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THE WAY

Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you.

Matthew 7:7

 

INTRODUCTION

As the book containing God's exact revelation to man, the Bible, describes:

Man's origin

His relationship to God

His departure from God by sin

God's plan (THE WAY) for restoring the original relation-ship

The destiny of those who accept the plan and travel THE WAY

The destiny of those who reject THE WAY

This booklet, using the words of the Scriptures themselves, traces God's plan of salvation as a golden thread which runs through the many books of the Bible, books written by different men most of whom did not know each other and often did not have access to the writings of the others. This fact testifies to the unity of the Bible, and indicates that all seekers of religious truth should study the Bible itself to learn THE WAY of truth which it alone sets forth.

The author of this compilation of Scriptures asks that you study the booklet with an open mind, remembering that God has promised a knowledge of His truth only to those who seek it (Matthew 7:7), and who desire it (John 7:17).

PROPHECY CONCERNING THE WAY

And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for the redeemed: the wayfaring men, yea fools, shall not err therein. Isaiah 35:8*.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Daniel 2:44.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. Isaiah 2:2.

. . . for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:3.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Joel 2:28.

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that 1 will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. Amos 8:9.

AN OLD TESTAMENT TEACHING CONCERNING THE WAY

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12. (See I Samuel 15:22 teaching the importance of obedience to God).

OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES OF THE RIGHT WAY

Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. Genesis 6:22.

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. Genesis 4:3, 4, 5. (From the New Testament we learn:- `By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain', Hebrews 11:4, and we know from Romans 10:17 that `faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God'. Therefore, since Abel's offering was by faith, it was in accord with God's command or word). (See also Exodus 2:10, 11, and Hebrews 11:24, 25 for the story of the decision of Moses to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season). (See also II Kings 5:14 for an example of rewarded obedience).

OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES OF THE WRONG WAY

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Leviticus 10:1, 2.

And when they came to Nachon's threshing-floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the Anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. II Samuel 6:6, 7. (God had forbidden the ark to be touched. Numbers 4:15 Uzzah disobeyed God and substituted his (man's) wisdom for God's wisdom in so doing).

And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. Numbers 20:12. (God had told Moses to speak to the rock, and Moses smote it with his rod. This disobedience God called unbelief). (See also Numbers 20:8, 9, 10, and Deuteronomy 34:4).

TEACHINGS CONCERNING THE OLD COVENANT WAY

(Law of Moses)

A. It Was For The Jews (Israel) Only

And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear. O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ear this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Deuteronomy 5:1, 2.

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:11, 12. (See also Hebrews 8:9).

B. It Was A Shadow of the New Covenant

Which are a shadow of things to come. Colossians 2:17. (See also Hebrews 10:1).

C. It Was A Schoolmaster To Bring Us To Christ

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24.

D. The Old Testament Was Written For Our Admonition and the Things Recorded in it Are Examples Unto Us.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. I Corinthians 10:11. (See also I Corinthians 10:6 and Romans 15:4).

E. While the Old Law Was In Effect `The Way' Described in Isaiah 35:8 Was Not to be Established

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. Hebrews 9:8, 9, 10.

F. The Old Covenant Was Done Away With and Replaced by the New Covenant

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Romans 10:4. (Ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14).

He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. Hebrews 10:9.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. Colossians 2:14.

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances. Ephesians 2:15. see also Hebrews 8:13).

G. Not to Bring Parts of the Old Law Over Into The New

And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both he new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new Wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. Luke 5:36, 37 (Read Hebrews 9 and Acts 15:23-29).

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6.

EVENTS AND TEACHINGS PRECEDING AND LEADING UP TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH (THE WAY)

A. The Kingdom at Hand

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1, 2. (Recall Daniel 2:44).

B. The Kingdom to Be Established in the Lifetime of Persons Associated With Jesus

Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which will not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Matthew 16:28. (Mark 9:1 reads ` . . . till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power'.)

C. Direct Teaching of Jesus Concerning The Way

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13, 14.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. John 10:1.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5.

D. Jesus To Build His Church and the Apostles Promised the Keys of the Kingdom.

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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18, 19. (Note: The church and the kingdom are used to mean the same thing here. Note also that the church is to triumph recall Daniel 2:44 - the kingdom to stand forever).

F. Apostles to be Guided by the Holy Spirit Into All Truth (The Way)

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13.

