The Philippian Jailer

Glenn Colley preached a great sermon about Acts 16.30, where we have one of the three times in the Book of Acts that THE Greatest Question is asked. You ought to listen to it.

Don’t Join Any

Don’t Join Any!

From House to House Heart to Heart

All up and down this troubled land confusion reigns today;

As honest folks on every hand in doubt are heard to say;

“I cannot tell which church to join, there are so very many.”

To whom we offer this advice-you never should join any!

You cannot join the church of Christ, no man can vote you in,

The Lord Himself will add you, when He saves you from your sin.

Then take no chances, neighbor; this race but once you’ll run.

A church you’d join would be of man, and not the proper one.

Beware a church you cannot find within the sacred pages;

Be safe, dear sinner, rest your soul upon the Rock of Ages.

Be added to His blood-bought church, and drink salvation’s cup.

For every plant God planted not, it shall be rooted up.

No mourner’s bench on Pentecost, the inspired Peter fitted,

But said, “Repent and be baptized, that your sins may be remitted.”

The Lord, who saved and added those who did, that day, His will;

Will do the same for you, dear friend, for He is adding still.

Let not false teachers lead you wrong, nor close your eyes in slumber;

When Jesus said He’d build His church, ‘Twas not in plural number!

No choice of churches, neighbor mine, is found beneath the sun,

Though men may have ten thousand, our Savior had but one.


Facts You Must Face

Jim R. Lewis

Life Is Short:Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (Job 14:1,2). “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).

Read the rest by clicking H-E-R-E.

Leaving Behind

One of the finest bulletins I receive in my mailbox is the one from the fine church at Southaven, MS.  Wade Webster is the talented preacher for this great church.  I just posted an article from his August 24th bulletin, but I feel like I need to post the latest article I received as well.

Leaving Denominationalism Behind

by Wade Webster

Today, the world is filled with denominations, sects, and other unauthorized religious bodies.  it is sad that these man-made institutions are confusing and condemning those that believe their damnable doctrines.  Occasionally, an honest soul entrapped in denominationalism will see the truth, obey it, and be added by the Lord to the one church which is found in the New Testament (Ephesians 4:4; Acts 2:47).  Certainly, it requires a sincere person to walk away from a man-made institution and turn to the only church which was built by the Lord and purchased with His blood (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28).  Let’s notice some of the things required of those leaving denominations.

First,  a person must be willing to SEE the truth.

Unless a person is willing to see the things that God has said in His word, he will never leave a denomination.  The Jews are a good example of those who were not willing to see the truth.  Even though they had the Old Testament prophesies of Christ, had seen the miracles that He worked, and had heard the authority with which He spoke, they rejected Him as the Son of God.  They were not willing to see the truth.  Jesus said of them, “…this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15; Acts 28:27).  Many today, like the Jews, are unwilling to see the truth of God’s word.  The devil has blinded “the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (2 Corinthians 4:4).  May all men be as willing to see the truth as those 3,000 precious souls who responded in humble obedience on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:36-41).

Second, a person must be willing to SUBMIT to the truth.

It is of no benefit for a person to see the truth, if he is not willing to act on the truth.  Sadly, the Bible is filled with examples of those who clearly saw the truth but were unwilling to submit to it.  For example, the rich young ruler that asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life was unwilling to submit to what Jesus told him to do.  We read, “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:21-22).  King Agrippa is another classic example of a person who saw the truth, but was unwilling to submit to it.  Luke records, “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets?  I know that thou believest.  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian” (Acts 26:27-28).  Paul was certain that King Agrippa could see the truth.  The problem was not that Agrippa didn’t see the truth, but rather that he was not willing to submit to it.  The account of Felix is another good example of a man who saw the truth but was unwilling to submit to it.  Luke records that as Paul “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 26:28).  The trembling of Felix clearly reveals that Felix could see the truth.  Likewise, many people within denominational bodies can see the truth but because of pride, pressure, or popularity are unwilling to submit to it.

Third, a person must be willing to SUFFER for truth.

Those leaving denominations must be willing to suffer the ridicule and persecution of those still entrapped in error (Galatians 4:16).  Sadly, many people who know the truth are not willing to suffer for it.  The Bible records many examples of those unwilling to suffer for the truth.  For example, John records that the parents of a young man healed by Jesus refused to admit to the miracle for fear of the Jews.  We read, “His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himselfThese [words] spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:20-22).  Later, John recorded that “among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess [him], lest they should be put out of the synagogue” (John 12:42).  These chief rulers knew that Christ was the Son of God, but were unwilling to confess it and follow Him.  No doubt, many today clearly see the truth but are unwilling to suffer the persecution of friends and family members who have not yet submitted to the truth.

