The Apple Of God's Eye

January 30, 2011

What Is The Biblical Name For God’s True Church

Filed under: Church Of God — melchia @ 8:05 pm
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The Bible gives the true name of God’s Church in 12 different places.

In five passages where the true name of the Church appears, the entire Body of Christ — the Church as a whole — is indicated. Thus when speaking of the entire Church, including all its individual members on earth, the name is “the Church of God.” Here are these five passages:

1.  Acts 20:28 — the elders were admonished to “shepherd the church of God.”

2.  I Corinthians 10:32: “Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God.”

3.  I Corinthians 11:22: “Or do you despise the church of God…?”

4.  I Corinthians 15:9 — Paul wrote, “I persecuted the church of God.”

5.  Galatians 1:13 — here Paul repeats the statement he made to the Corinthians: “I persecuted the church of God.”

Nowhere is the true Church called after the name of some man or doctrine.

Where one specific local congregation is mentioned, the true Church is called “the Church of God,” often in connection with the place where the congregation was located. Here are four more passages:

6.  I Corinthians 1:2: “The church of God which is at Corinth.”

7.  II Corinthians 1:1: “The church of God which is at Corinth.”

8.  I Timothy 3:5 — in speaking of a local elder in a local congregation, Paul wrote Timothy, “For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?”

9.  I Timothy 3:15: “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.”

In speaking of the local congregations collectively — not as one
general Body, but as the total of all local congregations — the Bible name is “the churches of God.” Here are the final three verses:

10.  I Corinthians 11:16: “We have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.”

11.  I Thessalonians 2:14: “For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.”

12.  II Thessalonians 1:4: “So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God.”

These verses prove the name of the true Church. Denominations not bearing this name could not be God’s true Church. And of all the churches that do bear the name, only one could be the true Church of God — that one that obeys all the commandments of God and maintains the faith delivered once for all time. All others are counterfeit, even though some know about the true name.

Since Christ is the Head of the Church, Paul also called the various congregations “the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16). But the actual name is “the Church of God.” It is kept in the name of the Father (John 17:11).

Source: The Good News, February 1986

June 27, 2010

Is Jesus God?

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God is not merely one Person. God is a divine Family – only one Family – but more than one divine Person. Jesus Christ spoke of His divine Father as GOD. He said He was the Son of God (Matt. 27:43; John 10:36).

Jesus is called God in Hebrews 1:9, John 1 and elsewhere. All the holy angels are commanded to worship Jesus (Heb. 1:6), and none but God may be worshipped.

So the Eternal Father is a Person, and is God. Jesus Christ is a different Person and is God. They are two separate and individual persons (John 1:1). The Father is Supreme Head of the God
Family – the Lawgiver. Christ is the Word- the divine Spokesman.

In Genesis 1:1, the word for “God” in the Hebrew is Elohim. In certain contexts, it is a uniplural noun. It is uniplural, like such words as group, church, crowd, family or organization. Take, for example, the word church. You will read in I Corinthians 12:20 that the Church is only “one Church” – the “one body” – yet is composed of “many members.’’ Even though many individual persons constitute the Church, it is not many churches – it is only the “one Church.”

As explained in Gen. 1:1 the Hebrew word for “God” is Elohim. But, when the historical account first begins to record the fact of God speaking to the man He created, a new and different Hebrew
name is used. In Gen. 2:15 (and previous verses beginning in verse 4) the English words “Lord God” (in the King James authorized version) are translated from the Hebrew YHVH Elohim. The Hebrew Elohim already has been defined as uniplural.

But, YHVH is a name meaning “the Everliving,” or “the Eternal.”T here is no one word in the English language that translates it exactly. God always names beings what they are. Actually, YHVH means “the Self-Existent, Ever-living, Eternally Living, Creating One.” The “Lord” (YHVH) of the Old Testament in nearly every case is the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. That is, Christ was YHVH prior to His birth as a human of the virgin Mary. In John 1:1-3, this same Personage is spoken of as The Word – the Greek wort, is Logos, meaning “Word,” or “Spokesman. Jesus the Christ (Messiah) is, and always has been, the individual Person of the God Kingdom (Family) who is the Spokesman.

