Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 9, 1964
NUMBER 35, PAGE 2,10a

The Platform Of Christ's Church

Homer Hailey

In seeking an objective men sometimes state the platform on which that objective is sought. Our objective at this time is not a setting forth of the "creed" of the church, for the church of Christ has no creed but Christ, no article of faith except Christ, no church manual save the Bible, no confession of faith but that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. Instead, it is a setting forth of the platform upon which the church stands and upon which it comes before the world. I shall state briefly this platform upon which the apostles stood in years gone by. It is:

PLANK ONE: The Bible, the Word of God, is the complete revelation of God. Jesus said, "And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ." (John 17:3)

1. All men must know God: hear, learn, come. 2. But men can know God only as God has revealed Himself, made Himself known. 3. Therefore, God must have made Himself known, must have revealed Himself completely for man to know Him.

Jesus further claimed that God was revealing Himself in the Son. "Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip?" said Jesus. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, but the Father abiding in me doeth his works." (John 14:9, 10)

This word which the Father spoke through Him, he committed to the apostles, which they were to deliver unto the world. He prayed to the Father: "I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do....For the words which thou gayest me I have given unto them; and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me....I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.... Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word." (John 17:4, 8, 14, 20)

However, in delivering the word of God to the world through the apostles, Jesus left them not without divine guidance. Hear Him once more as He speaks to the apostles, saving, "But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you." (John 14:26) "Howbeit when lie, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come." (John 16:13)

Faith Delivered Once For All

The question becomes a simple one: Did the Holy Spirit guide the apostles into all truth? If he did, then the revelation is now complete, and the Bible contains that revelation. Peter answers the question when he says, "Seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust." (2 Peter 1:3, 4) Wherefore Jude wrote, exhorting the brethren "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3)

Summarizing these statements, we learn that man must know God; he must learn that he may come. In order to learn, i.e., to know God, God must have revealed Himself. Jesus declares that He did this in the Son. But is this revelation made permanent for all posterity? Jesus said the Spirit should guide the apostles into all truth; and Peter and Jude declared that the Spirit did this very thing. Therefore, revelation is complete, preserved in the Bible, the word of God; which is the complete revelation of God.

PLANK TWO: Faith in God, through the word of God, because God speaks. The emphasized point is faith in God. It is one thing to believe in God, in a mere passive acknowledgment of His existence; it is another to believe in God, to trust implicitly in Him. Said one writer of old, "Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, and lean not upon thine own understanding." (Prov. 3:5) And Paul said, "For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day." (2 Tim. 1:12)

Abraham may be thought of as an example of faith in God. He was used by the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 11.8-12), and by Paul (Rom. 4:3), as such an example. He believed God because God spoke, The apostle says of our faith. "So faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)

The faith about which I speak, is faith in Him in the face of all skepticism, opposition, modernism and ridicule. Faith in Him, because He has condescended to speak to man. Belief because of what He has revealed, though we may not see the "why" and "wherefore" in every instance; for said the apostle, "We walk by faith and not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7)

PLANK THREE: Obedience unto God because God commands. Here it is obedience unto God, the expression of faith. .Again, Abraham may be our example, for his faith was made perfect when he obeyed God. (James 2:20-24; Gen. 22:12)

The Son of God learned obedience, and became the Savior of the obedient, as wrote the Holy Spirit saying, "Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation." (Heb. 5:7-9) Wherefore of His own disciples, Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)

Since the Son is the savior of the obedient, the apostle Peter said, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently." (1 Peter 1:22) It is therefore in obedience to the truth that the soul is purified; and Paul adds, "Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness." (Rom. 6:16)

This obedience must be in the matter of faith, morals, and worship. Doing only what God has commanded in matters of ownership and service; but emphasizing all that He has commanded. This obedience is sought through an appeal to motives, these motives being the goodness of God and the fear of God. To these Paul appealed when he said, "And reckonest thou this, 0 man, who judgest them that practice such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Rom. 2:3, 4) Here is an appeal to judgment and goodness as motives for obedience. Plank three, then, is obedience unto God, because God commands.

PLANK FOUR: Be what God wants one to be, because it glorifies God. That brings up the question, What does God want one to be? God wants us to be Christians, and has so called us: "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." (Acts 11:26) This king Agrippa recognized, for he said to Paul, "With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian." (Acts 26:28) It is in this name the Christian is to glorify God, as said Peter, "But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this name."

In this name the individual is to glorify God, not only by wearing the name, but by following Christ in all manner of life and in holding to the doctrine taught by Himself and His apostles. A Christian is one who has obeyed the gospel; that is, he has believed in Jesus as the Christ, confessed that faith, repented of his sins, and has been baptized into Christ for their remission. Such a one God adds to the church, in which he follows Christ, doing good and abstaining from evil, glorifying God in the life which he lives and in the doctrine which he preaches. The apostle summed this up when he said, "Whether therefore you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31)

PLANK FIVE: Enjoy the promises of God, because God is able to and will keep them. God has promised the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) Also, "I will be merciful to their iniquities, and their sins will I remember no more." (Heb. 8:11) The fulfillment of these promises is enjoyed when one has repented and been baptized. In His invitation to men, Jesus said, "Come onto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)

Also, God has promised that He would never fail nor forsake His own. (Heb. 13:5) He has promised that those who "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" should have added unto them the necessary things of life, such as food and clothing. (Matt. 6:33) He has assured His children that He cares for them, and has invited all who will to cast their burdens upon Him. (1 Pet. 5:7)

Further, God has promised to raise the dead unto eternal life, those who have lived faithfully in Christ; for Jesus said, "The hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." (John 5:28, 29) In picturing the judgment, Jesus said, "And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life." (Matt. 25:46) These promises have been sealed by the blood of Christ.

Of God and His promises, Peter says, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9) While Paul says, as He contemplates the promises of God, "Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (2 Cor. 7:1) Plank five is, Enjoy the promises of God, because he is able to and will keep them.

It was upon such a platform as this that the early church came before the world in the infancy of Christianity. Upon it millions were von to Christ, strongholds of sin were thrown down, paganism reeled like a drunken man, and the religion of Jesus Christ was carried to the utter 711 ost parts of the earth. All stood upon it then; all can stand upon it now; and, as time passes, all yet unborn can stand upon it. It is such a platform upon which men can be saved, united in brotherliness, and die at peace with God and man.

— Tampa, Florida