IF EVERYONE AGREED WITH US
. . . WHAT THEN?
What happens after you accomplish your goal? Nothing? Once you reach your
goal is there nothing left to do?
What happens after you achieve your mission? Nothing? Once you complete
your mission, is there nothing left to do?
This morning my specific objective is to get inside the mind and the heart of each
Christian present. I want each Christian here to think and to feel. I want you to be
unable to stop thinking and feeling after you leave.
What you to think and feel are good, powerful thoughts. But I want those good,
powerful thoughts to trouble your mind and heart.
So I ask again, what happens after you accomplish your goal, after you achieve
- Let's begin to challenge our hearts and minds by thinking about Jesus.
- What was Jesus' specific mission, what was his specific goal when he was born?
- That is a reflex answer--all of us as Christians know that answer by heart.
- Jesus' specific mission on earth from his birth was to die for our sins.
- Jesus' specific goal was his crucifixion, his execution on a cross.
- That is why he came; he came to die on a cross.
- Did Jesus achieve his mission; did he reach his goal?
- He died for our sins.
- He was crucified on a cross just outside the city of Jerusalem.
- When Jesus accomplished his goal, when he achieved his mission, was there
anything left for Jesus to do?
- "He came to die on a cross for our sins, and he did."
- "He did exactly, completely what he was sent to do."
- "So, he went back to heaven, sat down by God, and was finished."
- Achieving his goal and mission made him Lord, Christ, and Savior.
- His death allowed him to begin his work as Lord, Christ, and Savior.
- Accomplishing his goal and mission did not complete his work; it only
began his work.
- His work was possible after he reached his goal, fulfilled his mission.
- What is the goal, what is the mission of the West-Ark congregation in the Fort
- Is our goal as a congregation to lead other religious people in Fort Smith to
biblical agreement on specific salvation and worship questions?
- For example, is our goal, is our mission to seek agreement on:
- The importance of baptism by immersion in accepting salvation?
- The importance of taking communion every Sunday?
- The importance of singing without musical instruments in worship?
- The importance of complete independence for every congregation?
- Can we define our goal and our mission as a church, in the terms of baptism,
communion, singing, and congregational independence?
- Please, please do not misunderstand my question.
- I fully agree that the New Testament clearly reveals that baptism by burial
in water is part of the salvation response of people who become
- I fully agree that the New Testament teaches that baptism is for the
remission of sins, that it does place one in Christ, and that it is involved in
the process of God adding the person to the church.
- I fully agree that the New Testament reveals that the Christians of the first
century gathered on Sundays to remember the death of Jesus by sharing
the Lord's supper.
- I fully agree that Christians in the first century sang in worship without the
use of instrumental music.
- I fully agree that congregations in the first century were independent even
though they cooperated.
- I fully agree that these matters need to be understood.
- My question is not should they be a part of our teaching; my question is
should these four things define our goal and mission as a congregation?
- Did you know that there are 7,959 verses in the New Testament? (Biblical
Analysis, C. H. Woodroof and Arvil Wellbaker, ADCO Publications, 1968, p. 251.)
- From the time of Jesus' resurrection and the establishment of the church,
there are 39 verses that use the words baptism, baptize, or baptized. That is
.005% of the verses in the New Testament. Does that mean baptism is not
important? Absolutely not--we cannot make baptism unimportant. But it does
mean that baptism is not a core subject.
- In the entire New Testament, there are 28 verses that speak about
communion or the Lord's supper. That is .004% of all the verses in the New
Testament. Does that mean the Lord's Supper is not important? Absolutely
not--we cannot make the Lord's Supper unimportant. But it does mean that
the Lord's Supper not a core subject.
- From Acts forward, singing is mentioned as a Christian activity in 3 verses.
That is .0004% of all the verses in the New Testament. Does that mean it is
not important? Absolutely not--we cannot make singing unimportant. But it
does mean that it singing in worship is not a core subject.
- Congregational independence is never discussed in the New Testament. The
word autonomy is not found in the New Testament. Does that mean
congregational independence is not important? Absolutely not. It means two
things. It means that we have a problem today that they did not have in the
first century. And it means that autonomy is not a core subject.
- Let's suppose we accomplished our goals regarding baptism, communion,
singing, and congregational independence in Fort Smith.
- Let's suppose that every religious group in Fort Smith that declares itself to be a
Christian group agreed with our study.
