The BIBLE VIEW #876 — Church


In This Issue:

The Importance of the Church
The Good and the Bad
Should We Go to Church on Saturday or Sunday?

Volume: 876     September 19, 2022
Theme:  Church

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The Importance of the Church
Bill Brinkworth

As Paul concluded his letter to the Roman church, Romans 16 was dedicated to remembering Christians he knew in the ministry.  He named 28 individuals and remarked on what they meant to him or how they had served the Lord.

Those people were more than acquaintances to him. The people in the church were close to Paul’s heart.

Going to church for us should also be more than just nodding at people as they pass us in the aisle or shaking their hands as we see them in Sunday school.  The church is where those of like faith and beliefs gather.

Church should be a place removed from the world where we can be with our kind — Christians. In that place, we are no longer a “peculiar” people as the unsaved view us.  We are with members of the family of God.

A church is also where some hear the Gospel for the first time and get saved. It should be a place where the Bible is taught, and people learn more about God’s Word. 

Believers can also hear what the Lord has laid on the under-shepherd’s heart in church and know how they can be better Christians.  It should be where people are burdened for needs they see or hear about and get involved in a ministry themselves.

I know I cannot speak for all churches, as too many have too much of the world in them, but the place of worship should be a place where we can be far from godless living and be closer to God.

In church, other Christians can encourage us. All week we are swimming against the current of the world. It can spiritually drain us. Being around our kind can reward us with advice, encouragement, or even seeing how other Christians handle their problems, so we can successfully run our spiritual race.

Those Christians that are not faithful in church attendance miss the help and encouragement of being around their kind.  It is not just the preaching, teaching, church dinners, and special events that we need.  We need to feel, for the time we are with others of like faith, that we are not alone in this world. We need to know there are others like us.  No wonder Paul addressed many individually.  They were important to him because they were part of his spiritual family — the family of God.

“Going to church is family time.”   — Author Unknown


The Good and the Bad
Bill Brinkworth

Every church has its “good” and “bad” members. I am sure that the church that John was writing to in III John had several of both categories. However, the apostle wrote of three members in his letter.

Two of the members were good representations of what a Christian should be. Gaius was the “well-beloved” (III John:1).  He was most likely a friendly person many loved.

Many reports from the church told John how Gaius was a blessing in the church family (III John:3, 6) and how the man attended to the needs of other Christians (III John:5). It was evident by his care for the brethren that he truly loved the members of his church.

Another blessing in the church was Demetrias. John also said good things about him (III John:12). 

Those two were an encouragement to the apostle’s heart. It is always good and encouraging to hear how people get saved, get their hearts and lives changed by the Holy Spirit’s work, and do much for the cause of Christ and the people of God.

People like those two encourage others by their proof of love for the family of God. They are sometimes part of the reason many stay faithful in church. 

However, even if we are saved, we still have sinful flesh to contend with, and there will often be “stinkers” in every church. In this church, there was one like that. His name was Diotrephes.

Diotrephes had a terrible testimony in the eyes of others. Instead of showing the spirit of meekness the other two outstanding members showed, this man exhibited improper Christian behavior.  He was known for always wanting recognition (III John:9).

I can imagine Diotrephes was one of those that always had something to say.  He was the one that got much of the attention and the glory. 

He refused to accept John the Apostle and any missionaries John sent to the church (III John:10). This discontented man did all he could to talk poorly of John and his work.  Diotrephes even had people kicked out of the church that showed charity to anyone Paul sent to the church.

When man tries to get the glory, which Diotrephes was attempting to receive, the Holy Spirit is grieved.  This type of man ruins the testimony of any ministry.  The work for Christ in a ministry can come to a screeching halt. That is one reason many once-thriving churches are now spiritually dead and doing little for the cause of Christ.  People like this man often become an excuse for many leaving a church.

In every ministry, there are the two types. Good workers are the light in this dark world. They make the church a Christian family.

The evil (III John:11) should be ignored and not be the reason anyone leaves a church.  If one goes because of a “Diotrephes,” one can be assured that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the decision.

If you have one or more of “Diotrephes” in your church, do not leave. Get your eyes and ears off them, and keep them on the Saviour. Jesus will never let you down, which is why you should attend anyway!

