March 30, 2003


Mark tells us that Jesus "went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter; James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, 'Sons of Thunder', Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot who also betrayed Him." (Mark 3:13-19).

As Luke records this incident in which Jesus appoints 12 of His disciples to the apostleship, he tells us that Jesus "continued all night in prayer to God" Luke 6:12. The word disciple is a much broader term than the word apostle. These 12 men were disciples before they were appointed as apostles. They became disciples by choosing to follow Jesus. The word apostle carries the idea of one appointed and sent out on an official mission. These 12 men were to be with Jesus day and night from near the beginning of His ministry until His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection. Later, they were sent out into the world to preach what they had heard Him preach, and to teach others to observe all things He had commanded.

The 12 men Jesus selected were empowered to work miracles, signs and wonders to confirm the Divine source of what they taught. Later they put their message into written form for succeeding generations. To those of us who never experienced a miracle, John and other eye witnesses wrote of the miracles they had seen and experienced, so that we could read and believe and be saved, John 20:30-31.

These apostles are also listed in Matt. 10:1-4; Luke 6:12-16 and Acts 1:13. A comparison of these lists will show that some of these men were known by more than one name. The man Mark identifies as Thaddaeus is called Lebbeus by Matthew. Luke identifies him as Judas, the son of James.

The word Canaanite in Mark 3:18 is a transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning zeal. Luke 6:15 identifies Simon as a zealot. The zealots were a party of Jewish patriots.

It is interesting to note the unusual mix of personalities among the apostles. Judas Iscariot was not a Galilean. All the others were, Acts 1:11; 2:7. Several were fishermen by trade. One had been a publican, a customs agent, collecting taxes for the despised Roman government, while as already noted one was a Zealot, a "super patriot." Not a single one of then was a priest or a scribe. All were from the ranks of the common people, and yet, never before or since has so small a group of men made such an impact in their own time or had such influence on generations yet unborn. And all because "they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).

--Clarence R. Johnson


"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church." (Ephesians 5:23) 

There is a common sentiment that it makes no difference what church one belongs to, if any at all, and that church membership is not essential to salvation. So the indifferentism of "join the church of your choice," as though God had none, is age-old in religious nomenclature. Such expressions can only be viewed as a sort of "pious profanity" by those who know and believe what the Bible says about the church. 

Jesus built the church; he died for it and purchased it with his blood; ransomed and redeemed it; washed and cleansed it. He is the Saviour of it and he will come again to own and claim it. Yet we are told that it is a very "non-essential" thing. 

There are only two senses in which the church can be scripturally viewed. First, the comprehensive, or universal, sense, to include all the saved of the earth-all who have obeyed the gospel. Second, the limited, or local, sense, to include all Christians, or saved people in a particular place described and limited by geographical terms. The denominational idea does not fit either case. A denomination is smaller than the whole church, but larger than a local church in that it is composed of many local churches of the same faith and order; therefore, a denomination is both too large and too small to be scriptural. 

It is admitted that one can be saved without belonging to any denomination. The Lord adds saved people to the church (Acts 2:47). Therefore a man can be added to the church and never belong to a denomination. Hence, it is the denomination and not the church that is non-essential. 

The Church Is The Body

Paul's theme in the book of Ephesians is the church in its relation to Christ-Christ and the church. In the first chapter he compares the church to a body, with Christ as head (vv. 21-22) and in chapter four he declares that "there is one body" (v. 4) chapter five he compares Christ to the husband and the church to the wife (vv. 21-23). Hence, Paul's view is, one head and one body-one husband and one wife. 

Continuing his comparison, Paul uses the family analogy-God the Father, the church the family (Ephesians 3:15). Hence, one Father and one family. And reverting to the second chapter, he points out the unifying power of the cross of Christ in making the "twain"-Jew and Gentile- "one new man" -the church-thus reconciling them "in one body." 

If Christ would not accept Jew and Gentile in separate bodies, but united them that they should be "one fold and one shepherd," what must be his attitude toward the spectacle of (more than) 200 denominational bodies today that dishonor his name and ignore his prayer? (John 17:20-21). 

Salvation Is In The Church

The idea that one is first saved by some mystical or mystified, unintelligible or intangible process, and afterwards "joins some church" is a common religious delusion. Yet there is no truth more plainly emphasized in the Bible than the fact that the process of being saved is the process of entering the church (Acts 2:47). 

First, it is affirmed in Acts 4:12 that salvation is in Christ. Then, to have salvation, one must get into Christ. But Paul, by analogy, in Ephesians 5:30, teaches that as husband and wife are one, so Christ and the church are one. "I speak concerning Christ and the church," he said. Christ and the church being one, how can one be in Christ and out of the church? 

Second, Paul makes the fact that Christ is "the Saviour of the body" (Ephesians 5:23) the ground of his exhortation to the Ephesians concerning the church as the bride of Christ (v. 25). He washed it and sanctified it; cleansed and saved it; purchased it with his blood and redeemed it; reconciles us to God in it, and adds all the saved to it. Therefore, out of the church there is no cleansing, no blood, no redemption, no reconciliation to God, no salvation. 

Third, the relation between Christ and the church is the same as that which exists between God and Christ. Christ is the "fullness" of God (Colossians 1:19), and the church is the "fullness" of Christ (Ephesians 1:22). Therefore, no man can come to Christ and ignore the church for the same reason that no man can come to God and ignore Christ. 

We exhort the unsaved to come to Christ, "gladly receive the word," be "baptized into Christ," and the Lord will add you to his church.

--Foy E. Wallace, Jr.


The following are some "Important Things I've Learned From Kids" (author unknown):

1. It's more fun to color outside the lines.
2. If you're gonna draw on the wall, do it behind the couch.
3. Ask why until you understand.
4. Hang on tight.
5. Even if you've been fishing for 3 hours and haven't gotten anything except poison ivy and a sunburn, you're still better off than the worm.
6. Make up the rules as you go along.
7. It doesn't matter who started it.
8. Ask for sprinkles.
9. If the horse you're drawing looks more like a dog, make it a dog.
10. Save a place in line for your friends. 
11. Sometimes you have to take the test before you've finished studying.
12. If you want a kitten, start out asking for a horse.
13. Just keep banging until someone opens the door.
14. Making your bed is a waste of time.
15. There is no good reason why clothes have to match.
16. Even Popeye didn't eat his spinach until he absolutely had to.
17. You work so hard pedaling up the hill that you hate to brake on the way down.
18. You can't ask to start over just because you're losing the game.

It's an interesting collection of advice. Some of it translates into good spiritual advice (#4, #13), some of it doesn't (#2, #6). That's to be expected because there are some aspects of childhood that we should imitate (purity, humility, trust) and other aspects that we should not (self-centeredness, ignorance, stubbornness).

In the scriptures, sometimes children are held up as examples to us (Matt. 18:3-4) and sometimes those who are like children are rebuked (Heb.5:12-14). And sometimes both occur in the same verse (1 Cor. 14:20).

May we seek to add those beautiful "childlike" qualities while seeking to mature and outgrow those "childish" traits.

--J.L.H. from Tim Smith's list



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Susquehanna (Marietta), PA

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Clarence R. Johnson
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