Follow Their Faith

follow in footsteps

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. (Hebrews 13:7)

Follow Their Faith

The Hebrew writer is exhorting the early Christian to remain faithful to the covenant of Christ not giving up their faith and hope in the great High Priest and author of eternal salvation. As he closes his message he reminds the disciples to consider those who guided them through the study of God’s word establishing them in the fervent truth of righteousness and hope of eternal life. It is clear there were those who had a tremendous influence on the lives of the saints by the example, teaching, guidance, rule, and conduct of life. Serving the Lord by keeping the commandments and precepts of the law are important and necessary. There is a need for men to teach other men to be faithful to the word emphasizing the truths of fidelity to the will of the Father. One of the most important parts of a disciple’s life is to look to those individuals who have spoken the word of God to them seeking to follow their faith as they emulate the character of Jesus Christ. This puts the responsibility on two parties: the first on the ones doing the teaching and secondly on those who are the students. James would write that few need to be teachers of the word because there is greater accountability for the words taught. Every teacher of God’s word must be eternally warned of the consequence of not handling aright the word of truth. One reason is that others will follow in their footsteps. If their lives are not guided by the word of God others will follow the same course. Honor should be given to those who have taught the word of God and to remember their lives as they seek to follow the will of the Lord.

Following the faith of others is a daunting responsibility. Leadership in the church must be found in men who are able to exemplify by their lives holy conduct worthy of imitation. This character comes from emulating the life of Christ. Their speech, manner of life, conduct in business, concepts of morality, knowledge of the word and benevolence are just a few of the patterns worthy to follow. Examining the faith of another man is the model the Hebrew writer exhorts his readers to consider. This does not suggest perfection as found in Jesus but men who strive to mold their hearts under the grace of God. Following the faith of another is trusting in the manner they walk in life and to have a willingness to follow in their steps. Humility is the cloak of grace that bestows the heart of leaders that know others look to them for guidance and help. These are people of the Book thoroughly versed in the word implanting the spirit of God in their lives. Their families are models of the righteousness of God as leaders in the home. In the business world, their example is one of truth, fairness, and justice. All that know these leaders are impressed with their love for God and desire to help others seek eternal life.

There is a lesson found in which the example of those who rule over them will be considered for the outcome of their conduct. Whether these leaders were living at the time the Hebrew writer uses them to admonish the Hebrews is not known but the result is the desire to look at their lives and see how the word of God molded, changed and created a place of spiritual leadership that others could follow. The younger generation must look to the older generation and see what life is like when lived within the principles of righteousness and truth. In large part, because the evidence of a life lived under the holy guidance of scripture will be manifested by those whose faith can be followed. Considering the outcome of a person’s conduct is the real litmus test of a life lived for God. Knowing the word of God and putting the word to the test of life are two separate things. Remembering those who rule over them teaching them the word is best served by the outcome of their lives under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The way of the Lord is right and when followed will bring the spiritual rewards of faithfulness. Following this type of faith will also bring reward to the student. May the cloud of witnesses be filled with the evidence of lives lived for God for all to emulate and follow.

