Choose the church of your choice. Go where you are spiritually fed. Everyone should worship as they chose. Those statements used to be heard from others, but now they are coming from members of the Churches of God (in certain branches) as well as many who are no longer unaffiliated. This article will briefly cover scriptures related to this subject to determine if this is the way the Bible teaches we should go.
In Philippians 2:12b it says to, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Many seem to think that means to worship any way you please. Statements are made such as "it is fine as long as you FEEL spiritually fed." Is it okay to believe on Jesus and do what you want? That is what many professing Christians say. Let's see what the Bible says.
"And Jesus said to those Jews that believed on him, 'If you continue in my word , then you are my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32). Re-read the above passage; note that just "believing on him" does not make one a disciple of Jesus. These people were not disciples of Jesus. We know this because read what Jesus said to them a few verses later: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because their was no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth you believe me not" (John 8:43,44). (For my views on other churches, please see the article COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions).
The Bible discusses activities that his true Church should be engaged in. His final words in the book of Matthew are:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto to the end of the world. Amen"
Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus made a similar statement in Acts 1:8b,
"... ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth".
In other word, his disciples were supposed to do the work of preaching the gospel (or good news) of ALL that Jesus had taught them to do. Teaching all that Jesus taught in the New Testament is something that has clearly been done by the Continuing Church of God. The following are links with that, which prove that to be so:
MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?, Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the Beatitudes, Matthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and Faith, Matthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical Agenda, Matthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights, -14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and Faith, Matthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & Peter, Matthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and Forgiveness, Matthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?, Matthew 21-23: 'Palm Sunday,' Come as You Are?, and the Greatest Commandments, Matthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire 'Gospel of Luke': Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the Census, Luke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the Ministry, Luke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and Signs, Luke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow Way, Luke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus' words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire 'Gospel of John': John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & Heaven, John 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life, John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’, John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of Jesus, John 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.
REVELATION This is a link to a sermon covering words Jesus spoke as recorded in the Book of Revelation and in first and second Corinthians: Revelation: Jesus’ Final Words..
Some feel that we should feel free to worship as we please. Let's look at Jeremiah 10:2-3a, "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain...". Notice that the customs of the people are vain - not true, nor a productive work. That is because there's nothing like God (Jer 10:6-7). Many people today worship God in ways that have pre-Christian, non-biblically sanctioned ways.
Christians are admonished to spend time with other real Christians:
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; (Romans 12:10)
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Christians are to be separate from those that are false:
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."(2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
For more on being separate, check out the articles Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? and Being Separate: What Did Herbert W. Armstrong and the Bible Teach About Where Not to Fellowship?
Is there a false religion that mentions Jesus? Let's look at Jude 3,4 which states,
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto to the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained unto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God unto lasciviousness, and denying the Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Some feel that the work of God will be performed by a large church or group. Is the work big or small? Is it easy to be part of or difficult? Matthew 7:13-14 gives us some of the answers when it states,
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
Are there other ways that are acceptable? John 10:1b,14 states,
"...He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a liar...I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine".
If we don't choose the church of our choice, then how does it work? John 6:44,65b states,
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up on the last day...no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my father." John 15:16 continues to explain it, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
Jesus taught that we are then to seek first the Kingdom of God, not our perceived needs (Matthew 6:33). Jeremiah 10:11 reminds us that the gods that did not make the earth shall perish (therefore they should not be worshiped). Matthew 7:15-19 warns us that there are false teachers who look good on the outside, but verses 18-20 tells us how to tell the difference between them. Matthew 7:20 states, "Wherefore by their fruits shall you know them".
Let's go back to Philippians. Philippians 2:12,13 states, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." This strongly suggests that we are called to be part of the work of God.
We are to follow the calling of God and the words of God to be part of his work. This includes abiding in truth and not accepting false religious teachings. Yes we are to attend the church of choice, but not our own. God's Church will be obeying Jesus and preaching his message around the globe. Which church are we to attend? We are to attend the Church of God's choice.
Which do I believe is the most faithful? That would be the Continuing Church of God.
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An article of possible interest may be The Philadelphia Church Era.
B. Thiel. Attending the Church of Choice. www.cogwriter.com (c) 1998/2006/2007/2009/2012/2013 2016 0227