Monday, June 20, 2011

Honoring Christ (Part 6 of 6)

      As we come to a close on this series of articles on giving honor to Jesus Christ, we have only seen a glimpse of what it takes to give honor to Christ.  To give honor to Christ one must be a member of the church that Christ purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28).  Today, so many religious groups exist, but how did they come about?  If you trace back the history of your religious group, where did it have its beginning?  The church was first conceived in the mind of God.  Notice Ephesians 3:10-11, the church was part of the eternal plan of God which he purposed in Christ Jesus.  God planned only one church, and Jesus built only one church – body (Eph. 4:4; 1:21-22). 
     The Church that Jesus built has nothing whatsoever to do with a physical building.  When the Bible speaks of the church, it is referring to the saved, those who have heard, believed and obeyed the gospel (Acts 2).  In order to determine if a religious organization is man-made or God-made, we will examine the scripture to see what is said about when the church was established.  From this we should be able to examine the religious body that we are associated with and see if it matches up.  If it does, then you have found the New Testament church, but, if not, then you should ask yourself if God would have you continue in error or change to the pattern of the New Testament and His church.
    There is Old Testament prophecy concerning the church: Isaiah 2:2-3; Dan. 2:44; Micah 4:1-3.  John the Baptist also foretold of the coming of the Lord’s church (Matt. 3:2).  Jesus himself began His ministry with this message about the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 4:17).  In A.D. 32, Jesus said his kingdom would come in the life of some of those present at that time (Mark 9:1).  In Luke 22:18, A.D. 33, before Pentecost the kingdom is spoken of as yet future.  But, every time the church is mentioned after Pentecost, it is spoken of as being in existence (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 13:1-3; 20:28). 
     Prophecy of the time frame and Jerusalem is spoken concerning the establishment of the church.  Jesus said there were some that were alive that would see the church come with power (Mark 9:1).  In Luke 24:49, before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his apostles to “wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high.”  In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes upon the twelve apostles (the power from on high) and they preach the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  When the crowd of Jews realized they had slain their Messiah, (v. 37) “they were pricked in their hearts” and asked, “What shall we do?” Peter told them to “repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” In verse 41, they did this and were added together with the apostles.  Verse 47 summarizes the occasion, “…the Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved.” 
     This is the occasion the church is established.  If your religious group was not established then and was built by some man later, it is not the church.  Give Christ the honor, be a part of the New Testament church by obedience to the gospel, and after submission to the Lord’s plan of salvation, He will add you unto His church.
Wayne Rodgers

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Honoring Christ (Part 5 of 6)

As we continue through our lessons on how to give honor to Christ, we should remember the lesson on fashioning ourselves after the New Testament pattern.  This lesson will focus on what the New Testament teaches about worship. 
To honor Christ means to follow his word concerning worship.  We must learn what the church did in the 1st century for worship.  Jesus, when talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, says “God is a spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John4:24).  Worship has to be done “in spirit” which is our spirit, which means the sincerity of our soul being prompted by proper desires. Our sincere desire should be to do that which pleases God.  In other words, much different than that of the Old Testament, this would be spiritual worship. 
The problem that is present today, as well as in the days of Jesus, is that many believe they can worship God in any way or fashion they want.  However, worship is God-regulated and not man-regulated.  Worship is praise, adoration, homage paid to God above, and not to man.  It is evident from the last part of the verse that it is not left up to us to decide what makes God pleased with us.  He has already given us command and examples of how we are to worship Him.  “In truth” simply means according to His word. 
This tells us that we honor Christ by following the New Testament.  We are authorized to worship in the following avenues:

1.     Singing (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19; Heb. 13:15) – They were commanded to sing.
2.     Giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8:12; Rom. 12:1, 8) – They were commanded to give weekly, willingly, proportionally, liberally, and sacrificially.
3.     Partaking of the Lord’s Supper (communion) (Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:26-29; Acts 20:7) – Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and commanded his disciples to partake in the kingdom.  We have their example and Jesus’ command to partake.
4.     Prayer (Mt. 6:9-13; John 17; Luke 23:34; Phil. 1:9-11; 4:6-8) – Jesus taught his disciples to pray, and we are commanded to pray, as well.
5.     Teaching (2 Tim. 2:2, 15; 3:15; 4:2) – Paul said this to the young preacher Timothy.  Those who desire Heaven want to be taught the Lord’s will (Ps. 143:10).

