Chapter 2: The Simplicity That’s In Jesus Christ
The Simplicity that is Jesus Christ
Jimmy Bartley made the following comment. “To add to that note just a little bit. I’ve been studying, “The love of God”. And you can, it doesn’t take much reasoning to understand why I’m doing that. But, anyway, it’s something that and I really have come to the conclusion that I don’t believe we’re capable, at least I don’t believe I’m capable of understanding to the degree that how much God loves us. I don’t, I can’t, I can’t grasp, I can’t get wrapped around it. But what I found really interesting at the same time the Scriptures seemed to just leap out at the same time as I was studying looking up verses on love, I kept coming across verses on the wrath of God, the righteousness of God, the purity of God. God can’t look on sin, won’t look on sin. And I was moved, to realize that, you know, I don’t think I from where I sit as a human, that I can understand the purity of God either or the jealousness of God or the righteousness of God. I, it’s, it is so— to bask in His love, I guess would be great, but I think we ought to also understand that He’s a righteous God, and He knows our heart. And, we better make sure we’re doing what He knows we know. Because He’s also a righteous God.”
Charles Airy who was leading singing added this thought: “Someone stunned me one time. I don’t remember who it was but said, ‘But God did not forgive our sins, and by that we are forgiven, by that price paid’. So that’s a technicality but it’s, it’s a reality. It came at great cost, and the joy of it all is it’s available to all.”
Margene Holst followed by sharing a experience she had during the week. “This is not an announcement, but just a situation, that I had. I met a lady who lives really close to us awhile back, and she and her husband were very nice. And then I was riding my bike the other night, and I saw her out in front of her house, and so I stopped, and we were talking, and she just opened up and started telling me about her life. And that she— she had a really bad childhood. She was a foster child and the man that she’s married to now was a foster child. And anyway she got married; her husband she said had demons. She can tell that now. He cut himself and things like that, and he wound up killing himself. And so she thought, ‘Well, I need to kill myself too, you know. If I would’ve done this, or if I would’ve done that, he wouldn’t have done what he did.’ And she was into drugs and alcohol and just really going down the wrong road. And then she got into AA, and, I don’t know at what point, but she turned her life over to the Lord. And she met a man in AA who also had; I think she said he had become saved also. And she was just counting her blessings, you know. She can’t believe where she is now compared to where she was. She’s been dry for eight years, and he’s been dry for 14 years— just where they are in their life now. And she, because of her past, and, oh, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And because of the turmoil that she went through in her life and now knowing what it was and being able to deal with it she’s trying to help other people. And she has a job where she goes to high schools now. She just got this new job where she goes to high schools and talks to the kids there, you know, because she said there’s all kinds of trials and challenges that young people face and to help them see drugs and alcohol are not the answer. You know, you need to deal with it in different ways than that. Anyway we had a really good talk. I told her I was a Christian, and she said, “Oh I just knew that you were. She said that she felt so comfortable and was able to open up and just share that with me. Anyway we, we didn’t, we kind of got cut off in the middle because somebody else came out, and I told her, you know, to go ahead and go. Well, Aubrey and Jenna are doing a fundraiser so we went over there Friday evening and talked to her, and she said, “Oh, here take my phone number”. Anyway, pray for us in that endeavor.
Phil Holst made the following contribution. “You know, it does make a difference how we act and what we do in public. It really only makes a difference if you’re a Christian. If you’re not a Christian, eat, drink, and be merry. But it does make a difference on how we act and how we behave in public. And this song, “What a Wonderful Savior”, I was looking at it, and I was thinking about the things that this person was expressing appreciation to the Lord for. And one thing that came to my heart and mind is that He has given me life and life more abundantly. It’s not a patch up, it’s not a remodel, it’s not a redo, and it’s not a remake of the old man. It’s His life, and now I’ve got the blessing and the responsibility, and, like Jimmy was saying, “We don’t begin to grasp the love of God and what it means.” But God help all of us with the understanding we have to help enable all of our hearts to stand for the truth…”
Harold Fraser also shared the following thoughts. “The first words gripped me, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.” And a few weeks ago when Robert was speaking I, probably when he was talking to the men primarily about marriage and the relationship, he used a phrase there briefly; “I don’t know why Ceci loves me.” And he didn’t know why God loves him and I, I’m the same way. I know myself pretty well and the things that go through the mind sometimes. I just wonder, why does God love me? He knows me even to a greater degree than I know myself. But the text for that song is remarkable, Ephesians 2:4 “But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us when we were dead in sins hath quickened us, or made us alive, together with Christ, “and “He raised us up together, and made us all sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show what is the exceeding riches of His grace and His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” That seventh verse, struck me, “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace”. We see some of it now, the riches of His grace but there’s a lot more to come than we’ll ever know.”
Chapter 2 The Simplicity That’s In Jesus Christ
With the singing and that spiritual preparation of the heart and minds of all present I is a privilege to speak on the “Simplicity that is in Christ”.
Turn to Second Corinthians Chapter eleven. I had an interesting evening the other evening. It would’ve been Friday evening, I guess, up in Sacramento as we attended a birthday party for Ceci’s aunt who is 89 years of age, I guess and doing quite well. I hope I can do as well as she is when I’m 89… it was an interesting time. Most of it I was able to primarily just observe because most of it was done in Spanish. And I can observe, but I don’t know very much about what is said. I did get to sit in on one conversation in English that went on for fairly good length of time but. And one of the things that I appreciated was some expressions that were made that Ceci told me about that indicated that there were people there, and they’ve been watching Joe and Ceci for all the years that Joe and Ceci have been married, 24 years? And then for the last eight years just going on nine, well they have been watching Ceci and me. And, I’m thankful for both what they seem to have seen in both, settings that have been a testimony for Jesus Christ. And I, hope that it can continue, I hope that it we can develop on what’s there. I’d also like to learn to speak Spanish a little better and I’m working on that, but anyway we’ll see how that goes.
