There is power in truth. The Word of God is truth. In John 8:32, Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” There is not enough power in all the doctrines of men to save one person from the flames of eternal hell and damnation. If we obeyed all the doctrines of men, and deviated not from them, this would not save us. All devout Catholics are doomed for hell. All devout Baptists are doomed for hell. All devout members of all denominations are doomed for hell. Any Church of Christ elder, deacon, preacher, or regular member who teaches for doctrine the commandments of men, or follow such, are doomed for hell (Mt 15:7-9). Doomed that is, if they turn not from their devilish doctrines and adhere to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (1 Tim 4:1,2). Being devout doesn’t save a man. No! Obeying what Christ and his apostles taught us in the new testament saves us (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9).
If we look at the denominations around us, and look at what they teach, what is the difference between them and us? It is the doctrine they teach. If we teach the same doctrine they do we will be lost also. It takes the truth of the gospel to save. The truth is what Christ wants preached. He commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). Within 40 years the early church had done this (Col. 1:23). The truth must be preached to every generation. Most people are confused by the doctrines and commandments of men. The truth is simple. Error is complicated. The gospel is nothing more than the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4). In this day and age, these facts desperately need to be taught.
Brother or sister in Christ, when you go back and walk no longer with the Lord, you are as lost as the sinner who never knew God. Peter said, “To whom shall we go?” Peter was sure that Christ was the Son of God. We believe and are sure of the same thing. Jesus said if we do put our hand to the plow, and look back, we are not fit for the kingdom of God (Lk 9:62). It is an awful thing not to be fit for the kingdom of God, but if we turn from God, we are just that, not acceptable.
To get on the straight road that leads to heaven, we must believe and confess Jesus is the Christ the son of God (Rom 10:9,10), and repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Then, and only then will the Lord add us to His church (Acts 2:47 f; Mt 16:18). This is truth and it takes this to free man from sin.
The people that are in Christ now need to be taught to add to their faith (2 Pet. 1:3-11). They need to be taught to assemble each first day of the week to remember the Lord’s death by the partaking of the communion (Acts 20:7). They need to be taught to worship God in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23,24). They need to be taught to sing and pray with the spirit and understanding also (1 Cor 14:15); Not with the use of instrumental music, but with the use of their hearts to the Lord (Eph 5:19 f; Col 3:16). They need to be taught not to add or take from God’s Word (Rev 22:18,19 f; 1 Cor 4:6). Women need to be taught to be silent in the churches as also commanded the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 14:33-40). Women are not commanded, nor is it suggested that they become teachers of women or other women’s children in the assembly of the Lord. No woman was ever called to be a preacher or teacher of God’s Word, other than for aged women to teach younger women to love their husband and children, obey their husband, and be chaste keepers at home (Tit 2:3-5). Men need to be seasoned in the Word in order to become teachers, preachers, deacons and elders (2 Tim 2:2 ff; 1 Tim 3:1-13; Heb 5:12-14). All Christians need to be conditioned to suffer for the cause of Christ, lest they be overwhelmed and fall away (2 Tim 3:12 f; 1 Pet 4:12).
In our day, there are so many people, and even preachers in the Lord’s church, turning away from the truth and turning to denominationalism. They do this for growth in number at the cost of the eternal souls of their congregation. Those that teach and change the Word a little see no wrong in it. It is a command of God, and we had better obey to the letter!
There are examples in the Bible of what happened to people who did not obey the word of the Lord. One example is Lot’s wife. When the Lord rained fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord told Lot’s wife along with the others, “Don’t look back” – only three little words, but she looked back, and became a pillar of salt. There was death in that one look, and there is death for us if we turn back to the world and the devil, even if it be but one sin.
Jesus warns us in one of the shortest verses in the Bible, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Lk 17:32). We can’t please the Lord and warm by the devil’s fire. We do not hear sound preaching like it was not so long ago. Preachers today try to take the sting out of sin, the blood out of the atonement, the inspiration out of the Bible, and the fire out of hell for the jingle of a few dollars in their pocket (Rom 16:17,18). They preach what people want to hear as opposed to what they need to hear in order to make gain of them. They preach a “social gospel” but not the full “gospel of Christ”.
Paul told Timothy: “Them that sin reprove in the sight of all” (1 Tim. 5:20). The Bible tells us plainly how to treat ungodliness in the church. Paul said, “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:13). The church of Christ today is filled with false doctrine, there is little or nothing done about it, and still we expect to go to heaven. Paul commanded a young Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim 4:2-5). That time has fully arrived!
Elders, it is your responsibility to see that the wicked person be put away; withdraw from him, and if there is an ungodly preacher preaching for you, don’t ship him off to some other church with a good letter of recommendation, but withdraw from him, save the church, and save yourselves. One bad apple will spoil the whole bushel. If ungodliness is condoned, Paul said: “A little leaven will leaven the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6). Don’t forget Jesus said, “…You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). If we don’t know the truth, we become in bondage to sin.
God will not save any church of Christ just because its members obeyed the gospel of Christ. No! Each member must adhere to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, and remain faithful to it as well in order to be saved (Rev 2:10). God will divide the sheep from the goats and the wheat from the tares (Mt 25:32 f; Mt 13:24-40). Simply put, God will divide the faithful Christian from the unfaithful Christian, and cast the latter into hell with all those who knew not God and obeyed not the gospel of Christ (2 Thess 1:7-9).
I speak not to the preachers and teachers who take your money to preach. I speak to the sincere Christian who intends to go to heaven once they leave this earth. To these I leave you with these verses, “ And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Col 3:17). “…That in us you might learn not to go beyond that which was written” (1 Cor 4:6) . If you change or go beyond the gospel, which is the Word of God, you shall be accursed (Eph 1:13 f; Gal 1:6-10). Let us follow what the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostles and reject the wisdom and doctrines of men. As Paul said “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor 2:12,13). Study and read God’s Word for yourself and compare what is preached to you to the Word of truth (Acts 17:11). It’s your soul, save it!