THE FULFlLLING OF THE PROMISES

In recording the story of the crucifixion, the record says: `And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. Luke 23:44, 45. (Recall Amos 8:9 - `I will darken the earth in the clear day'.)

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Acts 1:4, 5. (Read Luke 24:46-49). (Recall Isaiah 2:3 - `the word of the Lord from Jerusalem'.)

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Acts 2:1, 2 (Read verses 3 and 4 also. Note: Recall Mark 9:1 supra - `with power'.)

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Acts 2:16, 17. (Recall Joel 2:28). (Read Acts 10:28, 34, 35, 44 and 45 showing that the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles also fulfilling the prophecy `on all flesh'.)

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised 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.

THE CHURCH ESTABLISHED

And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47. (This is the first mention of the Church, and it came after the preaching of the first gospel sermon on the day of Pentecost and the baptism into Christ of those who obeyed the gospel at that time).

APOSTLE'S TEACHINGS AS TO NECESSARY STEPS TO SALVATION

A. Must Believe

He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16.

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness. Romans 10:10. (See also John 1:12, John 3:16, John 3:36, John) 6:40, Ephesians 2:8, and Hebrews 11:6).

1. Through Preaching the Word of God

For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through it's wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. I Corinthians 1:21*

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us II Corinthians 4:7. (This statement was made after Paul had said in verse 3, `But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, and in verse 5, `For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake').

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 10:14. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading Isaiah (as you did in the beginning of this outline), and Philip (a preacher) asked him if he understood what he read, `and the eunuch said, `How can I, except some man should guide me? and Philip preached Jesus and baptised him. Acts 8:30-39.

The Apostle Paul, living in the age of miracles, and being a `chosen vessel', (Acts 9:15) was struck down by a light on the road to Damascus, and `saw' (I Corinthians 15:8) and `heard' (Acts 9:4, 5) Jesus, and yet it was necessary for him to go into the city and there be told by a preacher, Ananias, what to do to be saved - i.e., be baptised. Acts 9:3-18.

Cornelius, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always (Acts 10:2), also living in the age of miracles, being the first Gentile convert to Christ, even though counselled by an angel, was told to send to Joppa and inquire for Peter, and when Peter came he preached unto him Jesus. and commanded him to be baptised. Acts 10:1-48.

The rich man, who was in torment (hades), lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, and he asked Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead to earth to warn his brothers so they would not suffer his fate. Abraham said that they had Moses and the prophets, and if they would not hear them neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:20-31. (This teaching, given by Jesus, referred to the time when the law of Moses was still in effect).

It is plain, then that when Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preached the first gospel sermon, he turned the keys of the Kingdom (Matthew 16:18), and not only was the gospel plan of salvation bound on earth and in heaven, but also preaching as a means of teaching that plan was likewise bound on earth and in heaven. Surely, if during the age of miracles, in the instances recorded above, God deemed it necessary to bring Paul and Cornelius into Christ through the instructions (preaching) of men, then it must be clear that all men now must be reached and saved by preaching of the gospel (For it is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16).

2. Through the Word of God

But these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name. John 20:31*.

So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17*. (See also John 20:30, 31; II Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 11:6, and Galatians 3:26).

3. Belief Alone is Not Enough

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble. James 2:19. (See also James 2:24).

B. Must Repent

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Acts 17:30.

Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Acts 11:18. (See also Acts 3:19).

C. Must Confess Jesus

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32.

D. Must Be Baptised

He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Matthew 16:16.

1. For the Remission of Sins

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16. (See also Acts 2:38 supra. Recall Isaiah 35:8 - `The unclean shall not pass over it').

2. An Immersion

And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptised him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:38, 39.

3. A Burial

Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Romans 6:5.

In baptism we simply re-enact the gospel, which is the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus. In Romans 6:17, the inspired Apostle wrote: `But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you'.

4. Baptism Saves

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Peter 3:21.

5. There is Only One Baptism

One Lord, one faith, one baptism. Ephesians 4:5.

6. Improperly Baptised Persons Were Re-baptised in Bible Days

And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptised? and they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptised with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:3, 4, 5.

7. Baptised Persons Called Babes

As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. I Peter 2:2.

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I Corinthians 3:1 (`a new creature'. II Corinthians 5:17). (Recall Jesus' statement in John 3:5 - `Except a man be born of water and of the spirit' -, See also I Peter 1:23 - `born by the word').

8. Baptism Puts One into Christ

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? Romans 6:3.

