August 17, 2017

Religious – But Wrong (No. 5

By Ray Ferris

We have now studied examples from the New Testament which show that men may very well be honest,


Sincere, and extremely religious but still be in a lost condition. When we read of men like Saul of Tarsus,
Apollos, The twelve who were re-baptized in Ephesus, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunuch, and Ray Ferris many
others that could be mentioned, and realize that they were wrong in their religious practices it ought to cause
us to meditate very soberly about our own conditions. Everyone of us ought to ask himself over and over again,
not just about his honesty and sincerity, but also about the authenticity and accuracy of that which is believed
and practiced. Are you sure you are religiously right? Am I sure what I do is from God's plan?


Examples of Their Mistakes


Notice the mistakes these people had made. Saul of Tarsus was completely antagonistic to the whole idea
of Christianity. He not only rejected it h:mielf, but tried to persecute in every way possible those who did accept
it. He would have gladly removed "this way" completely from the face of the earth. There are many religious
people today, many of them honest and sincere, who feel the same way about pure and simple Christianity. Any
time a nation or group of people strive by force to promote their own religious ideas, or to prevent others from
doing so, they but give evidence of failing to understand the principles upon which Christ's way is founded!
They are guilty of the same mistake Paul was making.


Yes, there are many religious people who thus stand in the shoes of Saul of Tarsus. Look at such countries
as Italy, Spain, much of Central and South America, and others like these nations. Political force is used to.
advance the prominent religion, and to restrain and shut out all others as much as possible. There


is a lesson there for all of us in this land. What will happen when Catholicism gains its desired place in
governmental circles in our country ?


Apollos was a good man who had learned much of the way of Jesus, but he was not preaching all of the
message of salvation, knowing only the baptism originated by John who was to prepare the way for Christ. He
was misleading men into a plan that could not save their souls. He would have lost his own soul if he had
refused to change when taught "the way of the Lord more perfectly." There are many in our day who teach part
of the gospel of Christ, but who do not deliver all of the message. Yes, they even make the mistake of preaching
the wrong baptism as Apollos did.


Some teach that baptism is unessential for salvation from sin; others that sprinkling, or pouring, will do
just as well as immersion; still others that babies and other unbelievers are fit subjects for baptism ; etc. Read
these passages to see the necessity of baptism, and that it is a burial in water - immersion : Acts 2:38; Gal.
3:27; 1. Pet. 3:21 ; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; and many others too numerous to mention. Matt. 28:19-20 and
Mark 16: 15-16 show that the baptism authorized by Jesus was for believers, and not for the untaught and
unbelievers.


The twelve disciples in Ephesus had become disciples of the Lord as far as their knowledge took them, but
they had accepted the wrong baptism. They had to be re-baptized - Acts 19:1-7. Cornelius and the eunuch from
Ethiopia were required to render obedience to a different plan than that which they first endorsed. We cannot
go into detail to discuss the mistakes of all we have studied, nor the many we have not mentioned, that could
be mentioned. The question we notice now is this: Where is the authority for that which you believe and
practice in your religious life?


Conditions Which Prevail Without God's Authority


Here are but a few examples of certain things present in the religions of men that have no sanction from
God's word. Do you perform a rite called baptism (sprinkling or pouring) upon little babies? It was never done
in the New Testament. The only authority for it is an apostate church. Do you think men are saved without
burial in water for the remission of sins? That is another perversion of the gospel and was instituted by men
against the will of the Lord. Do you use mechanical instruments in your worship of God? It was never done
in the early church. The first record of it was more than 500 years after Christ died. It was the cause of great
controversy when inserted in worship. Do you look to an earthly head for the organization of which you are
a member? Jesus is the only head of the church He established. Do councils, synods, and conferences regulate
the practices of the church where you worship? They did not in the -days of the New Testament. There is no
end to the questions that could be asked showing the changes that have come over the religious bodies that now
exist to make them altogether different from the Lord's church.


Jesus established only one church, and it is called His body, Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23 and in
many other passages.


In Eph. 4:4-6 Paul emphasized the oneness of that church. There is only one body just as there is only one
God, one Christ, and one Holy Spirit. Can you read of the church of which you are a member in the New
Testament, or is it a man-made institution with a man made name and using a man-made creed for its doctrine?
In Psalm 127:1 we read "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it . . ." In Matthew
15:13 Jesus said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up." He was
speaking of religious leaders and their leading astray of the people of His day.


When was the church of which you are a member established? Where was it founded? Who originated the
peculiar doctrine that causes it to, be different and seperate from other religious bodies? Friend, you must think
seriously about these questions. The eternal destiny of your soul, the most priceless possession in the world to
you, is at stake. You cannot afford to be wrong.


Conclusion


It is not enough to, be what mother and father were religiously. It is not enough to join your wife or
husband so that a family may be united religiously. It is not enough to be honest and earnest, sincere and
zealous in your religion. Hear these words of Jesus in the wonderful Sermon on the Mount: "Not every one that
saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which
is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy
name have cast out devils? and in thy name done manv wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt. 7:21-23. Yes, they are religious people, but
they will be lost.


Such Passages as II Tim. 3:14-17; II Pet. 1 :3; Jude 3; and Gal. 1 :6-9 are evidence that the bible furnishes
me with all that I need to please God; to do everything that is worthwhile in God's sight. They also demonstrate
the terrible end of the one who would deviate therefrom.


Again, in conclusion I ask, are you sure you are religiously right? How terrible to go through this life,
religious -- BUT WRONG!


Truth Magazine II:4, pp.12-13
January 1958

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