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?
“And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6.7, ESV)¹
¹The apostle Paul’s purpose in preaching the gospel was to bring people to the obedience of the truth. We read in Romans, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (Rom. 1.5, ESV) and “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6.17-18, ESV), and “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith…” (Rom. 16.25-26, ESV).
Peter taught, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God...” (1 Peter 1.22, ESV).
It is often said that all one has to do to be saved is to believe in Jesus. However, we learn from these verses that one must obey. Since “the faith” and “the truth” are “the gospel,” then what Luke records in Acts about the priest is that they were obeying the gospel. While there are facts of the gospel (Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, etc.), there are also commands of the gospel. These commands involve not only believing in Jesus (Acts 16.31), but loving God (Matt. 22.37), having a godly sorrow for the sins committed against Him (2 Cor. 7.10), repentance (Acts 2.38), confession of Christ (Matt. 10.32), baptism in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.38), and faithfulness unto death (Rev. 2.10). If you've done these things and continue to remain faithul then you are like the Priest who became obedient to the faith!
“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 I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4.16, ESV)¹
¹Paul recorded some blunt things in the book of Galatians. For example, please take the time to read Gal. 1.6-10; 2.4-5, 11-14; 3.1, 10; 4.9-11, 20-21; 5.2-4, 7-9, 12, 19-21, etc.
It was necessary for him to be forceful with these brethren because some were seeking to return to the law of Moses thereby forfeiting their salvation. Therefore, they had to be warned!
It is in this letter that Paul questions the Galatians who were turning to a different (false) gospel: “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
Without fail, any who proclaim the truth today will make enemies. It is one of those things that “come with the job”. One reason why those who speak the truth make enemies is because the truth (light) exposes the error (darkness). People in sin and who want life on their terms do not like for someone to condemn them of their actions. It takes a humble person who hates sin and is willing to acknowledge the error of his ways before he will admit any wrongdoing.
Though Paul had something to say to these brethren, whatever he said was motivated by his love for them (Eph. 4.15). The same is true for us. We publish daily articles all designed to bring people to Christ or to help Christians remain faithful to Him. Each article written and each sermon preached at the Franklin Drive church of Christ is prepared with love and seeks for the goal of everyone’s salvation.
If you’re interested in learning more about God’s will please contact us! We may have some hard things to say, but if you’re willing to listen with a desire to obey as you learn, then you will be on your way to fellowship with God and the joy and peace that comes with knowing Christ! E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3.16, ESV)¹
¹John 3.16 is a verse that is loved by all in the religious world. In fact, it is the gospel (good news) message in a nutshell. Unfortunately, too many people distort this wonderful verse and teach something Jesus does not mean.
First, some teach that one must simply believe in Christ (as in a mental faith that Jesus lived and died for us), and secondly, that this belief (mental faith) is all one needs to be saved. While it is true that Jesus said we must believe to be saved, surely no one would exclude repentance from our sins, confession of our faith that we believe in Jesus, baptism in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, and obedience and faithfulness to His will for the rest of our lives (Acts 17.30-31; Rom. 10.9-10; Acts 2.38; Luke 6.46).
Simply put, the believer of John 3.16 is obedient to Christ in all that He commands or he is not the believer Jesus is speaking about!
Will you obey Jesus today?
‘G’od so loved the world, that he gave his
‘S’on that whoever believes in him should not
‘P’erish but have
That’s the GOSPEL!
If you’re interested in learning more about the gospel, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.