Fred E. Dennis
By the above title, we refer to things that have been all but lost in the maze of denominationalism and sectarianism, but are found plainly revealed upon the pages of the New Testament. I believe that a careful study of a few of these things will prove beneficial.
The disciples of the Lord are called Christians in the New Testament; in fact, we have a specific prophecy regarding this name in Isa. 62:2: “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” Just as soon as the Gentiles had seen the righteousness of the Lord, this new name was given. In Acts 10 we have an account of the conversion of the first Gentile, Cornelius, and then in the very next chapter we have the new name: “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Again we have this name in Acts 26:28: “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Well did this heathen king know that if he obeyed the Gospel which Paul preached he would be a Christian. If we obey the Gospel as Paul and the other inspired preachers preached it, we, too, will be Christians only. This word Christian is in the New Testament once more: “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on his behalf” (1 Pet. 4:16).
Another thing that most religious people have lost is the fact that there is but one body, or church. This is too serious a matter to take the word of any man for it, but we must take the word of the Lord for it. In Eph. 4:4 we are told in so many words, “there is one body.” What is this body? Let us read the answer: “And he is the head of the body, the church.” (Col 1:18.) Once again: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22, 23). The body of Christ is the church of Christ, and the church of Christ is the body of Christ; and do not lose this fact: “But now are they many members, yet but one body” (1 Cor. 12:20).
Another lost thing is that faith comes by hearing the word. This we are told in Rom. 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Faith not only comes by hearing, but by hearing the right thing, and the right thing is “the word of God.” The inspired John in his record of the Gospel wrote it this way: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31).
Upon one occasion Peter said this: “Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe” (Acts 15:7). Thus it has been and thus it is. We “hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” Too many are trying to believe in the absence of “the word of the gospel.” This is an utter impossibility.
Repentance is produced or brought about by godly sorrow. This we are told in 2 Cor. 7:10: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Godly sorrow is not repentance, but it worketh repentance. We must not lose the fact that we must repent in order to be saved. Jesus said: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise parish” (Luke 13:3, 5). On the birthday of the church, when men had been caused to believe by hearing the word of the gospel, they cried out, asking Peter and the other apostles what they must do to be saved. They were told to “repent, and be baptized…for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:37, 38). This made them Christians, members of the body of Christ. It will make you the same thing.
In becoming a Christian we must be buried in baptism. This is all but lost in the religious world today. How anything could be lost that is so plainly taught in the word is beyond my poor powers of comprehension. Jesus said: “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). From such passages as Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; and Heb. 10:22 we learn that baptism is a burial in water. These passages are too plain to be misunderstood by an honest soul who is seeking the truth.
Another thing that is all but lost is the fact that Christians are to eat the Lord’s Supper on each Lord’s day. Thus they did in the early days of the church, and thus faithful Christians are to do until time shall be no more. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them” (Acts 20:7). What did these disciples at Troas come together for? The record says that they “came together to break bread.”
The way to raise money to support New Testament religion has been lost by very many. But this has not been lost because it is not taught in the New Testament. The very first inspired statement about the church after it came into being is this: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). We learn that the church at Corinth was instructed this way: “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him” (1 Cor. 16:2). If all Christians will give as they have been prospered, we will have the money with which to do the things that the Lord wants done. Of course it could be possible that we might want to do something that the Lord does not want done.
The kind of music God wants in the church has been lost sight of by very many. Of course we would not know what kind of music the Lord wants if it were not for the fact that he has told us. Men want certain things, and they make these wants known by what they say. God wants certain things in the church, and He has made these known by what He has said. For several hundred years, men have wanted instrumental music in the worship. God does not want this. I know He does not want it. for at least two reasons: First, He has not said that He wanted it. Second, the early church, guided by inspired men, did not have it. However, God does want vocal music. How do we know this? There are two reasons: First, He says so (1 Cor. 14:15: Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Second, vocal music was the kind, and the only kind, used by the early church. Instrumental music is a comparatively modern innovation without one syllable of authority from God’s blessed Book.
Before closing this article I want to call attention to one more lost thing. Many of us have lost it. That thing is godly living. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Tit. 2:11-12). My dear reader, do these three adverbs describe the way you are living? If God were giving your record, would he say that you are living “soberly, righteously, and godly”? And please note that this living is to be done now—“in this present world.” “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).