Dear Visitor:

We are extremely delighted that you chose to visit and worship with us today. Please know that you are our “Honored Guest”, and we truly appreciate your presence. We ask that you complete the visitor card included in the visitors packet and place it in the contribution basket or one of our ushers will collect it from you. If we do or say anything in our services that you do not understand, please call us in question.

The Russell Road Church of Christ is a congregation of about 200 members. In addition to Sunday worship, we have a number to study and fellowship groups. We have included our weekly bulletin with announcements of our study groups and other activities.

Again, it was good to have you with us today. Please come again at your earliest convenience. If we can be of any assistance to you at all, please do not all, please do not hesitate to call on us. May God Bless You.

Sincerely,

John H. Dansby

What To Expect When You Visit The Church Of Christ

Perhaps you have heard of the church of Christ through advertisement or by special invitation from its members. Maybe there is a building in your community where the church of Christ meets, and you have considered attending one of their worship services.

But you have put it off simply because of the dread of going to a strange place, not knowing what to expect. May we briefly introduce ourselves? And let you know what to expect when you visit us.

You can expect a warm, friendly welcome. Friendliness is a natural response of a Christian. We believe that one of the basic foundation principles of Christianity is love and friendship toward our fellowman. (Mt.22:36-401 True Christianity recognizes no sex, Social or racial differences.

(Gal. 3:281 neither does it permit respect of persons on the basis Of poverty or wealth. (Jas. 2:1-91 Jesus is our superb example in friendliness, in that he was Compassionate toward all humanity, regardless of their status in life. We believe you will find that same spirit among Christians today.

Therefore, when you visit us, you will be considered an honored guest. You will be greeted with kindness and courtesy. Why not give us the opportunity to become your friend’! (Cf Prov. 18:24)

You can expect our service to be with reverence and order. We strive to engage in all worship and service with decency and order. (I Cor. 14:-40) The order of our worship is usually planned by our elders. Each item of worship is usually announced and often briefly explained by the men who lead us in our worship.

This enables each of us to know what is going on and helps us to better prepare our minds for worship. We try to avoid all extremism in Worship. Neither ritualism nor emotionalism is characteristic of our worship. You can expect our worship to be spiritual, reverent and orderly.

You can expect our worship to be simple. It’s simple because it is based entirely on the worship authorized in the New Testament. Jesus taught that our worship was to be spiritual and according to truth. (Jn. 4:24) Our worship to God includes the Lord’s Supper, giving, singing, prayer and teaching the gospel.

Each of these blooms with the beauty of simplicity. We do not try to improve on God’s divine plan and beauty with pageantry or innovations of men. We believe you will be impressed with the simplicity of our worship.

You can expect congregational singing. Singing is a vital part of our worship. All members of our congregation will blend their voices together in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. The purpose of our songs is to praise God, to teach and admonish one another through our singing. (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)

Since the command to sing is specific and addressed to the individual, we do not add a mechanical instrument of music in our worship in songs. For the same reason we do not have choirs to sing for us or any type of mood music to entertain us.

Many who have visited us have been highly impressed with the beauty and spirituality involved in congregational singing. Why not come and see for yourself

You can expect us to give a free-will offering. As the Bible teaches, we give liberally as God has prospered us, on the first day of the week. (I Cor. 16:1-2) Our liberality is an evidence of our devotion to God. (II Cor.8:1-8) There are many factors that determine the amount of our offerings, but above all they must be free-will offerings.(II Cor. 9:6-7)

When the offering is taken, it is entirely the choice of our guest whether they will give offering or not. We will not embarrass you by personally asking for an offering. Neither do we want you to feel embarrassed if you choose not to or cannot afford to give.

You can expect our pubic prayers to be led by men. (I Tim. 2:8·18) Prayer is a vital source of strength in a Christian’s life. We pray often in private and with one another. When we come together in an assembly, prayer is a very important part of our worship. Prayers are offered frequently when we assemble together for worship.

In keeping with an orderly fashion of worship, it is usually announced that we will be led in prayer by a certain brother, everyone does not pray his own prayer out loud. We are led in prayer by a brother who speaks his prayer publicly, and the rest of us follow him silently as we pray together. This allows us to worship reverently and orderly. It also avoids noise and confusion. You will not be embarrassed by our calling on you to lead a public prayer.

You can expect us to partake of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week. (Sunday) Jesus instituted this supper as a sample memorial of his death on the cross. (Mt.26:26-29; I Cor. 11:23-26) As we partake of the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine our minds are to be centered on the events of the cross.

