The Gospel Observer
and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe
all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
July 8, 2018
1) The Oneness of the Church (Harold Fite)
2) News & Notes
The Oneness of the Church
The oneness of the church is unique. There is only one! It far
transcends religious organizations founded by men.
The church belonging to Christ was conceived in the mind of God
before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and brought into
existence by his power through Jesus Christ. The church was not a
substitute for the Kingdom as the Premillennialist would have us
believe. It came into existence according to God’s eternal purpose
(Eph. 3:10, 11). Man cannot thwart the purpose of God. God
envisioned a people that would know him, from the least to the
greatest, and would have God’s laws written on their heart. He would
be their God and they would be his people (Heb. 8:10, 11). “He chose
us in him before the foundation of the world . . . having
foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto
himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:4, 5).
To foreordain or predestinate is to “decide and design prior
to acting; making out boundaries or setting limits beforehand; to
determine before.” To illustrate the above: He who would be
President of these United States must be a natural born citizen,
being thirty five years of age, having lived in this country
fourteen years, and be willing to take the oath of office, upholding
the Constitution. It could be said that the framers of the
Constitution foreordained—chose those who would sit in the
President’s chair. In like manner, God foreordained those whom he
would adopt as sons. God did not choose or foreordain
individuals—consigning some to salvation and others to damnation—but
as a class of people for his own possession (1 Pet. 2:9, 10). The
chosen are those in Christ by virtue of their obedient faith. They
fulfill the requirements of adoption.
The Church Becomes a Reality
When Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he announced,
“I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Approximately six months
later the church had its beginning. Peter preached Christ on that
occasion and 3,000 obeyed the gospel and were added to the church
(Acts 2:41, 47). Note the definite article “the.” Not “a”
church, but “the” church! Christ said “my church.”
Christ purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28). The word
“purchase" means “to gain; to get something for oneself.” It conveys
“possession.” When Christ purchased the church, he purchased
people: “for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy
blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev.
5:9). He possessed those whom he purchased. He “gave himself for us,
that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a
people for his own possession" (italics mine), zealous of
good works” (Tit. 2:14). Peter echoes the same truth in 1 Peter 2:9:
“But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a
people for God’s own possession.” He presented the church
unto himself (Eph. 5:27).
There is only one church recognized by the Lord. From the time God
planned the church, until it was born, only one church was in his
mind. It was never God’s intention to bring forth a multiplicity of
churches (denominationalism). Christ built one church, and he is the
head of it: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the
beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might
have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). He is “head over all things to
the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all
in all” (Eph. 1:22, 23). That being true, Paul dogmatically declares
that “there is one body” (Eph. 4:4). If the church is the body, and
the body is the church, and there is one body, it logically follows
that there is one church! Denominationalism has no scriptural
foundation! It is made up of many bodies (churches), founded by man,
wearing different names and adhering to different faiths. This is
not what God planned from the foundation of the world. We “were
called in one body” (Col. 1:15). We are “baptized into one body” (1
Cor. 12:13). “But now there are many members, but one body” (1 Cor.
Oneness of Those in the One Body
As the church is one body, there is oneness among those who compose
the one body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the analogy of the
physical body in explanation and application of the diversities of
gifts. There are diversities of gifts, but one Spirit. There are
many members, but one body. Note the following verses, beginning
with verse 12: “For as the body is one, and hath many members. And
all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is
Christ.” “For the body is not one member, but many” (v. 14). “But
now there are many members, but one body” (v. 20). The human body is
made up of various members operating in conjunction with the head.
Each member has its work to do, but all work together for the
benefit of the body. This shows the interdependence of the different
members of the body on one another. “The eye cannot say to the hand,
I have no need of thee” (v. 21). The different members complement
one another. Thus the spiritual body of Christ is one body,
but made up of different members, working together as per
instruction from the head, Jesus Christ. The spiritual body of
Christ is “knit together through that which every joint supplieth,
according to the working in due measure of each several part” (Eph.
4:16). This contributes to the increasing of the body. There is a
oneness there, a mutual supportiveness, kinship, and
like-mindedness. This is the reason why we “bear one another’s
burdens.” When one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.
When one member is honored, all rejoice (1 Cor. 12:26). If one
member of the physical body is injured, the entire body is affected.
Whether one suffers or is honored, it touches other members of the
spiritual body. We “rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them
that weep” (Rom. 12:15). This could be called sympathetic
vibration: “vibration produced in one body by the vibration
of exactly the same period in a neighboring body.” Strike one prong
of a tuning fork and the tone is transmitted to the other prong,
hence the musical term sympathy.
The believers gathered in Jerusalem “were of one heart and soul . .
. they had all things common.” The apostle Paul exhorted the
Philippians to “stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for
the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27). "Seeing that we, who
are many, are one bread, one body: for we all partake of the one
bread” (1 Cor. 10:17).
Denominationalism has no justification in the Scriptures. Those who
are being saved are in his body, the church (Eph. 5:23). “Except the
Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it" (Ps. 127:1).
May we strive earnestly to attain that ideal oneness in the one
“All the churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16).
— Via Truth Magazine, March 2007, Volume LI, Number 3, pp. 14-15
News & Notes
Mary Vandevander was in the hospital last Saturday to
Sunday afternoon, due to a heart problem that was giving her
pain. She is now back in the nursing home, in good spirits,
and feeling better.
Danny Hutcheson (Anita Young’s cousin) had a massive brain
bleed about 80 days ago and had been in a coma for more than a
week. He is now back home, but is still in bad shape, being
able to move only his arm.
Let us also remember in prayer Jordyn Mackey (who had a
series of seizures), Shirley Davis (who has swelling,
cellulitis, and pain in her legs — though improving —and pain in her
shoulder), Rick Cuthbertson (who is now waiting to find out
if he will be undergoing any precautionary treatment following the
recent surgery that removed his cancer), Bentley O’Berry
(who had a seizure), Bennie Medlock (who has an aortic
aneurysm), Charles Crosby (healing from a knee
implant), Michael Crawford (heart trouble), Ginger
Head (spot on lung), and Marie Maymoldi (expecting).
Others to also pray for: Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Pat
& A.J. Joyner, Rex & Frankie Hadley, Tommy Lindsey, Rhyan
Thomas, Hannah Laughlin, Misty Thornton, Belinda Medlock, and
Congratulations to Anita Young who is now a grandmother for
the first time! Her daughter Elizabeth Harden gave birth on
Friday to Leia, and they are both doing well.
WordPress version of this week's bulletin:
The Steps That Lead to Eternal
1) Hear the
gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John
2) Believe in
the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of
sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in
water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38;
22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living
for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb.
10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m.
(Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m.
(Ladies' Bible class)
p.m. (Bible class)
Edwards (912) 614-8593
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(Older version of Gospel Observer website without
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