For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27.

NOTE: The Scriptures teach that the first three steps of obedience to the gospel are `UNTO' or towards (in the direction of) salvation - (a) belief unto righteousness (Romans 10:10 supra); (b) confession unto salvation (Romans 10:10 supra); (c) repentance Unto life (Acts 11:18 supra).

Baptism is INTO Christ. (Romans 6:3 and Galatians 3:27 supra).

These teachings plainly show the error of infant baptism, inasmuch as belief, confession and repentance must precede scriptural baptism.

The necessity of belief in Christ before baptism is taught clearly in the story of the Ethiopian eunuch - when the eunuch, after Philip had preached Christ to him, said: `What doth hinder me to be baptised?' Philip said, `If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest', and the eunuch said, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God'. Acts 8:36, 37. Inasmuch as `belief in Jesus is necessary before one is a proper subject for scriptural baptism, infant baptism cannot be scriptural.

ALL SCRIPTURAL BLESSINGS ARE IN CHRIST

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3.

A. Eternal Life is in Christ

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. I John 5:11.

B. There is no Condemnation To Them Which are in Christ Who Walk After the Spirit

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Romans 8:1.

C. The Saved in the First Century Were In Christ

`To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse', Colossians 1:2. At Corinth, `to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus', I Corinthians 1:2. At Ephesus, `and to the faithful in Christ Jesus', Ephesians 1:1. At Philippi, `to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi', Philippians 1:1. At Thessalonica, `and in the Lord Jesus Christ', I Thessalonians 1:1.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Romans 16:7. (Paul is the author).

D. Blessed Are Those Who Die in Christ

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Revelation 14:13.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with a trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16, 17 (written to the Church at Thessalonica and to Christians - See also I Corinthians 15:22.23).

THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF JESUS

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all Ephesians 1:22, 23.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:12.

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Colossians 1:18.

THE CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Colossians 1:13. (See also Matthew 4:23, 21:43, and Acts 8:12 - recall Daniel 2:44).

THE CHURCH (KINGDOM) WAS ESTABLISHED IN THE `LAST' DAYS

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. Hebrews 1:2. (Recall Isaiah 2:2 - `in the last days').

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH (WAY) (KINGDOM) (BODY)

For by one spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. I Corinthians 12:13. (Recall Isaiah 22 - `all nations shall flow unto it').

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling. Ephesians 4:4 (Read verses 5 and 6 also).

That he might reconcile both unto God in one body. Ephesians 2:16.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:4, 5 (This was written to Christians, and refers to individual Christians, not to groups or distinct church organisations. Added emphasis is given to that fact by the statement `have not the same office'. I Corinthians 12:1-13 teaches us that individual Christians have different talents and perform different offices in the one body or church). (Read the prayer of Jesus that we may all be one recorded in John 17:11, 20, 21, 22, 23 and Paul's admonition that `there be no divisions among you' in I Corinthians l:10).

JESUS IS THE SAVIOUR OF THE CHURCH

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:23.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25, 26 and 27.

THE NAME OF THE CHURCH

A. It Was the Subject of Prophecy

And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Isaiah 62:2 (This prophecy applies to the name Christian being given to baptised believers).

NAMES APPLIED TO THE CHURCH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

A. The Church of Christ

The churches of Christ salute you. Romans 16:16.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20. (See also Colossians 3:17; Acts 4:12; Matthew 16:18; Galatians 1:22; Acts 5:28, 40, 42; I Corinthians 12:27; and Romans 12:5).

B. The Church of God

For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? I Timothy 3:5 and 3:15, (See Acts 20:28 and I Corinthians l:2 also). (Both names refer to Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh - `God was manifest in the flesh', - I Timothy 3:16. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. John 1:14. It is `His' church - Matthew 16:18 supra).

MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH WERE CALLED CHRISTIANS

And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:26. (See also Acts 26:28 and I Peter 4:16).

THE CHURCH AND MEMBERS NOT TO BE CALLED BY ANY OTHER NAMES

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptised in the name of Paul? I Corinthians 1:12, 13.

THE SAVED WILL HAVE HIS NAME WRITTEN ON THEIR FOREHEADS IN THE JUDGMENT

And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads. Revelation 14:1*.

THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH

A. Improper Worship

l . An Ignorant Worship

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17:23.

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Romans 10:2, 3.