In Second Corinthians Chapter eleven, the apostle Paul makes a statement that, I think, is very important. He says, starting with verse one, “Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly, and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” I think as, as Harold mentioned the last two times I’ve spoken, I’ve spoken on marriage relationships. And I started by picking on the fellows, and then the following Sunday that I spoke I picked on the ladies. That was the last time I spoke here on Sunday. And then, of course, in that you are dealing with a relationship, an important relationship one aspect of which is fairly simple to understand. And that is that when a man or a woman make a commitment to each other to marriage then they obviously should leave everyone else aside. All other, if it’s a woman, young men that have been interested in her. And all the young woman if it’s a man that’s been interesting to them. They should drop off the radar screen, and the focus should be only for the one that in, that kind of relationship— only for the one that is, to be or has become their husband or wife. And the apostle Paul is drawing on that analogy— again verse two, “I’m jealous over you with godly jealousy for I have betrothed you to one husband.” Betrothed is another word for engaged or committed to one husband. “That I may present to you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” In other words the apostle Paul, and all who minister have a similar part in the lives of those that they minister to, and particularly if they have opportunity to lead them, to the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, they have, a relationship that is very similar to what Paul describes here. The desire is that these people have accepted the Lord as their Savior and then to help them come to the place that they function in such a way that they’re not playing games on the side, or they’re not distracted or seeking satisfaction or solace or accomplishment or comfort or pleasure or whatever from somebody else other than their husband or their wife.
And then verse three says, “For I fear, less somehow as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” It’s interesting that in the margin of this translation it, it gives a another— not an alternate translation but another original— that adds not only simplicity but purity that’s in Christ. But from, from the simplicity that’s in Christ. The Christian life isn’t really complicated and most of what the Scripture teaches is not complicated unless man complicates it, and we have a tremendous ability to complicate it. If you look particularly in the area of spiritual choices we can complicate it, but if you look at Matthew 6:24. Don’t look. I’m just going to refer to it. “No one can serve two masters.” Okay, that’s pretty simple. You got one, two. “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other; you cannot serve God and mammon.” Okay that’s, pretty simple. It’s not complex at all. Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is— Audience: against me.” R.G. “Against me”. “He that does not gather with me— Audience: Scatters abroad.” R.G. “Scatters abroad.” Galatians 5:16 says, “And I say then, Walk in the spirit and you shall not— Audience: fulfill the lust of the flesh.” R.G. “fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit the things of the spirit.” So it’s— we can look at, a lot of subjects that way, and it’s really, really fairly simple. John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not condemned, but He who does not believe—Audience: “Is condemned already.” R.G. “Is condemned already.”
Everybody’s someplace you know, and, everybody’s going to be someplace depending on where they live, the choices they make, the decisions they make, how much they study and, prepare their heart. I appreciated Jimmy’s comments, because I think there’s a tremendous amount of truth in the things that he said. I agree with him 100%. I don’t think we understand any aspect of God, really. We do the best we can, but I think more than understand it, we have to accept it. He loves us, He says He loves us, He proved He loved us because He died for us. And so we don’t have to understand that, but we have to accept it. On the other hand He hates sin.
We probably don’t understand the depth of His hatred. And yet we’re told of it, and we have to accept it, and we should make our decisions accordingly. I’ve been thinking along that line, of the simplicity that is in Christ. And, applying it to the Church which is Christ’s Body. It’s really not that complicated. In Second Corinthians Chapter eleven and verse four, the apostle Paul says, “If he that comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit, which we have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it.” But you really need to go back in the context. Turn, there, if you will. Actually it’s just a little beyond where I was, where we started. Ah, let’s see First Corinthians go back to 11:4, “He who comes preaches another Jesus whom you have not preached, or if you have received a different spirit which you not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it. For I consider that I’m not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. Even though I’m untrained in speech, yet I’m not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.” And then, he goes on to say, “Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, or because I preach the gospel of God to you freely, or free of charge? I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.” So as others came and approached the church at Corinth they were presenting other Gospels, other ministries, and Paul said, “How come you turned away?” In Galatians chapter 1 he kind of asked the same question. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him who called you in the grace of God to a different gospel, which is not another.” In other words, it’s not really good news. It’s not a gospel, but “there are some who would trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ.” So when, when we, when we think about the church which is Christ’s Body, how many churches are there? Audience: One— R.G. Is that right?— Audience:The world is full of divisions. R.G. The world’s full of churches?— Audience: Yes… So-called, and but there’s only one true church— R.G. That’s okay. I mean, don’t hesitate. Yes, you’re right. The world is full of churches. Isn’t that what you started to say?— Audience: Yes.— R.G. Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Okay, so then let’s narrow my question a little bit. So how many churches do we find in the Bible for believers today?— Audience:, One.
Okay, one, just one, and that’s pretty simple to me. The number one is about based on, based on my understanding of math, I’m not going to discuss with, what did you say up here (Robert is asking Charles Airy the question) that something to the eighth power minus 1 or something? I don’t even know what you’re talking about. But anyway whatever that is I don’t know. But to me one is a pretty simple number. And if I’ve got one watch and I’ve got one finger missing and I, you know I can kind of figure out what I got, but beyond that— but it that’s a simple number. And yet when you look at the world in which we live and what most people see, there are, I don’t know how many churches there are, I don’t know. But there’s a lot of them, and so when we talk about the simplicity that is in Christ somehow that got lost somewhere on that subject. How do you pick the right church? Which one, which one, which one that we see in the world.
Let’s suppose that you’d accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. You knew very little about the Bible at all. And, all you knew that once you were blind and now you can see. That would be great. But then beyond that, as a newborn babe desires the sincere milk of the word that you might grow by it, you haven’t had opportunity to do that yet. So which church would you pick? How would you decide? And yet if you really know the truth, well then, you would know really it’s pretty simple. In Romans chapter 12 in verses 4 and 5 we read, ” “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. I’ve got two verses that are running together. Okay… Paul is stating the same truth here in Romans and 1Corinthians.