If you see the obstacles, your eyes are off the Saviour! —  Author Unknown



Should We Go to Church on Saturday or Sunday?
Bill Brinkworth

The fourth of the ten commandments given to Israel by Moses states, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).  When the Sabbath day was observed, one could not leave his home (Ex. 16:29), could not build a fire (Ex. 35:3), and could not work (Deut. 5:14).  Anyone breaking the rules on Saturday would be put to death (Ex. 31:15).  It was serious not to observe that day properly.  Because of this seriousness, it is understood why many today wonder, “Should I worship on Saturday?”

To understand why today’s day of worship should be on Sunday, one should first know why the Sabbath was instituted.  It was started so that Israel would remember that they were slaves in Egypt and that God had set them free from their bondage: “But the seventh day [Saturday] is the sabbath…  And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day” Deut. 5:14-15.

Modern-day Christians are not to remember they were freed from Egypt’s hand.  The observance of the Sabbath was for the Old Testament Jew.  We are not under Old Testament laws: “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  And the law is not of faith…” Galatians 3:11-12.

One trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross is free from the law’s bondage: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” Gal.  5:1.  This is why the law of the Sabbath is not mentioned in the New Testament; it is not for those living by faith in the resurrected Christ.  Nine of the ten commandments are (Mat. 19:18, Rom. 13:9) mentioned in the New Testament, but the one about the Sabbath was not reaffirmed.

The significance of the Sabbath changed when Christ came.  Old Testament believers were waiting and looking forward to the Messiah’s coming.  Those that still hold to the Old Testament’s keeping of the Sabbath are saying, by their beliefs and practices, that they are still waiting for Him to come.  Christ has come.  All changed when He came.

Jesus’ resurrection could easily have been on the Sabbath, but it was on Sunday morning, as stated in the gospels (Mat. 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1).  His resurrection and many other important events happened on the first day of the week.  Jesus was declared the Son of God on Sunday (Rom. 1:4).  Pentecost also occurred on Sunday (Lev.  23:15-16).  After Jesus died, there was much emphasis on the first day of the week.

Many teach that Constantine changed the day of worship to Sunday in A.D. 321, but the early church worshipped on Sunday before the New Testament was even completed.  The Bible reveals how worship was often every day (Acts 2:46), but soon the main worship day was the first day of the week (Sunday):
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” John 20:19
“And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7  Notice the Lord’s Supper was also observed on Sunday.

After Paul purposed to minister to the Gentiles, the Sabbath was never mentioned.  Unless someone was ministering to the Jews directly and met with them in their synagogue (Acts 17:1-2), all early church meetings were on Sunday.  Even offerings were taken up on the first day of the week (I Cor. 16:1-2).

We are not commanded to make one day holier than another: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.  Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it…” Rom. 14:5-6.  The Sabbath is still on Saturday, but the emphasis, for one trusting in Christ and not keeping the law, is now on the first day of the week, not the last.  

There is no direct Scripture saying that Sunday is now the Sabbath either.  We are to put a day aside to make God and His Word a priority, along with fellowshipping with His people.  Sunday is the day we need to set aside for the Lord!

“What is your priority on Sunday: fishing, soccer matches, the supermarket, or church?”

The Bible View #849 — Church

In This Issue:
Dangers to A Church
Beware!
Why Should a Christian Go to Church?

Volume: 849      March 7, 2022
Theme: Church

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Dangers to A Church
Bill Brinkworth

The actual church is the believers of Christ wherever they may be. If a believer is at home, that is where the church is.  When the born-again child of God goes to the supermarket,  that is where the church is.
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” I Corinthians 3:9“
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:5“
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” II Corinthians 6:16

However, a physical church is an important place where believers meet to hear the Word of God’s teachings, a place to worship Him, and where they can be encouraged to serve and live for the Lord.  The building is a recognized place where most know they should be able to hear what the Bible teaches. Many attend, and because of the preaching and teaching, decide to be born again into God’s family.

Church

There are many dangers to the health and life-changing ministry that pastors and church attendees should be wary. Because of the local church’s importance, it faces many threats that could harm its role to the cause of Christ. Some demolishers that can weaken or destroy a God-honoring and obeying ministry include:

  • Using “bibles” that have changed or water-down what the preserved Word of God teaches.  There are over 350 different versions in the English language alone, each teaching something different after verses have been altered or deleted. 

    “Bibles” labeled as “new versions” should signal to a Christian that God is not now just giving us His Word.  It has been around since Old and New Testament times. God has preserved it for earlier believers, and it is safely kept for today’s Christians. 

