By David J. Halter
A. What is a profession?
1. Webster: “a vocation or occupation requiring advanced training in some liberal art or science, and usually involving mental rather than manual work, as teaching, engineering, writing, etc.; especially, medicine, law or theology.”
2. Webster: “the body of persons in a particular calling or occupation.”
B. Is the Lord’s church a profession?
1. It is a vocation as evidenced by our text (Eph. 4:1).
2. The Christian is called into the church or kingdom by the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14; Acts 2:47).
3. Hence, yes the Lord’s church is a profession and its members are professionals.
C. Recognized professions of mankind:
D. Criteria for occupations, vocations seeking professional status:
1. The occupation must “render a unique and essential service.”
2. The occupation must have “selective, high standards of membership.”
3. The occupation must have “rigorous training for members.”
4. The occupation must be “self-regulatory in nature.”
II. Discussion-Question: Does the Lord’s church meet these criteria?
A. The Lord’s church offers this unique and essential service.
1. This means that the Lord’s church can do for mankind something that no other institution can – save his soul (Acts 2:47).
2. This unique service is the salvation of the world (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15,16).
a. The church (called out) must go into the world and preach the gospel.
b. The fields are white with harvest (Jn. 4:35).
3. We must pray that God will send the necessary laborers to reap this harvest (Mt. 9:37; Lk. 10:2).
4. This service cannot be performed by any other organization (Acts 2:47).
a. Salvation is to be found only in Christ (Acts 4:12).
b. No human organization (denominations, Masonry, etc.) can do this.
5. The church provides an essential service (Rom. 2:16,17).
a. Why? Because all will be judged one day (1 Tim. 1:11).
b. All will be judged out of the same book (Rev. 20:12; Acts 17:30,31).
B. The Lord’s church has high, selective standards of membership.
1. It is the strait and narrow (Mt. 7:13,14).
a. Just as certain honorary groups take in only a certain type of man or woman (Phi Beta Kappa) and restrict their membership.
b. Many seek, but few attain (Lk. 13:24).
2. God has set high standards for membership in His profession (Heb. 3:1).
a. Faith or belief (Jn. 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Jn. 2:2; Heb. 11:6).
b. Repentance from sin (Lk. 13:3,5; Acts 2:38; 8:22; Rev. 2:21).
c. Confession of faith (Acts 8:36,37; Mt. 10:32; Jn. 12:42; Rom. 10:10).
d. Baptism by immersion (Rom. 6:3,4; Jn. 3:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:20,21).
e. Then and only then, are we added (Acts 2:47).
f. Furthermore, a faithful life is then required (Rev. 2:10).
C. The Lord’s church provides a rigorous training program for its membership.
1. We are commanded to study (2 Tim. 2:15).
a. In order to rightly divide the word.
b. In order to put off fleshly appetites (Gal. 6:16).
2. Seek the kingdom first (Mt. 6:33).
a. Pray for enemies (Mt. 5:43-48).
b. Shine as lights (Mt. 5:13-16).
3. We must seek to add to our faith (2 Pet. 1:1-9).
a. We must continue to desire to grow (1 Pet. 2:2).
b. We must continue to grow (1 Pet. 3:18).
D. The Lord’s church is a self-regulatory body.
1. We must keep tradition out of it (Mt. 15:1-14).
a. Going back to the elements of the law (Col. 2:14-16).
b. Philosophy of man, vain deceit (Col. 2:8).
2. Personal pride will be kept out of the church (3 Jn. 5-12).
a. Elders must not lord it over the flock (1 Pet. 5:2).
b. No one person is more important than the total body.
3. False doctrine must be kept out (1 Jn. 4:1-6).
a The word of God is our measuring stick.
b. If true, it will shine forth (Psa. 12:6).
4. Unholy brethren must be dealt with (Gal. 6:1; 2 Thess. 3:6; Rom. 16:16,17).
a. First they must be restored if possible.
b. If not, then the purity of the church must be maintained (1 Cor. 5:6,7).
1. Only the Lord’s church offers the unique and essential service of saving souls (Acts 2:47; 4:12).
2. For one to be in it, he must meet high standards (Mt. 7:13,14).
3. Each member must study and prepare for judgment on his own (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15).
4. The Lord’s church must be self-regulatory to maintain its professional status (Mt. 18:15-18).
1. The Marines advertise: “The Marines Are Looking For a Few Good Men.”
2. Their slogan: “The Few, The Proud, The Marines.”
3. Are you willing to pay the price? (Acts 20:28; Mt. 11:28-30)
Guardian of Truth XXX: 19, pp. 590-591
October 2, 1986