2. A Vain worship

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9. (See also Titus l:14).

3. Will worship

Paul, in talking to Christians at Colosse about subjecting themselves to certain ordinances, after the traditions of men (Colossians 2:8), concluded by saying, `Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh'. Colossians 2:23. (The term `will' meant that it had its origin in the will of men. This worship is similar to, if not the same as, the vain worship described above).

B Proper Worship

1. Accordance With His Word

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17.

. . . it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Jeremiah 10:23.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. II Corinthians 5:7.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17.

THE ELEMENTS OF PUBLIC WORSHIP AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE

A. Singing (no other type of music sanctioned in the New Testament)

Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Hebrews 2:12.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3: l6. (See also I Corinthians 14:15 Romans 15:9, and Ephesians 5:19).

B. Prayer

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2.

Pray without ceasing. I Thessalonians 5:17. (See also Romans 15:30, I Peter 4:7, Philippians 4:6, I Timothy 2:1-4, Romans 12:12, and I Timothy 2:8). (Since the Kingdom has already come, it is not proper or fitting now for us to pray the so-called `Lord's Prayer' - `Thy Kingdom come' recorded in Matthew 6:10).

C. Preaching (exhorting)

And they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42. (See also Acts 9:20, I Corinthians l:23, and II Timothy 4:2).

D. The Lord's Supper (on every first day of the week)

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. Acts 20:7. (See also Acts 2:42 supra).

E. Giving

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. I Corinthians 16:2. (This was the only means used by the church of the first century and sanctioned by the inspired apostles to finance the work of the church). (read also I Corinthians 16:1 and II Corinthians 9:5-7).

The Apostle Paul, in his sermon on Mars Hill, made a very clear and important statement concerning the nature of God and of our service and worship unto Him.

In Acts 17:22 through 25, Paul said, `Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious (very religious*) For as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped1 with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things'.

Man is the highest creation of God, and in us He created the qualities which He intended and instructed us to use in our worship of Him. No one would deny that the preaching and prayers are accomplished solely through God-created instruments.

The Lord's Supper is a spiritual feast in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19), and man-made elements are used only because He has directed their use. (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25).

Giving is also spiritual because it must be as we have purposed in our hearts - cheerfully and liberally. II Corinthians 9:2-7. In I Corinthians 16:2, each is told to `lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him', and thus we give that which we have laid by, obviously goods or money, as we have been directed to do.

Singing is also spiritual, performed with God-created instruments, men and women. In every New Testament Scripture relating to this portion of the worship, singing is specified. In Ephesians 5:19, the instrument mentioned is the `heart'.

As Paul declared on Mars hill, God created everything. There is nothing man can create or build that would improve, or take the place of, God's creations. Since God has created us with the talent and ability to worship Him with the elements of His creation, isn't it plain that not only would it be unacceptable, but sinful as well, for us to use man-created instruments of music to `aid the singing', or as a substitute for it? If God had wanted us to use mechanical instruments of music in the worship, he would have told us.

Some will say that the Bible doesn't tell us not to do thus and so in the worship service, and therefore it is proper for us to do as we wish. The Bible, in fact, does tell us not to do anything in worship other than that directed in it, and that excludes all else. The Bible does not attempt to list everything that man might do or use in the worship that would be unacceptable: rather, it tells us what is acceptable. Recall Leviticus 10:1, 2 - `strange fire' and the punishment of the death by fire of those who used it. Read I Corinthians 14:6-15 and Hebrews 12:28, 29.

THE ORGANISATION OF THE CHURCH

A. Elders

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. Acts 14:23. (See also Titus 1:5, Acts 20:17, Acts 20:28, and James 5:14).

B. Deacons

Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre. I Timothy 3:8. (See also Acts 6:1-6). (Both elders and deacons had authority only over the local congregations in the first century - there was no central church organisation known to, or sanctioned by, the apostles).

CHRISTIANS MUST

A. Not Forsake the Assembling of Themselves Together

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25.

B. Study

Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15. (See II Timothy 3:16, 17 and I Peter 2:2; 3:15).

C. Teach Others

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Matthew 28:19, 20.

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. II Timothy, 4:2.

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel I Corinthians 9:16. (See also Acts 5:42 and 8:l-4, II Timothy 2:2, and I Peter 3:15).

D. Grow Spiritually

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Peter 3:18. (See also II Peter 1:5-9 Galatians 5:22, 23; and Ephesians 4:15).