In this act we have communion or fellowship with Christ. II Cor.10:16) It was the practice of the early church to eat the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week. (Acts 20:7) We do not practice closed communion. As the communion is passed to each individual in the assembly, we each examine ourselves that we may partake of it in a worthy manner.

II Cor.11:2?·29) We do not examine, encourage or forbid any guest concerning his participation in the Lord’s Supper.It is the choice of our guest. However, we would hasten to point out that there can be no communion or fellowship with Christ unless we are faithful children of God. (1 Jn. 1:5-7: Gal. 3:26·27)

You can expect Christ-centered Bible teaching in our classrooms and pulpits. We believe the Bible to be an inspired, authoritative book. (II Tim. 3:16-17) We believe that if a man speaks it should be from the Word of God. (I Pet. 4:11). Our Bible class teachers usually teach directly from the Bible.

The sermons you will hear from our pulpits can be supported by the Bible. In most sermons scripture references are given to enable the listener to check the Bible for himself to see if we are speaking the truth. We encourage you to check what we say by searching the scripture. (Acts 17:11;Jn. 5:39)

At the close of each sermon you can expect an invitation to become a Christian. You will be given an opportunity to express your faith in Jesus Christ by repenting of your sins, confessing Christ before men and being buried with the Lord in baptism. (Cf. Jn. 8:24; Lk.13:3; Mt. 10:32: Mk. 16:16: Acts 2:38; Gal.3:26·27)

We will not embarrass you by approaching you personally. We will make our appeal to you to become a Christian from the pulpit. Then an invitation song will be sung for your encouragement.

If you choose to obey the Lord, you may come to the front and let your choice be known. May we point out that the church does not have to be assembled for you to obey the gospel? You can obey at any hour of the day or night by simply letting your request be known. (Cf. Acts 16:30-33)

Since you now know much of what to expect when you visit the churches of Christ, why not accept our special invitation to visit us. We would consider it an honor to have you as our guest.

THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST (Romans 16:16)Invite You to Consider the Following Scriptures Concerning

THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT

  1. About forty men were engaged in the writing of the bible, during a period of about 1,6000 years – that is, from about 1500 B.C. to A.D. 100.
  2. These men wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 PeL i:21). They wrote: ‘not in words or human wisdom, but In words divinely taught (l Cor. 2:13).
  3. The Bible contains 3,566,480 letters, 773,746 words, 31,102 verses, 1118.9 chapters, and 66 books.The middle chapter and the shortest Is Psalm 117. It contains only two verses.
  4. The shortest verse In the Old Testament is 1 Chrou. 1:25; the longest, Esther 8:9.
  5. The shortest verse In the New Testament, In English, Is John 11:35; In Greek, 1 Thess. 5:16.The longest verse In the Bible is Esther 8:9; It contains ninety words.
  6. The longest word In the bible is found In Isa. 8:1.”MahershalaJhashbaz”
  7. The Bible was divided Into chapters by Cardinal Hugo in 1250.
  8. The New Testament was divided into verses by Sir Robert Stephens In 1551.
  9. The Bible Is the one book that reveals the origin, mission, and destiny or man.
  1. When Is it First mentioned?
    It Is first mentioned when Jesus promised:”upon this rock I will build by church” (Matt.16:18). The first account or people being added to the church Is Acts 2:47.
  2. What Is the Church?
    It is an organism made up or members, all of who have been saved (Ac:Ls 2:47). It Is a spiritual kingdom made up of subjects or Jesus, the King (Heb. 12:28). It Is the family of God on earth at this time, the Israel or God (Gal. 6:16).
  3. What Is the relationship or Jesus to tbe Church?
    He promised to ‘bulld It (Mall. 16:18). He Is the founder or ll (1 Cor. 3:11. Eph 2:20). He Is the bead of It (Eph 1:20-22). He loves It and eave Himself ror It (Eph 5:25). And, He Is the Savior of it. (Eph 5:23).
  4. How many congregations were there?
    There were congregations Ia many cities: Jerusalem, Cortnlb; Philippi, Rome (Acts2:47; 1 Cor. 1:2. etc). The total number of congregations ls simply not stated. These congregations made up the one body, the one church Jesus promised (Matt. 16:18; Eph 4:5). The Bible discouraged division (1 Cor. 1:10). And, Jesus prayed for unity among Hisdisciples (John 17:21).
  1. What was the creed or the church?
    The apostles were to teach the things Jesus taught them (Matt 28:20). The early disciples continued In tbe apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42). Christian were to speak as the oracles
    or God (1 Pet. 4:11).
  2. How did the lost get into the church?
    They heard the gospel (Rom 10:13-19; Mk.16-15). They believed In God and In His Son Jesus (Reb. 11:6; John 8:24). They repented or their sins (Lk. 13:3;Acts 17:30). They confessed their sins (Rom.10:10; Acts 8:37). They wen: Immersed to wash their sins away (Acts 22:16; 2:38). Having met these conditions they were saved by the grace or God (Eph 2:8), and the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
  3. How did Christians who sinned obtain forgiveness for sins?
    They repented (Acts 8:22). They confessed their sins (1 John 1:9). They asked God’s forgiveness (Acts 8:22). Their sins were pardoned based on the blood or Christ (1John 1:7).
  4. What Is the destiny or the church?
    The gates of hell were never to prevail against It (Matt. 16:18). At the end or time It will be delivered up to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24).