These are authorized by the New Testament and must be adhered to in order to give honor to Christ.
Wayne Rodgers

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Honoring Christ (Part 4 of 6)

As we continue our series on honoring Christ.  One might consider that one of the most controversial doctrines of the Bible is baptism.  Some sprinkle, some pour, some immerse, some baptize infants and some say it is not even necessary for salvation.  What does the Bible say?

In each lesson, we have noticed that we honor Christ by our obedience to his commands.  We see the importance of baptism by Christ’s own submission to it: Matt. 3:14,15 “But John forbade him saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”  In other words, it was the right thing to do, because it was the Father’s will for him to submit to it.  Christ commanded all men to be baptized (Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19)

Notice the following outline.  It will make it easier to follow the points of evidence.

  1. Baptism is necessary to be saved.
    1. Baptized for remission of sin – Acts 2:38
    2. To wash away one’s sins – Acts 22:16
    3. Belief + Baptism = Salvation – Mark 16:16
  2. A Bible definition of baptism.
    1. A burial – Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12
    2. A birth – John 3:3-5; 2 Cor. 5:17
    3. Requires much water – John 3:23
  3. Who should be baptized?
    1. Those who have heard the word – Rom. 10:17; Acts 11:14
    2. Those who believe in Christ – Mark 16:15,16; John 8:24
    3. Those willing to repent – Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30-31
    4. Those willing to Confess their belief – Matt. 10:32-33
  4. Examples of Conversion.
    1. Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8
    2. Those at Pentecost – Acts 2:36-38
    3. Saul of Tarsus – Acts 9, 22, 26
    4. Philippian Jailor – Acts 16
  5. Result of Baptism.
    1. Remission of our sins – Acts 2:38
    2. Wash away sins – Acts 22:16
    3. Saved / Salvation – Mark 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21
    4. Places one “in Christ” – Gal. 3:27

Baptism is a picture the Gospel – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 6:4-6). Compare these two passages and notice that baptism is also a death, burial and resurrection.  We honor Christ by our obedience to his command of baptism. The promise He gives is salvation.  May we all submit to His will and honor the God of heaven with our obedience to Him.
Wayne Rodgers

Friday, June 17, 2011

Honoring Christ (Part 3 of 6)

     As we continue our thoughts on giving honor to God this week, our attention is turned to fashioning ourselves according to the pattern of the New Testament.  The title page of our New Testament Bible rightly tells us that it is the “New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Therefore, if we are to give Christ the honor he deserves, then we must honor the New Testament (a.k.a. “his will”) by seeking to pattern ourselves after it.
     A beautiful type of this principle is to found in the life and work of God’s servant Moses.  God wished to dwell among His people Israel, and to that end commanded them to build the tabernacle.  But, even as much as it was to be God’s dwelling place, it must not be of human invention, so God took Moses upon the mountain and revealed to him the whole plan of the tabernacle.   “According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Ex. 25:9).  Nothing was to be left to the imagination or invention of any man, not even Moses.  “And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Ex. 25:40).  If Moses had deviated from this pattern in one little detail, God would not be pleased with him.
     This is how it is with us, as we seek to live a good life, seek to worship Him, and wish to be his children, we must do it according to the pattern that he has given.  The apostle Paul mentions this as well in his letter to the Philippians. (Phil. 3:16) “…let us walk by the same rule…”  A rule or pattern is what God has provided us with in the Bible, particularly the New Testament, which is our authority today.  The apostle also mentions to those who were divided in Corinth, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 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.” 
     We can give honor to Christ by our obedience to the words that he has given, the New Testament, which shows us the rule by which we are to live.  The Old Testament is for our learning (Rom. 15:4), but we are to obey the New Testament.  Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments…keep my words…” (John 14:15,23).  Give honor to Christ by fashioning yourself after the pattern of the New Testament. Remember the words of the Father, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5).
Wayne Rodgers

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Honoring Christ (Part 2 of 6)

As we continue in this series of articles on giving honor to Christ, we might ask ourselves how do we give honor?  We understand from the first article that to honor Christ is to honor the Father.  This should be our goal to honor God in all that we say and do.

