UNDENOMINATIONAL CHRISTIANITY or CHRISTIANITY IS UNDENOMINATIONAL or even NON-DENOMINATIONAL to the extent it is ANTI-DENOMINATIONAL. As a subtitle, we ask the question: 'WHO INVENTED BASEBALL?"
Let's introduce this lesson by reading several passages of scripture: Psa. 133:1-3; Amos 3:3; Jno. 17:14-23; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; Eph. 4:1-6; 1 Jno. 1:5-10.
1. After reading these scriptures, do we see any design or desire on the part of God for denominationalism?
2. Does man desire to have all the denominations that are prevalent in the world today?
A. It would seem so since he thanks God for such and calls on people to attend the church of their choice.
3. Is denominationalism confusing to you?
A. If so, or if not, is God the author of confusion? 1 Cor. 14:33.
I. DENOMINATIONALISM HAS FOUR AREAS OF CONFUSION:
A. They wear different, confusing and sectarian names.
1. After the founder: Lutherans.
2. After the practice: Baptists.
3. After manner of organization: Presbyterian.
4. After methods of worship and service: Methodist.
5. After days, supposed revelations: Seventh-day Adventism and Latter-day Saints. Acts 11:26; 1 pet. 4:14-16.
B. They teach and abide by different, confusing and sectarian doctrines.
1. Nearly every one has its peculiar set of rules and doctrines that are diverse one from the other.
a. Note the different manuals, disciplines, etc. Here are just a few that I have in my study. 2 Jno. 9-11.
C. They follow and perform different, confusing and sectarian practices.
1. Some wear special clothing, others do not.
2. Some immerse for baptism, others sprinkle or pour.
3. Some use instrumental music in their worship, others do not.
4. Some partake of the Lord's Supper once a month, others once a year.
5. Some baptize infants, others do not.
6. Some have women preachers and leaders, others do not. Matt. 7:15-23.
D. They organize in different, confusing, and sectarian ways.
1. Some have a plurality of elders to rule them.
2. Some receive all their leadership by one man called a pastor.
3. Some have a board of deacons.
4. There are synods, councils, conferences, associations, districts, etc.
5. There are the clergy and the laity. Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:38,41,47; 20:28; 14:23; Phil. 1:1.
II. WHAT ABOUT PURE, UNADULTERATED, UNDEFILED CHRISTIANITY?
A. It HAS existed!
1. Paul said that Christ came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. 1:15,16.
a. He saves through His gospel. Rom. 1:16.
2. On the first Pentecost after Christ's death and resurrection, we find Peter preaching that gospel.
a. Note what he said in his sermon there in Acts 2:
1) Those that heard his preaching, believed it and asked what to do. v. 37.
a) Peter gave them the answer. v. 38.
b) They were baptized and the Lord added them to His church. vss. 41,47; Gal. 3:26,27.
3. To what denomination did they belong?
B. It CAN exist!
1. If the same gospel is preached, believed, and obeyed:
a. What would be the difference in the status of those today and those of the day of Pentecost?
2. This brings me to the question asked in the subheading of the title of this lesson: "Who Invented Baseball?"
a. You might be ready to ask: "Just what does that have to do with the subject at hand?"
1) It is only used as a simple example to teach the lesson at hand.
b. A man by the name of Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball and drew up its rules and regulations.
c. Just suppose there were so many changes made in the game of baseball until it no longer even dimly resembled the game that Mr. Doubleday invented.
d. Just suppose that a janitor, by the name of Abner Smith, was cleaning out a very old locker room one day and he uncovered from the very bottom of a pile of rubbish a very old book.
1) He picked up the book and read the cover: "The Rules and Regulations for the Game of Baseball" by Abner Doubleday.
a). He reads the book through and discovers that they are no longer playing the game of baseball according to the original plan of the inventor at all.
b). He gets all the coaches and players together and tells them that they are not playing the game according to the original rules.
c). They all agree to go back to the original rules and play the game accordingly.
d). Now, let me ask you: "Who invented the game of baseball, Abner Smith?"
e). No, he only talked the coaches and players into going back to the original rules and regulations of the game.
f). Mr. Abner Doubleday was still the inventor of the game.
g). And so it is with all those restorers of yesteryear. Stone, Smith, Campbell and others.
h), They didn't invent Christianity. The inventor is still God.
C. It DOES exist!
1. If the same gospel is taught, and it is.
2. If the same gospel is believed, and it is.
3. If the same gospel is obeyed, and it is.
a. Then, why would not the same pure Christianity that existed in the first century exist today?
1) I maintain that it does and that I have witnessed it here and in other parts of the nation and the world.
1. Yes, my friends, there is no such thing as DENOMINATIONAL CHRISTIANITY.
2. If it is true, pure Christianity, it cannot be denominational.
3. If it is denominational, it cannot be Christianity.
By Jim Sasser
Return to the Sermon Outlines page