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Our God Is Exclusionary

ephesians 4

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Our God Is Exclusionary

In the spirit of compromise, men will find ways to agree to unite under one flag of acceptance of all types of gods, faiths, religions, and dogmas. The language will be used like “coexist” or “unified with diversity” and acceptance across the board that all men believe in the same God but call Him by different names. This allows the Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, Catholic, atheist, Taoist and every known form of religion to share the same world stage of acceptance. It is considered anti-religious to criticize another man’s religion. This is especially true within the confines of the Christian religion made up of over a thousand different kinds of faiths and churches bearing as many names as cereal boxes in a grocery store. Again, in the spirit of religious détente, all men seek to dwell together as one speaking the same language with the same god. In reality, an examination of the Bible will reveal the author of the book declared an exclusionary faith that eliminates all other religions and attempts by men to recreate the church of Christ defined by the New Testament covenant of grace. It is difficult to accept the teachings of those who deny Jesus is the Son of God in light of scripture. The Jews, Moslems, Buddhist, and Taoist do not accept that Jesus of Nazareth was the divine Son of God. Without this fundamental faith, Jesus said no man can be saved. An atheist does not believe in God so he has no use for the Bible.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, writes there is only one body which he earlier had described as the church. In a world filled with thousands of different kinds of churches, the word of Paul seems to fade into insignificance. Jesus did not come to earth so that men could choose the church of their choice or worship as they seemed fitting. The Lord came to die for one body which is His Bride the one church. There is only one church and that church is not defined by the dogmas of men. That one church is declared on the pages of the New Testament. God is exclusionary about the church. The apostle further states there is only one Spirit showing the unity of the Godhead as there is only one Holy Spirit. Many religions deny the existence of the Holy Spirit as a personal being like God the Father and Christ the Son but there is one Holy Spirit and the Bible is the manifestation of His eternal nature and character. Religions of the world offer men many different hopes through the teachings of their beliefs but Paul said the only hope of eternal value is found in the one hope of the one God. Calling on the name of the Lord is the only hope a man can have. There is no hope in the Mosaical law, dogmas of Catholicism, teachings of Confucius or Buddha or Muhammad or churches established by men in the last five hundred years. God is exclusionary when it comes to the Holy Spirit and eternal hope.

When a religion denies that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, there can be no hope and no promise of eternal life. Jesus Himself declared He was the only way, the only truth, and the only life and no man could come to the Father but by Him. If all men are united under a flag of compromise they have to exclude Jesus from the circle because He teachings all others are false. Paul writes there is one Lord and one faith because there is only one Lord and there is only one faith. Coexistence is impossible because Jesus said it was impossible. The fundamental truth of eternal salvation is predicated upon the knowledge that Jesus rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father. His tomb is empty and has been for two thousand years. All the tombs of the Popes are still filled along with the burial place of Muhammed, Buddha, Confucius, Martin Luther, Joseph Smith and every author of religious division. God is exclusive when it comes to His Son Jesus Christ and the faith of the gospel. There is only one baptism because there is only one way a man can have his sins washed away. This is particularly difficult for many who believe in Jesus as the Christ to accept the necessity of baptism. The reason there is only one baptism is that there is only one door into salvation. Without the waters of baptism washing away sins, there is no hope and promise. And who declared the exclusionary nature of eternal life? The one God and Lord of all who bears His holy name as one to be revered as the only God and the only truth and the only hope of Heaven. God is very exclusionary because He is the only God. The Bible is the only body of truth given to men. It declares ONE GOD!

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Stay Off The Roof

proverbs 219

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman. (Proverbs 21:9)

Stay Off The Roof

When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, it was a place of unmeasurable peace and happiness. Sin changed the purpose of the home and would lead to Cain killing his brother Abel and the world falling into a state of wickedness that demanded the wrath of God. The joy and peace of the home designed by God have been challenged by the wiles of the devil since the fall of man. Many homes are not bastions of God’s grace but battlefields of warfare between husbands and wives who yell and scream at one another and parents who berate and scold the children. Contentions in the home do not come from the mind of God. The wise man suggested it would be better for a man to expose himself to the occasional fits of nature like rain or wind than to dwell in a house with a quarrelsome, brawling and nagging wife. God did not design the home to be a place of confusion. There are many things in the world that bring sorrow, heartache, and pain but the home should be a place of safety, security, and peace.