    For English-speaking people, every word God had prophets, leaders, and men of God pen still has every “jot and tittle” (Matthew 5:18) preserved in the King James version.  Changing His words has weakened and destroyed many ministries.

To learn more why the KJV should be used for those speaking English, please view: https://www.openthoumineeyes.com/bible-answers/God%20Kept%20His%20Word.pdf  (Use the right arrow key to go through the presentation)

  • A lack of unbiblical doctrines taught and preached. A ministry will weaken and not grow if opinions are taught rather than “thus saith the Word of God.” God preserved His Word because it will change lives and even societies. His will and way will never change and it is recorded in His Word.
  • A lack of desire and attempts to reach others with the Gospel.  One essential goal of a Bible-obeying ministry should be to reach the lost so they can be saved.  If they are not sought and taught, there will be little growth in a ministry.  Too many churches are spiritually dead, as they are no longer a “saving station” nor a hospital for the spiritually wounded.
  • Unqualified or uncalled leadership in a church. The Bible clearly defines the qualifications of church pastors and deacons (I Timothy 3:2-13).  Those in charge that should not be instructing or preaching will also weaken and destroy a ministry.
    “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Act 20:28
  • Undealt with sin within the church.  The Bible warns of sin throughout its pages.  When sin is not preached against or is tolerated, the hand of God will be off that ministry!
  • Those sowing discord among the brethren.  Gossip against the preacher, teachers, and anyone within the ministry can also weaken and hurt a church.
    “These six things doth the LORD hate…  19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Home Bible study groups. Attending a local church every time its doors are open and one’s personal Bible study should be the primary sources of spiritual feeding. The intention of having extra Bible studies sounds edifiying, but they often can result in being hotbeds for “sowing discord” against the brethren and teaching false doctrines. Even a diet of television and radio preaching can sometimes sow disagreement against what one’s church is preaching from God’s Word.  Division can occur in a church because of those influences.
  • Covid and other infectious diseases. If you cannot attend because of health issues, do your best to stay in contact with your local church leaders and members. Although we do not want to spread disease to other church members, separation from other believers and being part of a local ministry can weaken and slowly kill a local church.  Lack of attendance also discourages the preacher and teachers and disheartens other church members.

A local Bible-believing, Scripture-obeying ministry is an essential need for children of God and surrounding communities. Lives have been improved, souls saved, and sin stopped by a church’s outreach and influence.

A church’s usefulness can easily be destroyed by allowing it to be weakened by many of the mentioned dangers. Do your best to keep its doors wide open so God’s will and way can be preached and practiced.  If its doors are closed and its message weakened, how will the nearby people know God’s truths?  Who will tell them if the local ministry is too weak to help?

“When the Devil saw that persecution would not stop the church, he changed to a different tactic.  He joined the church.  He began to hurt the church from the inside.  He still does that today.  He attacks the validity of the Word of God, and he tries to discredit the Gospel.  If that doesn’t work, he tries to discredit the man who preaches the Gospel, as he tried to discredit Paul.”  
— J. Vernon McGeePsalm 53:2



Beware!
Bill Brinkworth

The early church had many of the problems our churches have today. In Philippians 3, the church was warned of three particular dangers. The three “beware”s (Philippians 3:2) they were cautioned of were:

  • “… of dogs”. Although gentiles were often called “dogs,” it would hardly be likely that Paul, a missionary to the gentiles, would warn the Philippians (many of whom were converted gentiles, to look out for themselves. He may have been referring to the false shepherds (pastors) that were only in the ministry for themselves, as described in Isaiah 52:8-11: “The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, … All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.”
  • “… evil workers”. These may be the same villains who were self-purposing ministers, sowing their wrong doctrines and leading the “sheep” astray. They could have been “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
  • “… of the concision …”. “Concision” means cutting off. The Philippians were to beware of those still adhering to the law. Instead of cutting away the sin in their lives as Paul was teaching (Philippians 3:3), they tried to stick to the Old Testament laws to please God.

As taught in Ephesians 6, there is a spiritual war going on. We have to be watchful for the enemy, no matter where he hides. Sometimes we find him operating even in good Bible-believing churches. That is why it is important to read and know the Scriptures for ourselves to discern when false doctrines are taught.


