GOD HAS SPOKEN
By Joe R. Price
“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).
This passage assures us that:
God has spoken. How fortunate we are that God has spoken. Without God telling us His will, we would not know what to believe about Him or how to please Him. Man cannot direct himself to God without God’s help (Jer. 10:23).
God has spoken in these last days. “The last days” is a phrase used in the Scriptures to identify the period of the Messiah’s reign (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:20). During “the last days,” the gospel age, God dispenses the fullness of His blessings to men and women through Jesus Christ (Eph.1:9-10; Gal. 3:14; 4:4-5). The “last days” began on Pentecost and will continue until Jesus returns, at which time he will bring this world to an end (Acts 2:16-17; Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 15:23-28; 2 Pet. 3:4-13).
God has spoken to us in these last days by His Son. The words of Jesus are the words of God (Jn. 7:16; 12:49-50). His words were proclaimed and recorded by His apostles through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26; 16:8; Eph. 3:3-5; 2 Pet. 1:21). That means they spoke the words God wanted them to speak (Matt. 10:19-20). That is why we have confidence that the writings of the apostles are the words and commands of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 14:37).
By receiving what the apostles taught, we receive Christ and the Father who sent Him (Matt. 10:40). Receiving the words of Christ means believing and obeying them (1 Thess. 2:13). If we reject the words of the apostles, then Christ and the Father will deny us (2 Tim. 2:12). On the last day, Christ will judge whether we accepted or rejected him by whether we accepted or rejected his words (Lk. 10:16; Jn. 12:48).
The word of God was fully revealed to the apostles (Jn. 16:8; Jude 3; Eph. 3:3-5). Therefore, the Scriptures they wrote are entirely adequate to meet our spiritual needs (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3). It is incorruptible, authoritative, and understandable (1 Pet. 1:22-25; 1 Cor. 14:37; Jn. 8:31-32).
Once we understand and believe God has spoken to us by His Son, we also learn about ways God does not speak to us today.
God does not speak to us through prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with God (Matt. 6:9). Prayer is our expression of adorations, confessions, thanksgivings, and supplications (Phil. 4:6; 1 Tim. 2:1). We expect God to hear and to answer our prayers according to His will – this is God’s promise and our faith (1 Jn. 5:14-15). But, we do not expect God to speak to us while we pray. Prayer is not the way God speaks to us.
God does not speak to us through our feelings. Human emotions express what is on our hearts, giving depth and breathe to our motives, intentions, attitudes, words, and actions. But, feelings are not the baseline of truth. Wisdom teaches us that our emotions can deceive us: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12). And again, “He who trusts his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Prov. 28:26). Because we feel we know the truth does not mean we do (Acts 26:9). Because we feel we are at peace with God does not mean we are (Rom. 10:2). Indeed, godly emotions will spring from godly attitudes, words, and deeds (Acts 8:39; Phil. 1:3-5). We must rise above using how we feel about something to decide for us whether it is right or wrong in the sight of God. God does not speak to us through an inner feeling to tell us what is right and what is wrong. (His word does that, and is why we must write His word on our hearts, Hebrews 8:10; 10:16.) Our emotions reflect how we feel about something, not how God feels about it.
God chose an impartial way of communicating with us by His Son. He gave us a word, a message that is the same for all of us. We can all examine what God has spoken. We can all examine ourselves using His word, and we can all investigate what others teach us against what it says (Acts 17:11-12; 2 Cor. 13:5).
We can completely trust “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5). It is God’s word. When we believe and obey it, God saves us from our sins (Rom. 6:17-18). – The Spirit’s Sword, March 29, 2020.
and Eating the Lord’s Supper
By Donald Townsley
Some of our Baptist friends down through the years have insisted on “foot-washing” in the assembly as an act of worship. Members of the church of Christ have argued with them that “foot-washing” is a good work to be done by the individual in the home as an act of hospitality, and that it shows humility (1 Tim. 5:10; Jn. 13:1-15). Members of the church of Christ have not denied that washing feet is good and right as an individual act in the home, but they have pointed out that it becomes a sinful act when taken out of the home and is put in the assembly as an act of worship because God never put it in the assembly.
Now it seems that many of our brethren are as mixed up on the Lord’s Supper as the Baptists are on washing feet. Many brethren now want to take the Lord’s Supper out of the assembly of the saints (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-24) where the Lord authorized it to be eaten, and put it in the home to be eaten upon sick beds by individuals apart from the assembly. There is no example of it being eaten anywhere else but in the assembly, and if we are going to be bound by an example as to when to eat it (Acts 20:7), by what logic can we reject the example of where to eat it? (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-24).
Brethren, if Baptists cannot bring their “foot-washing” into the assembly with God’s approval, you cannot take the Lord’s Supper out of the assembly with His approval! Jesus said in Matthew 19:6, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” This statement has a broader application than marriage – it applies to anything that God has joined together. God has joined the Lord’s Supper and the assembly together just as He has joined the Lord’s day (first day) and the Lord’s Supper together. Many brethren who would not think of separating the day from the supper, think nothing of taking the supper from the assembly.
Ask a member of the church for his authority for eating the supper every first day of the week and he will point to the one Bible example of it being eaten on the first day of the week – Acts 20:7. One Bible example is enough for him as to the day, and that is right (one command or example should be enough for anybody when God speaks to man), but two examples of eating the supper in the assembly will not keep many from carrying it from the assembly (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-24).
Brethren, God is no respecter of persons. What the Baptists cannot do, the church of Christ cannot do. If Baptists cannot bring something into the assembly that God has not authorized, we cannot take something out of the assembly that He has authorized to be in it. – Great Plainness of Speech, Articles.