Contentious women who demand from their husbands are not showing the humility of subjection demanded by the Lord. Homes that are characterized by shouting, cursing, arguing and conflict are not homes built upon the rock of Jesus Christ and the love of God. Husbands and wives who contend with one another and then come to worship the Lord together show their children the hypocrisy of godliness that is lacking in their lives. These principles are not new to the covenant with Christ. Moses described the home as a place of gentle rest before sin knocked on the door. Under the Law of Moses, the home was to be a place of truth and righteousness. Jesus taught the sanctity of the home is characterized in the spirit of children. Paul wrote many letters admonishing the early Christians to be models of the gospel of Christ by the examples of husbands, wives, parents, and children. Contention in the home is not the eternal plan of God. It would be better for a man to be exposed to the elements of weather than to live in a house where fussing and arguing characterizes the spirit of the woman. As Dee Bowman said, “It is hard to sin when one is thinking about God.” Quarrelsome homes are not thinking about God. Instead of a man dwelling on the housetop, the family needs to resolve to change their hearts to serve the will of the Lord. Husbands must love their wives as Christ loved the church. He shows his love by nourishing and cherishing his wife giving honor to her. Wives are to be in subjection to the husband in everything showing respect for him and giving him the honor established by the word of God. Husbands are not to be bitter toward their wives and children are to obey their parents in all things and this will please the Lord. Following the Biblical pattern of the home will bring peace, happiness, and joy to the husband and wife and keep the man off the roof.

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Be Strong And Do Not Fear

haggai

“Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,” says the Lord; “and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,” says the Lord, “and work; for I am with you,” says the Lord of hosts. “According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!” (Haggai 2:4-5)

Be Strong And Do Not Fear

After seventy years of divine punishment in a foreign land, the children of God are brought back to the land of promise with little to show for the glory of the former nation of Israel. The land is in ruin and the hearts of the people are discouraged facing many obstacles and trials in settling the land long abandoned. Jerusalem remains largely in ruins with its walls torn down and gates burned. The once glorious Temple of Solomon is nothing but barren rock. Hopes are diminished and spirits are low. Under the leadership of men like Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brethren, worship is restored at Jerusalem. Two years after returning from the captive land, work begins on rebuilding the temple but there is resistance and opposition. In the face of concerted efforts by those who were not allowed to be a part of the rebuilding, work on the temple is halted for eighteen years. Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. In less than a month, work was resumed and the temple was completed on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius king of Persia. Four years earlier Haggai spoke to the people exhorting them to have courage and not allow the distractions of those opposing the work to keep them from the glory of God’s work.

The leaders of remnant Israel had become discouraged. Zerubbabel and Joshua needed to have their faith lifted to complete the work of building the temple and Haggai delivered the much-needed message. God tells these men to be strong and work for the cause of righteousness and the glory of the Lord. There are times when the heart weakens after times of distress or change. When Moses died and Joshua was commissioned to lead the people over the Jordan into the promised land, the Lord told the son of Nun to be strong and of good courage. Crossing the turbulent waters of trial the heart can become afraid and inactive. The temple needed to be built and even though there was opposition and for eighteen years the foes of God’s purpose had succeeded, the time for revival had come. Through the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah, the hearts of its leaders and the people of Israel were admonished to be strong and not fear for the Lord was on their side. One of the great dangers of discouragement is what happened to the people. The work had stopped. There was no activity to rebuild the temple for nearly two decades. God’s house remained in ruin and the hearts of the people had given up. Now through the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah, the fire of devotion had stirred the people to work diligently to complete the temple. Leaders often need that nudge to attain greater heights of accomplishment when they face trials. Zerubbabel and Joshua had been unproductive for many years but the time had come for them to grow strong and not fear those who stood against the will of the Father. Courage and faith were needed and Haggai delivered that message clearly.

Jesus promised to build His church and the will of God brought forth the eternal promise of the Lord on the day of Pentecost. What made this day powerful was the sermon Peter preached that Jesus had died but He had raised to reign at the right hand of the Father. The church began with three thousand souls being added and the New Testament covenant of grace began to be spread throughout the world. Two thousand years removed the church faces discouragement, heartache, and disappointment. In many places churches are dying, some closing doors and others existing on a fare of spiritual bread and water. There is apathy, disinterest, and lack of zeal to build the kingdom of God. Haggai the prophet reminds God’s people to be strong, work hard and do not fear. Nothing will inhibit the work of the Lord and His will is accomplished in every generation. What the Lord needs are workers who are willing to brace the seas of opposition and face the winds of discouragement with faith, courage and a determination to build the kingdom of God according to the pattern. The Spirit of the Lord remains among the faithful who seek to establish the gospel in the hearts of those seeking the truth. Times have changed but the gospel remains the same message to give hope to lost souls. Trying to change the gospel to fit the needs of the people is changing the will of the Lord. Having faith and courage to preach the same message of the New Testament is the courage to build in the face of a world of opposition. Many will not want to hear the plain teaching of God’s word. Leaders of the church should not be discouraged but stand on the truth of the word given by the Spirit of the Lord. Be strong, and work and do not fear because the Lord is with you and will not leave you. Haggai’s message of hope resonates in the ears of the courageous who trust in the will of the Lord to accomplish His work in His way.