- Each group agrees on the purpose and method of baptism.
- Each group agrees that communion should be taken each Sunday.
- Each group agrees that we should sing without instruments in worship.
- Each group agrees that every congregation should be independent.
- They all agree that baptism by immersion for remission of sins, weekly
communion, singing without instruments in worship, and congregational
independence are consistent with the teachings of the New Testament.
- If every religious group in Fort Smith reached honest and complete agreement
with us on those four matters, what would be different in this congregation?
- Would indifferent husbands and wives begin to love each other?
- Would Christian husbands and wives who are abusive or neglectful stop
abusing and neglecting?
- Would indifferent or cold Christian parents become loving parents?
- Would Christian parents who ignore or neglect their children stop ignoring and
- Would homes that experience distress, hostility, and fighting become peaceful
- Would Christians who are in conflict with each other, feel contempt for each
other, or ignore each other stop acting that way?
- Would Christian husbands who commit adultery, or Christian wives who
commit adultery, or sexually active unmarried teens and adult singles stop?
- Would all dishonesty, lying, and deceitfulness stop in our lives?
- Would the quality of fellowship, encouragement, and mutual burden bearing
among Christians improve?
- Would our common addiction to materialism, to hunger for money, and to
pleasure come to a screeching halt?
- Would the quality of our praise to God, would the earnest intensity of our
prayers, would the serious study and application of God's message to our
lives make a gigantic step forward?
- If every religious body in Fort Smith agreed with us on baptism, communion,
singing in worship, and congregational independence, what would change in
- If we reached our goal, if we achieved our mission in those four matters, what
difference would it make in this congregation?
- Don't blow me off. Don't say to yourself, "David, that is silly nonsense."
- Would you really like to know how many wives or husbands in this
congregation have been abused in their marriages in the last fourteen years?
- Would you really like to know how many children in this congregation have
been abused in their homes in the last fourteen years?
- Would you really like to know how many families in this congregation have
been hurt by adultery or by sexually active teens in the last fourteen years?
- Would you really like to know how many lives have been severely hurt
through unethical, unwise, or dishonest decisions in the past fourteen years?
- Would you really like the know how many people have been spiritually
destroyed by greed in the last fourteen years?
- Would you really like to know how many people have mortally wounded
themselves in their passion for pleasure in the last fourteen years?
- If you sincerely think that I am talking nonsense, would you really like to know:
- The actual number of adult children that came from homes in this
congregation who are no longer spiritual, who no longer worship, and who are
no longer involved with God on any level?
- The actual number of people who used to be members of this congregation
who now never worship?
- Is all that is necessary to reverse all these situations just a matter of getting
everyone to agree on baptism, communion, singing, and congregational
- One core subject in the New Testament is Christian relationships--both with
Jesus Christ and with people.
- There is major emphasis on being a rebuilt people with new hearts and minds.
- This core teaching centers on being transformed, on understanding that God
recreated us, on understanding what it means to be new creatures in Christ.
- People genuinely converted to Jesus Christ grow to be different people.
- You see it in the way they treat their husbands or wives.
- You see it in the way they treat the people born to them.
- You see it in the way they help and care about other Christians.
- You see it in the way they treat people, any people.
- May I ask you some questions?
- Do you understand how to let Jesus be Lord in your life, heart, and mind?
- Do you understand how to let Jesus rebuild your heart, your mind, and your
- Has the church ever taught you how to do that? I did not ask if the church
told you to do it; I asked if the church taught you how to do it.
Do you think that Christianity is just a matter of doing church and agreeing on
baptism, communion, singing, and congregational independence?
Do you understand what I mean when I say that it is time to stop doing church? It
is time to learn how to be Christians.
Many of you do understand, and understand deeply, why you need to have a higher focus in your life and in this congregation.
It's all right that some don't yet understand--as long as they are willing to grow.
I am thankful that I can belong to Christ and be a part of His crucifixion through baptism.
I am thankful for Communion which reminds us of the Cross.
I love to sing and to praise God.
I value that no other congregation can tell us what we must do or understand.
There is more to driving a car than just knowing how to start it.
There is more to being a child of God than just starting the process.
We want people to see that we have a relationship with Jesus Christ and that we have a relationship with each other.
There is nothing more wonderful than for you to die to sin and be raised to life through baptism into Christ.
Surrender your life to Him.
We will rejoice if we can assist you in any way spiritually.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 11 January 1998
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