Although we are not currently holding services and are visiting other congregations. We are going to take a survey of the area and see what the interest is in a New Church of Christ in Apache Junction. If there is not enough people to support the operation of a Church then it would be of little benefit to have a new building and not be able to maintain it. We now have the land and the money to build, so all we need now is the people. I am sure the Lord will help us in our endeavor and provide a way. Keep praying for us.
Sometimes, unfortunate misunderstandings prevent great good from being done. One of these is the misperception that members of churches of Christ believe others must keep their rules to go to heaven.
This tract is written with the writer's fervent hope it will help open doors of opportunity to study about Jesus together. Isaiah said: "Come, now let us reason together, saith the Lord..." (Isa. 1:18).
Therefore, let us reason about the true source of authority. Let's examine "Does The Church of Christ Believe It Is The Only One Going To Heaven?"
Does the Church Of Christ Believe...
It does not matter what the churches of Christ believe? Whatever these churches believe had better be what the Lord Jesus commands! Peter said: "if any man speaketh, speaking as it were the oracles of God..." (I Pet. 4:11).
The church must be subject to Christ and His authority. Paul said: "And he is the head of the body, the church...that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18).
There must never be church rules or creeds! One must never be required to satisfy the member of a local church. While some religious groups vote members in, the Bible teaches: "And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved" (Acts 2:47). If the Lord does the adding, no man must ever dare to do the subtracting (III Jn. 9, 10)!
Therefore, whatever churches of Christ believe must be handed down to them by King Jesus in His word (Jn. 16:13, 14). We must never render our opinions as if we are God! We must present the Bible as the message of God (Deut. 4:2; 2 Pet. 1:21).
Again, the statement: "does the church of Christ believe," indicates the wrong people are being asked! Jesus will judge us all by His word (Jn. 12:48). Jesus, not an elder, preacher, or member, "...is the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn. 14:6).
"It Is The Only One Going To Heaven?"
Who is going to heaven? Must one keep a church's rules to be saved? Must one join a particular denomination to enjoy salvation? Is one denomination better than another?
Perhaps some of the difficulty with these questions is a misunderstanding of terms. The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means "those called out." Remember Acts 2:47: "...And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved."
In other words, those that responded to the gospel message (Acts 2:38, 41) were "called out" of the world and into Christ. They became a part of the church because the church is that body of saved believers.
When one is baptized into Christ, he becomes part of His bride (Eph. 5:22-33, body (Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:4), or church (Matt. 16:18). Paul said: "For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body..." (I Cor. 12:13).
Our Lord never wanted the religious division so prevalent in the world today. He prayed that we might be one (Jn. 17:17, 20-21). It grieves our Lord to see rules of men divide us. Why can't we simply forget the rules of men, open our Bibles, and obey the Lord? When we do, He will add us to His church, not a denomination (Acts 2:47).
There are various scriptural names for this church. "Churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16), "Church of God" (I Cor. 1:1), "pillar and ground of the truth" (I Tim. 3:15), "my church" (Matt. 16:18), "one body" (Eph. 4:4), "the bride" (Rev. 22:7), and on and on we could go. These are all descriptive names for the same church built by Jesus (Matt. 16:18; I Cor. 3:11).
Also, this body of believers will obey the Lord without compromising His will (Gal. 1:6-9). People who obey Jesus (Heb. 5:8, 9) and become His by being called out of the world into the "called out ones" are saved (Gal. 3:26-27).
What Do You Believe?
Long ago, Solomon warned: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov. 14:12). It may sound good, feel good, look good, but is it what Jesus said?
The apostle John gave this acid test: "And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I Jn. 2:3, 4).
How do you know Jesus? Has some man guided you with creeds, tradition, or extra-biblical "revelations?" Come to know Him the way King Jesus through the apostle John commanded. Let's open our Bibles, and hear right from Jesus ourselves (Jn. 16:13, 14). Let's "reason together."
It does not matter what churches of Christ believe nor any of their members. All that matters is the will of our blessed Lord.
Jesus and His word are always right. In the very words of God Himself at the Mount of Transfiguration: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt. 17:5).
QUESTION: Does it specify anywhere in the Bible that there are signs to look for before the end of time? If so, where?