In First Corinthians—, we have a body and it’s got lots of members but we just each of us just have one body. In First Corinthians chapter ten. Turn to First Corinthians twelve, but in First Corinthians chapter ten Paul says, “:17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” Let’s look at that, First Corinthians ten and start about verse fourteen, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men. Judge for yourself what I say.” I think there are expressions from time to time in Scripture like that that kind of alert us. “I speak to wise men. Judge what I say.” Think about it, concentrate on this a little bit. It’s going to take a little thought on your part. That’s like the expression in Second Thessalonians, “I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those that sleep.” Okay, Paul is saying, this is something that I want you to get the picture of. “The cup of blessing”, verse 16, “which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break is it not the communion of the Body of Christ?” And when you first read that and if you didn’t read it carefully and thoughtfully you might think he’s talking about what? – Audience: The Passover or the Lord’s supper. R.G. The Passover or the Lord’s supper or some kind of a sacrament or some kind of something. But then he goes on, “for we, though many are one bread and one body”. “We are one bread and one body. For we all partake of that one bread.” And who was that bread? The bread of life?— Audience: The Lord Jesus Christ. R.G. The Lord Jesus Christ. So he’s talking about something that’s a reality. It’s not ceremony. It’s not a sacrament as the Roman Catholic Church calls it, but it’s a reality. It’s actually; it’s actually the reality that was typified by the physical ordinance (under the Mosaic Law). So we are one bread, and we are one body. So now look at chapter 12. And let’s look at verse 12, “For as the body is one and has many members and all the members of that one body being many are one body so also is Christ.” “As the body is one and has many members and all the members of that body being many are one body so also is Christ.” “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” So now, if we were newborn babes in Christ, and we had just been saved, and we don’t know much, but we’re beginning to learn, at least to this point in what we’ve looked at, I think it would be reasonable to conclude that there’s how many churches that this book (the bible) is talking about?— Audience: One. R.G. Just one, just one, and that’s pretty simple. And how do you get into this church?— Audience: Through the blood of Christ. R. G. Through the blood of Christ, okay.— Audience: Baptized into it through Christ. R.G. Baptized into it through Christ? What did we just read? What do we just read? For by one spirit. — Audience: We’re all baptized. R.G. We’re all baptized into, what?—Audience: One body
So that’s how we get in it. We’re all baptized into one Body through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And when we get to talking about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, who is it that baptizes with the Holy Spirit? Who’s this, well, I’m not going to, I’m not going to get into the subject of baptism, but if you take most verses with the word baptism in them you can come up with an administrator, a subject, an element, and a result.—Audience: It says by one spirit are we all baptized into one body. R.G, Okay, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is administered by?— Audience: God. Audience: God. Audience: Jesus Christ.
R.G. Let me ask you to be a little more precise. Matthew 3:11-12 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” So the administrator of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the Lord Jesus Christ. So, everybody that becomes a member of this one body becomes a member on the basis of what?— Audience: They’re born into it. R.G. All right, they’re born into it. They believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They one that puts them into it knows that they really have? Audience: Accepted. R.G. Accepted or believed. So there’s no what in it?— Audience: No unbelievers. R.G. No unbelievers. Audience: Hypocrites. R.G. There’s no counterfeits (who have not been born again), there might be hypocrites as to their walk. Audience: Yes R.G. Yes, but there’s no counterfeits in it as far, from the standpoint of their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, it’s a unique organization, isn’t it? It’s different than anything that— if I were to start a church or, and have a membership committee and have to decide who is saved and not saved, and put them in on that basis or not put them in, I couldn’t do it because I don’t read their heart and so I would not have a church in which there were no unbelievers. I’d have unbelievers in it. Okay, so what? We’re talking about is something that’s very simple really as far as, no, no, I can’t go that far. That’s like trying to say, well, God’s love is very simple. Well, that’s probably true to me because I don’t understand much about it. But, as far as from our perspective that’s very simple—there are no hypocrites because Jesus Christ adds the members. There’s one church you’re put into by the Lord Jesus Christ. We haven’t got there, we haven’t looked at Scriptures that say that, but the fact is that He’s the head of it. He puts the believers into it. He’s the one who died for it. He’s the one who puts them into it, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And then He asks us to live like that. He asks us to live like that. Going on down in verse— from verse 12 and 13 we just read. Verse 14, “For in fact the body is not one member but many, and if the foot shall say because I’m not a hand I’m not of the body is it therefore not of the body?” Well, that, obviously that’s ridiculous. (He’s talking about the physical body because He’s drawing a parallel between the physical body and the spiritual body, the church which is Christ’s body. And the word body and church as it relates to the body of Christ in this dispensation are used interchangeably.) When in fact the body is not one member but many. “If the foot shall say, because I’m not a hand, I’m not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the ear should say, because I’m not an eye, I’m not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole were an eye, where would the hearing, if the whole were hearing, where would the smelling, but now God has set the members each one of them in the body just as He pleased,” “just as He pleased.” “And if all were one member where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body,” just one body, that’s all. “But now indeed there are many members but one body, and the eye cannot say to the hand I have no need of you, nor again the head to the feet I have no need of you. No, much rather those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary, and the members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor. And our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body having given greater honor to the part that lacks, that there should be no schism in the body.” What’s a schism?— Audience: Division.
R.G. A division, a break, a separation. “But that the members should have the same care for one another, and if one member suffers all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the Body of Christ and members individually.” So here we are as a group of Christians. Most of us that are old enough, as far as I know, all profess to have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. So, we’re members one of another, part of the Body of Christ. And we all have different abilities and talents and skills. We all have been placed by the head of the church— in the body to function in different capacities, in different ways, and it’s fairly simple, it’s fairly simple. Not really hard to understand. Just what we’ve talked about is not hard to understand.
Let’s look now at Ephesians chapter two in verse fourteen, “For He Himself”, He being the Lord Jesus Christ, “is our peace who has made both one”, and both is what in this context? I won’t go back and read it to prove it. You’ll have to go back and check up on me but it’s both what?— Audience: Jews and Gentiles. R.G. Jews and Gentiles, “And made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is the law of Commandments contained in ordinances so to create in Himself one new man from the two thus making peace.” And if we were to back up Paul describes the fact that, “God was rich in mercy towards us.” We were dead in trespasses and sins. We’re His workmanship, but He’s made both one, both Jews and Gentiles and thus making peace. And that He might reconcile them both to God in one body, through the cross thereby putting to death the enmity. One body! Now then look at chapter 4, “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, in lowliness, and gentleness with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body.” That’s the first thing that He states after the, encouragement to endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. “There is one body.” The vast majority of Christians that I know of don’t believe that, or else they believe that there is one body all right, and it’s invisible, and it’s impractical, and therefore, they have had to join themselves to or build or start or something some other body called a church. But the fact is there is just one! And so as, as we go through the Scriptures we will find exhortations that we, (this is a read my mind question) that we find, consistent with what I just said, as we go through the Scriptures we’ll find exhortation that we would do what as far as our life? And, we find them in a lot of different areas, but in this case we’re talking about the subject of the church and the fact that, there is only one church or one body that’s described in the Scriptures. And so throughout Scriptures we find exhortations that we would do what?— Audience: Be of the same mind. R.G. Okay, but that’s not what’s on my mind. That’s true but that we would, let me help you that we would live like?— Audience: Be pure as Christ is pure.— R.G. That what?— Audience: Be pure as Christ is pure. R.G. Yes, that’s, one exhortation–This, this is simpler. Don’t, work so hard. I’m a simple minded guy.— Audience: Demonstrate that we are one body.— R.G. Okay. That we demonstrate the fact that we are one body?— Audience: One body. R.G. Okay, you’re closest that I’ve heard so far.— Audience: Live that way. R.G. There you go. She’s got it. That you live that way! That we live that way! That’s all. Just that we live that way! It’s real simple— Audience: Tell me the question again so I can. R.G. As you go through the Scriptures you find exhortations that we live like there’s just one body, and that we’re part of that one body, and we’re all members together and should work together and function together in such a way that there not be any schism in the body. Just live like that! That’s what endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit is telling you to do in the bond of peace. Live that way! Live the way you are! Live like it! Right?— Audience: Right.
