Category Archives: New Testament

The Old Has Met The End

The Law of Moses, which God gave to the children of Israel at Mount Sinai, was only temporary. Jeremiah foretold this fact. “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” (Jer 31:31).

The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews, declared the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (cf. Heb 8:6-13). He explained that in his day the Law of Moses was “obsolete and growing old…ready to vanish away.” He also explained there would be “a change of the law” (Heb 8:13; 7:12). Passages like these are the reason we refer to the first thirty-nine books of the Bible as the “Old” Testament. That being the case, of what use is the Old Testament to us today?

1) The Old Testament has been preserved by God “for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom 15:4). In another place, Paul said that God’s dealings with the Israelites are “examples” to us, “and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11).

2) Specifically, the Old Testament supplies many admonitions for guiding and warning man. Every human weakness that may lead people into sin is addressed (Pro 6:16-19; Exo 20:17). Repeatedly readers are encouraged to keep God’s word in their hearts and to control their thoughts so as to protect against disobeying God’s will (cf. Pro 4:23; Psa 119:11). New Testament writings are not incomplete (2 Pet 1:3), but we don’t always find the detail on some topics that can be found in the Old Testament.

3) The Old Testament contains historical examples of men and women, prior to the Law of Moses, who lived in faithful obedience to God: meaning they obeyed Him to the extent of the knowledge they were given by Him (Heb 1:1). People like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah were described as living their lives “by faith” (cf. Heb 11). From these cases, we learn that people have always been accountable to God for their actions.

4) The Old Testament contains cases of divine punishment for unrighteous-ness, as well as examples of attitudes that will avert the wrath of God. When King Saul disobeyed God – God took away Saul’s kingdom and gave it to another (1 Sam 15, 31). King David also disobeyed God, and later repented with a “broken and contrite heart” (Psa 51:17).

As we read above, it is a sobering thought to know “the ends of the ages” are upon us (1 Cor 10:11; Heb 9:26). The children of Israel did not live under the threat of the end of time, but we do. Their covenant with God was designed to lead them to Christ, but many of them refused to follow that lead. The Old Testament is a testimony of Jesus Christ. It was meant to supply the Israelites with the knowledge they needed to identify the Messiah (John 5:39). Now that Christ Jesus is revealed to the world, He is the primary Source of our knowledge of salvation. “In (Him) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).

The Old Testament (covenant), as such, is not a binding agreement between God and Christians today. The divinely inspired writings of Moses and the Prophets contain laws, warnings and promises to a people who were looking forward a day of salvation. Paul testified, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). The Old Testament was not written for our practice, but for our learning. Remember that thundering voice on the mountain saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him (Matt 17:5)!   — By Boyd Jennings

The Restoration Principle — God’s Wondrous Grace

The difference between policy and principle may properly be considered the basic difference between the “Protestant Reformation” begun in the Sixteenth Century and the “Restoration Movement” of the Nineteenth Century. The word policy often conveys the idea of human wisdom, sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs. Whereas the word principle, derives from the Latin princeps, principis, whence come the English word , , prince,” meaning “first” or “chief”; hence, “a fundamental truth; a primary or basic law, doctrine, or the like.” Policy may change when in fact principle is “a settled rule of action; a governing law of conduct” (Webster). Compromise is a way of life with persons who consider truth and right as policies. With men of principle, truth and right are never negotiable!

Following the ascension of Christ except for the direct impartation of miraculous powers by the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (Acts 2:1-4), the first Gentile converts (Acts 10,11), and the apostle Paul (who claimed that he was “not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles,” 2 Cor. 11: 5), we are unaware of anybody, anywhere, at any time receiving the Holy Spirit miraculously apart from the laying on of an apostle’s hands. This being the case, miracles ceased with the death of the last person endowed miraculously through the medium of an apostle’s hands. This, then, is our reason for appealing to the apostles’ teaching rather than post-apostolic creeds and practices of apostate bodies.

Meaning Of “Restoration

To restore is to give back or bring back to the first or previous state. Abimelech “restored” to Abraham Sarah, his wife (Gen. 20:14); Nehemiah urged his fellow-Jews to “restore” fields and houses to their deprived brethren (Neh. 5:11).

