This book is an examination of the New Testament pattern for the Church of God. It is based entirely on the Bible, for "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Moses was told: "According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it." (Exodus 25:9) Even so, we have been given a pattern for the church. This pattern is distinctly different from the pattern we see in common usage today. When we see how far we have strayed, it should make us ashamed. Ezekiel was told:
"Son of man, describe the temple to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, make known to them the design of the temple and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws. Write it down in their sight, so that they may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them." (Ezekiel 43:10-11)
The purpose of this book is to make known to the people of God "the design of the [church] and its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, its entire design and all its ordinances, all its forms and all its laws." It is here described "that [we] may be ashamed of [our] iniquities." "And if [we] are ashamed of all that [we] have done," our God will make His design known to us. But this knowledge is not here presented for the sake of curiosity, but "that [we] may keep its whole design and all its ordinances, and perform them."
Most of the instruction in this book comes to us through the Apostle Paul. As an Apostle he speaks with authority, and we are bound to give heed, even as he writes in 1 Corinthians 14:37: "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord."
The Apostle Peter wrote that "our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures." (2 Peter 3:15-16) If, after reading this book, you conclude that I am one of these "untaught and unstable people" and that this book is trash, then by all means, trash it! But Acts 17:11 tells us that the Bereans "were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men." I am confident that many of those who do this will, like the Bereans, see the truth contained in this book.
If, after due consideration, you conclude that the Bible indeed teaches these principles, then give careful heed, for our Lord said that "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19) These are not things to talk about, they are things to do. If we love our Lord, we must obey Him, even as He himself said: "If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15) If we will not obey Him, it only proves we do not love Him as we should.
|Next||Table of Contents||Home Page||e-mail author|