Simply from the Scriptures

from the Church of Christ in Richmond Indiana
Organized religion Some people are opposed to “organized religion.” I understand some of their complaints due to the various false religious institutions that have made a mockery of the church. Some people claim they do not “go to church” because of all the hypocrates. Again, I understand their reason, but it does not excuse the individual of seeking the Lord’s church. One claim is that someone can do the Lord’s will outside a “church.” This frees them from attending worship services and Bible studies. It frees them from working under an eldership. There is no such practice found in the New Testament. No one was a freelance Christian. Note some scriptures concerning the church. The Lord’s Church: Established: A.D. 33 - (Acts, chapter two) Jesus Christ Builder: Matthew 16:18 Buyer: Acts 20:28 Owner: Matthew 16:18 Foundation: 1 Peter 2:6 Head: Ephesians 1:22-23 Savior: Ephesians 5:23 Jesus instituted the church. Jesus died for the church. It was part of the divine plan of salvation from the beginning. In the church, organization is given. This is to educate and edify all the people. One work of the Holy Spirit in the church was to appoint people to do specific tasks for the body of Christ: the church. Note this passage: “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace

according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephes. 4:4-16 (KJV) Note the various points made in the above passage. First the oneness of the Kingdom. Then the appointing of specific workers for the edifying of the body of Christ. Why? So we are no longer tossed about like children. Why? So we are not decieved by crafty men who look to decieve the innocent. The outcome of the work of the body is that every part gets what it needs in edification. If one casts off organized religion they are casting off what God has done. If one reads the Bible they will come to several factual conclusions: that they need to do hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and continue in the doctrine of Christ. One event that happens when one is baptized into Christ they are added to the church (Acts 2:47). Consider the confusion if there was no organized religion. It would properly be called unorganized religion. How

would the work of Christ get done? It could not get done. There would be nothing but confusion. Paul said God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). I will admit, there are some “churches” that are not a part of the body of Christ. They practice things of which they have no authorization to practice. They do have hypocrates. They do have flaws and unholy practices. One needs to stay away from these organizations. However, that does not release one from seeking out the true church that is of the body of Christ. This seems silly, but consider your body if cut up and the members were separated one from another. Can your liver preform its duty lying on the floor, apart from your body? No. Will your body benefit by the work the liver normally does? No. In any organization there is a certain amount of order than must exist or the efforts being used cannot be profitable for the whole. Only in the realm of religion will people believe that being unorganized is, or can be or more beneficial as being organized. Unfortunately, this is the same with sincere belief. Again, only in religion will people allow flawed faith to overcome facts. If we look to the Old Testament, we find that sin abounded when men did what was right in their own eyes. To forsake the Lord’s way and substitute our way is not submitting to God. Calling rebellion against God a “good and acceptable practice” is a work of evil. God said through Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Isaiah 5:20-21 (KJV) God has given us his word so we do not wander in chaos. He has revealed his will: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,

but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11-12 (KJV) Without the Bible we would wander about trying to please God. Regardless of our best efforts, there are somethings we would omit and things we would add that would not be authorized by God. Organized religion is a God given gift to mankind. By reading the New Testament one can come to the knowledge they have sinned and are in need of redemption. Jesus purchased and built the church specifically for the spiritual needs of mankind. To forsake it would be to forsake all that God has done for mankind. No one in the New Testament practiced unorganized religion. The missionary journeys by Paul, Barnabas, Silas and others were specifically used to establish local congregations of the Lord’s church. Forsaking the church is to forsake the body of Christ! To do so is the same as cutting a part of your body off, casting it to the floor and expecting it to be edified by the body and that it could do its function and aid the body from which it was removed. It just does not make much sense to do such a thing. Douglas R. Clark  
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Proverbs 28:14: Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief  