Lest We Forget
Churches of Christ started out with a noble aspiration. God gave to man a perfect Saviour. This perfect Saviour built a perfect church. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." He intended that God was to be served in that divine institution for all time and eternity. We read, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be the glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end" (Ephesians 3:20-21). Some say we should serve Christ and that the church is not important. But the above verse states clearly that Christ is to be served in the church for all time and eternity.
If one asks what church? It was the only church that existed then, it was the church of Christ. Paul told the Ephesian elders that he (Paul) had declared unto them the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:17). In the next verse Paul says that the church was purchased with the blood of Christ. But it should also be noted that the falling away from the truth was foretold in the days of the early church.
Here is the warning, "I know that after my departure grievous wolves would enter 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). Peter also warned of the apostasy. "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves" (2 Peter 2:1).
The Old Testament foretold apostasy as well. The Old Testament was unlike the New Testament because the New Testament would never be replaced. We read in Jeremiah 31:31-32, "...I will make a new covenant..., not like the covenant I made in the day I took them out of the land of Egypt." Again the difference between the old covenant and the new was explained in Hebrews 7:16, "...not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of endless life." John came as a messenger to announce Christ Jesus declaring that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17). Colossians 1:13 says, "Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." It is a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28).
Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away but His word would not pass away. There will be no more revelation (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We were warned not to take from or add to the word of Christ (Revelation 22:18-19). Those who would add to or take from, should heed this warning.
When we look at the teaching of many religious groups today that have added to and taken from the word of God, it should give us more desire to restore New Testament Christianity. What a noble thing to do. Jesus said, "If you love me you will keep my commandments." He also said, "Come unto me and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
Only by following the teachings of Christ can one become a New Testament Christian. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). We must repent of our sins. We must confess that we believe that Jesus is the son of God. Then we must be baptized for the remission of sins. Then and only then does one become a New Testament Christian and a member of the only church the Bible talks about -- the church that Jesus built -- the church of Christ.
J. C. Bailey, 1996, Weyburn, Saskatchewan