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Question #140

What about the second coming? What about instrumental music?

Does the Church of Christ have a particular view on the Second Coming? The Instrumentalists tend to be A-millennial - at least when I was doing my M.R.E in one of their Seminaries - 1978 to 1980. I will always remember and appreciate the kindness paid to me at the Church of Christ in Delphi OH. Could never agree on No Instruments or I'd be with you., an argument from poverty since Southern Churches couldn't afford organs.

The Answer:

This question is two part, the first relating to the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the second to instrumental music.

First, does not attempt to teach “Church of Christ” doctrine. It attempts to teach what the Bible teaches, speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent, calling Bible things by Bible names and doing Bible things in Bible ways. Thus, the first question is interpreted to ask what the Bible teaches concerning the Parousia, or the Second Coming of Christ. The scripture teaches that Christ is never going to establish an earthly kingdom at some point in the future. The Scripture does teach that Christ’s kingdom, which is not of this world (John 18:36). A discussion of the end times may be found at Class: Questions, Lesson 5, End Times and Lesson 16, Premillennialism and the Rapture, at this web site. The Scripture further teaches that the kingdom that he came to establish has already been established. The coming of the kingdom had been prophesied. Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44. John the Baptist and Jesus both came preaching that the kingdom was “at hand.” Matt. 3:2; Matt. 4:17. When Jesus had chosen the twelve he sent them out to preach that the kingdom was “at hand.” Matt. 10:7. When he commissioned the seventy he commanded them to preach that the kingdom of God “is come nigh unto you.” Luke 10:9. In Matthew 16 Jesus promised his apostles that he would build his church and that they would receive the keys of the kingdom. If they were to receive the keys to the kingdom while on earth, the kingdom must have come within their lifetimes. Jesus in fact promised that some of his followers would “in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27. Mark’s account states that they will not see death until they see the kingdom “come with power.” Mark. 9:1. At the Ascension, Christ commanded the apostles to tarry in Jerusalem until they were “clothed with power from on high, Luke 24:46-49, and that they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” Acts 1:8. On the day of Pentecost they were filled with the Holy Spirit and by its power began to speak in tongues. Acts 2:1-4. The kingdom that was “at hand” and “nigh” had become a reality. That the kingdom existed in the first century cannot be denied because individuals were saved they were “delivered . . . from the power of darkness, and . . . translated . . . into the kingdom of his dear son.” Colossians 1:13. When Jesus returns it will not be to establish a kingdom, but to deliver up the kingdom. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” 1 Corinthians 15:24.

The second part of the question is not so much a question as a comment. It is an unfortunate comment used to justify a personal preference for the use of mechanical instruments in the worship of God. ABSOLUTELY NEVER has the rejection of mechanical instruments been justified on the basis of poverty, or inability to buy such instruments. The inquirer here must surely have read the many questions on this website that related to the subject. He made no attempt to respond to the arguments or to demonstrate where those arguments are incorrect or illogical. He has simply made an unjustified and unproven charge to justify his position. He admits that “he would be with us” but for the lack of instruments. He must, therefore, agree that we are with the Lord for surely he would not agree to be with us if that were not the case. To him no words are more appropriate than those of Joshua in the long ago: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15. Would to God that his answer would be the same as that of the people whom Joshua challenged: “ 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 17 For the LORD our God, he it is that [sought us and bought us by the blood of his son, to whom he gave all authority upon heaven and upon earth, by whom he has brought us out of the land of sin and translated us into the kingdom of his dear son. Therefore, we will seek not our own way but the way of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords].” Joshua 24:17, paraphrased and applied to the church.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)