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Putting up Smoke Screens

When the Bible is taught in its purity and simplicity those in religious
error cannot give an answer to the truth presented. Many of them put up
smoke screens  with are things designed to obscure, confuse or mislead
their members and keep them from obeying the plain teaching of the Bible.
We will notice several of these in this lesson.
  1. One smoke screen used by most people in religious error against
the churches of Christ is "Those people think that only those in the
church of Christ will be saved". The real thing that is taught in the 
church of Christ is that people must be in Christ to be saved. "I endure
all things for the elect's sake that they may also obtain the salvation
which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Tim. 2:10). The scriptures
also say that all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph. 1:3); that we
are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17); and that there is no
condemnation in Christ (Rom. 8:1). To be in Christ is to be in His church
which is His body (I Cor. 1:1,2; Eph. 1:22,23). All people who know their
Bibles at all will agree that one must be in Christ to be saved. So all
Bible believing Christian people believe just what we in the churches
of Christ believe. Yet, these same people put up the smoke screen
statement "those people in the church of Christ think they are the only
ones who are going to be saved." The reason they do it is that they are
in error in the religion that they are a part of and are so prejudicial
that they do not want to make any changes so they just try to make a
denomination out of the church of Christ. They want to make us a
denomination among denominations who are self conceited and arrogant in
our claims of  salvation. In reality we teach the rightly divided Bible
doctrine that cannot be denied. Every part of it has been proven in
debate and in Biblical scholarship. The thing we have proven is that
we can follow the pattern of the Lord in origin, doctrine and practice
without becoming a denomination. This is to the chagrin of both Catholic
and Protestant denominations who are bogged down with their human creeds,
and human organizations that are far from biblical. People are listening
to this pure Bible teaching and many are obeying their Lord in His
appointed way. These people cannot stand this so they are putting up 
smoke screens to confuse people into rejecting the truth. 
  What is wrong with wearing the name of Christ? Paul by inspiration
used it to identify congregations of the Lord's church in Romans 16:16.
We of the churches of Christ are not denying the other Bible names used
to designate the church as found in I Cor. 1:1,2; I Tim. 3:14, 15;
Hebrews 12:23 and other places. We are humbly striving to be congregations
of Christ's church. We do not have any patent on the truth of the Bible.
It is right there for anyone who wants to follow it. Why couldn't these
denominations cease being denominations and start being congregations
of the New Testament church? They could if they would only get out of
the habit of trying to prove their human teachings to be right and go
back to the Bible for it all. I want to urge you denominational preachers
and church leaders to lay aside your human creeds and human organizations
and go back to the simple New Testament teaching of Jesus Christ in 
everything. 
  2. Still another smoke screen religious people put up is "They teach
baptismal regeneration". The churches of Christ simply read the Bible
to people on the plan of salvation. "Repent and be baptized in the name
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38). Also "Therefore we are buried with him
by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead
by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
life." (Rom. 6:4). And "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also
now save us (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer
of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"
(I Pet. 3:21). Now call the teachings of these verses anything you want
to, but the fact remains that the Lord placed baptism between the sinner
and remission of his sins, newness of life, and salvation. The reason
many put up a smoke screen here is that they want to hold to the
unscriptural view that one is saved by faith only or praying through.
Dear friend, don't let men confuse you with smoke screens but accept
only the truth.

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