E. Live Godly (not to sin)

For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world. Titus 2:11, 12*.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Romans 6:1, 2.

1. But We All Sin

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.

2. When We Sin, We Have An Advocate With God

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous John 2:1, 2.

3. To Obtain Pardon For Sins, Christians Are to Repent and Pray God For Forgiveness

Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. Acts 8:22.

4. We Are Also To Confess Our Faults One To Another And Pray One For Another

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. James 5:16 (Note: These teachings were given only to Christians - those who had obeyed the first principles - and they apply only to Christians today, not to the alien sinner. (See John 9:31). These teachings further confirm and prove the prophecy in Isaiah 35:8 - `the unclean shall not pass over it'.)

F. Overcome

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Revelation 21:7.

G. Be Faithful Unto Death

. . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10.

H. Not Depart From The Doctrine Of Christ

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. II John 1:9. (Read also verses 10 and 11; Acts 14:22 and Colossians 1:23).

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. I Timothy 4:16. (See also II Peter 2:15 and Romans 3:12).

ALL ARE TO BE JUDGED

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Hebrews 9:27.

A. By The Things Written In The Bible

He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. John 12:48.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Revelation 20:12.

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. Romans 2:16.

NOT ALL TO BE SAVED

A. Only Those Who Obey Jesus

. . . he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Hebrews 5:9.

. . . and he is the saviour of the body. Ephesians 5:23 supra.

B. Only Those Who Do The Will Of God

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. Matthew 7:21.

C. Only Those Who Have Jesus

He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. I John 5:12.

THOSE WHO OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL TO BE PUNISHED

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. II Thessalonians 1:7, 8.

Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Matthew 15:13, 14. (Plain teaching that error of human teachers or organisations will not excuse one. The first teaching as to `plants' applies also to church organisations that God has not planted).

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. Hebrews 2:3.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? I Peter 4:17, 18. (These teachings also refute the doctrine that Christians have more good works, etc., than needed to gain heaven, and that the excess can be applied to others, since Peter here said he and the righteous are `scarcely' saved. Revelation 20:12 says that each is to be judged according to his own works. The Apostle Paul said he kept his body under subjection lest, after preaching to others, he might himself be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:27). (See also Hebrews l0:28 and 12:25).

THERE IS TO BE NO FURTHER REVELATION

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3.

THE GOSPEL CANNOT BE CHANGED

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8. (Recall Matthew 16:19 - `keys of the kingdom' and `bound on earth and in heaven'. Here it is said that not even an angel from heaven can preach another gospel or change the one preached by the apostles).

THE WORD OF GOD IS SUFFICIENT FOR ALL PURPOSES

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching), for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16, 17. (Recall John 16:13 - The Holy Spirit was to guide the apostles into all truth).

ALL ARE TO SPEAK THE SAME THING

I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus 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. I Corinthians 1:10.

A. That the World May Believe That God Sent Jesus

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. John 17:21.

B. That We May Be Free From The Blood Of All Men

Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Acts 20:26, 27.

EVERY TYPE OF RELIGIOUS ERROR AND DISOBEDIENCE KNOWN TODAY WAS EITHER PRESENT IN THE FIRST CENTURY AND CONDEMNED BY THE APOSTLES, OR FORETOLD AND CONDEMNED BY THEM

A. Perversion Of The Gospel Of Christ Was Present In The Churches Of Galatia"

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6, 7.

B. False Teachers Present In The Churches And Foretold

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine. I Timothy 1:3.

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law: understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 1 Timothy 1:6, 7.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. I John 4:1.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as their shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways: by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. II Peter 2:1, 2.

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:28-30.

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. II Timothy 4:3, 4

C. Some Christians And Teachers In The First Century Brought Over Some Of The Elements Of Worship And Observances From The Old Covenant Into The Worship Under The New Covenant

Paul, in writing to the Galatian brethren, after having addressed them as O FOOLISH Galatians, (Galatians 3:1) and discussing their freedom from the bondage of the law, said:

`Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. Galatians 4:10, 11.

Paul, also after telling the Colossian brethren how Jesus had done away with the law, said:

`Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Colossians 2:16, 17.

In Acts 15:1-29, the account is given of how the Jewish Christians in the church tried to bind on the Gentile brethren the law of Moses, including circumcision, but at the council held by the Apostles in Jerusalem these efforts were rejected. In the 9th chapter of Hebrews we learn that some of the ordinances of the law were: candles, a golden censer (incense), priests, washings, sprinkling of blood and water. In verse 10 of chapter 9 these things were referred to as carnal ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

D. Women Preachers And Leaders Condemned

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. I Corinthians 14:34.

