The Work Of The Individual #1
I believe the scriptures presented in the past few articles say that God has ordained that the church (as such) be involved in three works. One - It is to teach the gospel to the lost. Two - It is also to teach its members. Three - It is to provide for its needs members.
As I said in those articles, I will now say again, there are no scriptures which authorize the church to engage in any work but these three.
The latter portion of last week's article, was devoted to considering reasons why some believe the church as been given the responsibility of teaching the unaccountable.
Now my purpose in this article will be to show the scriptures say God has given each individual much work to do.
However, before doing this, I want to consider with you one more reason why some believe the church should teach the unaccountable.
There are those who believe the church as always been involved in teaching the unaccountable.
True, some congregations were teaching them before you were born; but no, the church has not been doing this from the beginning. I believe I have already proven by the scriptures that not one unaccountable person was taughty by the church from 33A.D. until 90A.D.
Yea, there was even a time when congregations of the church in the United States did not teach the unaccountable. No, they did not begin teaching the unaccountable until after they adopted the class method of teaching.
In fact, no congregation of the church anywhere in the world engaged in teaching the unaccountable before 1780. no, because before that time there was no Sunday School.
Several years ago, the Twelfth Avenue church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee, gave the students of its Bible classes certificates. On those certificates there was a man's picture. It said, "Robert Raikes, Founder of the Sunday School, 1780."
Then too, Brother Cleon Lyles, in the Dallas lectures of the church of Christ in 1943 made the following statesms: "The thing we need today, as well as many others, is internal instruction." "We have for that the Sunday School." "The Sunday School, I am told, dates back to 1780, the first one founded in England and was operated in a kitchen.".
Now, please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that the class method of teaching those who God has said teach, is unscriptural; but what I am saying is that the church was not involved in teaching small unaccountable children before there was Sunday School (Bible Classes).
So, no, the church has not always been involved in teaching the unaccountable.
It is a Johnny come lately scriptural unauthorized work of the church.
All right, we shall now consider the work God has assigned each individual.
The first action to be taken by the individual member of God's family is to turn away from evil (Acts 26:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; Romans 6:3-16; Colossians 3:1-9; 1 Peter 3:10-12). However, this is only half of the story. Each individual member has been given much work to do.
Jesus, in Matthew 5:16, states that men are to be made to glorify God by beholding our "good" works. Paul, in Romans 2:10, wrote "Glory, honor and peace to every man that worketh good." Again, in Romans 6:13, he instructed God's children to use the members of their body as instruments of righteousness unto God. According to Titus 3:8, this same apostle said unto Titus, "this is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." Then too, in Titus 2:14 we read that as individual members of God's family we are to be zealous of "good" works.
Some of the good works God has given us to do are as follows:
One - We are to help our needy relatives (1 Timothy 5:6)
Two - We are to help needy brethren (Matthew 25:34-40)
Three - Also, as individuals we are to help "all" needy people (Matthew 5:43-48; Galatians 6:9-10; Romans 12:19-20).
Four - Each of us are to be teachers of God's word (Hebrews 5:12; 2 Timothy 2:2; Acts 18:24-26; James 5:19-20).
Five - We as individuals may send money to help a minister (Galatians 6:6; 3 John 1-8).
Six - We are to visit the sick (Matthew 25:34-46.
In previous articles I believe I proved by the scriptures that the church is not to do either its teaching nor benevolent work through any other institution or a sponsoring congregation systems.
How about individuals? May they establish institutions through which they will do their teaching and benevolent work?
First, let me say that from Matthew 1:1 through Revelation 22:21 there is not to be found one word about any institution through which either the churches or the individuals did their teaching or charity work.
No, we read nothing about the individuals forming a benevolent society through which they did their work.
What we do read, is that they (as individuals) were to, and did, personally do their giving unto those who were in need (Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 10:25-37; Acts 9:36-39; Galatians 2:9-10; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 4:20; 1 Timothy 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:10; James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:16-17).
I shall in next week's article, consider with you the teaching which is to be done by the individual members of the church.
By Tommy Hodge
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