The Scripture Speaks
Our God Is
Bible Study: 10:00 AM
Worship: 11:00 AM
Evening Worship: 12:15 PM
Wednesday Bible Study
9871 Big Creek Road
Ellijay, GA 30536
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Why do you and I need to listen to the scriptures? One of the most important reasons is that God speaks to us by means of the scriptures. The scriptures come from the mind of God. II Timothy 3:16 states emphatically, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God,...". God, through His Holy Spirit, revealed all that the Bible states.
But, the scriptures are also eternal. The heavens will dissolve and the earth will be consumed in fire, but God's word, His will for man, will remain. "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever." I Peter 1:25. Enemies have sought the destruction of the Bible, but, the old Book continues to live and change the lives of those who read it and live by it.
The scriptures can save our souls. "...receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:21. In order to save, the word of the living God must be engrafted, become a part, in our lives. The word must dictate how we live in this present world. By the scriptures, faith is produced. Romans 10:17 states, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." The word reveals God, Christ, and all that we can know about the eternal land. Faith in the spiritual grows as we feed on the word.
The scriptures offer comfort and hope. Romans 15:4, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." In distress, the scriptures give us comfort. In defeat, the scriptures give us hope. And, we must listen to the scriptures as they speak to us because of the great judgment.
This book called the Bible will be open at the final judgment of all humanity. "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." John 12:48. I urge all of us to listen when the scriptures speak.
"And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went;" Acts 8:26-27. Philip made an obedient response to the command of the angel. Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him:" Genesis 12:1-4. In like manner, God gave instructions to Noah concerning the construction of the ark. The response of Noah is recorded in Genesis 6:22: "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Genesis 6:22. These three examples define the nature of obedience unto God. Obedience is found in the words of Samuel: "Speak; for thy servant heareth." I Samuel 3:10. God demands obedience. We as the servants of God hear and do.
Through obedience, we abide in God. "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." I John 2:5. "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23. Obedience is the declaration of our love to God. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." John 14:21. Obedience is a declaration of faith. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." Hebrews 11:4 "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son." Hebrews 11:17. Obedience is a declaration of our hope. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14.
Sin is the worst calamity that can afflict any society. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34. Sin will cause God to withdraw His blessings from a people. Israel of old was told by the prophet Isaiah, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that He cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2. Sin will bring God’s wrath upon a people. The flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are but two examples. Genesis 6:17 ; Genesis 19:24-25.
Sin is addictive. The words of Jesus are, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34. “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin.” II Peter 2:14. “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Romans 6:12.
Sin is an evil of the devil. “He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” I John 3:8. “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matthew 4:1.
Sin is destructive. Sin will scar one’s character and destroy one’s reputation. All of the problems that concern humanity have their origin in sin. Families are broken and lives are ruined because of sin.
Sin brings a temporary pleasure, but ends in eternal ruin. The scripture says of Moses, “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season:” Hebrews 11:25. The body will become too old and feeble to enjoy sin and physical death will finally come. In the thirst for pleasure, the soul is dying. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
Salvation is God’s plan for mankind. “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” I Peter 1:10-11. From times eternal, God planned for the salvation of lost humanity. The plan was announced by the prophets through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When the “fullness of time was come, God sent forth His son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Galatians 4:4.
The salvation which God provided mankind was from sin. Sin entered into the mainstream of humanity by the transgression of Adam and Eve. Joseph was told by the angel that Mary would “bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. When Jesus began His ministry of preaching, He was introduced by John as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. Jesus was the One who knew no sin, but yet, was made sin for us “that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21. Jesus, as an obedient Son, became the sacrifice by which the burden of sin would be lifted. “He died unto sin once” (Romans 6:10) so that all who would obey Him might be saved. Hebrews 5:9.
The salvation which God has offered unto mankind is only in Christ Jesus. He is the “author of eternal salvation”. Hebrews 5:9. The scripture states, “Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” II Timothy 2:10. Only Christ Jesus can save us from sin. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation.” II Peter 3:15.
