CONTINUING STEADFASTLY

(Acts 2:42)

 

THE church at Jerusalem, typical in that it was the

first church of Christ, serves as a pattern. Those
who believed, repented, and were baptized, constituted
this church (Acts 2:41, 47).

How about the evangelism of modern times? After
the stress and sensationalism of the “big” meeting, a
number of the so-called “converts” can not be found.
Hundreds are reported “converted” who have never
been converted at all. They realize no responsibility
in the way of Christian service because they have not
been instructed. They do not continue steadfastly.

Baptism merely puts a man in Christ — the consum-
mation of the process of conversion (Gal. 3:27). It
merely changes his relationship and starts him on the
Christian pathway. He must continue steadfastly (Matt.
10:22; 1 Cor. 15:58; 16:13; Jas. 2:17; 2 Pet.l:5-ll).
The crown is only for him who is faithful unto the end.

The Christian must continue steadfastly in three
things :

1. The apostles 9 doctrine. Doctrine is teaching. This
is the true doctrine and is contained in the New Testa-
ment. This doctrine must be preached in its original
purity (1 Tim. 4:6, 16; Tit. 2: 7, 8; Heb. 13: 9). This

doctrine is spoken of as “the faith” in a collective way
(Col. 1 : 23 ; 1 Cor. 16 : 13 ; Jude 3) .

The fate of one who does not abide in this doctrine
(2 John 9-11).

The apostasy referred to by Paul, having reference
to Catholicism (2 Thess. 2:3, 4; 2 Tim. 4:3, 4).

Luther’s idea was to reform the Church of Rome by
restoring the Bible to the masses. Calvin’s idea was
that of reforming the Roman Church also. Wesley’s
idea was that of reforming the Church of England by
restoring its spirituality. Roger Williams sought to
reform all established churches by restoring the practice
of immersion. Each of these reformations pointed back
nearer to the original ground; but each subsided into
a denomination.

Barton W. Stone, John Smith and the Campbells
did not seek to reform any religious body; but to go
back of all denominationalism and restore the church of
Jesus Christ as it existed in the first century and was
instituted by the Spirit-filled apostles.

All ministers should consider the following article,
which recently appeared in the Literary Digest. This
article is reputed to have been written by “A Lay-
man,” appearing first in the Reformed Church Review.

“The sacred edifice heretofore dedicated to the worship of
almighty God has now, with its parish house, its club, and other
auxiliaries, become the center of secular functions. We now
go to church to hear sermons on the minimum wage, adequate
housing of the poor, the regulation of moving pictures and the
dance-halls, how to vote, and the latest vice-investigation report.
From this center agents and detectives of law and order societies
make report of nightly investigations; and it is said that even
ministers of the gospel keep silent watch during the hours of the
night and assist in rounding up inmates from disreputable

houses. They appear as prosecutors and witnesses “before grand
and petit juries in the Quarter Sessions Court. Billiard and
pool tables are being installed, dancing classes are organized,
and all sorts of amusements offered to entice the youth within
her sacred precincts. A child returning home from Sunday school
recently was asked by its mother the subject of the lesson.
It was how to keep the streets clean. Another Sunday, kindness
to dumb animals furnished the subject of the lesson, and this
was in a graded Sunday school up to date. A good woman
who had suffered greatly with a recent sorrow brought herself
to church, longing for some comforting words. She heard a
sermon on the Charity Organization Society and the Visiting
Nurse. . . .

” As we view it, the church, by thus allying itself with secular
movements, is endeavoring to cure the evils of the social life
by a species of legalism, striving to purify the sinful nature of
man by attacking the outside, forgetting that crimes and viola-
tions of law are the external marks only of an inward demorali-
zation and rottenness of the heart. The root of the evil in the
world is in the human heart; and to redeem the world, the inner
spiritual nature must be first purified. The crime committed is
the fruit of sin in the heart. You may punish the criminal for
violating the law, but that does not cure the sinful heart. The
Christian minister has to do with sin, not with crime. When,
therefore, he allies himself with the officers of the law in arrest-
ing criminals, he is departing from his proper function and
weakening his power and ability to cure the sin in the heart. . . .

“Ministers of the gospel are willing to preach on every sub-
ject under the sun except the gospel; and when they begrudgingly
hand it down, they almost tell us it is not divine, but a man-
made thing. They have relegated to the brush heap most of the
sacred beliefs, such as the miracles, original sin, the vicarious
atonement of Jesus Christ, the efficacy of baptism and the holy
communion, and many of them even deny the validity of their
own divine office as ministers of God. They prefer to hold their
office from the people, not of God. All comes from man, nothing
from God. Perhaps this is the reason so many ministers look
down on empty pews and complain bitterly that their members
do not come to hear the sermons prepared with so much labor. ”

“When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith
on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). That depends upon our
fidelity to preaching the gospel in its purity, and our
fidelity to the plea for the restoration of primitive
Christianity.

2. The breaking of bread. This has reference to the
Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42, 46). Christ as the Bread
of life (John 6:48-52). The! institution of the Lord’s
Supper by the Master (Matt. 26 : 26-29 ; 1 Cor. 11 : 23-
26). Purpose — to show forth the Lord’s death. A
memorial institution.

The breaking of bread the primary object of our
assembling together upon the first day of the week
(Acts 20:7). Preaching, the secondary object (Acts
20:7). The worship of the early Christians centered
in this institution. So it should be to-day.

Fidelity to the Lord’s Supper is necessary to our
ultimate salvation (John 6:53, 54); We must not
neglect this institution (Heb. 10:25).

Our neglect lies in the lack of training given our
children regarding the meaning and importance of the
memorial. They should be brought up in the home to
regard it as fundamental; and should be instructed in
the assembly of the church not to neglect it.

3. Prayer. The absolute necessity of prayer (Eph.
6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; Jas. 5:16).

Prayer is the province of the man who has been
redeemed, and not of the sinner, in the Christian dis-
pensation (John 9:31).

Lack of prayer among modern church-members.
Need of the family altar. We forget to pray except in
times of trouble and sorrow. Let us look upon God as
a personal heavenly Father.

The church that continues steadfastly in the apostles’
doctrine, in the breaking of bread and in prayer, will
be strong in the faith, hospitable, charitable, missionary
— abounding in all good works. “By their fruits ye
shall know them” (Matt. 7:15-20).