R.G. When we’re told to be pure, we’re told, “Be ye pure as He is pure.” Live like you are! “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye.” When Christ prayed in John 17, “Father, I pray that they may be one as we are one, I in Thee and Thou in me that the world might know.” He was praying that we would live the way it is! There is just one body! And, we all are part of that body, and we all should be endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. And as we grow in grace and knowledge of the truth we’ll come to more surely understand things alike and, be able to walk in harmony. But live like, live like you are, is all He’s asking you to do! Live like it is!
Audience: What happens if we don’t? R.G. Don’t what?— Audience: Don’t walk. R.G. Well, then we sin against the Lord, and we, compromise the testimony of Jesus Christ.— Audience: Right. Audience: Cause friction and hurt in the body. R.G. And cause affliction and hurt in the body—. Audience: We damage the testimony to the world. Audience: How do we get back? R.G. How do we get back?— How do we get back to fellowship? R.G. Who all is included in the we?— Audience: Me anyway. R.G. We, get back to where we’re supposed to be when we recognize that we’re not where we should be, and then we ask the Lord to help us to walk in the truth that we either know or just learned, as the case may be.
Audience: Now isn’t that just an individual’s responsibility? Like if me and Paul are at odds. There’s nothing I can do for Paul, but I can make sure that my part is living the way that I should.
R.G. Right, see, and that’s where the rubber meets the road. Sometimes, if a Christian chooses that they’re going to walk contrary to God’s instructions to them then they’re not going to be able to walk together with other Christians that are walking consistent with God’s instruction to them. Because they’re choosing not to, and we can’t make anybody do anything. You know, we can only control what we do— Audience: Can two walk together unless they be agreed? R.G. Consistent with that verse, no. I hedged on that one. I think the fact that we are to live endeavoring to keep unity of the spirit, the word endeavor implies that we’re not there—don’t have a common understanding in some areas.— Audience: Yes.
R. G. It’s a fact that in every society, every culture of a group of probably any more than two people, you’ve got, people that are different places of maturity, spiritual maturity, different understanding of the Scriptures, different backgrounds different intelligence, different education therefore, for there to be a time when nobody needs to endeavor anymore to come to a common understanding, won’t happen. So, so— Audience: they, both have to agree that they’re headed in the same direction. R.G. There you go, that’s exactly, I think if you go back and look at that passage you quoted that, “How can two walk together unless they make an appointment?” is the way it’s translated sometimes, and that doesn’t change the meaning.— Audience: That’s a different context.
R.g Yeah, but that doesn’t change the meaning. Really still you still have to agree to meet someplace to walk together, you know, that’s the point of the text. So I’m not suggesting the translation the King James translation isn’t good. It’s fine. But, when I first moved to Virginia, that was an argument that was going on back there that, we’re not supposed to try to be together. We can’t be together. It’s impossible to be together. That doesn’t say that we have to agree on everything; it just says that we have to meet. But wait a minute. If we’re going to walk together we got to agree to meet someplace to walk together. We’ve got to agree to do that. That’s what the passage says. So it doesn’t make any difference on how you want to translate it, you still come out with same need.
So again when we go, and I’m just going to kind of quickly go through some passages and again ask us to think about it. Acts 2:46, 47, “So they continued daily with one accord in the Temple, breaking bread from house to house.” In other words, they ate together. “They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Who added? The Lord added. How did He do it? By the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Remember Matthew 3:11. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved. What church?— Audience: The one church
R. G. The one church that is Christ’s Body. Acts 8:1, “Now Saul was consenting to his death,” (Stephen’s death). At that time, “and at that time a great persecution rose against the church”. Which church? The church which was at Jerusalem, “and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria except the apostles.” So the believers in the church, the members of the church which is Christ’s Body scattered from Jerusalem at that point because of the persecution, except for the apostles.” Acts 11:26,” And when they found him they brought him to Antioch so it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church”. And, you go on, and on, and on, and you read about the church, the church, the church, the church, the one church, the Body of Christ, the church over and over and over and over and over again. And that’s pretty simple. That’s the only one that’s in the book. So when other churches arise on the scene, where did that come from?— Audience: Man did that. R.G. Man did that. Who motivated that?— Audience: Satan— Satan— R.G. Satan motivated that. And, what was the purpose?— Audience: To dishonor Jesus Christ— To create divisions.— To destroy that testimony of us being one.
R. G. Right, to destroy the testimony. The purpose is, what is it? Second Corinthians 4:4 “The God of this world that blinds the minds of people from the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.” That’s Satan’s purpose. He doesn’t care how he does it, but that’s his purpose. In Ephesians 2:2, “The Prince of the power of the air, the ruler that now rules in the children of disobedience.” That’s his purpose, and so you drive down this street, (or you open up any phone book), you drive down this street there’s probably at least 4 if not 6, from here to the corner of Nimitz there, with different names, different congregations of people, representing different churches as I read the signs, different churches that says what to the bums walking up and down the street? It doesn’t say what God wants it to say. It says the opposite. And so, again if you were to talk about, what is this Ocean Beach or is this Point Loma?— Audience: Ocean Beach.
