By Lowell Kibler
(Note: Lowell Kibler works with the church of Christ, 873 Oakwood Road, Charleston, WV 25314. He prepared this article in a bulletin format with the services on the back page for use in personal work. We commend this effort and are reproducing it here in hopes of stimulating similar efforts in other areas. Ron Halbrook)
Yes neighbor, Hell is real. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). We are to “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:28). The judgment scene is pictured in Matthew 25. The “sheep” are separated from the “goats.” To the goats on the left, Jesus will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Who will go to Hell? “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). Think of it! The majority are going to be lost! Why? Because in failure to obey the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-9), they reject a loving appeal from the Heavenly Father to repent and turn from sin.
Heaven is real too; it is the “city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). You too can be among the righteous few who will go into life eternal (Matt. 25:46). God would “have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Friend, if you miss heaven, you will have missed it all. This life is temporary and uncertain. Death is sure. You have the choice of dying in your sins or in the Lord. The Lord is longsuffering and lovingly desirous of your repentance and obedience (2 Pet. 3:9; Heb. 5:9). His grace and mercy is extended to you through the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom.1:16).
You must believe, as one cannot please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).
You must repent (change your mind) or perish (Lk. 13:3).
You must confess Christ (Matt. 10:32).
You must be immersed in water for forgiveness of your sins and to be added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:38,47; 8:36).
You must then walk in newness of life, having been crucified with Christ (dead to sin), to no longer serve sin but to serve the cause of righteousness (Rom. 6:4-5,18).
You must be faithful therein until death (Rev. 2: 10).
Sin takes many deceitful forms. Satan appeals to us through the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:15). We must continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42), which is the doctrine or teaching of Christ. If we do not abide in it, we have not God (2 Jn. 9). Many false teachers are actively serving Satan clothed as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
Their humanly devised doctrines will make you two-fold more the child of Hell (Matt. 23:15), and render your worship vain (Matt. 15:9). Churches which use mechanical music, observe days unknown to the New Testament, and have programs of “good” works unauthorized by King Jesus are leading people to eternal destruction by holding forth a perverted gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).
Who Are We?
We are simply a band of disciples of Jesus Christ who seek to be the kind of church you can read about in your New Testament. In order to be so described, we seek to speak as the oracles of God (1 Pet. 4:11). We seek the old paths (Jer. 6:16), and encourage others to seek the way of salvation with us. Jesus built only one church (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23). We must stay within the bounds of those things authorized by the Lord Himself (Col. 3:17), in order to be a church that belongs to the Lord. To depart from His teaching by addition, subtraction, or substitution, is to so sin as to lose one’s soul (2 Jn. 9).
The Lord gave us an example of the church in the book of Acts. When we worship and work as that church did, we are recognized by the Lord as a group of His people. As we study the New Testament, we find that first century Christians worshiped God through five major areas each first day of the week:
Singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
Prayer (Acts 2:42; 1 Tim. 2:1-8).
The Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20-34).
Giving As Prospered (1 Cor. 16:2).
Preaching And Teaching (Acts 20:7; 19:8-9).
The work of the church is simple. Its primary function is to support the truth and to spread the truth, the gospel (1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Thess. 1:8). This work is considered of greater importance than benevolence to the needy saints (Acts 6:14). If a church has greater benevolent needs than it can handle, other churches may send to the elders of the needy church (Acts 11:27-30). The church is also to teach its own members. This work is neatly summed up in Ephesians 4:12, “For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (NASV).
Friend, the gospel was preached throughout the whole world in Paul’s day (Col. 1:23). Souls were saved, God was worshiped and served, and needy saints were cared for without sponsoring churches, missionary societies, human headquarters, ball teams, gymnasiums, or any doctrine or practice having its origin in the imagination of man. It was done by following the teaching of Christ. God’s plan will work if we will work God’s plan.
Today we are flooded with schemes, fun, food, and frolic designed to capture and hold attention. We plead for a return to simple New Testament Christianity, a return to the Bible. If the gospel, salvation, and eternal life do not hold attention, then we must recognize that human substitutions cannot be of any spiritual benefit. If you are interested in eternal life rather than the social life, and spiritual food instead of coffee, cake, and chicken, why not come and investigate the truth with us? Someone said of churches which use such appeals that they were spiritually as dead as the chicken and as cold as the ice-cream! The Holy Spirit said through Paul, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” (1 Cor. 11:22)
We do not exist in this community for selfish purposes or to foster a party of our own. The church is God’s creation, not a product of our minds. We urge you to come out of the lawlessness (iniquity) of this world and false churches. Come to Jesus and find rest unto your soul (Matt. 11:28). On judgment day, Jesus will say to those who practice things for which they have no authority, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23).
Our pulpit is open to any sincere person with an opposing viewpoint at any mutually agreeable time. If we have not the truth, we want it. Truth does not fear investigation, but error will suffer from it. Perhaps that is the reason most denominations have closed their doors to any examination of their teaching.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 14, pp. 417, 440
July 17, 1986