Back to the Bible


    Jesus promised to build his church and he kept his promise (Matt. 16: 18; Acts 2: 47, KJV, ff.). There is only one body or church, Paul taught (Eph. 4: 4, 1: 22, 23). Consistent with the idea of one body, there is one faith and one head of the church (Eph. 4: 5, 1: 22, 23). Division is plainly condemned in the scriptures (I Cor. 1: 10). Moreover, Jesus possesses all authority and his authority is expressed through his word, the New Testament (Matt. 28: 18; Jn. 12: 48, 2 Jn. 9-11). The Holy Spirit prophesied that there would be a falling away from the truth (I Tim. 4: 1-3, 2 Thes. 2: 3, 4, Acts 20: 29, 30). The plea of this material is a return to the Bible for our beliefs and religious practices.

     Biblical love. The most complete text on biblical love is I Corinthians 13. The essentiality of love is stressed in verses one through three. Beginning in verse four, Paul lists the characteristics of love. Love is longsuffering, rejoiceth in the truth and is unselfish (vs. 4, 6, 4). Man, even too often in a religious climate, seems to have forgotten what biblical love is. Most of organized religion today appeals to the selfish desires of the masses, satisfying what they selfishly demand. Biblical love is obedient. Hear John, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous" (I Jn. 5: 3). If a person does not obey God, that person does not love God, according to Jesus (Jn. 14: 21-24). Biblical love is motivational and produces "faith that works" (Gal. 5: 6).

     Biblical Unity. It is high time that man returns to the unity taught in the Bible and not the political, ecumenical unity being promoted today. Jesus prayed for unity in the shadow of the cross (Jn. 17: 20, 21). Disunity is a cause of unbelief, taught Jesus (Jn. 17: 21). However, Jesus also taught that the means of unity is the word. Hear him: "Neither pray I for these alone; but for them also which shall believe on me through their word" (vs. 20). Throughout the prayer, Jesus refers to the word (vs. 6, 8, 14, 17). For the most part, the trend today is to de-emphasize the Bible. "Emphasizing the Bible is legalism," we hear. The creeds and dogmas of men have a receptive climate in view of the rejection of the Bible as being our authority and sole authority in matters religious.

     Biblical priesthood. The Bible teaches priesthood, however, it is not a priesthood such as is invented by man. Every Christian is a priest. Peter wrote thus to Christians: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…" (I Pet. 2: 9). As a priest, every Christian officiates in the matter of sin offering and forgiveness. The sacrifice offered up to God on the part of the Christian is his body and mind (Rom. 12: 1, 2). The old priesthood involving priests officiating for others has been changed, the writer of Hebrews taught (Heb. 7: 12). Hence, the new priesthood (Rev. 5: 10). Each Christian can now boldly approach the throne of grace (Heb. 4: 16).

     Biblical worship. Public worship in many religions has become a performance and an exercise in entertainment. Such so called worship today often ranges from the bizarre to the risqué and everything in between. However, the worship taught in the scriptures is simple and spiritual. Jesus said, "God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Jn. 4: 24). In the First Century, worship on the Lord's Day consisted of the Lord's Supper, singing, giving, prayer, and preaching (Acts 20: 7; Eph. 5: 19; I Cor. 16: 1, 2; Acts 2: 42; Acts 20: 7). No more, no less (see addendum).

     Biblical salvation. There are almost as many offered ways to be saved today as there are religions. Some say you must keep the Law of Moses, speak in tongues, or be one of the arbitrarily predestined to be saved. The scriptures teach belief; repentance; confession of Christ' deity; and baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2: 36; 17: 30, 31; Rom. 10: 9, 10; Acts 2: 38). The examples in Acts of salvation that provide much detail exemplify belief, repentance, confession, and baptism (Acts 2: 36-40, 8: 26-40). After baptism, one arises to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6: 3, 4; 2 Cor. 5: 17).

     Indeed we need to return to the Bible. In the words of Jeremiah of old, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…" Let us not be as the people described in the remainder of the verse, "…but they said, We will not walk therein" (Jere. 6: 16).

     Addendum: Never before in thirty plus years of preaching have I witnessed such blatant disregard for God and the Bible. Not only has much of America turned its back on biblical teaching but also organized religion has increasingly come to believe the Bible is not an authoritative book. Individuals and religions which scoff at God’s Book being authoritative are in rebellion to God! We are commanded to "speak as the oracles of God," understand the will of God, and handle aright God’s word (I Pet. 4: 11, Eph. 5: 17, 2 Tim. 2: 15). God’s word is the means of determining whom the Christian fellowships (2 Jn. 9-11). The one faith, the gospel system, has been once for all delivered (Jude 3, Eph. 4: 4). The scriptures are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17). Every human creed is condemned and constitutes vain worship (Mk. 7: 1 ff.).   Moreover, it is in the humble keeping of God's commandments (his word) that one is righteousness (Ps. 119: 172).