|Volume 22 Number 9 September 2020||
Many people want to know what the bare minimum is with which they can get by in their lives. Also, some Christians want to do the minimum in their spiritual lives. However, does God allow a bare minimum? Jesus said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). If we really love God, we will want to do all we can.
Some may ask, “How many times a week do I have to go to church?” or “How much do I have to give?” or “How much do I have to do?” This is the wrong attitude. Jesus declared, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do’” (Luke 17:10). If we try to get by with the bare minimum in our spiritual lives, we will most likely be horribly surprised on Judgment Day, when we hear the Lord say, “Depart from Me,” because we have not faithfully done the will of the “Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21-23). It will be too late, then. It will be final. Can we do too much for the Lord? No!
We must do the most we can for the Lord. We must, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Our number one priority in this life must be to go to Heaven when this life is over. God “is a rewarder of those, who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must diligently seek God if we expect to receive the reward of Heaven. The Bible says, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). We must be “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15). We can definitely fall from the grace of God, even though Satan says we can’t.
What about those who are lukewarm? Jesus said, “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16). Those who are lukewarm make Jesus sick at His stomach. However, Jesus promised, “Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Let’s make sure we go to Heaven. Nothing is as important.
[Editor’s Note: Many members of the Lord’s church practice their Christianity as though it were merely an inconsequential club membership, in which they are unwilling to invest themselves or their money. Virtually every club has on its rolls a large percentage of such so-called members, and although not a club, the same is true, unfortunately, of the churches of Christ. It ought not be the case. Just think of what the church could be and how many more joyous souls there would be in eternity if more Christians exhibited religious conviction and conversion. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Jesus’ Prayer for Believers
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20-21). These passages should be familiar to any strong Bible student. These words are fundamental to the blessing of unity with the Father and the Son as well as with all who believe. This prayer has some powerful thoughts for all who claim to believe. Consider three.
Unity through the Apostles’ Words
Jesus specifically gave the means by which believers would be unified. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (John 17:20). Jesus prayed for the apostles as His own believers and then for those who would come to believe through the apostles’ words. Those words that came from the apostles which would produce unity would be and are the inspired Word of God, not their mere human points of view. This is seen in the context of these prayers in John 14:23-26, John 15:26-27 and John 16:12-13. The idea that religious people who claim to believe in Jesus can be united biblically through different faiths is denied categorically in 1 Corinthians 1:10, Ephesians 4:4-6 and 2 John 9-10. What the apostles said (1 Corinthians 2:12-13) and wrote (1 Corinthians 14:37; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:15-16), guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), was and is of God, not of men. There can be no unity among believers apart from “their word” (John 17:20).
Unity Tied to the Association with Deity
The Word of God through the apostles is the message that brings unity with the Godhead. John wrote further, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). There is no doubt that the apostles were in the right relationship with God. Paul wrote of God’s divine economy, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles” (1 Corinthians 12:28). Paul wrote to Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Timothy 4:16). He would follow that with the words, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3-4). Unity with God demands unity with the teaching (John 13:23-24).
Unity Turned toward Affecting the World
Jesus stated of this unity, “that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21).The unity of believers in the same truth makes a bold statement to the world. False teaching creates confusion (James 3:15-16) and is not of God (1 Corinthians 14:33). The world needs a clear message unmixed with the doctrines of men. It needs to be distinctive in its stand and wholeheartedly made a way of living by its adherents. The claim that one can believe whatever and still be right with God is scoffed at by the unbelieving world and condemned by the Bible (Matthew 7:21-23; 15:9). Truth, by definition, is consistent with itself and not self-contradictory.