Getting-Along2One of the most shameful realities amongst those who claim to follow the Christ is obvious existence of needlessly scattered souls who ought to be assembling together but for any number of named of un-named reasons fail to work at being united.

In the article below, Mike Willis closes with:

How often our announcement of “new congregation established” is another way of saying, “A faction that could not get along with their brethren decided to start meeting too.

… If your heart does not feel the deep sting of that statement sit down and ask yourself why…


The Danger of Factionalism (1)

By Mike Willis

Recently I sat in a meeting with several gospel preachers, represent- ing rather conservatively 300-400 years of experience. As we discussed divisions that occur over liberal/conservative splits, the observation was made that the liberals attract those who are moving away from the doctrine of Christ, leading to further digression and apostasy, looser teaching, a more “grace oriented” approach, less distinctive preaching that distinguishes the Lord’s church from the denominations of men, sermons that are filled with anecdotes and few Scriptures, etc. On the other hand, those who preach a conservative message tend to attract those who are overly negative people (they are against whatever anyone else proposes), a legalistic mindset (salvation through perfect knowledge and obedience), divisive over every disagreement in understanding about a Bible verse or doctrine, and extremists. Because our message is more conservative, there is a tendency to attract such people and perhaps we have not written enough to address the problem of factionalism among us as a people.

In 1983, the Guardian of Truth Foundation published a book which I edited entitled Factionalism: A Threat to the Church which was designed to address this issue. Almost everything that I will write in this discussion of factionalism has already been published in that book. I say that lest someone think, “Mike Willis is going liberal.” This material has been available for public consumption for sixteen years without anyone challenging it. I believe today what I believed in 1983 about the loose views about marriage, divorce and remarriage, the grace/unity (unity-in- diversity) approach to unity (whether with reference to the divorce and remarriage issue or institutionalism, the sponsoring church, instrumental music, etc.), the sponsoring church, the church building and maintaining fellowship halls, institutionalism, instrumental music in worship, and church support of missionary societies. Having stated that, I also emphasize that I believe the same thing today about factionalism as I believed in 1983 and believe that we have a significant problem among us with churches being ripped apart by factional brethren. Likewise, the early church was racked by both liberal and factional movements, and God’s word addresses both dangers.

What Is Factionalism?

The English word group from which “factionalism” is derived is the derivative of “faction.” A “faction” is “1. a number of persons in an organization, having a common end in view; especially, a party within a party, seeking to further its own ends, usually in opposition to the ends and aims of the main body or leadership of the party; a clique. . .  2. partisan conflict within an organization or a country; discord; dissension” (Webster).  The word “factious” means “1. producing or tending to produce faction; causing dissension. 2. produced or characterized by faction.” “Factionalism” is “factional quarreling; a spirit of faction.” The Bible addresses these attitudes and actions of men in no uncertain terms and labels them as sinful. Let us consider some of the Scriptures where such sinful conduct is addressed.

1. 1 Corinthians 1-4. The church at Corinth was torn apart by factionalism. The division had not progressed to the point that brethren were meeting in different locations, but there were certain identifiable factions within the local church, identified as “I am of Apollos,” “I am of Cephas,” “I am of Paul,” and “I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 1:12). Paul condemned the factionalism or division in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:10-17).  He called the divisions schismata, from schisma which means “a. prop. a rent:. . . b. metaph. a division, dissension” (Thayer 610). George Campbell wrote, “whatever alienates the affections of Christians for one another, is manifestly subversive of both, and may consequently, with the greatest truth and energy, be denominated schism” (The Four Gospels I:321). Paul charged that the existence of these factions within the church was proof of carnality (1 Cor. 3:1, 3), envy, strife and division (1 Cor. 3:3). Let’s look at these words from 1 Corinthians 3:3.

“Carnal” is translated from sarkinos, a derivative of the word sarx (“flesh”), which means “wholly given up to the flesh, rooted in the flesh as it were” (Thayer 569). In 1 Corinthians 3:3, the word sarkikos which is twice translated “carnal” is defined as “having the nature of flesh, i.e. under the control of the animal appetites. . . governed by mere human nature. . . not by the Spirit of God” (Thayer 569). Evidence that the Corinthians were governed by their fleshly nature rather than by the Holy Spirit was shown by the existence of “envy, strife, and division.”