The Father of the God Family is the Head – the Lawgiver – the Creator. Yet He created everything by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Thus in John 1:3: “All things were made [created] by him” – by the Logos or Word, who is Jesus Christ (verse 14).

The specific Person of the Godhead who spoke to Adam, then, was YHVH – the Eternal – the One who became Jesus Christ.

So God is presently a Family of two Persons – God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. And the wonderful truth is that human beings may be born into this same ONE God Family as distinct, separate Personalities by a resurrection from the dead.

Jesus Christ was the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29) – having been born again when God the Father resurrected Him from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

February 23, 2009

Is Door To Door Preaching A Biblical Practice?

Everybody has seen people on busy street corners and in large public buildings zealously attempting to hand out religious literature to all passersby. And you yourself may have even had a person with a “Christian message” knock on your door. These are common, everyday occurrences; and most people, even if they don’t necessarily agree with their views, passively accept these door-to-door evangelists as part of Western Christianity.

But did you know that long before the coming of Jesus Christ, the pagan world had its door-to-door representatives? The ancient pre-Christian world teemed with different religious sects, all vying with one another for converts. Many of them were attempting to spread their doctrines and win new adherents by preaching from house to house. Plato remarked that “mendicant prophets go to rich men’s doors and persuade them that they have a power … of making an atonement for a man’s ‘own … sins … at a small cost” (Republic, 364 b-c). Not only did these zealous pagans preach, they also distributed a variety of tracts of a religious and moralizing nature.

Werner Jaeger, an authority on the influence of pagan culture on early Christianity, observes that “we have to reckon with the existence in Hellenistic times of religious tracts as a means of propaganda fides [propagandizing their faith] of many sects” (Early Christianity and Greek Paideia, London: Oxford University Press, 1969, p. 8). Members of such a sect would actually distribute their propaganda literature from house to house. This practice was widespread already in Plato’s day, some four hundred years before Christ. Plato reports about these door-to-door evangelists in no uncertain terms: “And they produce a host of books [tracts] written by Musaeus and Orpheus … according to which they … persuade not only individuals, but whole cities” (Republic, 364e). This was nothing other than the same door-to-door high-pressure evangelism so common among us today.

In fact, so ubiquitous had this practice become among the pagans — and so obnoxious and repulsive to the average individual — that the pagan author Plutarch felt it his duty to denounce it in his writings. In his Precepts for Newly Married People, Plutarch advises wives “not to admit strangers by the back door who try to smuggle their tracts into the house advertising a foreign religion” (Jaeger, p. 8). This denunciation demonstrates how common door-to-door tract evangelism had become. “Let them [the door-to-door preachers] be exterminated from her outermost threshold!” Plutarch thundered (Conjugal Precepts, c. 19).

All this goes to show that the distribution of religious tracts was an obnoxious pagan means of winning converts — and it antedated Christianity by as much as four hundred years! Such a way of “winning souls,” needless to say, is diametrically opposed to the practices and teachings of Jesus. Christ never preached from door to door. He did not hand out one religious tract. He specifically instructed His disciples, “Go not from house to house” (Luke 10:7).

John, the last survivor of the original twelve apostles, admonished the followers of Christ: “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine [which John preached and which only the one true Church of God preaches], receive him not into your house” (II John 10). No truth could be learned from the preachings or the writings of these disseminators of error. Paul warned about the type of fellow Plutarch wrote about. “For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts” (II Tim. 3:6).

True Christians know and understand that God is the One who calls and converts people (John 6:44). They recognize, therefore, that it would be completely futile — and actually contrary to God’s will — to go out and attempt to win converts by force. The pagans of old, on the other hand, did not serve an active, living God. They had to do the converting themselves in order to gain followers, because their “god” was nonexistent, and the real God was not calling anyone to their religion. And, furthermore, they were not supported by God financially.

That is why, in the words of Plato, the mendicant preachers performed their services “at a small cost,” meaning they charged “a small fee.” Jesus Christ, who supports and finances the dissemination of His message so that it can go out without cost, said “freely you have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8). True Christianity does not go “door-to-door and so is uniquely different from the ways of the pagans!

Source: Tomorrow’s World, July/August 1970

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