Illustrative of the “restoration principle” as applied to rule or government was the apostles’ question to Jesus following His resurrection, viz., “Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:1-6) Obviously the apostles were thinking about a return of the power and prominence fleshly Israel had exercised over other nations in the glorious days of David and Solomon and also fleshly Israel’s escape from the Roman domination of Israel in their own time. It is in this sense that we use the words “restore” and “restoration” in this treatise regarding the “bringing back” of “spiritual Israel” in its faith, practice, attitude toward and respect for the form of government, revealed in Christ’s apostles and their contemporaries as they were directed by the Holy Spirit in their oral and written communication. They used the words with which the Holy Spirit supplied them to convey whatever idea God wanted taught.

Biblical Basis of Restoration

Apostle Paul makes the foregoing observations unmistakably clear when he says, “We received not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:12,13). Since words are vehicles upon which thoughts ride by reading what men inspired by the Holy Spirit in the First Century wrote, we of the Twentieth Century can understand the mind and will of God now. Every written communication argues the factuality of one person’s mental ability to understand the thoughts of another. Unless, therefore, it can be -established that God has changed His will since the completion of the New Testament we necessarily conclude that whatever God willed for man to believe and practice from the apostolic writings then the same God wills now. If not, why not? Jesus declared, “Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my word shall not pass away” (Mk. 13:31).

In the “Parable of the Sower” Jesus said, “Now the seed is the word of God” (Lk. 8:11). It follows, therefore, that there never has been or ever will be any person converted to Christ or developed In the image of Christ apart from the pure word of God, the gospel of Christ, described by the apostle Paul as “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The gospel, preached by the apostles, produced new persons identified as “Christians” (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16). Those converts to Christ were Christians only and only “Christians” with no sectarian or denominational designations characterizing much of the present religious world professing allegiance to the Bible as God’s word. Those non-denominational Christians constituted the only “assemblies” or “churches” ever originating from the apostles’ teaching and were identified by apostles as “the churches of Christ” or “the church of God” (Rom. 16:16), also called “the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:29).

Restoration Practices

The collective (congregational) activities of these Christians were exceedingly simple. These “saints” called such by the apostles, and also described as “sanctified” in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:1,2) — as a result of the apostles’ teaching, assembled on the first day of the week to break bread (observe the Lord’s Supper, Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20-33), not to “socialize.” In this assembly, each disciple according to his financial ability, contributed cheerfully of this material means toward relief of the poor saints and the support of gospel works (1 Cor. 16:1,2; 2 Cor. 8,9; Phil. 1:3-5; 4:14-18). Assemblies also were edified through their mutual study of the Scriptures and by singing and praying and exhorting to love and good works (Acts 2:42; Eph. 5:18,19; Col. 3:16,17; 1 Cor. 14:15; .Heb. 10:21-25).

Each assembly had its own overseers (bishops), also known as pastors (shepherds) and elders and deacons (servants) (Phil. 1:1; Acts 20:17-35; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:14).

There is no reason to think that there was any earthly super-structure of government, or even association restricting any two or all of these congregations under one human head or group to be or do anything collectively! Some 153 years ago, well did Alexander Campbell, a preacher of great influence in the religious world, observe,

“The societies called churches, constituted and set in order by those ministers of the New Testament, were of such as received and acknowledged Jesus as Lord Messiah, the Savior of the World, and had put themselves under his guidance. The ONLY BOND OF UNION among them was faith in him and submission to his will. No subscription to abstract propositions framed by synods; no decrees of councils sanctioned by kings; no rules of practice commanded by ecclesiastical courts were imposed on them as terms of admission into, or of continuance in this holy brotherhood. In the “apostles doctrine” and in the “apostles’ commandments” they steadfastly continued. Their fraternity was a fraternity of love, peace, gratitude, cheerfulness, joy, charity, and universal benevolence. Their religion did not manifest itself in public fasts nor carnivals. They had no festivals – no great and solemn meetings. Their meeting on the first day of the week was at all times alike solemn, joyful and interesting. Their religion was not of that elastic and porous kind, which at one time is compressed into some cold formalities, and at another expanded into prodigious zeal and warmth.