 

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Christ Our Mediator

one_mediator

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Christ Our Mediator

The tragedy of sin is the separation of God and man. It was not the desire of the Father to be without His creation as He formed him to be in His own image and to dwell with Him in glory. Satan destroyed the union of the divine and the creation and the need for reconciliation was demanded. Animals were used for sacrifice to appease the wrath of God but the limitation of a creation not formed in the image of God could never take away sins. Further, the sacrifice of animals could not establish a relationship of communion between man and God without the thing offered being like that which was being redeemed. Sacrificing animals was nothing more than killing a creation that was not eternal. Human sacrifice was an abomination in the sight of God prohibited from the beginning of time but it would take the killing of a man to redeem man. The Son of God was made in the form and image of a man that He might taste death for everyone. Through His life and death, Jesus would Himself suffer, being tempted to aid those who are tempted. This could not be accomplished through animal sacrifice. As the Son of God and the embodiment of the divine in human form, Christ became the mediator between God and man fulfilling the desire of the Father to save all men. Only through the death of Jesus can a man find redemption lost in the garden. Mediation comes only through Jesus Christ as there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. A mediator is one who arbitrates between two parties seeking peace and reconciliation. The blood of bulls and goats could never accomplish this. Only when the divine Son of God took on the form of human flesh experiencing all of the trials of carnality and living without the stain of sin could a full offering be made without blemish. The sacrifice of Jesus was not just that none of His bones were broken but the man from Nazareth redeemed man from the curse of the law, having become a curse as one who is hung on a tree and a man without sin. To mediate between God and man Jesus had to possess the attributes of the divine and the man. W. E. Vine writes, “Only by being possessed both of deity and humanity could He comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other.”

There is only one mediator. As there is only one God, Jesus said He was the only way, the one truth, the only life that men would find in coming to the Father. He further clarified there is no other avenue whereby men could redeem themselves from sin. As a sole mediator, Jesus removes the trappings of religious dogma seeking to elevate any man to a place of mediation. Abraham, Moses, David or one of the prophets could not take that role as they were sinful men. What separates the mediation of Jesus with the failed attempts of men to mediate is sin. The emphasis of the mediation of the Christ is that He was divine who lived as a man experiencing all of the temptations of the flesh yet without sin. No man has ever come close to living a perfect life. All men sin is the declaration of the word of God and regardless of the attempts of men to establish their own righteousness, sin defiles every man. The one mediator is the one who lived for more than three decades and never transgressed the law of His Father. This gives Jesus the divine right to rule as King of Kings and be the lamb without spot or blemish sacrificed for all men. The blood of Jesus was the nature of the divine and the carnal shed on a Roman cross outside of Jerusalem so that all men could find the grace of the Father. The Jews killed Jesus for envy and hatred but His sacrifice brought reconciliation as the one mediator between God and men. All of the glory of grace is found in the death of Jesus. His willingness to die for all men gives Him the eternal right and authority to be head over all things establishing His word as the only means that man can find salvation.

