Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 1, 1969
NUMBER 1, PAGE 10-11a

The Final Plea Of Christ "Applied Today"

Robert Wayne La Coste

Perhaps one of the most disturbing facts in the Body of Christ today is the ever growing tendency for the disrespect of authority.

As a young gospel preacher, I too am already deeply concerned with this ever growing "fungus" in the church. If every conscientious member would recognize this problem as they should, then I personally feel much of the problem would be eliminated, and that many more souls would be added than are now being added.

When we look at our Savior's words prior to his death in the gospel of John the seventeenth chapter, we see a concern for his disciples in relationship to being "united." In verse twenty one of that chapter the Master prays "That they may be one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us."

Throughout the New Testament, the perfect law of liberty, we find explicitness in explaining the "oneness" of Christ and His church. (Eph. 4:1-4, Gal. 3:28) But the important factor here is that Christ in his final hour was not caring or concerned about his physical status, but on the contrary our Lord was moved by the "division" he knew existed among his followers. This was not a denominational division! For the denominations of today were unknown to the dispensation of Christ. Also unlike today personality conflicts unknown or at least limited, due to the zealousness and ambition of the early Christians. Ambitious enough to meet daily in their homes worshiping God. (Acts 2:46)

Why then has division resulted in the creation of denominationalism and even strife in the Body of Christ? Again because of "NO RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY" and people concerning themselves over what the Bible doesn't say instead of what the inspired book does say.

Christ's plea for unity is not being taken seriously enough by many brethren, not to mention the denominational world.

If we are to dwell together in unity, we must of necessity understand that Jesus has ALL authority, and I emphasize that as he does in that same prayer. (Jn. 17:2) To understand and know Christ's authority, is to realize that he is indeed King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To respect the authority of Christ is to give him the glory he deserves, and most important to us, our proper place in the great organization' which is His Body — The Church.

On the basis of authority, let us consider Paul's letter to the brethren at Colosse in Colossians three, verse seventeen. "Whatever ye do in "WORD OR DEED" do all in the name of the Lord." Little do people realize that word or deed covers a lot of territory. In fact, as far as spiritual matters are concerned word or deed covers everything.

Let us examine it further by using the old clich "actions speak louder than words." because as far as the Gospel of Christ and His Church are concerned we do his will by one or the other or both. To do this then and do it in his name and make it pleasing unto Christ, we must do it by His Authority!

Because of no respect for authority, souls are not being saved as they should, and this is evident. The statistics show that for every ten individuals converted to Communism, less than one is converted to the Gospel of Christ. To every seven converted to Roman Catholicism, less than two are converted to the Gospel. (taken from a private congregational poll, 1968)

Because of no respect for the authority of Christ, the prayer which He made over nineteen hundred years ago has become nought in the hearts of many professing to be members of His Church — The Church of Christ.

Because of no respect for authority, Institutionalism has become rampant in the church and has divided many sound congregations which for years have converted and produced many capable disciples for the Master.

My brethren!! I am only nineteen years of age, and already I am discouraged and frustrated at those proclaiming to be my brethren, yet which have not the intellect to recognize what they have done and are doing in the name of Christ. But I am reminded of Paul's second letter to the young minister Timothy in Chapter three verse seven "Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

WHAT IS TRUTH?? And wonderfully enough we can turn to that same prayer which we have been talking about and in verse seventeen find our answer — "HIS WORD."

In Ephesians the fourth chapter and verse thirteen Paul is concerned about our unity and after he has described those who are to proclaim that truth he says "Till we all come in the unity of the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God."

My brethren, let me ask you, "Are we united today, and if we are where are the results we should be having by being united?"

Perhaps now I truly know what the Savior meant when he said in Matt. 7:14 "Few there be that find it."

Let us pray that we consider the words of Jesus in that garden long ago more carefully and in doing such, come to a greater knowledge of the truth, and by coming to that knowledge of the truth, BECOME TRULY UNITED in the truth. — 7404 S. E. 7th Ave., Portland, Oregon