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. If it contains just the Bible, then why have
it? 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 this name because it was given by the
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 seem to be. 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, the day of Pentecost, the apostles, the
methodical way of doing things, the town of Nazareth, John the Baptist,
John Wesley, the hill of Calvary, the community, the city of Rome, the city of Antioch,
the names of the different "saints", 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 honor is due. How do you think God feels about this
situation? Do you actually think that 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 religiously wear the names of men and the
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
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.
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.
Questions Lesson 24
The Lord's Church
(click on the button of the answer of your
1) (Acts 14:23 & Acts 20:28) Each congregation of the Lord's
church is overseen by
A board of deacons.
A plurality of elders.
The Bible specifies that the Lord's church is to be overseen by a pope.
3) (2 Thessalonians 1:12) What name should be glorified?
The town of Nazareth.
John the Baptist.
We should glorify every religious name.
5) (1 Peter 4:16) We should not be ashamed to suffer as a
We should wear different names religiously even if they do not glorify
7) (Colossians 3:17) The things we do and say religiously must be
done by whose authority?
The Lord Jesus Christ.
The authority of each different church's creed book.
Our own authority.
things we teach and do must be done by the authority of Christ.