Man continues to make laws, but yet, continues to ignore the greatest law that has ever been given. The apostle Paul, by inspiration, declared that he “was not without law to God, but under the law to Christ.” I Corinthians 9:21. Another statement which he made was, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” Romans 7:22.
The law of God is an eternal law. Laws made by men change and become outdated. God’s law remains constituent with all times and peoples. The apostle Peter quotes an Old Testament passage, “But the word of the Lord endureth forever.” I Peter 1:25.
The laws made by men are fallible, but God has given a law which is infallible. It is not open to human interpretation. Courts have no authority to alter God’s law. Because God is infallible, His law is infallible. It does not change with the passing of time. The changing of customs and culture does not affect the law of God.
The eternal welfare of the soul is dependent upon our obedience to the law of God. The happiness of man now and in eternity is dependent upon our obedience to the law of God. God’s blessings are poured upon those who choose to honor His law. His wrath will come upon those who have no respect for His law.
The church of Christ is a body of believers that have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We adhere to the teachings of the New Testament for our faith and practice. We strive to live as the Scriptures teach us to live. We strive to worship as the New Testament instructs us to worship. We obey the gospel according to the commandments given by Christ. The church is the body of Christ having been purchased with His blood. Ephesians 1:22-23 and Acts 20:28. While upon the earth, Jesus promised to build His church upon the truth that He was the Christ. Matthew 16:13-20. In this passage of Scripture, we understand the church to be the kingdom of God. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God would come within the lifetime of those who heard Him teach. Mark 9:1. The kingdom of God would provide Christ with an eternal reign as King. Luke 1:26-33. Christ loved the church to the extent that He was willing to give Himself for His church. Ephesians 5:25. The church is the bride of Christ. II Corinthians 11:2 ; Revelation 21:2-3. The church and Christ cannot be separated. Ephesians 5:32. Neither can the Christian be separated from Christ for we are redeemed by His blood. Ephesians 1:7. The blood which purchased the church also purchased our pardon. When we are united with Christ in baptism, we are added to the church. Romans 6:3-5 ; Acts 2:38 ; Acts 2:47. The church of Christ is therefore a body of believers who have been redeemed by Christ and who follow Christ by obeying His covenant, the New Testament.
The scripture states in I Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” What does the scripture need more to say? Just as Noah and those with him on the ark were saved by the water of the flood, so you and I are saved by the water of baptism. “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Acts 10:47. Water has been chosen by God to save those who are baptized. Baptism saves us because we are united with Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:3-5. We put on Christ by being “baptized into Christ.” Galatians 3:27. Baptism saves because we are made free from sin. Romans 6:17-18. Baptism “washes away sin.” Acts 22:16. Baptism is “the spiritual circumcision of Christ whereby we put off the body of the sins of the flesh.” Colossians 2:11-12. When we arise from the immersion in water, we “walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4. Baptism gives birth to a new life in Christ Jesus. II Corinthians 5:17. As God’s new creation, we become “servants unto righteousness” and “servants unto God.” Romans 6:19 and 22. We are saved because we have been baptized (immersed) in water. Baptism always follows faith, repentance, and confession of Jesus as the Son of God. Acts 2:38 and Acts 8:35-39.
The church of Jesus Christ comes together upon the first day of every week to engage in worship and praise. The one whom we worship is God, the creator of heaven and earth. “Worship God.” Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:9. We assemble because we have been commanded to do so. “Upon the first day of the week, let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” I Corinthians 16:2. We learn from this passage that we are to give of our financial prosperity in this assembly. We assemble because we have an example of the church coming together. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7. In this passage, we learn that upon the first day of the week, the disciples broke bread, or partook of the Lord’s Supper. Paul, the apostle, referred to the bread and fruit of the vine as the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11:20. As he instructed them, the church of God at Corinth, they were to partake “when ye come together in one place.” I Corinthians 11:20. This act, he explains to them, was that which he had “received of the Lord and delivered unto them.” I Corinthians 11:23-27. In our assembly together, we pray and sing. I Corinthians 14:15. We sing without instrumental accompaniment. We are taught as the church to “teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16. We understand from scripture that the church upon coming together read the scriptures. “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” Colossians 4:16. When Paul was in Troas, he preached unto the disciples in their assembly. Acts 20:7. Thus, we come together upon the first day of each week to praise God in the acts of giving money, singing spiritual songs, praying, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and hearing God’s word. Christ’s disciples are taught: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25.