R. G. Okay, if you talk about writing to the church in Ocean Beach, who’d get it? Because it’s confusing. Well, I wouldn’t know. You know, if you were the post-man, who would get it? When the apostle Paul in, and we can go in Acts 14:23, “When they appointed elders in every church”, the apostle Paul went back over the ground that he’d covered and “appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting and commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” Elders who were appointed to take responsibility for leadership in the church. Acts 20:28, “Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” The Holy Spirit speaking to the elders from Ephesus that the apostle Paul called to Miletus, to meet with them the last time that he expected to see them in this life. And, he commends them. He tells them what’s going to happen, and that’s what we see today—what we see is what the apostle Paul said was going to happen. I think it’s really important to get that really clear. That nobody anywhere in Scripture that I know anything about was ever authorized to start a church, nobody. Name a church, join people to a church, or kick people out of a church as far as, something that man could start, and man could build. God never designed that, never intended that at all. And yet we live in a society, we live in a culture, if you get out the Encyclopedia, any Encyclopedia I’ve ever looked at, and I haven’t looked at a lot of them in a long time so I don’t know if there’s newer ones I don’t know what they say. But, but if you look up the Christian church generally you’ll be reading about what?— Audience: the Roman Catholic Church
R.G. The Roman Catholic Church. You’d be reading about the Roman Catholic Church. That’s not the church that’s in this book. That’s not the church that I’m a part of or you’re a part of unless you’re doing it on the side, and I don’t know about it. So if you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior, and He put you in the body of Christ along with every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ all over the world, every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, all over the world. And that’s the way we are supposed to function. We’re told, “As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye in Him.” That’s, to me it’s that’s, a very simple and an important key. I don’t care what it is. If it’s as a husband, as a wife, as a businessman, as a student, and whether you’re dealing with honesty, integrity, morality, financial management, ah how you treat your fellow man. All of the exhortations that I know of from Scripture are simply exhorting us to do what? Live the way we are! As new creatures in Christ, that’s all that we’re being asked to do; live the life that you have from Christ. Live out what you are. And, that’s why when we’re encouraged, “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed,” why? Because it’s not your world. That’s not your world. When we’re told, “Come out, be separate, touch not the unclean thing,” why? Because that’s filthiness of the spirit, and you’re not supposed to be filthy in spirit. In Acts 20:28, First Corinthians 1:2, First Corinthians 10:32, “Give none offense to either Jew, Gentile, the Church of God,” the Church of God. Ah, First Corinthians 11:18 and 19, “First of all, when you come together as a church, I hear there are divisions among you, and I partly believe it. For there must also be factions among you.” Oho, oho, wait a minute. “There must be factions among you, that those who are approved among you may be recognized among you.” Factions come and factions cause us to have to go back to God’s word. And, hopefully, resolve things according to God’s word. And when that happens some people are commended and some people are not. And there’s no way to get around that.
First Corinthians 12:28,”God has appointed these in the Church, First Apostles, Second Prophets, Thirdly Teachers, after that miracles and gifts, healings, helps, administrators, varieties of tongues.” God has appointed those. First Corinthians 15:9, and the apostle Paul said,” I’m not worthy to be an apostle because I persecuted the church”. In Ephesians 1:22, “And He put all things under His feet,” Jesus Christ, “and gave Him to be head over all things to The Church, which is His Body.” Ephesians 3:10, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God is made known, to principalities and powers in heavenly places. Ephesians 5:23, we went over this last Sunday, “The husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church.” And we live in a society where most people don’t believe the first part of that, that the husband is the head over the wife, and they don’t believe the second part either, that Christ is the head over the Church, and therefore, what He tells us to do we should do. If we’re going to think about starting a church we need to go back to this book that is able to thoroughly furnish us for what— Audience: All good works. R. G. All good works. So we ought to be able to find the instruction to do it here, and then go do it if that’s what we’re supposed to do. So I believe it’s right to say that to function any way other than in The Church which is described in the Bible, is not pleasing to God. Is that fair?— Audience: Yes. R. C. Because we’re told in Colossians 2:6 & 7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk in Him. Rooted and built up in Him and established in The Faith as you have been taught and abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
So again, if, if we’re, if we’re going to please The Head of the Church, then we’ve got to function the way He wants us to function as revealed in His word. Otherwise, we’re being led by some other spirit. Ephesians 4:1 to 4 again, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that you walk worthy,” “I beseech you that you walk worthy, of the calling with which you were called.” Can we do that? We can do that, “with all lowliness, and gentleness, and long-suffering, bearing with one another in love” “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” That’s instructions from the head of the church as something we’re supposed to be doing. We’re supposed to be “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” “There is one body and one Spirit, even as you’re called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one Faith, one baptism one God and Father who is above all and through all and in you all.” It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Just one, there’s not many faiths that are acceptable to God there’s not many ways to come to God that are acceptable to God. And, I think, it’s also important to realize that, the love of God is not something that’s, primarily focused on North America. He doesn’t love Americans or Europeans any more than He loves Chinese and Japanese and Afghans and whatever they call the rest the people that are everywhere else in the world. When the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died He carried the sins of the entire world and, He has obligated Himself to call and to draw and to enlighten every man that’s born on the face of the earth. And in this dispensation of time, as I understand it, those that cry out to God for mercy wherever they live, He on the basis of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ as somebody commented earlier can be “faithful and just to forgive us our sins,” not because He just pats us on the head and says, “That’s all right, I’ll overlook that.” But because He paid the price, He paid the price. The Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died that I might have a relationship with God, and that relationship is available to everyone that’s ever been born on the face of the earth.
And, as I understand this dispensation, they become part of the one body. The Lord Jesus Christ places them into that body, and they don’t even know it in most cases, but that doesn’t change the facts. Doesn’t change the facts. So, as we look at what Satan has caused, I believe members of the body of Christ do— when they either start, support, or join themselves to some other body or church. What they do is to function in a way that doesn’t please the head of the church. It’s a sin. And, that started very early after the church began. First Corinthians, the apostle Paul says in First Corinthians 1,” Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be”, and there’s several points in this passage:
- “There be no division among you”
- “That you all speak the same thing”
- “That you be perfectly joined together in the same mind”
- “And in the same judgment”
No divisions perfectly joined, same mind, same judgment.” Now why did He give that exhortation?— Audience: Something for us to strive for.
R. G. Right, something to work toward because that wasn’t what was going on in Corinth. Audience: They had divisions. R.G. They had all kinds of things going. You know, when you look at Corinth we’re not told specifically what this, what all the friction was about. It’s not limited to anything that I know of, and it’s not detailed in this passage as to what exactly all that he had in his mind. If you go back through the book of First Corinthians— in First Corinthians five what was going on?— Audience: Some immorality, some saying they’re of Apollos, some of Paul.— R. G. No, verse five. Audience: No, a man had his father’s wife.