The word “envy” is from zelos, a word that can describe a very positive zeal that sees the good in others and tries to make that a part of his own life, but is used in this context with an obviously negative connotation to describe “an envious and contentious rivalry” (Thayer 271). In conflicts that happen in local churches, disagreements occur that may have originated innocently. However, a person begins to view the conflict as a struggle in which his “side” must predominate. With all of the zeal of two athletes in compete tion with each other, the parties to the rivalry begin to see which side can gather the most adherents to its position. The same kind of “win at all costs” disposition that has had such a deleterious impact on sports at every age level can become the attitude of brethren who disagree. When this happens, the Bible’s teaching becomes subordinated to this spirit of rivalry that has one group against another group. “I am of Paul!” “I am of Cephas!”

The word “strife” is translated from eris. It is defined as “contention, strife, wrangling” (Thayer 249). The word describes that condition that develops in a church when various parties turn against each other and vie for control of the congregation. The word “division” is from dichostasia which is defined as “dissension, division.” This is the product that such dissension creates.

The tragedy of the divisions that occur among so many congregations among us is that they occur with virtually no doctrinal disagreement among the brethren. Just because one person cannot conscientiously say something the way that another believes it should be said, division (which everyone admits is sinful) is justified under the pretense that one is “standing for the truth.” Standing for the truth never justifies slandering a brother by misrepresenting what he believes to make one’s own cause look more righteous, working to create support for one’s party by political campaigning and maneuvering (every past disagreement that one had with someone on the other side is a legitimate tool to use to persuade another to join as a political ally against the other side), overthrowing elderships, driving away conscientious brethren because they happen to disagree, refusing to speak to one another, and a host of such like offences. What I have just described has been repeated in too many congregations for us to ignore the fact that such conduct is a problem among us at times.

The Lord condemned such division in no uncertain terms. Writing in the context of 1 Corinthians 1-4, the context of the divisions created by the various parties at Corinth, Paul said, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17). This passage is not to be confused with 1 Corinthians 6:19 where the “temple” figure is used to describe the physical body; this passage is using the word “temple” to describe the local church. The “defiling” of the temple is that which occurs by sinful division. God’s judgment against those who destroy God’s temple by sinful division is clear: “him shall God destroy” (1 Cor. 3:17).

2. 2 Corinthians 12:20. In Paul’s exhortation to the church to turn away from ungodliness, he said, “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed” (2 Cor. 12:20-21). I think one can see from the superficial reading of this text that Paul is still concerned about the factionalism in the church at Corinth. Let’s look more specifically at some of the evidences of this factionalism that he mentioned:

“Debates” is translated from eris, the same word as appeared in 1 Corinthians 3:3 which was there translated “strife.” The word does not describe that orderly polemical discussion of different points of view. The English word “quarreling” (NIV, NRSV) better captures the meaning of eris. The word “envying,” from zelos, also appeared in 1 Corinthians 3:3 and has previously been discussed. “Wraths” is from thumos, which describes “passion, angry heat. . . anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again” (Thayer 292). There is another kind of sinful anger translated from the word orge that describes a settled anger that shows itself in revenge, bitterness, malice, and hatefulness. But this word emphasizes what so frequently happens when brethren become embroiled in controversy and one loses his temper. Sometimes business meetings are disrupted by this kind of behavior, and conversations on the parking lot or in the vestibule become so heated that someone is guilty of this kind of sinful wrath.

Paul adds that “strifes” also come from sinful factionalism. The word is translated from eritheia which has an interesting history. It was “used of those who electioneer for office, courting popular applause by trickery and low arts.” (Have you noticed any such political campaigning to solicit adherents to one’s party in church divisions? The spirit of Absalom did not die when he died. He campaigned to create dissatisfaction with the administration, feigning sympathy for the cause of every man dissatisfied with anything happening in the kingdom [2 Sam. 15:1-5].) Thayer continues to explain that the verb form of the word was derived from erithos which means “working for hire, a hireling” and then adds, “in the N.T. a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and factious spirit which does not disdain low arts; partisanship, factiousness” (Thayer 249). If you think that brethren will not stoop to what Thayer describes as “low arts” to create their own following, you are naive.