Jesus gave Himself to be a ransom for all to show the world there is one God and one mediator. He became the surety of a better covenant and a guarantee of God’s love. Salvation can come only through Jesus Christ. There are many religions, faiths, and dogmas in the world that exalt men pretending to include Jesus but none of these can mediate between God and men. There is only one God and He is the only divine that man should worship. As there is one God there can only be one mediator and that is the man Jesus Christ. He was given all authority both in heaven and in earth and the words of Jesus mediates the will of the Father. Whatever is spoken by Jesus is the word of God and to refuse to follow the words of Jesus is to deny God. As there is one God there is only one truth. Jesus is the personification of that truth. His life, teaching, miracles, and His death testify to His authority to serve as the one mediator. He and only He speaks for the Father to men. The Holy Spirit declares the will of the Father through the words of the one mediator Jesus Christ. When men refuse to heed the words of the Bible they reject the redemption of man. From Genesis to the Revelation Jesus Christ is the subject, the focus and the purpose of declaring the word to all men. His mediation began in the Garden of Eden and is fully declared in the divine garden revealed by the apostle John. There is one mediator – Jesus Christ.

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It’s A Matter Of The Detail

baptism water necessary

But if the priest comes in and examines it, and indeed the plague has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. And he shall take, to cleanse the house, two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Then he shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water; and he shall take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times. And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and the running water and the living bird, with the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet. Then he shall let the living bird loose outside the city in the open field, and make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean. (Leviticus 14:48-53)

It’s A Matter Of The Details

The fear of leprosy was a great reality in Bible times as a disease that would put one in a place of isolation away from all other people under Jewish law and bring a slow and miserable death. God used it as a sign with Moses to prove His power. In the Law of Moses, there were many regulations concerning the leper and how the priests would make a determination to the level of the disease and whether a time would come the victim could be proclaimed clean of the offense. This law extended to the homes of those who may suspect the plague to be in his house. He would call the priest to inspect the home which would be emptied of all furniture and possessions. If there is evidence of the plague the house would be shut up for seven days before a follow-up inspection. When the priest returns and finds the plague still in the house, the offending stones would be taken away to a place outside the city and cast away. The house would be scraped inside, all around, and the dust that they scrape off would be poured out in an unclean place outside the city. New stones are brought in and the house plastered again. After a time the priest will inspect the house for the plague. If the plague is found again in the house it would be torn down, its stones, its timber, and all the plaster to be carried outside the city. But if the priest comes in and finds the house free of the plague, the house will be pronounced clean. The details for the ceremony of announcing the house clean is very specific and exact. To cleanse the house the priest must take two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. The Hebrew suggests two small birds which are unnamed to type. Cedarwood was designated eliminating in other kinds of wood. Yarn or threads of crimson would be used in the ceremony along with hyssop (a plant used for cleansing). One of the birds was to be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. It must be observed the first matters of detail are the type of vessel and the manner of the killing to be done over running water. The priest would then take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the living bird and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water. Attention to detail is noted in the command of God for the priest to carry out this function in the proper manner. Finally, the house would be sprinkled seven times. The priest would signify the cleansing of the house by the blood of the dead bird and the running water and the living bird, with the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet. Then the live bird would be released outside the city in the open field making atonement for the house. After all of this, the house would be declared clean.

It seems a lot of work to go about trying to declare a house clean from leprosy. Finding two birds to kill would have been easy enough but why two birds? Then the priest must find or create running water (they did not have modern faucets in the home) to cleanse everything with. What difference what kind of vessel the bird had to be killed over and what was the significance of doing it over running water? Understanding the science of leprosy, what does cedar wood, a couple of strings of red yarn and a bramble bush have to do with cleansing a house of a dreaded disease like leprosy? None of these items would make any sense to the wisdom of man to declare a house clean of leprosy. The priest could inspect the home and when it was found safe to live in, post a notice on the door telling the residents the quarantine is lifted and the family can return home. Having a priest come in with a couple of birds, wood, string and a branch performing some ceremony would seem more sensational than religious. If these regulations were imposed today most people would ignore them. Attending to the details of such a frivolous act as commanded by the Lord would have been changed and ignored by modern religious thought. Arguments would have been presented why the cedar wood had no cleansing power no more than strings of crimson or a bush. Preachers would proclaim the message of salvation from leprosy by only believing the leprosy was gone convincing the myriads of faithless followers that ignoring the details of the law of God would save them by His grace alone. Vast throngs of believers in Christ would move back into houses plagued with leprosy denying the law commanding two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. Sadly these dear ones would die of leprosy because they were never cleansed from the plague of death. Why? They were not concerned about the details of God’s law denying the pattern given by the Lord to cleanse them.