R. G. A man had his father’s wife. Chapter six what was going on? They were going to court with each other. Chapter seven, what was going on? There was some discussion about whether to marry or not to marry, and Paul, they had written Paul before about that. Ah, number eight, what was going on, in chapter eight? Things offered to idols.— Audience: You know, it sounds like the front page of the newspaper today. R. G. Yeah. Chapter ten there’s a whole list of carnality as Paul takes him back and says, look, you know, the things that were written before were examples for you. Don’t do the things that they did. And the whole, there’s a whole list of carnality there. Chapter eleven, what about women’s hair? Chapter eleven, what was the issue after the women’s hair? The Lord’s supper, and they were told when you come together, it’s not for what?— Audience: To eat the Lord’s supper. R. G. No, well, yeah they were told that. This is another read my mind question. When you come together it’s not for the better, it’s for the worse. It would be better if you didn’t get together the way things are in Corinth. And, because of what they were doing with the Lord’s Passover supper I understand some of the Jewish brethren there were actually losing their lives. He said some of you are sickly and some are dying because God was taking them in judgment. Chapter twelve, the gifts of the spirit, and Chapter fifteen, there were some that were arguing there was no resurrection. So then when you go back to chapter one, and he says, I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you all speak the same thing, that there be no division among you, that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment, and then he goes on in the context. “For it’s been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those in Chloe’s household that there are contentions among you,” and the contentions are not defined in this passage. And then he says, “Now I say this that each of you says, I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, I’m of Cephas, I’m of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul.” No. Then we get over to chapter three, and he picks it up. Turn, there to First Corinthians chapter three.
First Corinthians chapter three— this, to me is a really a very interesting passage. Part of it we use all the time; I have historically used part of this passage a lot when I didn’t apply it to the actual context of the whole chapter. But he starts out, “I, brethren could not speak to you as spiritual people but as to carnal.” Okay, so if you have any questions about what the spiritual condition of the Church at Corinth was, they were carnal. And if you go through and read what was going on there you say, “yeah, that fits. Also babes in Christ. “I fed you with milk and not with solid food.” I think the old King James says “meat”, “for until now you were not able to receive it. Even now you’re still not able, for you’re still carnal. For where there is envy, strife, divisions, you’re carnal and behave like mere men.” And so where there is envy and strife and divisions the exhortation is “speak the same thing, have no division among you, be perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment.” You need to get some things squared away, brethren. For when one says, “I’m of Paul and another I’m of Apollos, are you not carnal?” “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos but ministers through whom you believed as the Lord gave to each one.” I planted, Apollos watered, God gives the increase. “So then neither he who plants or he who waters but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor for we are God’s fellow workers.” “ You are God’s field, you are God’s building.” “According to the grace of God which was given to me,” To Paul, “as a wise master builder I’ve laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.” How are we building on it? How are the Christians up the street meeting under the name of whatever up the street, I don’t remember the names, how are they building on the foundation? How are we building on it? Maybe we don’t take a name like the people up the street, but we as individuals may have a worse attitude really than some up the street. Cause a good deal of what they may be doing and probably for most of them they are doing is in ignorance.— Audience: As some observed among us years ago, we could be more dangerous. R. G. We could be more dangerous, right. So, again, according to the grace of God which was given to me as a wise master builder, I’ve laid the foundation and another builds on it. Verse ten, “but let each one take heed how he builds on it.” How are we building on it? How are we building? “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ.” From here on is the portion of the passage that we frequently use without thinking about the context. The context is really, what are we doing as Christians, members of the Body of Christ? How are we building on the foundation that was laid by the apostle Paul? How are we building on that foundation? “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear for the day will declare it because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one’s work of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” So, in other words those who are not building on the foundation as they should haven’t lost their salvation. They are members of the church, but their works are going to go up in smoke. And, therefore, they’re going to lose rewards because of that. Sad to say, most believers live and function as the apostle Paul condemns. At least, I hope most believers do, because I hope there’s a whole lot more believers than those that I know that are not building as the apostle Paul condemns. And most, sad to say, think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. In other words it goes back to, you look in the, you look in the dictionary and look up the Christian church in an encyclopedia, and you’ll be taken right to the Roman Catholic Church, and then they’ll take you right down the line to the Methodists and the Baptists and the Anglicans and the Presbyterians and on and on and on. Most get angry, most people building man-made churches would get angry when you, if you were to tell them what you’re doing in your denomination, your sect that you’re building— you’re carnal, and you’re walking as men. They would get really angry with you, most of them, but that’s a fact.
The problem with churches other than the one church which the Bible speaks of is at least one of the following:
- They started too late. The church in the Bible started where? Audience: The day of Pentecost. R. G. The day of Pentecost, 50 days after the crucifixion, and I don’t know anybody that believes their church started back there, any denomination that they could say started back there. Sometimes the Baptist deny that they really split off of Rome or were following someone that split off of Rome, they’ll argue against that. But, I don’t believe they can establish that as being a fact. Man-made churches started too late.
- They use the wrong name, rather than doing what they do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- They have the wrong membership committee (a committee of men, not Jesus Christ).
- Their theology is not the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. And that’s why as they grow, and they become bigger and bigger and bigger (their theology appeals to believers and unbelievers alike). To Christians who observe this and know what the Christian life is supposed to be about and may have a growing understanding of how the church is supposed to function, it becomes more and more obnoxious to them. That’s where Harold has expressed that he’s found himself over the years as he studied God’s word and looked around, and he’ s been more and more uncomfortable wherever he’s been. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Their theology is not the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, because their theology consists of— some truths for the church today, number two it consists of Judaism which is not for the church today, and number three it consists of paganism which was not for any believer or anyone who had faith in God at any time. This not an inconsequential thing. The sin of sectarianism is a far-reaching and I believe a very obnoxious sin in the nostrils of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So when I meet Christians, fellow Christians, members of the body of Christ that are in and are building, maybe have started or ministering in a church that is not found in the Bible, what should I be doing? Or how should I react to that? Well, certainly, if they’ve accepted the Lord as their Savior, we’re brethren, and I should treat them as such. However, we should, I should, we should in a kindly and timely way obey what we’re told in Jude 1:3, ” Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning your common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” At some point in time.
- I’m not going to compromise the truth that I know.
- I want to treat them as brethren and treat them in a loving way, but at some time we’ve got to begin the process of “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” The process of becoming of the “same mind” and the “same judgment.”
