Each congregation of the Lordís
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 of Christ, which 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. There are some small
congregations of the Lord's church that do not have a plurality of men
who meet these qualifications and thus cannot have elders until men become
qualified. 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
Lordís 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 different and new religious doctrines.
If a creed contains less than the Bible, it contains too little.
If it contains more than the Bible, it contains too much. The purpose
of creeds, which are formulated by men, is to express beliefs that are
different from what is taught in the Bible. There is no authority
for any of these various doctrines of men. Anything taught or practiced
by man in the field of religion, which does not come from the Bible, is
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 then it will be too late.
The followers of Christ are called
Christians in the Bible. This "new name" was prophesied in Isaiah
62:2, "The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,
and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name,
which the mouth of the Lord shall name." This "new name" was
given by the Lord in Acts 11:26, "And the disciples
were first called Christians in Antioch."
It is a privilege to wear the name, "Christian", because the Lord gave
2 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".
1 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 are. 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 by
wearing the name Lutheran, the methodical way of doing things by the name
Methodist, the town of Nazareth by the name Nazarene, John the Baptist
by the name Baptist, the city of Rome by the name Roman Catholic, the seventh
day of the week by the name Seventh Day Adventist, the day of Pentecost
by the name Pentecostal, and the list goes on and on. Can it be said
that Jesus has authorized any of these different names? No.
None of these names give any glory or honor whatsoever to God or Christ
to whom the honor is due. How do you think God feels about this situation?
Do you actually think He is pleased with it? We must be Christians
and Christians only. Do you wear only the name Christian?
Or do you wear some other name?
When people wear the religious
names of men and the religious names of man-made organizations, this shows
they are following men and not Christ. When a husband and wife are
married, the wife honors her husband by wearing his name. If his
last name is Jones, she is no longer Miss Smith but her name is now Mrs.
Jones. What if Miss Smith did not want to take the name Jones, but
the name of some other man? What if she wanted to take the name of
one of her old boy friends? Do you think this would be alright with
Mr. Jones, her new husband? I think not. The same is true with
wearing all of these other names of someone or something else other than
Although by referring to one
as a Christian, does not make him a Christian. If one is not a Christian
according to the New Testament, then he is not a Christian at all.
The Bible makes it clear that being baptized (immersed) in water is part
of becoming a Christian, not something to be done afterward. The
Bible makes it clear that the Lord adds to His "church
daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47). There are no
unsaved people in the church of Christ.
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.
We must have the Lord's authority for everything we do in religion, and
this includes the name we wear.
Questions Lesson 24
The Lord's Church (Part C) (click on the button of the
answer of your choice)
1) (Acts 14:23 & Acts 20:28) Each congregation
of the Lord's church is overseen by
board of deacons.
plurality of elders.
Bible specifies that the Lord's church is to be overseen by a pope.
3) (2 Thessalonians 1:12) What name should be glorified?
town of Nazareth.
should glorify every religious name.
5) (1 Peter 4:16) We should not be ashamed to suffer
should wear different names religiously even if they do not glorify Christ.
7) (Colossians 3:17) The things we do and say religiously
must be done by whose authority?
Lord Jesus Christ.
authority of each different church's creed book.
things we teach and do must be done by the authority of Christ.