Another expression of sinful conduct in the midst of factionalism is “backbiting.” The word is translated from katalalia,which Thayer defines as “to speak against one, to criminate, traduce” (Thayer 332). The English word “traduce” in case you are not familiar with it, means “to defame; to slander; to malign; to caluminate; to vilify” (Webster). Brethren who disagree sometimes latch on to the slenderest thread of “evidence” in order to make un- believable charges against men whose moral character is above reproach, simply because they thought they could win people to their side by painting those on the other side as ungodly. This is factionalism in full bloom.

Another expression of sinful conduct by factional people is “whisperings.” The word is translated from psithurismos, an onomatopoeic word, which means “a whispering, i.e. secret slander” (Thayer 676). The difference betweenkatalalia and psithurismos is that one works out in the open and the other works behind the back and under cover, but both accomplish the same thing. Men who would not come to talk to a brother about their differences will work like a bunch of maggots behind his back to destroy his influence and alienate him from those who love him.

Another expression of sinful conduct by factional people is described as “swellings.” The word is translated fromphusiosis, “a puffing up of soul, loftiness, pride.” Arrogance is typical of factional brethren who think that their own judgment is superior to that of all others and are willing to divide churches to press their opinion on others (it is so much superior to any other person’s opinion). In circumstances in which men disagree over some matter, wisdom dictates that one should seek  a multitude of counselors, in obedience to the divine counsel (Prov. 11:14; 15:22). However, when the advice that is given is not what one wants to hear, factional men tend to have such an arrogant disposition about their own opinions that they evaluate their own judgment as superior to that of older, wiser, and more experienced brethren. Of course, anyone who agrees with him after having only heard his one-sided presentation, which usually gives a very slanted assessment of those who disagree with him, is judged to be a very wise man.

Another expression of sinful conduct by factional people is “tumults.” The word is translated from akatastasia which means “instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion: 1 Cor. xiv.33; Jas. iii.16; . . . plur. disturbances, disorders: of dissensions, 2 Cor. xii.20” (Thayer 21). Factional brethren create chaos in churches. The disorder and confusion that come is the natural result of their mindset.

3. Galatians 5:19-21. There are three words in Paul’s list of the works of the flesh that pertain to factionalism. They are “strife, sedition, heresies.” The words describe a progressive breakdown of the unity that should exist in the local church. Consider the definitions of these words:

“Strife” is from eritheia, which we previously considered on 2 Corinthians 12:20. It was used historically to refer to the politician and then to the hireling disposition that works for what one gets out of working for himself (without regard to service to others). Then the word is used to refer to “a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a partisan and factious spirit which does not disdain low arts; partisanship, factiousness” (Thayer 249). The first steps of factionalism are taken by a person with this kind of partisan and factious spirit who is working in the congregation.

The word “sedition” is from dichostasia, which means “dissension, division” (Thayer 153). This describes the condition of a church when there are identifiable parties meeting together (“I am of Paul,” “I am of Cephas,” “I am of Apollos”). The progression of the division has increased to the point that the partisan and factious person has been able to gather a nucleus of men in support of his position. He presses others to accept his position to such a degree that he creates a reaction in opposition to himself. Now there is party “A” and party “Not-A.” When a church reaches this condition, dissension and division have occurred. All of the congregation is still under the same roof, but the presence of distinctive parties is evident.

The third word is “heresies.” The word hairesis is used in this context without reference to the doctrinal correctness of the opinion that is held. Though error certainly may be involved, the emphasis here is on the divisive spirit rather than the content of the teaching. The heresy is heresy not because what is consolidating the party is unorthodox, but because of the party spirit that loves its doctrinal position more than it loves its brethren. They would rather cling to their position, even if that means that they must drive away from themselves everyone who disagrees with them. Thayer defines the word hairesis as a derivative of haireomai, “choosing, choice. . . 3. that which is chosen, a chosen course of thought and action; hence one’s chosen opinion, tenet; acc. to the context, an opinion varying from the true exposition of the Christian faith (heresy): 2 Pet. ii.1. . . .4. a body of men separating themselves from others and following their own tenets [a sect or party]: as the Sadducees, Acts v. 17; the Pharisees, Acts xv.5. . . . 5. dissensionsarising from diversity of opinions and aims: Gal. v.20; 1 Cor. xi.19” (Thayer 16). Notice that the “heresies” of Galatians 5:20 have nothing to do with unorthodox belief. Rather, it has to do with that holding of an opinion to the point of separating oneself from his brethren. At this point, brethren cannot meet together under the same roof.

