There was no one – and I mean absolutely NO ONE in the entire universe – who had it as incredibly good as God’s Old Testament people Israel. Moses reminded them of that yet again in Deuteronomy 4:7 when he said, “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?”He went on in chapter seven to explain to them how God had chosen them, specifically, and them alone, to be His very own “holy” and “special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (vs. 6). Moses further reinforced to them how God would love them, bless them, and multiply them; and how they would hence be blessed above all the other peoples on the face of the earth because they were His special and treasured people (vss. 13-14). Of course, inherent in that God-favored position and heaven-given heritage was the fact that they would also enjoy the very special and unique privilege of both knowing and carrying out their Creator’s divine and exclusive will for His chosen people, without addition, subtraction, or adjustment(Deuteronomy 4:1-8, 7:6-16).
But sadly, even tragically, such a high and holy, special and unique, great and highly treasured position before their Lord God and Creator was something that they either did not understand, or else were so satanically deceived and short-sighted about,that they showed no desire to treasure, protect, and maintain it. Conversely and instead, they militantly and aggressively sought to surrender, destroy, and rid themselves of both their revered position and the sacred responsibilities that came with it at all cost. Even when Moses was initially up on Mount Sinai receiving God’s instructions for them, they, His own special and treasured people, were down at the foot of the mountain seeking to re-implement and follow pagan worship practices similar to those of the ungodly and idolatrous nation they had just been set free from, who neither knew, loved, nor followed the Lord their God (See Exodus 32) – and this was only the beginning of their sad and total surrender of their sacred and special status.
Not long after the death of Joshua, Judges 2:11-12 tells us that, “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger” – a pattern that they would repeat time and again throughout the period of the Judges (3:7, 8:33, 10:6-10) and indeed, on into and throughout pretty much their entire Old Testament history as well (See 1 Kings 18:18; 2 Chronicles 24:7, 28:2, 33:3; Jeremiah 2:23, 9:14; Hosea 2:13, 11:2). They even became so incredibly determined to destroy their infinitely unique, exclusive, and special standing and relationship with God, that they even outright rejected and demanded to replace Him with a human king! This, just so they could accomplish their own heart-felt and human desire to become like all the pagan, ungodly, and destined for destruction nations all around them (1 Samuel 8). What an awful, terrible, and satanically-induced waste! And yet… are we truly any different?
You see, the “churches of Christ”(Romans 16:16) comprise God’s one, saved, chosen and holy, very unique and distinct, body, church, or group of people today (Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9-12). We became children of God, and were therefore added by God, to Christ’s one New Testament church (or body, or family) when we, by faith, were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins in obedience to the Lord’s commandment (Mark 16:15-16; Galatians 3:26-27; Acts 2:37-47; Colossians 2:12; Luke 6:46).
Just as with God’s former, chosen, Old Testament people, we (or at least most of us in the churches of Christ) also certainly understand as God’s chosen, special, unique and treasured New Testament children, that one divine aspect of our exclusive heavenly heritage is that we also get to enjoy carrying out the sacred responsibility that accompanies such a wonderful, God-pleasing, and infinitely exclusive status. We understand – and want – to worship in both spirit and truth (John 4:23-24) – that is, according to only what God said He wanted in His divinely-inspired word (which is the truth: John 8:31-32, 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:12-4:4) – and not according to any of the vain, futile, useless and worthless worship practices and teachings of uninspired human religious leaders of today (Matthew 15:3-9; Mark 7:5-13; Colossians 2:6-3:4).
Our God-given, grace-forgiven, and unique and privileged status as members of the Lord’s one New Testament church and no other, causes us to love Him more than anyone or anything else on earth. As a result, we seek to only and always, only and exclusively, obey only His commandments – and His alone (Jn. 14:15-24). How could we – or anyone else for that matter – who love Him so much, ever consider doing anything else?
We are so much in love with the Lord Jesus Christ in fact, that we would never dream of rebelling against and rejecting His holy and all-consuming authority and lordship by teaching that one can be saved and added to His church either without or before repenting and being baptized specifically for the forgiveness of their sins (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:37-47, 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21)! In our consummate and complete love and devotion to our one and only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we would never even consider changing the kind of worship music He consistently practiced, stated, and showed He wanted, enjoyed, and still enjoys, by adding unwanted and Biblically unauthorized instruments of music to it (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:10-12. After all, we certainly learned and took to heart the lesson taught to Nadab and Abihu – two Old Testament priests of the Lord I might add – who took the personal liberty of adding to their worship that which the Lord had not specifically authorized – Leviticus 10:1-2). Nor would we ever dare to even consider rejecting and trespassing against His holy and clearly-stated commandment that women are to remain silent in His churches (1 Corinthians 14:33-37), never leading or teaching over men (1 Timothy 2:8-15).
It absolutely does not matter one whit or iota to those who are truly and totally in love with the Lord Jesus Christ, what the Biblically-condemned, Biblically-contrarian, and man-made and named doctrines and denominations all around them say and do (Matthew 7:13-27; 15:3-9; Mark 7:5-13; Romans 16:16-18; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 1:6-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-7; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 3:14-18; Jude 3). There is simply no other person, doctrine, or worship practice that such faithful disciples and children of the living God are willing to surrender their saved, sacred, exclusive, special,and eternal standing and relationship – or the sacred and special responses and responsibilities that come along with it – with God for.
Surely such have learned their lesson from God’s previously chosen Old Testament people (1 Corinthians 10:1-11). Therefore, faithful churches of Christ (Romans 16:16) certainly have no desire whatsoever to reject God’s commandments and become like any of the multitude of man-made denominations all around them.They certainly have no desire to surrender their unique, special, and Biblically-confirmed status and standing (1 Peter 2:9-11) in order to share in either the man-made doctrines, Bible-rejecting practices, or therefore Biblically mandated destination of those denominations. That would be to willingly commit spiritual suicide in the same way as His Old Testament chosen people eventually chose to do. God forbid!
However, what those of us who have truly learned from their example do have as a result, is the subsequent desire to get out there and share this message – speaking the truth in love – with every lost and misled member, of every lost and man-made denomination all around us. This, so that they, too, can be Biblically: taught, forgiven, saved, and added by God, to His Son’s one New Testament church, just the same as He has been doing ever since its establishment on the Day of Pentecost in 33 A.D., and just as we see recorded in the eternal record in Acts 2:22-47.
So, now, go (Mark 16:15-16)! Let’s get out there and “Give ‘em heaven!” And let’s always remember to never surrender even one, single iota of our sacred and special standing with God in the process! God bless!