ANSWER: This is an excellent question. Many believe that the last few years before Christ returns will be full of signs, both gruesome and glorious. Basically, this comes from a misunderstanding of some very difficult passages of Scripture. One such passage is Matthew 24.
Matthew 24 begins with Jesus' disciples showing Him the buildings of the temple. Jesus responds, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (NKJV) Jesus was prophesying the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The temple would be destroyed because it had served its purpose under the Law of Moses and its sacrifices were being replaced with that of Jesus. They would later crucify the Son of God, and this would be God's judgment upon that sinful nation. (Consider Luke 23:26-31 and Matthew 27:25.)
Upon hearing that the temple would be brought down, Jesus' disciples ask three questions:
(1) "Tell us, when will these things be?"
(2) "And what will be the sign of your coming?"
(3) "and of the end of the age?"
Notice they assume that the destruction of the temple would coincide with the end of all things. They were wrong. However, Jesus answers their questions in the order they asked them.
(1) When will these things (the destruction of the temple) be?
Jesus gives them signs by which they would know that the end of the temple was near. (Matthew 24:4-14.) Upon seeing those signs, they were instructed to flee from the city of Jerusalem. (Matthew 24:15-20.)
(2) What will be the sign of your coming?
In verses 21-31, Jesus speaks of coming in judgment against the nation of Jews at Jerusalem; He is not yet talking about His "second coming." Remember that the Lord brought judgment against sinful nations many times in the Old Testament. The terminology used in verses 29-31 is no different than God used in the Old Testament concerning the fall of Northern Israel (Amos 8:2,9-10), Egypt (Isaiah 19:1; Ezekiel 32:2,7-10), Babylon (Isaiah 13:1,9-13), and even the end of the Mosaic covenant (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 3:15-16; Haggai 2:6-7; Hebrews 12:25-28). This prophetic language indicates Jesus would have an active influence from Heaven in the fall of these things.
When it came to the destruction of Jerusalem's temple, there would be signs. Notice in verse 33: "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the very doors." (NKJV) Jesus also said in the following verse, "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will be no heaven pass away till all these things are fulfilled." (NKJV)
All the events described so far in this chapter would be fulfilled in that generation -- the generation in which the apostles lived. Jesus' instructions were to these people to flee Jerusalem when they saw the signs. Indeed, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed completely at A.D. 70 by the Roman army with the help of the Lord.
(3) And of the end of the age?
In verse 35, Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away." (NKJV) He is emphasizing the fact that His words will outlast all things---that His word is sure. But here, Jesus changes the subject from the destruction of Jerusalem to answer His disciples' last question.
Verse 36 begins, "But of that day...." Which day? The day Heaven and earth will pass away. Now He is talking about the end of the world. "But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (NKJV) Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, its time could be determined by signs. But the time of the ultimate end will not be preceded by such signs of warning.
People will be going about their business as they did just prior to the flood in Noah's day (verses 37-39). No one will suspect the day on which Jesus comes again. People will be separated from one another quickly at the end (verses 40-41). Some will be taken away for condemnation (2Thessalonians1:7-9; Matthew 13:40-43), the righteous will be left in the caring hands of God.
The fact is: there is no way we can know when the world will end. It will be a time that those alive will not expect (Matthew 24:42-44). All the parables that follow into chapter 25 speak about preparing for Christ to come again in person -- this time to judge. There will be no signs because Jesus will come as unexpectedly as "a thief in the night." (2 Peter 3:10.)
What we do know about the condition
of earth at the final end?
What will the world be like before the end? All we know is: there will be sinners (Matthew 24:38-39) and scoffers (2 Peter 3:3ff) and saints (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), just as there are now. At what point will God the Father decide to end all things? We do not know. Even Jesus does not know the hour in which the Father will send Him and the angels to gather the righteous and unrighteous.
With these things in mind, let's not look for signs, because none will be given. Let's consider instead a sign that has already been given -- the sign of Jesus resurrection. Jesus is alive, and He is Lord and Christ. He will be your judge one day. Are you ready to meet him?
Keep Jim and Theda in our prayers as they are in Colorado on personal business
And I will add your request to the next bulletin if possible please have request by Friday. Thank you