WHY I AM A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST #6
A. In previous lessons we have noticed that I am a member of the church of Christ because:
1. It was founded by the scriptural builder – Christ
2. It was founded on THE scriptural foundation
3. It was founded at the scriptural place – Jerusalem
4. Christ is the founder of only one church – His church
5. It is scriptural in name.
6. It is scriptural in organization.
B. Today will notice that I am a member of the church of Christ because it has the Bible as its only creed, confession of faith or church manual; and because it believes the Bible is a book to be rightly divided.
A. I COULD NEVER BE A MEMBER OF A RELIGION WHICH HAS A HUMAN CREED
This is my conviction for several reasons:
1. In the time of the apostles and for the first three centuries the Bible was the only creed.
a. Why not use the same creed today?
b. I do not care to have a church manual similar to the one that existed in the first century, I want to have the same one
c. For this to be possible, I must have the Bible only!
2. The Bible completely furnishes us unto every good work.
a. 2 Peter 1:3
b. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
c. Since the Bible contains all that we need, we need nothing else to make us pleasing in the sight of God.
3. Human creeds are revised every few years because of their imperfection.
a. No disciple of a human creed knows what his doctrine will be ten years down the road.
b. Creeds are constantly being changed and revised.
c. This alone places upon human creeds the stigma of weakness and imperfection.
4. Human creeds cannot be defended.
a. First, any creed containing more than the Bible is objectionable, because it contains more than the Bible.
b. Second, any creed containing less than the Bible is objectionable, because it contains less than the Bible.
c. Third, any creed differing from the Bible is objectionable, because it does differ from the Bible.
d. Fourthly, any creed precisely like the Bible is useless, because we have the Bible.
e. This covers the whole ground. There can be no other thought of. A creed must contain more than the Bible, less than the Bible, differ from it, or be precisely like it.
f. No man can defend his creed on these grounds; and thus, human creeds cannot be justly defended.
5. Those who have pledged allegiance to humanly written creeds are unable to defend the Bible.
a. The fact that many religious organizations have creeds shows that they lack faith in the Bible.
b. The infidel would say, “Preacher, explain to me why you have some other creed than the Bible, if the Bible be true.”
c. Illustration … Campbell – Owen Debate
Over a 100 years ago, Robert Dale Owens of Scotland, the Goliath of infidelity, came to America. He did as the Goliath of the Philistines in the long ago; he defied the people of God; he begged the followers of Christ to send forth a man to engage him in polemic combat as to the truth of the Bible. The denominational preachers trembled at the sound of his challenge. Why? They knew their position was hopelessly defenseless! They knew Owen would ask them to justify creeds other than the Bible; explain why they wore names not mentioned in the Bible; and make plain why they were members of churches foreign to the Bible. They trembled!
But a David arose to accept the challenge. He was a Christian only, just a member of Christ’s church and it alone, and had no creed but the Bible. The battle for truth was fought in Cincinnati, beginning April 13, 1829, and lasted for eight days. Mr. Owen, the Goliath of infidelity, was unable to use his favorite weapon: the inconsistency of those professing to believe the Bible and being at variance with it. His challenger was a member of no denomination, wore no human name and had no human creed. The infidel went down.
It was a great victory for the Bible and Christian people were jubilant. This defender of the faith was Alexander Campbell. Many preachers could have done the same thing, if it had not been or their defenseless positions. Men cannot defend the Bible when they have pledged their support to the creeds written by uninspired men. ©
6. Human creeds are divisive
a. Creeds keep religious people divided into parties and sects.
b. Each creed serves as a wall to include and enclose its own adherents and to exclude all others.
c. When human creeds are abolished, denominational barriers will begin to weaken and a divided people will be on the road to unity.
B. I AM A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST BECAUSE IT BELIEVES THE BIBLE TO BE A BOOK TO BE RIGHTLY DIVIDED
1. 2 Timothy 2:15 – “rightly dividing…”
a. Many today have little or no true conception of the Bible.
b. Many do not know what it means to rightly divide heaven’s message.
c. Many are just as apt to go to the Psalms to learn of conversion as to the book of Acts.
2. Many do not know, or ignore, that there are three dispensations in the Bible.
a. Patriarchal Dispensation
1) Patriarch means father, and under this system the father or patriarch was prophet, priest and ruler.
2) God directed the family both religiously and politically through the head of the family.
3) What was commanded for one family made not have obligatory for another family (e.g. Noah and the ark)
4) It was not a written law, it was an oral law
5) This law was for all mankind until the giving of the law Moses, and then was just for the Gentiles.
b. Jewish Dispensation
1) This was man’s first written system of religion
2) Instead of a family religion, it was a national system of religion
3) The Jewish Dispensation had a variety of purposes:
a) To keep the Jewish nation a distinct race until Christ should come (Gal. 3:16-19) … it was called the “middle wall of partition” because it separated Jew and Gentile (Eph. 2:14)
b) It was a shadow of good things to come (Heb. 10:1)
c) It was a school master or tutor to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24)
d) It was not intended to be used for man’s salvation … Hebrews 10:1-4
e) It was intended to be only temporary. It was to last only “till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made” (Gal. 3:19), and that “seed” is Jesus (Gal. 3:16)
c. Christian Dispensation
1) This was the new covenant of which Jeremiah spoke … Jeremiah 31:31-33 … Paul declared this was fulfilled (Heb. 8:6-13).
2) The change of priesthoods necessitated the change of laws … Hebrews 7:12
a) Jesus is the high priest under the new priesthood (Heb. 9:11), and every Christian is a priest (1 Pt. 2:5).
b) And since the priesthood was changed the law had to be changed as well.
3) Jesus came to take “away the first, that he may establish the second” (Heb. 10:9)
4) Jesus took away the law of Moses nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:14).
5) The New Testament did not become operative until after the death of Christ … Hebrews 9:16-17
3. Thus, while we are studying the will of God trying to ascertain His will for us today we must realize what covenant we are under and under what covenant a certain commandant was given or a certain thing allowed.
a. This is a major problem with many in the religious world
b. Remember … Hebrews 1:1-2
A. Thus as we have seen in this lesson, I am a member of the church of Christ because:
1. It has the Bible as its only creed, confession of faith or church manual;
2. And, it believes the Bible is a book to be rightly divided