Ask for the Ancient Paths

Crossroads

Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, “We will not walk in it”’” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Jeremiah received a warning from God which he was to deliver to the people – Jerusalem was going to be destroyed! They were going to be punished for their sin since they had departed from the Lord and His ways. In the verse above, the Lord issued a final call for them to return, but they refused.

The Scriptures teach that it is possible for God’s people to fall away today (1 Timothy 4:1). How does this happen? And if we do fall away, how can we return to the “ancient paths”?Continue Reading

Regular Christians (Part 11): Diotrephes

Regular Christians

Diotrephes was one who fell away because he wanted to have the preeminence. The only time we read about him in the New Testament is when John warned about him in his third epistle.

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them [have the preeminence, KJV], does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church” (3 John 9-10).

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Better Not to Know (Sermon #41)

Better Not to Know (Sermon #41)

 
 
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Better Not to Know (Sermon #41)

We’re in between season 12 and season 13. During the break we’re posting audio sermons each week instead of the regular episodes. The sermon for this week was preached on February 10, 2019 at the Eastside church of Christ in Morgantown, KY.

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“Jesus Christ Had Not Joined the Shakers”

David Purviance: "Jesus Christ Had Not Joined the Shakers"

One of the principle documents of the Restoration Movement was The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery. It announced the dissolving of this religious body (the Springfield Presbytery) and articulated a desire for all such bodies to “be dissolved, and sink into union with the Body of Christ at large.”

This document was signed by six men – the most well-known was Barton W. Stone. Two of the men – Richard M’Nemar and John Dunlavy – later departed from the faith to join the Shakers. In his memoirs, David Purviance – another one of the six who signed The Last Will and Testament – described their departure and the impact it had upon the church.

“They were not content to abide in the simplicity of the truth. They became fanatics, and were prepared for an overthrow — when the Shakers entered in among us and swept them off with others who were led into wild enthusiasm. The shock to the church was severe — but it terminated for good. It served as a warning to us to watch and pray, and cleave to the Lord and to his word. We heard the word of the Lord: ‘Is there no king in thee, is thy counselor perished?’ M’Nemar was gone, but Jesus Christ had not joined the Shakers. The bond of union and fellowship was dissolved between us and those who had received the Shaker testimony. They were moved from ‘the foundation of the apostles and prophets,’ and had received a new revelation — ‘another gospel.’ ‘They went out from us, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.’ We found their character delineated: 1st Tim. 4:1, ‘Some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils’” (The Biography of Elder David Purviance, p. 115).

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Abner Jones: “I Hid My Light Under a Bed of Calvinism”

Abner Jones - I Hid My Light Under a Bed of Calvinism

Abner Jones (1772-1841) was a doctor in New England who would eventually abandon his medical practice in order to preach the gospel. This journey – which resulted in him being regarded as an early figure in the Restoration Movement – began when he started questioning the Baptists for having a name, articles of faith, and church covenants that were foreign to the New Testament.

“When I presented these things before the minister…he could not recollect the passages of scripture that proved these things, but said they were necessary. The reason why he could not remember them was, because they were not in the bible.

“When I mentioned these things to my brethren, they seemed almost as much astonished, as though I had denied the bible, saying that I was wild, &c.

“At that time I viewed myself alone on the earth, not knowing of any one that believed with me” (Abner Jones: A Collection, p. 60).

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Why Would Christians Follow Diotrephes?

Leader

I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church” (3 John 9-10).

In John’s third epistle, he warned about a man named Diotrephes. We often talk about this man and his desire for preeminence, his rule over the church, and the trouble he caused. However, we usually do not talk about his followers. In this article, we will consider the followers of Diotrephes and why they would follow him.Continue Reading

The Blessing of Autonomy

Church building in the trees

One characteristic of the Lord’s church that makes it different from most churches of men is autonomy. Autonomous local churches are not linked together in or through some larger organizational structure.

Why did the Lord design the church to be this way? Obviously, we cannot always know every reason behind instructions that have been given in the Scriptures. Our responsibility is simply to follow the Lord’s instructions whether we understand the reason behind them or not. However, we can look to the Bible to see what has been revealed that would indicate certain blessings of autonomy.Continue Reading