God gave a law to the Jews. The law highlighted sin, making them more conscious of God’s will (Rom. 2:17-20). However, it did not cleanse them from sin; instead, the commands of the law showed how far short man falls from God’s mark (Rom. 7:11-13). The Gentile world without the law was filled with inexcusable wickedness (Romans 1:18-32). The Jews, though they had the law, did not perfectly keep the law, so they were no better than the Gentiles (Romans 2:23-25). Thus, all people, Jews and Gentiles, are guilty of sin before God (Rom. 3:10-12, 23).
Thankfully, God has provided a way through Jesus Christ for us to be saved from our sins and the death we deserve (Rom. 6:23). The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s power to salvation; those who respond in faith can be made righteous before God (Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 2:16). The law could not do this, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ can. God does not owe us salvation. Our works do not merit salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). We cannot stand on our own merits, we must appeal to God’s good grace. God’s grace is extended to all, Jews and Gentiles: “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:12-13). To appeal to God’s grace in faith is the only means by which we can be saved. Faith that saves is faith that puts the Lord on in baptism (Gal. 3:26-27).
Peter preached to Jews on Pentecost day who were guilty before God (Acts 2:36). He quoted Joel 2:32 in his description of what was happening that day in order to point the way to salvation, “that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). What did this mean? When the receptive crowd—convinced of their guilt—asked what they should do in Acts 2:37, Peter responded, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Calling on the Lord was not saying a prayer, but rather was believing the Gospel message, turning from sins, and being baptized to receive remission of sins.
When Paul had seen Lord on the road to Damascus, Jesus told him to go into the city and he would be told what to do (Acts 22:10). Ananias, the preacher commissioned by the Lord (Acts 9:10-16), came to Paul and said, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Paul had been praying (Acts 9:11). Yet, he still needed to arise and be baptized to have his sins washed away (Acts 9:18; 22:16). This is what it means to call on the name of the Lord.
The Jews trusted in circumcision as their mark of being God’s people. But Christians today have been spiritually circumcised by the Lord. The Lord operates and cuts off the sins of the flesh at baptism (Col. 2:11). Those who respond in faith to this operation of God are united with Christ in burial and resurrection (Col. 2:12; Rom. 6:3-4). It is in this identifying with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection in baptism that baptism saves us (Rom. 6:3-7; 17-18; 1 Pet. 3:21). Disciples of Jesus are those who have submitted to the Lordship of Jesus by believing and being baptized (Mt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). Baptism is an essential part of God’s plan for justification.
By Phil Sanders
I know there are brethren who are weak, foolish, selfish, legalistic, progressive, lazy, rude, and given to fleshly lusts. I know there are some slow to forgive and quick to divide the church. I know there are some who have remained immature and have caused harm in the church. I know there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, people who have taken advantage of the church, and I also know the Lord loves every faithful member of the body of Christ and every member who is trying to walk worthy of his calling. I know Christ does not want any brother or sister to perish but for all to come to repentance.
If the Lord could love a person as weak as me, could willingly forgive me, could see something good in me, and is willing to mold me into the man I ought to be, I reckon I should be able to see something lovely and worthwhile in my brethren. I know there are some who need to grow in Christ, but I also see my own shortcomings. I need to extend grace to others, just as the Lord extended grace to me. I believe it is high time we loved each other and loved the brotherhood. What is right with the church…
- The church of Christ has the right LORD.
- The church of Christ rightly belongs to the LORD Jesus and not to man.
- The church of Christ believes the one, true Gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).
- The church of Christ expects people to believe in Jesus, repent of their sins and to love the LORD. We expect people upon the confession of their faith to be immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins.
- The church of Christ worships in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). It observes the instructions of the New Testament concerning giving, communing, praying, singing, and in hearing God’s Word. It has not gotten lost in the present culture.
- The church of Christ is still made up of autonomous congregations led by Biblically qualified elders and served by faithful deacons.
- The church of Christ has not forgotten the Great Commission. Flavil Yeakley says we are still the sixth fastest growing religious group in America. Our congregations in India and Africa are booming.
- Studies indicate that churches of Christ ranks first in these areas:
- Our people attend better than any religious group in America.
- We have the fourth most congregations of any religious group in America. We are the best distributed for our size.
- Barna found that churches of Christ gave at a greater rate than any religious group in America.
- org found in the 2008 US Religious Landscape Survey that churches of Christ have 22 percent of its adult members ages 18-29. This is two percent above the national average and the highest of any major religious group in America.
- The church is keeping 67 percent of its young people. At age 30 they are still attending faithfully (according to a study by Flavil Yeakley).
- God is still in charge of the church. He still prunes us to make us grow. He still loves us. The Lord Jesus is preparing a home for us.
Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Fulfilled in the 1st century, recorded in Acts 2, existing today.
–submitted by Jerry Sturgill
1. Why is Phoebe called a deaconess in Romans 16:1?
2. How do we determine what is cultural practice vs. a practice of the church?
3. Do you think songs that use outdated language take away from the worship?
1. Why is it people take the Bible out of context?
2. Can we be assured of our being saved?
09.30.18 AM – Mark Day – The Mission of the Church
Scripture Reading: John 17:13-19