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. I Timothy 2:11, 12.

E. We Are Forbidden To Call Any Man On The Earth Father

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Matthew 23:9. (Read verse 8 also). (This teaching refers to the religious or spiritual and not to the fleshly).

F. Not To Kneel, Bow Or In Other Ways Worship Any Man

And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. Acts l0;25, 26 (Not even to an angel - Revelation 22:8, 9).

G. Prophecy Concerning A Departing From The Way

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; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. I Timothy 4:1-3.

H. Christians At Corinth Divided Into Groups Following Preachers

. . . that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptised in the name of Paul ? 1 Corinthians 1:12, 13. (This Scripture also condemns the using of names other than Christ's).

I. A Preacher At Ephesus Preached John's Baptism And Not Christ's

Read Acts 18:24 through 28 concerning Apollos at Ephesus and about how it was necessary for Aquilla and Priscilla to instruct him more perfectly. It was also necessary for Paul to have those Apollos had baptised rebaptised in the name of Christ (Acts 19:3, 4, 5).

J. Some In The Church At Corinth Denied The Future Resurrection From The Dead And In So Doing In Effect Denied The Divinity Of Jesus

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. I Corinthians 15:12-15. (Read Verses 16 through 20 also).

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. I Corinthians 15:20.

K. The Days Of Miracles Ended With The Apostles And Therefore Direct Manifestations Of The Holy Spirit Do Not Occur Today

After speaking of miracles, diversities of tongues and gifts of healing in chapter 12 of I Corinthians, Paul said:

"Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things". I Corinthians 13:8, 9, 10, 11.

The New Covenant is called perfect:

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25. (The perfect law having come, that which was in part, the outward manifestations of God's power, miracles, tongues, healings, etc., which were given to show to the people of that day, and also to prove to us, that God was with the apostles, who were then revealing the perfect law, ceased).

THE ENTIRE PLAN OF SALVATION AND TEACHING OF THE APOSTLES IS CALLED THE `WAY' IN THE BIBLE, PROVING IT TO BE THE FULFILLING OF THE PROPHECY IN ISAIAH 35:8.

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. Acts 9:2.

The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew us unto the way of salvation. Acts 16:17.

This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit. he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquilla and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. Acts 18:25, 26.

But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. Acts 19:9*.

And about that time there arose no small stir concerning the way. Acts 19:23.*

And I persecuted this Way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. Acts 22:4.*

But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets. Acts 24:14.*

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 3:12.

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. Hebrews 10:20.

And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Hebrews 12:13.

And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. II Peter 2:2.

Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, II Peter 2:15. (See also II Peter 2:1,2).

CONCLUSION

On the mount of transfiguration, when Peter, James and John saw Jesus, Moses and Elias transfigured before them, Peter said:

"Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias". Matthew 17:4.

A VOICE FROM THE CLOUD SAID: `THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED: HEAR YE HIM'

Everyone must pass through the door of death and face God in the judgment. He has prepared A WAY wherein you cannot err, and he pleads with you to come to Him by it.

How insignificant is human will, human pride, or any other obstacle to your accepting Jesus on His terms, when viewed in the light of eternity and the certainty of the judgment.

There is no turning after death.

While there is still time and opportunity, why not obey the Gospel as He has asked you to do? Believe in Jesus; repent, confess Him before men, and then by baptism enter in at the straight gate. Thus being born into the Kingdom of God, and thereafter walk by faith the narrow Way that He has outlined in His Word, thereby making your calling and election sure. (II Peter 1:10).

Compiled by: Charles F. Grandey

 

NOTES

1 The American Standard version reads `served by' instead of `worshipped with', and while the practice of those pagans of which Paul spoke was that of preparing and taking food and drink to an altar, in the mistaken belief that God was man-like in his needs and appetites, actually Paul's teaching as to the nature of God and of man's worshipful relationship to Him is not confined to that particular practice, but carries a vital message to all.

* Designates quotations from the American Standard (1901) Version of the Bible. All other quotations are taken from the King James Version.

 

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If there is no local congregation of the church which Christ established, the one described in the New Testament, near you, or if you desire any further Bible help on any religious problem, write or call:

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