Its Center, Ordinances, Worship, and Ministry
By the late A. N. O'Brien
Edited and printed by J.B. Sparks
We have endeavored throughout this tract to point out some of the lines of truth in the Word of God, in a connected manner, and to satisfy the candid reader that there is sufficient guidance in the Bible for the walk of the believer with regard to church relations, life, and worship. Each reader can judge for himself whether this has been done. Much has been omitted, but lines of study have, it is hoped, been suggested which will be of blessing to those who desire to walk according to the Word.
In closing it would be well to note the importance, which the Spirit of God places upon a correct walk. In Col. 1:9,10 we have the apostle's prayer for the Lord's people at Colosse. The order of his petitions is important: (1) "That ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will," (2) "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord," and (3) "Being fruitful in every good work." Who in sectarian circles ever inquires for God's estimate of sects ere he joins them? And how few desire to walk worthy of the Lord in this matter even after they know His mind? Their whole stress is laid on the third point, service, and even this is much of it in direct opposition to the Word of God. The Bible never reverses this order. In 3 John we have it again enforced. (1) "The truth in thee," (2) "Thou walkest in the truth," v.3, then (3) service, v.6, 8.
The sectarian cry is "Work, Work, Work," and their test of a man is what he is doing. Their panacea for a sin-burdened heart is more work, forgetting that the sin question is settled, not by work, but by ceasing from it entirely to look away to Christ's finished work. John 19:30 and Rom. 4:4.
But how many of them stop to consider the trial of their work "of what sort it is"? 1 Cor. 3:13. There are some solemn statements in the Word of God for such to ponder. "He that is of God heareth God's word." John 8:47. "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.
How solemn to trifle with such a book, or to set it aside for the traditions of men! "If ye know these things, happy are ye, if ye do them." John 13:17. Here again it is not mere knowledge, but the subject heart and obedient feet, which receive the blessing of God. "Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?" Luke 6:46. The contest, v. 47-49, shows that knowledge, coupled with obedience, makes the Christian like a man whose house is on the rock while the same knowledge with disobedience, leaves him like a man with his house on the sand, at the mercy of the winds and floods. How prone is man to be disobedient and how sad the consequences. "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offering and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better (not easier) than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams," 1 Sam. 15:22. May obedient feet gladden His heart and may you hear His words of satisfaction in you "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth," 3 John 4. With this I lay down my pen commending you, the dear people of God, wherever you are, "to God and to the Word of His grace" Acts 20:32. May you continue in His Word and know the truth, that "the truth may make you free." John 8:31, 32.
"Since you would know by what name I would be distinguished from others. I will tell you I would be, and hope I am a CHRISTIAN. I choose if God will count me worthy, to be called a Christian, a believer, or any other such name which is approved by the Holy Ghost. And, as for the titles of Anabaptist (Baptist), Independents, Presbyterians, and the like, I conclude that they come neither from Jerusalem nor Antioch, but from Hell, or Babylon." John Bunion", 1672, author of "Pilgrims Progress".
"In the first place, I pray you to leave my name alone, and not to call yourselves Lutherans, but Christians. Who is Luther? My doctrine is not mine. I have not been crucified for anyone. Paul would not that any one should call themselves of Paul, nor of Peter, but of Christ. How then does it befit me, a miserable bag of dust and ashes, to give my name to the children of Christ? Cease, my dear friends, to cling to these party names and distinctions; away with them all; let us call ourselves only Christians, after Him from whom our doctrine comes." Martin Luther".
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