God?s Holy Book.? That they were ?set? in the church as were the apostles, evangelist, pastors, teachers, etc., so there must have been a need they fulfilled.? Like the many other things we use in the New Testament Church (unleavened bread as an example), their background comes from a study of the Old Testament understood by its early readers.? If the ?pattern? shown Moses included this office/work, so must its ?reality!!? ??Not apart of ?that which was perfect,? this position existed in the dispensation that existed immediately ?for our learning.??

???? They were not ?apostle apprentices? and were never ?checked on? by the apostles or the churches from which they were sent as in Acts 11:23, but often functioned simultaneously with the existing church or apostle and did the preaching in that place (as we see the prophetical work in the study of Stephen, in Acts 7.? It was not coincidental that the Jews found Stephen; he was on the debate team that ministered for the church at Jerusalem!! Acts 7:9; 13:1-4; 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus).? Some Churches of Christ don?t even consider debate; much less have a team training as ?the defenders of the faith.?? They are afraid of hurting feelings and not defending the great God who died for them!!? They don?t study denominationalism and its damnable lies so they can defend the precious, pure ?river of Life.!!? Like the apostle Paul, Stephen was ?set for the defense of the gospel? and it cost him his life, not just his relationship with his denominational mother-in-law!! 1 Peter 3:15; Psalms 139:17-24; Philippians 1:12-19; 3:18-20? ?????????

???? These brethren had a role or function in the church that has been amalgamated by ?love advocates? and the ?feelings-oriented.?? They were in a fight for their lives and the existence of the Church of Christ; they were soldiers, not cowards!!? They had to get the brethren ready for the ?wiles of the devil? for the week to come and were ?charged? (this is the stirring up of the heart commanded of God to the prophets) by the apostles to do so!! 2nd Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:5-11 ??The church of the first century and all other centuries have to ?fight, the good fight of faith,? not put the brethren to sleep in the pews, entertain their children with gold fish, or put on a musical!! ???The Holy Spirit called out- named those who had this job to perform, and these prophets did not set down after 15 minutes of preaching or be fired!!? Some even ?continued until midnight!!?? The baton has to be passed on; we do not have to re-light the torch if it has continued to burn bright in the hearts of the preachers/prophets of God!!? God pulled the plug on the church at Laodicea. They were fat and happy on their way to Hell. Jesus said the preacher would not ?earnestly contend and defend the faith once delivered to the saints!!?

???? When Peter ?lifted up his voice? in Acts 2: 14; his message came from a heart that had already been put in prophet gear ??Neither Satan nor all the demons of Hell; not even his wife,? his mother-in-law, or a good paying job) could stop him!!!? He couldn?t stop until they crucified him upside down!! ?There was no aire of a funeral home or a comedy routine; sinners repented and saints held on to their seats fearing the Lord would return and they would fly off to glory before the preacher had finished his message!! Preachers, baptize your message with the fire-power of the Holy Spirit.? If your audience is made up of members of the Church of Christ, it won?t bother them; the Holy Spirit lives in them!!
If not, maybe they will repent and be baptized SO the Holy Spirit will move in!!