In this article, we will learn that we are to honor Christ by making the good confession.  Jesus, himself, acknowledged that he was the Christ: (Mark 14:61, 62) “but he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am, and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”  It was for this confession he died. 

The apostle Peter made this confession in Matthew 16:16.  After Christ had questioned his disciples on whom others said He was, and then whom did they believe Him to be, Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

John made the good confession.  In John 20:30-31, he states: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”  John wrote a whole book by inspiration to give evidence and support of the fact that Jesus was the Christ.

In Acts 8:36-37, the Ethiopian eunuch made the good confession after being taught about Jesus.  He asked Philip, “Here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

As we have noticed how Jesus made this confession and died for it and how his apostles and those who believed on their teaching made this confession, it is imperative to know that to fail to confess Christ before men is to dishonor Christ.  (Matt. 10:32-33) “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” 

Philippians 2:10-11 teaches that every knee shall bow, every tongue will confess the name of Christ.  We should give Christ the honor and confess that he is the Son of God before that final day or else it will be too late.  This is by no means all one has to do in order to be saved, but it is how we show our allegiance and willingness to be obedient to all of Christ’s commands.

Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Honoring Christ (Part 1 of 6)

This article starts a series of six articles on the topic of honoring our Lord Jesus Christ.  

While it is very true that the majority of people want to honor Christ, very few understand what it means to do so.  In John 5:23, it is stated by Jesus “that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.  He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”  We learn from this verse three important points:

1) all men are to honor the Son, even as they honor the Father;
2) he that honors not the Son, honors not the Father;
3) to honor the Son is to honor the Father. 

The first two are definitely stated while the third is implied.  In John 5:21-22, Jesus claims equality with God. He also claims it in John 10:30: “I and my Father are one.”  The apostle Paul makes a similar remark of the relationship between Jesus and the Father in Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross.”

To honor the Son is to honor the Father implied in John’s Gospel, but the same sentiment is found in Matthew 17:5, in which the Father says, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.”  We have a responsibility to hear the Son’s words and obey them.  “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Therefore, we need to have a good understanding of what it means to honor Christ, so that we might give honor to the Father as well.  How do we honor Christ?  We will examine some ways in which we can truly give honor to Christ over the next few weeks.  Please examine each article in the series in light of the scriptures.  We should wish to have said of us that which was said of the Bereans of Acts 17:11 and how they “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily to see whether those things were so.”
Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


In the time of the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God’s blessings were predicated upon faith and obedience to God, but the idea of being “in Christ” was unknown except in promise (Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3:8).  Under the Law of Moses, the Israelites were blessed as they followed the teaching of Moses and the prophets.  Today, under the Law of Christ, all spiritual blessings are found “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).  “In Christ” is an inspired phrase used by the apostle Paul, which is the equivalent of being in the church (1 Thessalonians 1:1). 

Blessings from God such as the sunshine and the rain, cold and heat, day and night, the seasons, the planting and harvest, etc. may be enjoyed by everyone whether Christians or not.  “The Lord maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).  Therefore, it follows that one does not have to be “in Christ” in order to live and prosper in the material world today.  Herein is a great danger.  One may assume that material possessions and prosperity shows evidence of God’s approval, spiritually speaking.  However, such is not the case.  Many prosper and live in luxury that are spiritually bankrupt.

Then one may assume that God will look favorably upon him because he lives morally upright or belongs to some benevolent lodge or civic group.  This is also a false and dangerous assumption.  The word of God teaches that all spiritual blessings are “in Christ.”  These include forgiveness, hope, inheritance (Ephesians 1:7, 11; 2:10), the privilege of worship (John 4:23-34), and many others.

But how does one get into Christ?  The Bible is so clear on this matter; yet, so many easily miss it today.  One enters Christ when baptized.  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his 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 6:3-4).  The apostle Paul also states, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). 

Let us always be obedient unto Christ and follow His commands (John 14:15, 21, 23), proving our love for Him.