Highway 9 church of Christ
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|Lesson 24: The Lordís Church (Part C)|
Each congregation of the Lord's church is to be overseen by a group of elders. In Acts 14:23 we read, "So when they had appointed elders in every church." Notice there is to be a plurality of elders in every church or congregation. This is the way the Lord set up His church.
But what does the Lord intend for the elders to do in His church? In Acts 20:28 the apostle Paul was talking to the elders from the church at Ephesus and told them, "Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers." The church the Lord built is to be overseen by a plurality of elders. The qualifications of elders who are to oversee each congregation of the Lord's church are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:3-9. Is each congregation of the church you belong to overseen by a plurality of elders? If not, why not? If it is to be the Lord's church and has men who qualify, each congregation is to be overseen by a plurality of elders.
If we really accept the Bible as our only authority, we will want to worship God only as He has specified. We must reject human traditions and doctrines that members are required to follow such as creed books, catechisms, manuals, articles of faith, the book of Mormon, the Koran, constitutions, disciplines and other guidelines of men, all of which produce new religious doctrines.
We are warned in Colossians 2:8, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." It would be a tragedy to find out on Judgment Day we have been cheated of our eternal reward in heaven because we followed the doctrines of men; but it will be too late then.
II Thessalonians 1:12 tells us "That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is to be glorified and honored in us. Besides doing all that he tells us to do, we glorify the name of Christ by wearing the name "Christian". I Peter 4:16 says, "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter." It is an honor to wear the name "Christian." In wearing this name we are glorifying God and Christ.
We should not be ashamed to wear the name "Christian", yet many seem to be. Men want to wear other names that give honor and glory to someone or something other than Christ. For example honor and glory are given to Martin Luther, the day of Pentecost, the apostles, the methodical way of doing things, the town of Nazareth, John the Baptist, John Wesley, the hill of Calvary, the city of Rome, the city of Antioch, the names of the different "saints", and the list goes on and on. None of these names give any glory or honor whatsoever to God or Christ to whom honor is due. How do you think God feels about this situation? Do you actually think that He is pleased with it? Do you wear only the name Christian?
God tells us in Jeremiah 10:23, "It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." Man has tried but has always made a miserable failure of it. In Colossians 3:17 we read, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." We are to do all in the name of or by the authority of the Lord Jesus. Can it be said that Jesus has authorized any of these different names?