Audience: what time frame is that though? R. G. That’s a timeframe you’re going to have to ask the Lord to help you with. Audience: You could be dealing with a weak Christian that will be that way for 15 years. R. G. And he may stay that way. But I can’t compromise with them… Audience: I am not suggesting you should. R. G. Yes, no, I know. Audience: But there’s some points when a person that’s just way over their head. But it might be that way for a long time, and you might have, you know, more important things to impart to that person. R. G. Right, those are all judgment calls that we all have to make on a daily basis. You know, in other words there may be things that I know of someone that I believe is a brother in Christ that I don’t think they understand the Scripture correctly. I may never talk to them about it. But then, there may be other things that I see affecting their life, their testimony, their influence, my life, may be my children’s lives if I were raising children, and I would want to talk to him about it because it would be in my assessment and I hope, hopefully be guided by the Holy Spirit more important than something else that’s not so important. Audience: things in the church world are not going to get better. R. G. No, they’re getting worse as time goes on. Audience: The individual. R. G. Right. Audience: Over in first Corinthians three when you were covering that, it starts off with what the problem is. It says ‘I could not talk unto you as spiritual but unto you as carnal.” I think, thinking about that, that’s the root problem there, carnality. It’s speaking of the flesh… And all these churches or these groups, I call them organizations, they’re following the course of this world (R. G. Right.) Audience: They’re fleshly. The whole organization (R. G. Right.) Audience: is based on marketing techniques that they learned. The bigger you are the better you are. That’s the way the world looks at it. This must be a good church because it’s bigger. (R. G. Right.) Audience: All we can do is use wisdom in dealing with people that you as you were talking about. (R. G. Right.) Audience: Proverbs it says “keep your heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.” And we have to keep our hearts in the spirit instead of in the flesh. (R. G. Right.) Audience: One or the other takes place in our life. Which one are you going to let dominate in your life?
A Handout That Was Used During the Meeting As Shown On the Next Page
This handout was a chart which is a compilation of several charts from various sources that I have drawn from to give a visual illustration of what happened after the one true church described in the Bible began, and more specifically after the apostle Paul was no longer an influence as he describes it in Acts 20:17-38.
As the chart illustrates, after the date when the apostle Paul is alleged to have been killed and later Constantine is reported to have been converted to Christianity— what the apostle Paul prophesied would take place did happen. Secular history speaks of the division between the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Nestorians, and the Roman Church. The Roman Catholic division and the divisions that came from it after the “reformation” of the Roman Catholic Church that goes back to the days of Martin Luther is the only portion of those divisions that I have any firsthand knowledge of. I have no doubt there were other such divisions. I also believe there have always been believers—few in numbers, who made a very small of any splash on the pages of history that obeyed the exhortation descried in Jude 1:3-4 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The order of the denominations that are listed is not intended to prove anything but to indicate that they divided from the Roman Catholic Church. There are many more churches that could be listed. Those listed are illustrative of the fact that they and any other that existed concurrent with them, or later divided from them are in reality divisions in and from the Roman Catholic Church. Sad to say much of their theology was taken from Roman Catholicism, not from the Bible. Therefore, their theology as as Roman Catholic Theology is a mixture of Judaism, Paganism, and some biblical truth.
This is a print-out of a Power Point slide that I did a while back. I kind of changed it because I try to get rid of as much dark ink as I can to save ink—when using it as a handout rather than an overhead.
In Acts chapter 20:28 to 30, “Therefore, take heed to yourself and all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” That’s the only church I’m a part of. That’s the only church anybody should be a part of. “For I know this that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will arise up speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after themselves.” And then he goes on to say, “So now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace which is able to give you an inheritance among those that are sanctified.”— Audience: The love of the truth is the only thing that will keep us together. R. G. Right, well, it’s the only thing that should keep us together. We might stay together for other reasons; we might stay together because of family ties, we might stay together because we put a lot of money in the building of the church building, and we don’t want to walk off and leave it.— Audience: That’s not the love of the truth. R. G. That’s not the love of the truth, right. So when you go back to this chart the green line in the middle represents the early days of the church. Up above there’s “33”. The church began approximately 33 AD. Then there was the council in Jerusalem Acts 15 that was roughly 45-50. The book of Acts ends in 63 and then down at the, and if you looked at the yellow square it says “64”. That’s the year the Apostle Paul was executed. I don’t know that he was executed, and I don’t know that that was the year, but that’s what some claim. They claim he was beheaded. Secular history says he was beheaded around 64, but I don’t know whether that’s true. But I do know that he died somewhere along in there. “312”, the dark green one down below says, “Constantine converts to Christianity”, and the arrow goes up about the end of that blue. There’s a blue triangle that says “Paulinism”. Now this isn’t, I didn’t come up with these numbers, and I’m not trying to prove anything other than just to illustrate how things came to be as they are. In other words, we come out of the book of Acts period, and for a period of time the church functioned consistent with the ministry and writings of the Apostle Paul. And the historian that put this part of this chart together that I got it from referred to that as a time of “Paulinism”, that period of time when the church functioned pretty much consistent with the way the apostle Paul instructed it, which should never have stopped. It still should be functioning that way. The red line that runs through there all the way, I believe that there have always been Christians who walked outside of man-made religion, and who had a desire to walk in the truth that they knew. And I don’t know how much they did or didn’t individually know, but I believe that’s always been true. But when Constantine “converts” to Christianity and his conversion is based on what I’ve read about it, and again I’m not a great historian either, he was going out to war, and so he finally tells some minister or somebody, “if I win this war I’ll convert to Christianity”, and he did win. And so he came back and decided he would be a Christian, and then the church became a religious political combination, became a religious political combination at that time. And, from there on it was downhill, from the standpoint of functioning consistent with the ministry of the apostle Paul. The next green square on the bottom says, “the faith once delivered”, Jude 1:3. It begins to be compromised from that time on. And when we move over, if you move up then into the blue part, the dark blue up in the center with all the arrows pointing at it, as the church is beginning to function the theology is becoming compromised. By the time you get to, I guess it’s 1054, Roman Catholicism is identified as the strongest division of what was historically recognized as the church. Down on the bottom and the gray area, there’s the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Nestorians who also profess to be Christians and went in a different direction. They’re referred to the Eastern religions. I know nothing about them, absolutely nothing.
I wouldn’t know much about Roman Catholicism except that as Roman Catholicism became the dominant “Christian Religion”, particularly in this part of the world, and then we had the Reformation movement. And Martin Luther splits off, and the Anglicans split off, and the Presbyterians split off, and the Methodists split off, and the Baptists split off, and the Pentecostals split off, and today we have a lot interdenominational groups of people. They split off from Roman Catholicism, and, generally, we think of them as divisions in the church which is Christ’s body, right? Historically, if you look at it again, if you go back to an encyclopedia they will state that those churches all split off of Roman Catholicism which was (or some might say is) the “Christian Church”. That’s there, but they all split off of Roman Catholicism, that’s true. But they were not what? They were never the body of Christ. They were not (as a religious body) the one true church that is described in the Scripture, the one we’ve been reading about this morning. They never were once they departed from the teaching of the apostle Paul. To me that’s really important. They never were. Now then, that said, what am I talking about? What never was?— Audience: The organization.