We must always strive to teach the truth to those enslaved in religious error.  While many will not believe the word of God, a few who are willing to see the truth, submit themselves to the truth, and suffer for the truth will leave man-made institutions and seek refuge in the kingdom of the Lord.

4D Salvation


by Wade Webster

Salvation is the central theme of the Bible from beginning to end.  In the book of Ephesians, Paul reveals that this great subject was an eternal purpose in the mind of God (Ephesians 3:8-11).  Since all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), this subject holds special importance to us all.  As we examine this Biblical subject, we will notice that salvation involves four basic things.

The Desire of God

Paul wrote, “For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).  God wants all men to be saved.  This desire moved Him to send His only begotten Son into the world so that all men could have the opportunity of salvation (John 3:16).  He remains “longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Although God earnestly desires that all men be saved, He knows, and has revealed to us, that many men will not chose the strait and narrow way of salvation (Matthew 7:13-14).

The Death of Christ

You cannot study the Bible without realizing that salvation involves the death of Christ.  Peter explained, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, [even] by him doth this man stand here before you whole.  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12).  Jesus is directly connected with our salvation.  The Hebrew writer wrote, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).  It was in His death that Christ shed His precious blood which washes away our sins when we are baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16).  Although Jesus’ death is directly linked to salvation, it is only when man is baptized into the death of Jesus that he contacts the blood of Jesus and reaps the benefits of His death.

The Direction of the Spirit

Man’s salvation comes about as a result of the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Please understand that I am not talking about some kind of miraculous guidance which the Holy Spirit provides separate and apart from the word.  The Holy Spirit directs us to salvation through the word. It is through the word that we learn that we are sinners in need of the help of God (Romans 3:23).  Furthermore, it is through the word that we come to believe that Christ is God’s Son (Romans 10:17).  Once this faith has been created within us, we are then directed through the word to repent of our sins (Luke 13:3), confess Christ (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38).  Paul understood that salvation involves the direction of the Holy Spirit through the word and consequently wrote that the gospel was “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16).

The Decision of Man

Although salvation involves God’s desire, Christ’s death, and the Holy Spirit’s direction, it ultimately involves the decision of man.  Man must make the final decision of whether or not he will be saved.  Being a free-moral agent, man has the ability to make choices (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; Psalms 119:30, 173).  While there are rewards to making the right choices (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8; Matthew 25:21), there are punishments which go with making the wrong choice (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Matthew 25:41-46; Revelation 21:8).  The choice that man makes regarding salvation will determine whether he spend an eternity in heaven or in hell.

In our study we have seen that salvation involves the desire of God, the death of Christ, the direction of the Holy Spirit, and the decision of man.  God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit have all done their part in salvation; it is now time for you to examine yourself and determine whether or not you have done your part.

–From, The Searcher, August 24, 2008.

TWO Questions

Two Different Questions: What and When?
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

“Do you believe that baptism is essential for salvation?” “Yes.” “So you believe in water regeneration?” “No.” “But you believe that you must be immersed in water before your sins are washed away?” “Yes.” “So you believe that the power to wash away your sins is in the water?” “No.” “How can you say you do not believe in water baptismal regeneration if you think that a sinner is not saved until after he is baptized?” “Because when one is saved and what saves a person are two different questions.”

Read more H-E-R-E.

Obey the Gospel

Greatest Question
DRL Note: Modern communication is pretty amazing. The article below was sent to me from
Jakarta, INDONESIA. It was sent to Steve Waller from Flat Rock, MI. I thought it was excellent and permission was attached to use it, so it is my pleasure to share that which is good with those who come by here

What Does It Mean To Obey The Gospel?

by Douglas Hoff

Anyone familiar with denominational churches in America
realizes each one has its own unique set of beliefs. That is what
distinguishes one from another. Certain Biblical principles are
emphasized while others are either minimized or ignored. Without fail,
denominational churches add or subtract from the gospel of Christ.
Though strenuously affirming adherence to God’s word they promote their
creeds which include the doctrines of men (Matt. 15:8,9).

One of the most important concepts in the New Testament is
obeying the gospel. God’s word has always stressed obedience with its
attendant blessings and punishment upon disobedience (Matt. 21:28-31;
Luke 12:47,48). Few, if any, denominations even mention the phrase
“obey the gospel.” A person could visit the services of almost any
denominational church for years and never hear it. Even if it were
mentioned, the pronouncement would not likely be in harmony with the
New Testament. That is exceedingly sad since many souls will perish
because they were not correctly told how to be saved from their sins.

