Some years ago a professor of church history at a denominational university wrote of some of his impressions of the churches of Christ and some of the things which distinguish us from the denominations. He entitled his remarks with these words: “Why the Churches of Christ were right after all.”
One of the interesting comments concerned the name “Church of Christ.” Here is what he said: “They’ve sure got the name right. If you think about it from the perspective of a friendly outsider, ‘Methodist and Presbyterian and Baptist’ are not really ace names for Christian groups…‘Church of Christ’ sounds pretty straightforward by contrast…Like the New Testament they just name their congregations for the place where they meet.”
The name “Church of Christ” is certainly pretty straightforward for several reasons: The church belongs to Christ. He is its builder, its foundation, its chief corner stone, and the head of the church. (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 1:22-23) Furthermore, the church is built upon the confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. (Matthew 16:16-18) And the clincher is the church of Christ is one of the names found in the Bible itself: “The churches of Christ salute.” (Romans 16:16) Whoever read in the Bible of the church called: Methodist or Presbyterian or Baptist, etc.?
Read – Reading is something we learn very early in school. Starting with the alphabet we progress as far as our natural ability and opportunity will take us. This enables us to read the Bible and thereby know God’s will for our life.
Study – Studying is something else we learn at school which is a step beyond just reading. It implies a little more work. Study involves an effort to remember. When you study for a test in school, you not only read but make a conscience effort to remember. In like manner when we read the Bible it is important that we make an effort to remember what we have read. Study also involves an effort to understand. In order to understand we may have to stop and look up something. We may need to ask some questions such as: Who? What? When? Why?
Meditate – Meditation is something you probably did not learn at school. It can be a step beyond both reading and studying. It means to stop and think about it. Contemplate. Ask what does this mean for me? How should it affect my life? The Psalmist pronounced a blessing upon the man who meditates upon God’s law (Psalm 1).
Let’s be sure to READ, STUDY & MEDITATE on God’s word.
Teachers are a group of people that are generally held in high regard. We have all had teachers who have made an impact on our lives. While teaching in the secular schools is certainly important, we must not forget the importance of our Bible class teachers.
Ezra was one of the great teachers of God’s law in the Old Testament. Of him it is said, “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10) Also of Ezra and other teachers with him it is said, “So they read the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8)
Teaching God’s word is important. It is especially important that our children be taught. In setting your life’s goals why not follow Ezra’s example? Why not prepare your heart to learn, obey, and teach God’s word.
Several days ago Jo brought home a small framed picture (8×12) which she had received at work. It featured a colorful mother bird perched on a branch with two baby chicks tucked under her protective wings. The caption was taken for Psalm 91:4: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Truly God protects His people.
Using a similar imagery Jesus said of the city of Jerusalem soon to be destroyed: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” (Matthew 23:37) Both God and Jesus want us under their protective wings, if only we are willing.
As Christians we live with some great promises: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Also God has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:5b-6)