Commandment keeping is frowned upon in the religious world today as salvation by works. Science could prove that killing a bird over running water in an earthen vessel and sprinkling a house with the cedar wood, hyssop, scarlet, and a live bird would have no impact upon removing a plague from its walls. The point of God was not to impress the scientific world with its own wisdom but to test whether man would obey Him or not. If the priest did not follow the commandments of the Lord which included two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, hyssop, running water and an earthen vessel the house would not have been proclaimed clean. When a person argues about baptism that immersing the body into water has no cleansing power denies the commands of God and the power of His grace to save. How does water take away sin? Is there a magical infusion that takes place in water that removes sin? Would the waters of the Jordan River cleanse sin better than the waters of the Mississippi River or the Pacific Ocean or Lake Thonotosassa or mom’s bathtub? God washes away sin when He sees the heart in obedience follow His commands. On the Day of Pentecost, three thousand people did not argue about the science of water baptism. They believed in the grace of water baptism and obeyed. Denying the burial in water as burial in the death of Christ does not take away the command of God that sins are washed away in the water of obedience. Two birds, cedar wood, scarlet, hyssop, running water and an earthen vessel prove that baptism is essential for salvation.

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What’s In A Name?

church names

Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you. (Romans 16:16)

What’s In A Name?

Names identify a person, place or thing. The sadness of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier is that no one knows his name. When a person dies their name is engraved to show the life story of an individual. Without the identifying mark of a name, the subject becomes unspecified with no clarity. One of the first things Adam did in the Garden of Eden was to name the animals. God called the firmament Heaven, the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living. In the history of the Bible, names were significant. God changed the names of Abram and Sarai. John the Baptist and Jesus were named by the angel Gabriel before they were born. When the church began on Pentecost Luke records the Lord added to the church those who were being saved. The early church taught that salvation was not in any other name under heaven but the name of Jesus Christ. Fear came upon the church after the death of Ananias and Sapphira. Saul of Tarsus received letters from the high priest against the disciples of the Lord that if they were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Paul would later recount that he persecuted the Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. Luke refers to the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria having peace and were edified. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in every church as they returned from their first missionary journey. The church in Antioch is simply described as the brethren when men came down from Judea teaching the necessity of circumcision. The church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to the church in Jerusalem to answer the false doctrine.  A great commotion arose about the Way while Paul and Silas were in Ephesus leading to a city-wide riot. When the disciples came together on the first day of the week in the city of Troas, Paul spoke to them until midnight. The apostle Paul exhorts the elders from Ephesus to shepherd the church of God which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers. In Jerusalem Paul again refers to the church as the Way. Defending himself before Felix the apostle declared he worshipped according to the Way which was called a sect. Luke writes Felix, the governor, had accurate knowledge of the Way. Recounting his persecution of the church, Paul thought he had to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

In his letter to Rome, the apostle Paul writes to all who were in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. Addressing the church in Corinth the apostle calls them the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ. In his second letter to Corinth, the author simply calls them the church of God at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia. In other letters Paul writes to the churches in Galatia; saints who are in Ephesus and faithful in Christ Jesus; saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons; saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse; and church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In the writings of Paul, he describes the church as being the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the kingdom of the Son of His love, household of God and holy temple in the Lord.

The church is never designated by human terms or names of men. Men have been very creative in coming up with names for the various churches they have established. Most churches give glory to a faith, a man or an idea that sparks interest in the subject. The New Testament church has no singular official name but in his letter to Rome, Paul refers to the churches of Christ (plural) as those believers who name Christ as their head. This is a fitting name to use because Jesus is the head of the church, the savior of the body, the groom of the spiritual bride, the King of the kingdom and the one who purchased the church with His own blood. Whatever name is given for the church it must reflect the principles and language of the New Testament. If the church is named for a man, ideal or anything not found in scripture it does not glorify the establishment of the church in the First Century. What is in a name? It means a great deal to the author and finisher of our faith.

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