The Blessing of Autonomy

Church building in the trees

One characteristic of the Lord’s church that makes it different from most churches of men is autonomy. Autonomous local churches are not linked together in or through some larger organizational structure.

Why did the Lord design the church to be this way? Obviously, we cannot always know every reason behind instructions that have been given in the Scriptures. Our responsibility is simply to follow the Lord’s instructions whether we understand the reason behind them or not. However, we can look to the Bible to see what has been revealed that would indicate certain blessings of autonomy.Continue Reading

The Real Pharisees (Part 6): The Pharisees Took Advantage of Others

The Real Pharisees

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses…therefore you will receive greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14).

When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for devouring “widow’s houses,” He was condemning them for taking advantage of others. However, the Pharisees did not take advantage of just anyone. Jesus used widows in His example for a reason. These were ones who typically were in need of assistance from others. Yet the Pharisees not only failed to help these ones in need, they also took advantage of them for their own benefit.
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The Church Gathered Together

Two Men Praying

Togetherness is a characteristic seen in the Lord’s church throughout the book of Acts. Let us briefly consider the examples of the church gathering together and see what lessons we can learn.
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Why Being Non-Denominational Is Not Good Enough

Church steeple

In the past, more emphasis was placed upon one’s denominational affiliation. But for many today, this is less important. This shift in mindset has given rise to the number of “non-denominational” churches we see in the religious world.

For years, faithful brethren have rightly condemned denominationalism. So is the trend toward non-denominationalism a good thing? Maybe not. Why not? Simply being non-denominational is not good enough.

The church in Sardis was a dead church, though they had a reputation that they were alive. Jesus said to them, “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). This shows us that a church can seem to be good in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of the Lord, their status is completely different. In the eyes of many, “non-denominational” churches look appealing. But like the church in Sardis, many of these churches simply do not measure up to the Lord’s standard.
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Is Anyone Among You Sick?

Man in hospital bed

Sickness is a natural part of human life. One of the reasons why heaven is so appealing is because it is a place where “there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). While here on the earth “our outer man is decaying” (2 Corinthians 4:16) and we will have to deal with the infirmities of the flesh.

How are we to handle the times in our lives when we are sick and suffering from various illnesses and diseases? The Scriptures help us answer this question. Let us notice a few points.
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The Character of the Excellent Wife

Virtuous Woman

Many read the passage in Proverbs 31 of the “excellent wife” or the “virtuous woman” (KJV) and assume that the wise man is describing the ideal woman who does not exist in reality. However, even though culture and technology have changed since the time of the book of Proverbs, the “excellent wife” today is going to have the same focus as the one described in the following passage – fearing God, supporting her husband, serving her family, and helping others. There can be no change in culture or technology that would rightly call for a shift in focus from these four fundamental areas. Rather than think of the “excellent wife” of Proverbs 31 as an ideal that only exists in abstract terms, women today must look at her and see how they might imitate her in their lives.
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The Church is Not a Charity

The title of this article may seem odd to you. It seems that most people – both religious and non-religious – view churches as, at least in part, charitable organizations. Many churches have programs and “ministries” that are designed to provide aid to the poor in their communities. Often these churches also conduct “mission trips” to various parts of the world to provide food, clothing, medicine, and more to those in third world countries. Such practices are so common that people with either ongoing or immediate financial needs seek assistance from churches in their communities.

The congregation where I preach has no program, no funds, and no intention to provide such charitable help to those in the community. The reason for this is not that we have no concern for the poor. Instead, it is because we are concerned with following the pattern found in the New Testament (cf. 2 Timothy 1:13; Colossians 3:17). Below are the reasons why the church is not a charity.
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