Why Should a Christian Go to Church?
Bill Brinkworth

Attendance to any church is NOT the way to Heaven, but it is essential for a Christian’s growth. If one is truly saved, he should:

Wanna Go to Church – The hungry,s born-again person should have a desire to be fed from the Word of God, as the preacher delivers it. He also should desire fellowship with like-minded people.
“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” Psalm 84:2
“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” Ephesians 2:19
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” I Corinthians 12:25

Wanna Grow – Church is one of the most important places where a Christian can hear God’s Word to find out how he can improve himself, obey God, and learn what God has for him to do.
“Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:13

Wanna Obey – We are commanded to go.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

Wanna Pray – Although it is not the only place a Christian can pray, it is a good place.
“And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:13


It makes one wonder when a person, who claims to be saved, does not want to attend church and finds excuses for avoiding it. Not regularly attending church is contrary to Scripture.

“Church: You are not too bad to go in. You are not too good to stay out.”
— Author Unknown

The Bible View #810 — Church Members

In This Issue:
Every Church Has Them
What Can Keep People from Church
The Church of His Own Opinion

Volume: 810   May 17, 2021
Theme: Church Members

Every Church Has Them
Bill Brinkworth

Every church has its good and bad members. The church that John was writing to in III John had several of both categories, I am sure. However, the apostle wrote of three members in his letter.

Two of the members were good representations of what a Christian should be. Gaius was the “well-beloved” (III John:1). He was most likely a friendly person who many loved. Many reports from the church told John how Gaius was a blessing to the church family (III John:3, 6) and how the man attended to the needs of other Christians (III John:5). It was evident by his concern for the brethren that he truly loved the members of his church.

Another blessing in the church was Demetrias.  John also heard good things said about him (III John:12). These two were an encouragement to the apostle’s heart. It is always good and encouraging to hear how people get saved, get their hearts and lived changed by the Holy Spirit’s work, and do much for the cause of Christ and the people of God.

People like those two encourage others by their proof of love for the family of God. They are sometimes part of the reason many stay faithful in church. However, even if we are saved, we still have sinful flesh to contend with, and there will often be “stinkers” in every church. In this church, there was one like that. His name was Diotrephes.

Diotrephes had a terrible testimony in the eyes of others. Instead of showing the spirit of meekness the other two good members showed, this man exhibited improper Christian behavior. He was known for always wanting recognition (III John:9). 

I can imagine Diotrephes was one of those that always had something to say. He was the one that got much of the attention and the glory. He refused to accept John the Apostle and any missionaries John sent to the church (III John:10). This discontented man did all he could to talk poorly of John and his work. Diotrephes even had people kicked out of the church that showed charity to anyone Paul sent to the ministry.

This type of man ruins the testimony of any ministry. When man tries to get the glory, which Diotrephes was attempting to receive, the Holy Spirit is grieved. The work for Christ in a ministry can come to a screeching halt. That is one reason many once-thriving churches are now spiritually dead and doing little for the cause of Christ. Men like this man, unfortunately, often become an excuse for many leaving a church. 

In every ministry, there are two types. The good workers are the light in this dark world. They make the church a Christian family. The evil (III John:11) should be ignored and not be the reason anyone leaves a church. If one quits because of a “Diotrephes,” one can be assured that the Holy Spirit is not involved in the decision. If you have one or more of “Diotrephes” in your church, do not leave. Get your eyes and ears off them, and keep them on the Saviour. He will never let you down, and He is the reason you should attend anyway!

“You are not too bad to go to church.  You are not too good to stay out!”  
— Author Unknown


What Can Keep People from Church
Bill Brinkworth

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be ableto stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11

Daily the Christian must prepare himself to ward off the wiles, or tricks, the devil has for him. Satan’s stratagem is to do all he can to keep us from obeying God. One area he prompts us to be disobedient in is for us not to attend church.  However, we cannot blame all our disobedience on him. Our pride, laziness, and sinful nature also keep us from being faithful in attendance.

Some of the popular excuses in keeping many from faithfully attending church are:

Church “hopping”: Church attendance is a must for Christian growth. God has raised up a pastor of a local church to minister to your needs. When you miss church, you miss what God had for you that day. When you are a church member and go to this church today and another one next week, your “hopping” around keeps you from attending the church God has for you.

Discontentment: If God originally pointed you to that church to join and attend, you need to stay there until He tells you to move! “I’m not happy with the preacher” or “That church is too cold” are not excuses not to attend. The question should be, “Does God want me to attend there?”