R. G. The organization, good. The organization never was. The organization, the Roman Catholic Church with their so-called successors to Peter and their popes and their series of popes, many of whom were corrupt as all get out. They never were the Body of Christ, the One True Church, the Church that the Bible speaks of. They never were. And, so again, go back to what I said a moment ago. The problem with man-made religion or most churches today is that:
- They started too late.
- They have the wrong head.
- The theology is a mixture of truth, Judaism, and paganism, and that’s really Roman Catholic theology.
Now then go back. There’s a whole lot on this one piece of paper, but go back and check it out. See. I hope you can follow the illustration. You may not be able to follow the illustration. I’m not trying to prove anything with the dates. The order in which the Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal are listed— (A.) It’s not complete, and (B.) The order’s not significant
Although, I do think Martin Luther was the first one historically that split off, but that may not be true. When you go back and look at the, reasons why they split off, in many cases they weren’t really biblical reasons. Martin Luther didn’t want to get out of the Roman Catholic Church. He wound up getting out of it. Who knows why, why or how did he wind up out of it?— Audience: They basically put him out.
R. G. Right. He had to find someone to save his life. So he ran to the King of England, and the King of England gave him some, sanctuary there. All of the confusion that is described in what I call secular church history has nothing to do with the Bible at all. It’s not part of the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. And yet at the same time there are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ in how many of those denominations?— Audience: Probably all of them. R. G. Probably all of them. Probably most believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are in those denominations. Now then, if you didn’t know the truth then, you wouldn’t be held accountable by God for what you don’t know, but you know what you know. You know, it’s like years ago, there was a fellow by the name of Charlie Shalwhob that had met with us when I was a kid, and I think he had some limitations, and he would ask Brother Maurice Johnson, “Brother Maurice, what do we believe about this?” And Brother Maurice, who was the minister at that time finally, got to the place he would say, “Charlie, I don’t know what you believe, but this is what I believe.” And, I met him years later in Virginia. He ultimately left California, went back to, I think, Boston was where he’s from. And I met him in Virginia. And he went to home of a brother there, Joe Cotten, and we got to talking. And he was trying to tell me that, and when I tell you what he was trying to tell me, well, you’ll understand what I mean, he had some limitations. That he and Brother Maurice had a deal, that Brother Maurice would spread the truth about the one true Church on the West Coast, and he would spread it on the East Coast. And I said,” Charlie, you didn’t have any deal with Brother Maurice.” I said, “what happened is, you came back here to the East Coast, and you started to preach some of the truths that you heard back there with Brother Maurice and the others. And you found out real quick that you weren’t going to be accepted if you preached those truths and you started compromising.” He said,” Yeah, he said, Brother Maurice ruined me“. Well he did. Charlie knew too much truth. He knew too much, and so he, and what he really wanted to do, wherever he would go as he traveled around, what he really wanted to do was play the piano and kind of give a little gospel message to the children, which, I don’t have anything against. But, then he knew enough truths that he would get himself in trouble wherever he went, because he would try to be of one mind with them on things that he understood about the one true church. And the fact that the ordinances practiced by most in religion are Judaism and the holidays practiced by them are paganism, and they wouldn’t let him preach to their kids if he did that, and so he gave it up.— Audience: In reality, if they let him it would have put them out of business. R. G. Yeah, right. Audience: One of the biggest problems…… former legislation. Few people believe that you can read the Bible in English and understand it without somebody having a degree from an institution telling you what it means. R. G. Right— Audience: Could you read that first verse you read at the beginning? “He that’s.” Cause I want to make a comment about that.
R. G. Matthew 6:24? “No one can serve two Masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.”… And then Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad.”
Phil Holst comments on the two passages. “…Yeah, I do want to say this, “if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” And coming down here today I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I’m so thankful that I came down and heard the truth given, regardless of who’s up there giving it. And as a matter of fact, take you out of the picture. The truth was the blessing today, a tremendous blessing. And the simplicity which you spoke on, and the simplicity which the Lord put it there— there’s no middle ground there. There is no gray matter, there’s no. “He that’s not for Me is against Me.” I just really thank the Lord that those were His words, and that’s His truth on that subject. Another thought is, and this is overwhelming, this ties in with what Jimmy said, to imagine that Phil Holst is part of the body of Jesus Christ! How humbling is that to be part of the body of Jesus Christ? And another thought Wes said, “Well, how do you do that?” What’s, you know, give me a date and a time. God help us not to tie the hands of the Holy Spirit, but to be lead by Him. But I appreciate your thought of, “kindly and timely”, “kindly and timely”. We’re not to jump on them like, you know, a hawk does a chicken, but it’s a kindly, timely, hopefully lead by the Holy Spirit with the realization that, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” And my last comment is, well, two comments. I really appreciated how Jesus Christ was exalted today through His word, and that’s what the speaker’s supposed to do. Exalt Jesus Christ. Help show us how we can better worship and walk before Him. And that last thought in Proverbs six, there some things God hates, but there’s an abomination, and “he that sows discord among brethren”, is “an abomination”. Wow. I thank the Lord for being here and hearing the truth of God.
R. G. Yeah, I think, kind of in response to Wes’s question, if you go back to Ephesians 4, and it fits with what Phil just said, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, I beseech you”, I plead with you, “walk worthy of the vocation where with you are called”. Okay, how do you do that? “With lowliness, and gentleness, and long-suffering, bearing with one another.” That describes what I understand to be “timely and kindly”, “walk worthy” “with lowliness, gentleness, long-suffering, bearing with one another”, and that doesn’t mean that you are willing to compromise the truth.
Bruce Airy made a closing comment. “There’s one thing I want to say…, there is sort of two fallacies in regard to, you know, the idea that we can’t be together. Some people say, “Well, that’s just impossible.” And other people say “we are together because God put us in the church, therefore, we don’t have to work on it”. And I think that, scripture brings out two things that if you plead with somebody it means that it’s something you can do, so it is possible. And it means that it’s the kind of thing that you can be tempted to not do. And also that’s, I think those verses clear that up very well.
R. G. Very good, points. Okay, let’s bow our heads. One of you close our time with a word of prayer, if you will.
Harold Frasier closes in prayer. “Our Father, we thank you this morning for the word of truth, who spoke itself asked the question, “What is truth?” Thy word is truth. Again, the simplicity of the word of God. And I pray, Father that the simplicity would bear fruit in each one of our lives due to what we’ve heard today, and His spirit would implant it in our hearts and souls, and we would act upon it in the course of our daily lives. We pray that you would be honored and glorified in our conduct today as we mingle together in fellowship the remainder of the afternoon, that we enjoy this fellowship around the One who is The Head of The Body, The Lord Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.”