The order of their assemblies was uniformly the same. It did not vary with moons and seasons. It did not change as dress nor fluctuate as the manners of the times. Their devotion did not diversify itself into the endless forms of modern times. They had no monthly concerts for prayer; no solemn convocations, no great fasts, nor preparations, nor thanksgiving days. Their churches were not fractured into missionary societies, bible societies, education societies; nor did they dream of organizing such in the world. They knew nothing of the hobbies of modern times. In their church capacity alone they moved. They neither transformed themselves into any other kind of association, nor did they fracture and sever themselves into divers societies. They viewed the church of Jesus Christ as the scheme of Heaven to ameliorate the world,- as members of it, they considered themselves bound to do all they could for the glory of God and the good of men. They dare not transfer to a missionary society, or bible society, or education society, a cent or a prayer, lest in so doing they should rob the church of its glory, and exalt the inventions of men above the wisdom of God. In their church capacity alone they moved” (Christian Baptist, Vol. 1, pp. 6-7).

The foregoing represents “The Restoration Principle.” “The seed is the word of God” (Lk. 8:11). The pattern for the formation of New Testament churches and the power to restore them to the same order of government, work, and worship that existed in the First Century is found in the New Testament. The only obstacle presently preventing such d6restoration” is the application of the apostolic principle of “seed sowing” “in good and honest hearts!” Such a procedure in reality is more than restoration. It is a reproduction of the New Testament order! If not, why not?

By James R. Cope, Guardian of Truth – June 5, 1986


GOD’S WONDROUS GRACE

We are all familiar with the word GRACE. Let’s spend a few moments on this wonderful word, & its relationship to the Christian.

GRACE DEFINED – Biblically

  1. Speaking words that edify (Luke 4:22; Isa 61:1-2; Eph 4:29; Col 4:6)
  2. Showing good-will or mercy (Eph 2:4-5)
  3. The state of being “in Christ” (Rom 5:1-2; 1 Pet 5:10-12)
  4. An expression of gratitude (1 Tim 1:12)

GRACE & SALVATION

  • Grace, Obedience, then Salvation (Eph 2:4-9; Titus 3:4-5; Rom 6:3-4)

GRACE & HOLY LIVING

  • Grace came with instructions (Titus 2:11-13; Rom 6:1-2)

GRACE & GROWING

  • Grace must be pursued, but is never exhausted (2 Pet 3:18; 1 Pet 2:1-3; 2 Peter 1:5-11)

GRACE & WASTED EFFORT

  • Grace can be gained, then lost (2 Cor 6:1; Gal 5:4; Jude 4; Heb 10:26-31)

 

See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, & by it many be defiled (Heb 12:15; cf. 12:28; 13:9, 25).

Today, you many receive God’s Wondrous Grace! (Acts 20:24; Heb 2:9; 5:9; Mark 16:16)

 

Old and New Testaments

Old Testament: Law of Moses

Value: Holy, just and good — Teaches Christians to endure, to be encouraged and to live in hope — Warns that God will punish sinners.  (Rom 7:12; 15:4; 1 Cor 10:11)

Weakness:  Cursed the disobedient — Powerless to take away sins — Could not justify one before God — A yoke of slavery — A temporary law — A constant reminder of sins and death — Given to one nation.  (Gal 3:13; Heb 10:1-4; Rom 3:20; Gal 3:11; 5:1; 3:19; Heb 10:1-3; Eph 2:13-15)

Continue reading Old and New Testaments

Buy Truth – Don’t Sell

Solomon wrote, “Buy the TRUTH, and do not sell it” (Pro 23:23). TRUTH is such a valuable commodity that once it is obtained there is nothing on earth worth trading it for. But the very idea of a single standard of TRUTH is offensive to many people. It’s out-of-date to say that Scripture is TRUTH, or to claim that the Bible is the complete and final word of God (cf. 2 Tim 3:16-17). Relativism rules the belief system of our modern age. However, the Son of God claims to have given us all the TRUTH.

Continue reading Buy Truth – Don’t Sell