Summary: In the Old Testament we are told the Israelites continually departed from God’s way.
Restoring God’s Way
In the Old Testament we are told the Israelites continually departed from God’s way and had to repent and return to God and restore His way in Israel. They faced judgment after judgment for their perverting of the ways of God. Paul told the Christians at Rome, “these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instructions upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1st Corinthians 10:11).
The Israelites were not the only people who strayed from God’s way. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another” (Galatians 1:6-7). In the New Testament we find warnings that there will be a falling away from God’s way (1st Timothy 4:1-3; 2nd Timothy 3:1-5; 4:1-5; 2nd Peter 2:1-2; Jude 3-4; Revelation 2:4-5). In these warnings we find the command to repent and return to God’s way. It would be foolishness to say it can not happen today.
In this 21st century there is a need to restore the “old paths” of Christianity and restore the biblical world view. In this sectarian religious world, with all its creeds, doctrines, teachings, ministries, ideas, and dependence on the experts it is becoming more difficult to find two churches in the same city teaching the same world view. Proclaiming Christianity in this century requires “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Paul asked the Corinthians, “Has Christ been divided?” (1st Corinthians 1:13), because everyone was going his own way and making the straight paths crooked.
The good news in this century is, the foundation of the Gospel has not been abandoned, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is God’s plan of salvation that is being revised. Many souls are being deceived by the revisions.
From the first century to the present there have been those who have tried to make God’s plan of salvation too simple. Some have made it too difficult. Some believe the worship and organization of the first century church is not good enough for the 21st century. They must be modernized. Others believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ is irrelevant in today’s modern society. It must be revised to meet the trend in the 21st century. The idea of a “straight and narrow path” that leads to heaven is too restrictive. The biblical record of God’s plan of salvation is merely the opinions of the out of touch with reality men of the first century.
God’s perfect way is being revised without His permission. This is why it must be restored. The question is “how can it be restored?” First, the pure Word of God must be planted in the hearts of men. When the pure Word of God is planted in the heart it will produce true Christians (wheat) (Matthew 13:24ff). When the pure Word of God is perverted, manipulated, and changed it produces tares (Matthew 13:24ff).
The second thing we must do is study the Word of God, test the spirits, and prove all things (Acts 17:11, 1st John 4:1; 1st Thessalonians 5:21). There are too many church members who depend on the clergy, the authors of books, the experts with their degrees to do the study and interpreting of God’s Word for them. This is a very dangerous thing to do. When we trust others to do our study for us we can be like the “blind following the blind” (Luke 6:39). This is why we must all learn as individuals to study our Bibles for ourselves and rightly divide the Word of God.
The third thing we must do is seek the authority for all that we read, hear, and do. We can know what comes from the Lord if what we read, hear, and do agrees with the teachings of Jesus. The apostles wrote and spoke as they were commanded to do by Jesus. If the Lord gave the apostles the authority to speak for Him (Matthew 16:19; 2nd Corinthians 10:8) we have a source to determine if what we read, hear, and do is the truth.
The work, worship, and organization of the church in this 21st century have become secular in nature. We are being moved by our society. In the first century the church was moving society. Instead of feeding the people spiritual food we are feeding their stomachs, this in its self is not wrong, but what good is a full stomach and an empty heart. Instead of coming together to worshipping God churches are coming together for entertainment. The churches are being institutionalized and the people are under the leadership of men and women who are not qualified to lead. They hold titles and positions nowhere designated in the Bible. We must go back to the Bible or we will become just another religion of the world.