Scripturally speaking, the “church” and the “Kingdom” are synonyms for the same institution. Those today who refuse to accept, acknowledge, and respect the church of Christ (Romans 16:16), which is Christ’s Kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19), precisely as King Jesus established it through His handpicked apostles (John 14:15-23; Acts 2:1-4, 37-47; 2nd Peter 1:20-21; John 17:6-17) as recorded from Acts 2 through Revelation 22, are rebelling against what King Jesus Himself decreed, and thus against His Lordship and complete authority (Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 1:11-23), and therefore, against the King Himself. (It is simply absurd to believe that it is possible to rebel outright against what any king has decreed, and still be considered as loyal to that king – see Daniel 3 & 6!) Their rejection of Christ’s divine decrees and all-out authority is extremely similar to what God’s Old Testament people desired and eventually did as recorded in 1st Samuel 8:4-19, and the end result for today’s rebellious children will be no less severe.
While Israel’s leadership (1st Samuel 8:4) wanted to be like “…all the other nations…” (vs. 5) around them, instead of following God’s established pattern (and thus honoring Him as God), any of today’s more liberal church of Christ leadership that wants to be like all the other denominations around them with instrumental music, expanded “in the assembly” female leadership roles, salvation supposedly occurring before and/or even without baptism, and fellowshipping the Biblically unimmersed and unsaved instead of lovingly and scripturally leading them to the Truth, have rejected Jesus Christ as their King just as surely as the Jews rejected God as their King (vs. 7). And all of them will suffer at the hands of the God they’ve rejected, in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine (vs. 18, also see 2nd Peter 2, Hebrews 10:26-31).
One of the key phrases utilized continually by today’s rebelling children, is how they “…just want to be followers of Jesus;” a statement which they seemingly have absolutely no clue about how to implement in their lives. They want the head (which is Christ), without the body, which is His church (Ephesians 1:22-23); and a headless body is dead no matter how you look at it! But what would you expect from a group of self-titled “change agents,” when the Bible clearly and specifically says that neither God, His Son, nor His word are open to or subject to change of any kind (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 119:89)? That is probably why, for those who wish to stay faithful to almighty God, His only begotten Son, and His divinely-inspired Word, God goes so far as to even directly and divinely warn them to, “fear the Lord,” and to “not associate with those given to change; for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin [that] can bring” (Proverbs 24:21-22)? (For a very frightening, parallel, side by side comparison of the apostate leaders of Jeremiah’s day who were blatantly leading God’s people then astray, with our simply updated version of their modern-day counterparts and cousins today known as the “change-agents,” please see http://www.clevelandcoc.com/?page_id=148.
Scripturally, to truly follow Christ, one must walk as He did: 1st John 2:3-6. So, how did He walk?
-In obedience to God’s Commands (1 John 2:3).
-In obedience to God’s Truth (1 John 2:4; see also John 17:17).
-With God’s will as the one true sustenance and most important consideration in His life (John 4:31-34).
-Pleasing God instead of Himself (John 5:30).
-Doing God’s will (John 6:38) no matter the cost or consequences (Matthew 26:36-44).
-Teaching only what God decreed (John 7:16-18, 8:28-29; 2nd Peter 1:20-22; 2nd Timothy 3:16-4:4), exactly as God wanted (John 14:30-31).
Scripturally, that is precisely, exactly, and exclusively what those who are truly following Jesus are to do: Matthew 7:21-23, 12:50; Luke 12:47; John 14:15-23. For anyone to claim to follow Jesus, and yet teach anything other than what God decreed in His Word, or worse still, to teach those things which counteract and/or contradict any part of it, are, according to God Himself, “hypocrites,” “liars,” and “hypocritical liars”- God’s words, not mine: Matthew 15:7-9; John 8:42-47; 1st John 2:3-6; 1st Timothy 4:1-3. And God says that their worship is in vain; Matthew 15:3-14.
The questions we must answer are: Who is truly our King? Who are we really following? Who will be King in the congregation we currently serve in years to come? Who will our children be following when we’re gone? We need to decide individually not only where we are, but where we’re going to be down the road. Will Jesus still be King in our congregations when we’re no longer around? Each one of us must personally accept the God-given responsibility to see that He is.
We also need to decide whether or not we truly have the Christian love, strength, and concern for any and all of our oft times zealous but sometimes still biblically ignorant and/or uninformed brethren (Romans 10:1-3), who are being unwittingly led astray by their own immediate religious leadership (Jeremiah, chapters 5 and 6, which are a must-see), to seek to help them back onto the straight and narrow (Matthew 7:13-23) if possible; because if we don’t have it, then we’d better question our own convictions and obedience, and repent (See Jude 12-19, which has to do with them; and then verses 20-23 which has to do with us).