Welcome to the footnote¹ blog. Our goal each day is to examine a verse and give a short summary in commentary form or simply an encouraging note to help you remain faithful to God throughout the week. Either way we hope that the footnote¹ blog will comfort you through God's word and give you a better understanding of His will.
“Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” (Rev. 2.6, ESV)
Many people believe it does not matter what one believes. Specifically speaking, one will say that it does not matter since we all believe in Jesus and beyond that, we are all on the way to heaven, just taking different paths. However, are there multiple paths to heaven (see John 14.6)?
Interestingly, one will not find the mindset that it does not matter in Scripture. In fact, the Bible calls for unity of believers (John 17.20-23), unity of doctrine (Eph. 4.1-6), and claims that only the truth will set us free (John 8.32) – while error will damn us to hell (2 Thess. 2.10-12).
Jesus answers the error of taking the position that one may believe whatever they will if Jesus is forefront in their life by commending the church at Ephesus for hating the doctrine (or teachings) of the Nicolaitans (cf. Rev. 2.15) – an apostate group of people misleading the disciples. If one can believe whatever doctrine – regardless of whether it is biblical or not, and still be faithful to God, why did Jesus hate the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, and why did the church at Ephesus reject them?
We contend it is because one can believe a lie and be damned. Have you believed a lie? How would you know? You can test all Bible teachers against God’s word (Acts 17.11; 1 Thess. 5.21; 1 John 4.1, etc.), including this writer.
Here is one example. Many teach baptism does not save. Have you heard this? Do you believe it? Notice the apostle Peter’s words (a spokesmen and messenger of Jesus Christ): “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3.21, ESV).
- The Bible teaches that baptism saves (Mark 16.16; Acts 2.38; 22.16, etc.).
- Many men say baptism does not save.
- Which one is the truth? Which source will you listen to? Will you believe a lie?
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1.6-7, ESV)¹
¹This writer recently went to a funeral where the speaker claimed that “it does not matter what faith you are as long as Jesus is your Savior” (paraphrased). However, the Bible teaches us the complete opposite. It is sad that this man claims to speak for God and yet he spoke something that God did not say.
Paul, an inspired apostle of Jesus told the 1st century Christians that there was no other gospel. In fact, he even taught that there is only “one faith” (Eph. 4.5) whereas the gentlemen above spoke as if there are many faiths. Admittedly, while there are many “faiths” as seen in the religious world, God only approves of one. [Note: “the faith” is the same thing in Scripture as the gospel. If there are many faiths, there are many gospels. For a study of this, please contact us.]
Paul continued, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1.8-9, ESV). Notice that he repeated himself and that his words bring serious consequences! It matters what we believe! We cannot just claim to believe one thing either not taught in Scripture or contrary to Scripture and then claim to be a follower of Jesus! If we are following Jesus it is because we are listening to Him and obeying His will on His terms.
Please understand that the world and false teachers will tell you that you can religiously believe and practice whatever you want, but the Bible teaches otherwise. The question is, “Will you accept what the Bible says or will you be like those who believe a lie?” (See 2 Thess. 2.10-12)
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2.5, ESV)¹
¹What is the mind Paul wants us to have?
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2.1-8, ESV)
First, he explains that joy comes about by “being of the same mind” and “having the same love”, and second, when we “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” He continues, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”.
One way to be of the same mind is to be united in the doctrine of Christ (Eph. 4.1-6). However, we cannot live in harmony with one another or be of one mind unless we first forsake a haughty attitude by putting others before us. This creates true joy in our life and causes us to have the mind of Christ!
At the Franklin Drive church of Christ you can find a loving group of Christians that are striving to practice Paul’s instructions. We would love to have you visit with us and let us show you what you’re missing! E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905 for more questions about God’s will for your life or about the church.