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Question #263



The Answer:

Somewhere along the line of communication a portion of this question seems to have been lost. It appears to inquire if it is a sin no absent oneself from worship on the first day of the week, especially when the preacher makes it difficult for the inquirer to worship in the study of the word because the preacher spends more time telling what he thinks than what the Bible says. For this worshipper the result is that his mind wanders to all sort of other thoughts.

Hebrews 10:25 answers the question when it commands that we not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Moreover, it urges us not to follow the example of those who do forsake the assembly. When the Bible says that a particular practice is a bad example, that the practice forbidden is a sin is well established. The passage makes no exception for those who find the sermons not to their liking.

As for the comments that go with the question, it is not the purpose of Thy Word Is Truth to critique preachers, especially when no more information is given than is given here. The real issue is whether the preacher is preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That said, it is always better for a preacher to say “the Bible says” than it is to say “I think.” The former is authority; the latter is authoritarian without cause. That is not to say that one man’s thought or opinion is as good as another’s. That is one of those sayings that sounds good but is not true. The opinion that the world is flat has never been as good as the opinion that the earth is round. When the preacher states an opinion, if your mind wanders let it wander to the scripture to determine whether the things said are true. Luke says that conduct is noble. Acts 17:11.

If the hearer's mind wanders to worldly things, the worshipper needs to review his own attitude toward worship. The preacher’s task is not to present the truth is a manner that pleases everybody. That is an impossible task. He is to present the truth as found in scripture. It is better with scripture citations, but can be done with very few. There are many allusions to scripture in the Bible that are not accompanied by even the name of the author, much less specific citations. Could it be the preacher is using scripture that the worshipper does not recognize because of insufficient knowledge? As stated above, no judgment can be rendered here. These thoughts are just for consideration and to challenge the thinking of the inquirer.

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)