Until brethren come to grips with Paul’s statement that “strife, seditions, heresies” are works of the flesh that cause one to lose his soul, we will continue to have churches torn asunder by factional conduct of brethren. The weak defense, “We had to divide to maintain the doctrinal purity of the church,” is betrayed by the fact that the two groups created by the factional conduct continue to invite men standing for the same doctrine to hold their meetings and continue to believe, teach and practice the same things. Brethren this scenario has repeated itself in congregations all across America from time to time. Our factionalism is shameful. How often our announcement of “new congregation established” is another way of saying, “A faction that could not get along with their brethren decided to start meeting too.

via: http://www.truthmagazine.com/the-danger-of-factionalism-1

rekindling the fire to Proclaim the Good news

Match-on-fire1James Nored wrote the following series a while back in which he raises some salient questions and provides his answers to them. In my opinion he does not provide answers to his questions that match the simplicity of the Bible.

“I recently toured a church in our fellowship that just redid their auditorium. They had an incredible set up. Three huge screens, incredible lighting, stadium seating. I immediately thought two things: 1) this must have cost a lot of money–we could never afford this; and 2) I would love to preach in this atmosphere, because it would be incredible. It would be experiential” James Nored

Wes McAdams does a fine job responding to the core of what was missing in his article Experience Driven Church.

  1. Why are Churches of Christ Shrinking? – Part 1: A Left-Brained Fellowship in a Right-Brained World
  2. Why are Churches of Christ Shrinking? – Part 2: Failure to Understand that it is an Increasingly Unchurched, Post-Christian World
  3. Why Churches of Christ Are Shrinking – Part 3: A Misplaced Identity and a Failure to Truly Believe in Grace
  4. Why Do Churches of Christ Have Hope and a Future? – Part 1: A Reawakening to Ancient Faith & Practices Such as Baptism & the Lord’s Supper

If I were to suggest some solutions to the growing challenge of reaching the lost in our present culture, it would include:

  • When asked about the Christ, discuss “righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come”.
  • In the manner of your life, let people see that you love your brethren.
  • Do not be ashamed of your King.
  • Be empowered by holy living.
  • Get the seed out of the bag and start sowing!

“Morality, The Government and Christians” by Doy Moyer

Moral statements and positions will, necessarily, impact political issues. This is not because morality is inherently political, but because government has the task of recognizing the difference between good and evil, so moral issues will have to be dealt with (Rom 13:3-4). This means that, contrary to what is so often stated and argued, morality will be legislated by government, and it will be legislated from a worldview that either recognizes the significance of God or not. To say that God needs to be kept out of politics, then, is to default to the secularized view of morality; and secularized morality will then be legislated. Why is it that people default to keeping God out of it instead of keeping the secularized views of reality out of it? And why do some Christians seem to be buying into all of this?

We need to see what has happened here. Many have bought into the notions that 1) God and religion must be kept out of politics, and 2) morality is not something that can be legislated. In fact, both are false. God is never out of politics, and we are fooling ourselves if we think so, given that God rules in the kingdoms of men. Every worldview says something about God. If a worldview says there is no God, then a notion of God is still a part of the position, and actions will be taken that demonstrate that disbelief. Further, every law is a legislation of morality in one form or another; there is no way around it. The question is, will the legislation come from those whose worldview respects God as the foundation or not?

I don’t say all of this in order to argue that Christians need to get more political. I’m arguing that Christians need to say more about God and morality in every area of life. We don’t check our God at the door when we enter a political arena, and we don’t set aside godly morals when we engage the culture. We don’t take a moral view of something based on politics, but surely our political views ought to be based on godly morality. The point then is not that we need more political activists. The point is that we need to be more engaged in the moral discussions of our culture and take a stand for what is right, regardless of political fallout. In other words, it’s not about being political; it’s about standing for what’s right in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation.

