Each congregation of the Lord’s church is to be overseen by a group of elders. In Acts 14:23 we read, “So when they had appointed elders in every church.” Notice there is to be a plurality of elders in every church or congregation. This is the way the Lord set up His church.
But what does the Lord intend for the elders to do in His church? In Acts 20:28 the apostle Paul was talking to the elders from the church at Ephesus and told them, “Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” The church of Christ, which the Lord built, is to be overseen by a plurality of elders. The qualifications of elders who are to oversee each congregation of the Lord’s church are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:3-9. There are some small congregations of the Lord’s church that do not have a plurality of men who meet these qualifications and thus cannot have elders until men become qualified. Is each congregation of the church you belong to overseen by a plurality of elders? If not, why not? If it is to be the Lord’s church and has men who qualify, each congregation is to be overseen by a plurality of elders.
If we really accept the Bible as our only authority, we will want to worship God only as He has specified. We must reject human traditions and doctrines that members are required to follow such as creed books, catechisms, manuals, articles of faith, the book of Mormon, the Koran, constitutions, disciplines and other guidelines of men, all of which produce different and new religious doctrines. If a creed contains less than the Bible, it contains too little. If it contains more than the Bible, it contains too much. The purpose of creeds, which are formulated by men, is to express beliefs that are different from what is taught in the Bible. There is no authority for any of these various doctrines of men. Anything taught or practiced by man in the field of religion, which does not come from the Bible, is false doctrine.
We are warned in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” It would be a tragedy to find out on Judgment Day we have been cheated of our eternal reward in Heaven because we followed the doctrines of men; but then it will be too late.
The followers of Christ are called Christians in the Bible. This “new name” was prophesied in Isaiah 62:2, “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” This “new name” was given by the Lord in Acts 11:26, “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” It is a privilege to wear the name, “Christian”, because the Lord gave it.
2 Thessalonians 1:12 tells us “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ is to be glorified and honored in us. Besides doing all that he tells us to do, we glorify the name of Christ by wearing the name “Christian”. 1 Peter 4:16 says, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter.” It is an honor to wear the name “Christian.” In wearing this name we are glorifying God and Christ.
We should not be ashamed to wear the name “Christian”, yet many are. Men want to wear other names that give honor and glory to someone or something other than Christ. For example honor and glory are given to Martin Luther by wearing the name Lutheran, the methodical way of doing things by the name Methodist, the town of Nazareth by the name Nazarene, John the Baptist by the name Baptist, the city of Rome by the name Roman Catholic, the seventh day of the week by the name Seventh Day Adventist, the day of Pentecost by the name Pentecostal, and the list goes on and on. Can it be said that Jesus has authorized any of these different names? No. None of these names give any glory or honor whatsoever to God or Christ to whom the honor is due. How do you think God feels about this situation? Do you actually think He is pleased with it? We must be Christians and Christians only. Do you wear only the name Christian? Or do you wear some other name?
When people wear the religious names of men and the religious names of man-made organizations, this shows they are following men and not Christ. When a husband and wife are married, the wife honors her husband by wearing his name. If his last name is Jones, she is no longer Miss Smith but her name is now Mrs. Jones. What if Miss Smith did not want to take the name Jones, but the name of some other man? What if she wanted to take the name of one of her old boy friends? Do you think this would be alright with Mr. Jones, her new husband? I think not. The same is true with wearing all of these other names of someone or something else other than “Christian”.
Although by referring to one as a Christian, does not make him a Christian. If one is not a Christian according to the New Testament, then he is not a Christian at all. The Bible makes it clear that being baptized (immersed) in water is part of becoming a Christian, not something to be done afterward. The Bible makes it clear that the Lord adds to His “church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). There are no unsaved people in the church of Christ.
God tells us in Jeremiah 10:23, “It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” Man has tried but has always made a miserable failure of it. In Colossians 3:17 we read, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” We are to do all in the name of or by the authority of the Lord Jesus. We must have the Lord’s authority for everything we do in religion, and this includes the name we wear.
(Acts 14:23 & Acts 20:28) Each congregation of the Lord's church is overseen by
- WRONG, The Lord has authorized each congregation of His church to be overseen by a plurality of elders, not the preacher. Is the church in which you are a member overseen by a plurality of elders?
- WRONG, The Lord has authorized each congregation of His church to be overseen by a plurality of elders, not a board of deacons. Is the church in which you are a member overseen by a plurality of elders?
- CORRECT, The Lord has authorized each congregation of His church to be overseen by a plurality of elders if it has men who are qualified. Is the church in which you are a member overseen by a plurality of elders?
The Bible specifies that the Lord's church is to be overseen by a pope.
- WRONG, The Bible knows nothing of a pope. This was added by men to the apostate church in about 606 AD.
- CORRECT, The Bible knows nothing of a pope. This was added by men to the apostate church in about 606 AD.
(2 Thessalonians 1:12) What name should be glorified?
- WRONG, Only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ should be glorified, not the town of Nazareth.
- WRONG, Only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ should be glorified, not John the Baptist.
- CORRECT, Only the name of our Lord Jesus Christ should be glorified.
We should glorify every religious name.
- WRONG, We should only glorify God and Christ.
- CORRECT, We should only glorify God and Christ.
(1 Peter 4:16) We should not be ashamed to suffer as a
- WRONG, We should gladly suffer as a Christian, not as a Penticostal or any other denominational name.
- CORRECT, We should gladly suffer only as a Christian.
- WRONG, We should gladly suffer as a Christian, not as a Lutheran or any other denominational name.
We should wear different names religiously even if they do not glorify Christ.
- WRONG, We should only wear a name that glorifies God and Christ.
- CORRECT, We should only wear a name that glorifies God and Christ.
(Colossians 3:17) The things we do and say religiously must be done by whose authority?
- CORRECT, The things we do religiously must be done only by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- WRONG, The things we do religiously must be done only by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, not a church creed book.
- WRONG, The things we do religiously must be done only by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, not our own authority.
The things we teach and do must be done by the authority of Christ.
- CORRECT, The things we teach and do must be done only by the authority of Christ.
- WRONG, The things we teach and do must be done only by the authority of Christ.