Some preachers may omit this doctrine out of ignorance.
However, if that is the case, one can and should educate himself
regarding this vital matter. A man should not even be preaching if he
does not know the Biblical plan of salvation. Once he has come to a
knowledge of the truth he then has the awesome responsibility to
proclaim it (1 Tim. 2:3,4; 4:16). If he will not conform his teaching
to the Bible he has condemned himself and those who hear him (Gal.
1:6-9; 2 Tim. 3:7,8). Some refuse to teach gospel obedience because it
does not agree with their cherished yet false doctrines.

One’s eternal destiny depends upon whether he obeyed and
continues to “obey the gospel.” This expression is found only three
times in the Bible. Interestingly, each one is considered from the
negative perspective. Consider first Romans 10:16 which says, “But they
have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed
our report?” (NKJV). This verse’s connection to salvation is seen in
verses eight through fifteen. Those who disbelieve the word and thus do
not obey the gospel will be lost.

The second scripture is 2 Thessalonians 1:7,8 which reads,
“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
{8} in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and
on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV).
This is the plainest declaration of the three regarding the eternal
destiny of the disobedient.

The third reference is 1 Peter 4:17 which asks the
rhetorical question, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at
the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end
of those who do not obey the gospel of God? The clear implication is
that it will not be well with them. Please notice the distinction made
between the house of God (i.e., Christians) and the ones who “do not
obey the gospel.” As with Romans 10:16 this implies the necessity of
gospel obedience to be saved and become a Christian.

Having established the importance of this doctrine, let us
now answer the question which serves as the title of this article. How
can we learn what is involved in obeying the gospel? First, obedience
is man’s response to commands. Thus, we must ascertain which commands
are necessary to obtain salvation.

One of the most obvious requirements is faith (Heb. 11:6).
Belief is commanded of those who would be saved (Acts 16:31). This
results from hearing the gospel preached (Mark 16:15,16). God has also
commanded repentance (Acts 17:30). One desiring salvation must also
confess his faith in Jesus as the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:12; cf. Heb.

Now, while all of the preceding things are necessary, will
one be saved by doing them? The answer is “No.” How can this be? While
those acts are necessary they are not sufficient to be forgiven of
sins. But, one might protest, doesn’t Romans 10:9 say, “… that if you
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”? This is not
denied. However, the very next verse reveals a key fact – “For with the
heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation.” The preposition unto means leading up to a point.
If a person walks unto the door he has not yet entered the house. He
has stopped short of entrance. Only by going through the door will he
get into the building. Salvation is found in a specific location – IN
Christ (2 Tim. 2:10). One gets into Christ only by being baptized. Two
verses prove this beyond any doubt: “Or do you not know that as many of
us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”
(Rom 6:3; NKJV). The other is Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as
were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

This reveals there is one final command which one must
obey to have salvation. It is baptism (Acts 10:48). Numerous New
Testament passages corroborate this. A few to study are Acts 2:38, Acts
22:16 and 1 Peter 3:21. The last one states, “The like figure whereunto
even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth
of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ” (KJV). What could be plainer than that?

Paul’s discussion on justification by faith declares, “But
God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from
the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. {18} And
having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom
6:17,18; NKJV). Thus, the change from being a slave to sin to walking
“in newness of life” (v. 4) occurs after one has obeyed the gospel. The
gospel plan of salvation requires faith, repentance, confession AND

At one time many denominations gave at least lip service
to the necessity of baptism. That is, they would speak of people being
baptized in obedience to the Lord. They would ask so-called “newly
saved Christians” to participate in a baptismal ceremony to become
members of the local congregation. Generally, this event occurred at
some time planned weeks or months in the future. This allowed the
“pastor” to conveniently perform multiple baptisms at once. Their
“faith only” doctrine had them teaching a person was first saved, then
baptized. This contradicts the plain declaration Jesus made – “He who
believes AND is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Salvation does
not precede baptism; it comes afterward.

Today, very few denominations even mention baptism. What
does that tell you? The Lord’s church seeks to emphasize this doctrine
because of its importance to the eternal welfare of souls. Thus,
preachers of the gospel give it ample coverage in sermons, invitations,
classes and writing.

Have you obeyed the gospel? If not, “Be saved from this
perverse generation” (Acts 2:40; NKJV). Peter said to them, “Repent,
and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy
Spirit” (Acts 2:38; NKJV).


Douglas Hoff, preacher
Flat Rock Church of Christ
P.O. Box 12
Flat Rock, MI 48134-0012

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