God’s Word revealed for us – The Way of the Church, Part I

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By John Larkins

Last Sunday we celebrated Easter and proclaimed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, was alive. Even though He died on the cross, His disciples witnessed His resurrection.

To what end did God die?

It has become common practice to say Christ died for our sins. But I seldom have heard anyone declare The Way He chose to save us.
Do you actually believe that His resurrection somehow automatically brought salvation to all souls who had died up to that time (and forward) He was given the power by His Father? I must warn you, regardless of the popularity among false teachers, this simplistic – and frankly, absurd – idea trivializes the Redeemer’s mission, sinfully.

The person who has died would be sent to heaven with no way to express his choice of serving God or not.

This concept completely ignores Jesus’ three years of constant work to convince the Jews to convert from their existing religion and follow the new and everlasting covenant. He had announced that “unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have no life within you.”

Jesus had given Peter and the other bishops the power to forgive or retain sins. He had told Peter that whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven, whatever we loose on earth is loosed in heaven. Very importantly, He told Peter that whatever we say on earth will be heard in heaven.

The power of governance to modify or develop doctrine was essential to an eternal office.

In Acts 2:36-42, Peter explained to a large crowd the problem of their being part of the people who had killed Jesus. “The crowd asked, ‘What shall we do?’ Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’ Then they that had gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship and in breaking the bread, and in prayers.”

We should especially think about the “doctrine,” because this is exactly what Jesus had given the Apostles. The “breaking of the bread” is the sacrament (among seven such gifts) of the New Covenant by which saving grace is obtained from Jesus Christ’s sacrifice!
Here are a couple interesting facts. The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament is a complex and wonderful resource to understand Jesus’s one and only Church. Who among all mankind are called “Christians” in the Bible?

Acts 11:26 says, “And when they had found him (Saul) he brought them into Antioch. And it came to pass that a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church, and taught many people, and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Now, why is Luke not more specific about naming his Church? For one thing, in the next 1,500 years, there was no other church.

John Larkins was born in Oklahoma to an U.S. Army family. His education was in the Catholic Church and teaching in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. After 50 years of various positions in federal service at home and in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, John and his wife Carol live in Gadsden. His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals, and church situations. Contact him at johnlarkins@bellsouth.net.

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