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Scripture Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17
Apostolic Doctrine and Our Customs
1. The apostles’ doctrine is the “tradition” we must ‘hold fast’, Acts 2:42; 2 Ths 2:15; 3:4; 2 Tim 1:13.
2. The ability to distinguish between apostolic teaching and man’s customary practices can be the difference between being an iconoclast on the one hand and a binder of human opinions on the other.
3. Failing to know how to establish and apply Bible authority, will bind where we should loose and loose where we should bind, Matt 16:19.
4. Inspect our worship assembly and understand the difference between allowable custom and divine truth, Heb 10:25; 1 Cor 14:26.
I. SINGING PSALMS, HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS, Eph 5:19; Col 3:16.
A. Worship in Song is Mandated, not Entertainment, Heb 2:12; Eph 5:19.
-Adoration and praise given to the Lord.
B. Congregational Singing is Mandated, not Solos, Quartets, etc.
1. Speaking to one another, Eph 5:19.
2. Teaching and admonishing one another, Col 3:16.
C. We Use Aids to help us Obey the Apostolic Tradition of Worshiping in Song (these cannot be mandated). (1 Cor 14:40)
1. Song leader, song books, pitch pipe, etc. are all aids we customarily use (routine, our course of habit), but do not bind.
2. Using aid does not change the force/effect of what we do: Sing.
II. EATING THE LORD’S SUPPER.
A. We Eat it as a Memorial of the Death of Jesus, Matt 26:26-30; 1 Cor 11:23-26; 10:16.
2. Unleavened bread and fruit of the vine are required, not optional.
B. We Use Aids to help us Obey the Apostolic Tradition of Eating the Lord’s Supper (these cannot be mandated).
1. A song to “prepare our minds” to partake of the supper.
a. Such songs are for worship and are good.
b. Could we scripturally eat the LS without first singing such a song? Yes! Acts 20:7
2. Making comments before we eat the supper.
a. These expedite an atmosphere of remembering Christ’s death.
b. But these are not mandatory before we eat.
3. The comments we make before we eat the supper.
a. Perhaps a Scripture reading that reminds us of the sacrifice.
b. Perhaps comments about the death – but let us be accurate.
c. For example: “broken body” of Jesus:
-Figuratively, we can say it was broken (in death). But…
-Actually, none of His bones were broken in death, Jno 19:33-36.
4. Must be careful that we do not turn the LS into a ritual/ceremony.
a. Some are beginning to sing while the church eats the LS: Is this authorized? No. cf. Matt 26:30
b. Could we also have one man speaking during the eating? (Cf. Catholic Mass or denominational “Communion Liturgy”)
5. Using an aid does not change the force/effect of what we do: Eat in remembrance of Christ.
III. THE GOSPEL INVITATION.
A. Preaching the Gospel Demands Calling Sinners to Respond to God’s Call to be Saved, Acts 2:21-22, 36-41; 16:30-31.
1. Sinners cannot know what they need and what God wants them to believe and do unless we tell them (by preaching), Rom 10:13-14.
2. Bible pattern of preaching includes invitation to obey (Acts 2:40).
3. This is why; “if you have a need, come while we stand and sing” is often not enough useful, gospel information.
* 4. Some appear to view the gospel invitation as “church of Christ custom” and forgotten it is a part of the apostolic doctrine!
a. The gospel invitation is not a mere “custom” we can do without.
b. Without gospel persuasion, the lost will not know their sin or what to do to be saved! Acts 18:4, 8; 24:24-25; 28:23-24
B. While the Gospel Invitation is not Customary (optional), We Do Use Aids to help Call Sinners to Salvation (these cannot be mandated).
1. Invitation song: Singing a song immediately after the sermon. The nature of such songs aid us in considering our spiritual condition.
2. Could a sinner respond to the gospel invitation without an invitation song? Yes, of course. It is the gospel invitation that is necessary, not the song after it. (cf. India)
3. Using an aid does not change the force/effect of what we do: Exhorting sinners to be saved.
Customs (aids) cannot add to or take from the divine tradition revealed in God’s word. We must discern the difference to abide in truth, Phil 1:9-11.