Jesus had been crucified upon the cross and had been resurrected from the dead. He had received all authority. Matthew 28:18 ; Ephesians 1:19-23. With this authority, He commissioned His disciples: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16. The gospel is the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which has the power to save the soul from eternal punishment. I Corinthians 15:1-4. This is the message which is preached throughout the book of Acts. Within the book of Acts, we witness the conversion of those who heard and believed the gospel. This book declares unto us that the church, the saved in Christ Jesus, was established as Jesus had promised. “Praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47. Becoming a member of the Lord’s church is an act of God. God adds the saved to the church. Having been born of “water and spirit” (John 3:1-7), one is saved from sin and becomes a Christian. “And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves together with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26. Christians are those who have been taught the word of God and having become disciples are added to the church. As one studies the book of Acts and looks at the various cases of conversion and rebirth, he understands God’s plan of salvation. The plan includes faith in Christ, repentance of sin, confession of faith in Christ, and immersion in water for the remission of sins.
The gospel is the greatest message that has ever been proclaimed. We are taught that the gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation.” Romans 1:16. The gospel is a spoken message that has been divinely revealed. Everyone has the right to hear and believe the gospel. The church has been entrusted with the gospel. Among other designations of the church, the church is declared to be “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” I Timothy 3:15. The church supports the truth which makes men free. John 8:32-36. And, faithful men of God are to proclaim the gospel. “And there they preached the gospel.” Acts 14:7. The church of the first century preached the gospel with fervency and truth. Their mouths could not be stopped. Unto the four corners of the earth, the message that breaks the bondage of sin and unites the heart of God and man was preached. The gospel expounds the death, burial, resurrection, and coronation of Jesus as Lord and King. Acts 2:14-41. The gospel is a story that never grows old. The gospel is to remain unchanging. Custom and culture and new found fads cannot replace the power of the gospel. If our age would be saved from the plight of sin, we must hear, believe, and obey the gospel.
The Bible states with emphatic certainty, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. The Psalmist stated, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork.” Psalms 19:1. With precision the planets move in the heavens; an innumerable host of stars are scattered throughout the universe; day and night continue with exactness. Indeed, the heavens are testimony to an architect. And, the systems of the human body work in unison with one another each dependent upon the other. Indeed, man is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalms 139:14. Such precision and exactness demand a creator. “For every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God.” Hebrews 3:4. Houses are constructed by a carpenter. Our places of dwelling have not been left to mere chance. Neither has the universe and human beings living therein come through chance, but rather by creation. The prophet Jeremiah spoke in truthfulness, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” Jeremiah 32:17. With total surety and absolute conviction, we can be assured that the heavens and the earth are the work of “the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 40:28.
Remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is called the “Lord’s supper.” I Corinthians 11:20. Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples and while they were eating, He took the bread, blessed it, and said to His disciples, “Take, eat, this is my body.” Then taking the cup, He said, “Drink ye all of it: for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28. The church of Christ in Corinth would later be instructed to “eat the bread and drink the cup” in the same manner as Jesus had instructed His disciples. I Corinthians 11:23-25. This instruction was that which “had been received of the Lord.” I Corinthians 11:23. The church of Christ in Corinth met upon the first day of each week. I Corinthians 16:2. The disciples at Troas came together “upon the first day of the week to break bread.” Acts 20:7. The purpose of the supper is to be “in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:24-25. Our minds are to focus upon the death of Christ and His blood that was shed for the remission of our sins. Hence, the Lord’s Supper is of divine origin. God has given a divine instruction in the emblems that are to be taken, the day when the supper is eaten, and the reason for the supper.