Even more, we need to hold up the gospel itself to the world. The answer to our problems is not to vote in or out this or that politician. No government in history has been a bastion of godliness, and I don’t expect that to change. The answer is always where it has been: in Christ. The problems of this world won’t be fixed by human government, but by the gospel. “The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one, but the kingdom of heaven remains.”

So Christians should be concerned with 1) holding out the gospel to a lost world, and 2) standing up for Christ and His morality. It’s not politics. It’s just what’s right.

Holiness in practice

Sound Choices Saying you want to be more like Christ is one thing, but it is a far more challenging course to actively strive to make your profession match your confession.

Two correlated subjects ran the social media gauntlet recently: Modesty1,2 & What is appropriate dating behavior3.  Of  interest to me is how certain responses seem to pit two sides of an issue as some sort of neverending conflict.

“Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command.” 1 Corinthians 7:1-6 (NASB)

Paul’s exhortation and instructions are sound, and while it won’t make your worldly friends happy, they might think you a prude, antiquated or odd. Should that be any kind of surprise? Now clearly there is some context to what Paul is implying by the term “touch” but it is really that hard to realize that Holiness is worth the effort.

  1. http://morelikemomma.com/2013/06/14/can-you-be-a-lady-without-being-modest/
  2. http://therebelution.com/blog/2013/06/the-other-side-of-modesty/#.Ucnj9vmThyI
  3. http://www.setapartgirl.com/magazine/issue/2013/may-jun

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity, by Larry Alex Taunton

“When our participants were asked to cite key influences in their conversion to atheism–people, books, seminars, etc. — we expected to hear frequent references to the names of the “New Atheists.” We did not. Not once. Instead, we heard vague references to videos they had watched on YouTube or website forums.”

More at:


Our Need to Be Distinctive – by: Randy Blackaby

In every generation, Christians undergo pressure to appear less out of the mainstream, less odd, and less peculiar. Often, the thing that makes us feel compelled to change is our perception that we won’t grow if we don’t become more like other groups that are growing in number.
But God’s people are supposed to be unique, that is, distinguishable from the world. We are not to be conformed to this world; rather, we should be transformed (Romans 12:2). Jesus said we should be as salt and light for the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Salt has a distinct taste; and light influences that which it contacts. They are distinctly and noticeably different from sugar and darkness. Sugar has a different taste, and darkness influences in a completely different way.
It is not, however, a matter of being different for the sake of being different. The Lord’s church is one of a kind. It is separate from the denominational churches. This latter conglomeration of churches is identified by the fact that it teaches human traditions in place of God’s commandments. Jesus condemned such traditions and said that the associated worship is vain, or useless (Mark 7:7-9).
Members of denominational churches cannot be saved from their sins. Denominations don’t even teach people what the Bible says they must do to have their sins forgiven. Why would we want to be like such groups? God’s people have the duty and mission and purpose of teaching the lost and bringing them to salvation through Christ Jesus. To accomplish these, we need pulpits that resonate with the distinctive message of Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament. If we modify the message to make it more popular and palatable, we may indeed increase our numbers, but we will not have increased the number of people who are free from their sins.
As we individually talk to people about the gospel, we must speak the truth in love. Honest searchers who have been reading their Bibles will recognize that what we are saying to them concurs with what they have been reading. They will realize that there are people who believe and practice what they’ve read about in their Bibles.
We must be careful not to leave the impression that there are Christians in many different denominations, because there are not. We must not leave our denominational friends with the impression that we are just different kinds of Christians, because there are only believers and unbelievers. “There is one body, one hope, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Think about it. If there is only one of a thing, that thing is unique, distinctive, peculiar, and in a class by itself.
Read the gospel sermons of Peter, Paul, and others in the book of Acts. The messages of the first preachers didn’t seek a common ground and ignore differences. Their messages convicted men of sin and laid down the singular means—Jesus’ blood–through which they could receive forgiveness. Those who gladly received the word obeyed, and those who didn’t gladly receive the word rejected it, fought it, and persecuted those who preached it. That pattern will continue until Christ returns.
If we want to be popular, we’ll have to forsake the narrow way. But if we want to be a part of Christ’s kingdom we must stand out from the crowd by adhering to his commandments (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus made this clear when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
In the judgment day, being distinctive will be much more comfortable than it is today. Keep that in mind.