Hurt feelings: All churches are made up of humans. All humans are sinners. Therefore, there is no perfect church! People will accidentally or purposely say the wrong things. Everyone gets their feelings hurt sometimes. I am sure you have hurt other’s feelings. Again, the question should be, “Did God call me here?” If He did, hurt feelings are not a legitimate reason to leave a church.

Sin: When people are purposely sinning against God, they most often do not want to be reminded of it. Where will they be reminded of it? In church. That is often why they will not attend.  However, to get one’s freedom back from the control of sin, one should hear the Word of God, not avoid it.

Conviction: When the Holy Spirit of God urges people to halt their sin, instead of obeying His small “voice,” they avoid it by keeping out of church. Sometimes they even join another church, where watered-down preaching does not remind them of what God has already spoken to them about.

Lack of understanding of the things of God. Since they do not read their Bible and do not know what it teaches, when they hear hard, convicting preaching from the Bible, they stay far away from it.  Ignorance of the Word of God keeps many from attending a strong, Bible-believing church.

Legitimate reasons, such as sickness, vacations, or work. Sometimes good excuses keep people from attending church for a week or so. That is understandable and happens. However, because they miss, it is easier to miss twice, then three times, then it is months since they attended the ministry. Breaking a routine of consistent church attendance is a subtle way of stopping faithful attendance.

Pride: “No one shook my hand,” “They are such an unfriendly church,” or “No one is going to tell me what to do.” These thoughts and others reflect that the sin of pride is involved.  Pride keeps many out of church.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

“Don’t wait until six strong men have to carry you to church in a casket.  Go when you can walk in.”  — Author Unknown



The Church of His Own Opinion
Bill Brinkworth

“Well, I need to get up.  It is Sunday.  I need to go to church,” he thought, as he rubbed his eyes. He struggled to make the first move of the day out of bed.

“But then again, why do I have to go?  God is everywhere.  So why can’t I worship Him here or on the lake?  I know, I can take the boat and go fishing.  It will be okay with God.  I’ll just talk to Him out in the boat and admire all He has made.”

The convicting voice of the Holy Spirit whispered, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Heb. 10:25a).

That fleeting remembrance of the verse soon left as the half-slumbering sluggard drifted in and out of sleep. Minutes later, he again awoke and continued his thoughts.  “Besides, the preacher is not always right anyway.  He thinks the Bible is the only source of knowing God’s way.  Why, it’s just a book and probably has a lot of mistakes. What does he know?  Besides, I’m a good person, and I think I know what is right. I don’t think you have to go to church every time. I don’t think God wants me to stay away from everything bad.  I know He wants me to have fun sometimes. He probably doesn’t expect me to be perfect.”

Again the soft voice of the Holy Spirit put in the contemplator’s mind a verse that was preached the last time he was in church, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

The fleeting reminder of the verse did nothing to change the opinion of the dozing man. Another thought was chased around by the man’s logic. “Yeah, I’m a good person.  I don’t need the preaching and Bible reading like those other folks. I do a lot of good things, and God knows about them. As long I’m not as bad as the others, I’m sure it’s okay with God.”

The Holy Spirit wanted to shouts, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Rom. 3:23), but He did not think the man would listen.  He decided He would try one more time to speak to the hardening heart, “… There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom. 3:10b).

The verse was received in the half-slumbering mind, but it, too, was ignored. “Well, if I don’t go to church, I can save some money by not putting it in the offering plate. Besides, the preacher just wants my money.  That church has got more than enough.”

Immediately, the Holy Spirit thought of the verse about how not tithing is robbing from God (Malachi 3:8-10).  Still, He reasoned, “Why should I tell him. He’s ignored everything I tried to tell him already.  He will just rationalize it somehow.  Probably the old excuse, ‘Well, that’s just an Old Testament verse and not for today.’  He has decided to do what he wants and will not obey anyway.” The Holy Spirit was silent to the slumberer and spoke no more.

Ten more minutes of dozing continued until finally, the man made another move to get out of his bed.  He already had formulated his plans for the day. He would walk the dog, get breakfast, and hook up the boat and head out to the lake.

One more local Church of My Own Opinion had just let out, but there would be millions of them meeting all over the world.  It was the most popular denomination.  As with most of the meetings, the Holy Spirit’s voice was not wanted to be heard, so He was likewise silent in most of their “services”.  He was very grieved (Eph. 4:30).

“I wonder why people change churches all the time.  What difference does it make which one you stay home from?”  — Author Unknown