I Am A Christian

Sometimes when we look a the religious landscape around us we may be startled by the copious number of groups claiming to be following after Christ. I have often be queried and questioned along the lines of “what denomination are you”; “What do you believe” and other similar thoughts. As I write this I have been a Christian for almost 12 years. Looking back, I should have written something like this years ago. It might have helped both myself and members of my immediate family understand some of my faith a little clearer and staved off some of the misunderstandings that arise from time to time. I hope that as you read this, you will gain insight into the truth that is God’s Word.

The word Christian is used specifically in three bible passages:

•1 Peter 4:16

•“But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.”

•Acts 11:26

•“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

•Acts 26:28

•“You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

In 1 Peter chapter 4, verses 15 -19, we find the following text:

As you read the text above you will note that a Christian as shown in the bible is one who:

  • Wears name glorifying God
  • Part of house of God
  • Has obeyed the gospel
  • Is “Righteous” – “Saved”
  • Acts “according to the will of God”
  • Involved in well-doing as defined by Creator

By way of contrast one would not be a Christian if they:

  • Wear a name glorifying one other than God
  • Not part of the house of God
  • Have not obeyed the gospel
  • “Ungodly” – “Sinner”
  • Acts contrary to the will of God
  • Involved in well-doing as defined by man

This simple text helps us understand that simply declaring yourself to be a Christian does not necessarily make it so. In the world about us we find many who would cling to the name Christian even though they have no part or parcel of the work of and for Christ. Dear reader ask your self the question, where do I find myself in the text of 1 Peter 4:15-19? Have I obeyed the Gospel? or am I still in rebellion to Christ?

Consider that if you were to follow after the ideal of many well intentioned folks and lean upon a creed book, or some other religious manual, they do not create Christians as shown in the bible, they create just what was indented by their authors, orthodox Baptists, Methodists, Catholics and the such-like as shown below.

The next text that we will look at is Acts chapter 11, verses 21-26

In this second text above you will note that a Christian as shown in the bible is one who:

  • Is a believer who has turned to the Lord
  • Is a member of the same church as in New Testament time
  • Is one who is added to the Lord
  • Is a disciple of Christ

Again, by way of contrast one would not be a Christian if they:

  • Are an unbeliever who has not turned to the Lord
  • Are a member of church not found in New Testament time
  • Are one who is added to human organization
  • Are a disciple of man

In Acts chapter 11 we find the import reference to the facts that disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch. Note how the word was used. It describes them, the people the very ones of turned to the Lord. It was not used to denote a school, a home, or any such thing, it identifies whom they follow. To often do we find that the name of Christ has been sullied by it’s use in areas that He did not command! Dear reader, again ask your self the question, where do I find myself in the text of Acts 11:21-26? Have to the Lord? or am I running far from him?

The final primary text that we will look at is Acts chapter 26, verses 27-29

In this last text above you will note that a Christian as shown in the bible is one who:

  • Believes the preaching about Jesus
  • Is persuaded to become a follower of Christ
  • Obeys the same gospel obeyed by Paul

In this, the last of our three texts, Acts chapter 26, the apostle Paul is preaching to King Agrippa. The King asserts in response to Paul’s preaching that he could become a Christian. Paul Replied that he could and in so doing he would become such as Paul was. Looking back in the life of Paul we can note four Bible passages.

Acts 22:16

16’And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’

Dear reader, ask your self the question, Have I been baptized like the apostle Paul? if not then how can you claim to be a Christian?

Romans 6:3-11

3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Dear reader, ask your self a question, Have I been baptized into Christ so I can be baptized into His Death? if not then how can you hope in the resurrection?

Acts 19:1-5

1And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, 2and he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” 3And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Dear reader, ask your self a question, Have I been baptized as Christ commanded? Even though you may have been immersed, it does not mean your sins were washed away.

1 Corinthians 12:13
13For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Dear reader, Finally ask your self this question, to whom am I joined. If you are baptized such as Paul was then you will be baptized into one body, Christ’s body!

Gospel Meeting with Jesse Flowers, September 2008

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