STRANGE. BUT TRUE

God did not make angeles responsible for preaching the gospel. No commission was ever given them to go Into all
or the world and preach to the lost. Rather, God decreed the gospel would be put Into the bands or men, and it
would be their Rsponslbillty to preach it. “For we have this treasure In earthen vessels, that the excellency or the
power may be or God, and not for us” (2 Cor. 4:7). The treasure Is the gospel. The earthen vessels are men. It Is
up to men, like us, to carry the saving gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15).

What Must I Do To Be Saved?(Acts 16:19-34)
By Dr. James Maxwell

Paul and Silas encountered many hard blows while traveling on their missionary tour. Out of all the places they visited, Philippi appears to have been the most dangerous and exciting. These two evangelists knew of the moral decay, paganism and worldliness in Philippi. They realized that the Philippians needed bread to sustain their lives, water to quench their thirst, shelter to protect them from severe weather conditions, and love to stabilize their security. Paul and Silas knew that they had a far greater need for Jesus, the “bread of life,” to fulfill their spiritual hunger.

Christ was needed as the “water of life” to satisfy the kind of thirst that H20 can’t quench. The Philippians needed Christ, the towering rock, to provide shelter in the time of storm. Also, they needed our Lord as the loving “friend that sticketh closer than a brother. “Paul and Silas preached the gospel of Christ with boldness on the streets of Philippi, in the Jewish synagogue, the market places and in public and domestic buildings. The tremendous impact of their message of the risen Lord caused various reactions. Some renounced their sins and obeyed the gospel of Christ.

Others became enraged and frustrated, and brought an accusation to the magistrates concerning Paul and Silas’ teaching. They said,” … These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city. And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans” (Acts16:30-31). The magistrates arrested Paul and Silas for disturbing the peace, and for disturbing the consciences of the people. “And the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely; who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks”(Acts 16:22- 24).

While in prison, Paul and Silas did not waste time brooding over their persecution and confinement. They developed the kind of Christian optimism that the word needs so greatly. Paul wrote of this to the church in Philippi saying,” I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians4:11).The keeper of the prison cautiously guarded the cell of Paul and Silas and the other prisoners. He undoubtedly thought that Paul and Silas were nothing but crackpots and fanatics for preaching that Jesus died, was buried and raised from the dead.

To a carnally minded man such as the jail keeper, this was utter foolishness; but to those “who are saved, it is the power of God” (l Corinthians I: 18). Most likely the jail or was filled with pride, having authority over two gospel messengers whose notorious popularity had spread like wild fire. As a guard the jailor was probably overwhelmed with his own stamina and strength. His sword and armor might have given him a sense of power to overcome all adversaries and foes against the civil laws which he respected.

As midnight was approaching, the jail keeper was fast asleep. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:25-26). The keeper of the jail was astounded at

God’s miraculous power over the elements, and divine control in the affairs of life. At last! Paul and Silas were free to do the same things again for which they were imprisoned. According to our lesson text, the jailor had shown no fear previous to the earthquake. He knew the possibility of his prisoners escaping.

Why didn’t the guard try to kill Paul and Silas seeing that they might escape? Was he afraid of Paul and Silas? Certainly not! He feared their God! He knew that if he harmed God’s servants, he would be fighting against God. Thus, he decided to kill himself to avoid the punishment he would suffer from his Roman superiors. As he was about to give himself a suicidal stab with his sword, “… Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, “Do thyself no harm; for we are all here” (Acts 16:28).The keeper of the prison was full of anguish and despair.

He concluded that Paul and Silas were offering him their help, and thereby responded, for he realized he couldn’t help himself. Many times it takes experiences in life such as this one to bring people to the fact that they need the kind of help that comes from above. Sometimes an accident, an injury, a chronic disease or illness, a flood, a war, a disaster, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a position or a job, and the death or calamity of a relative are needed to make us realize how much we need God in our lives.

The Philippian jailor knew that he was lost, miserably lost. He knew he would lose his rank and position as a guard. He knew he would lose his prestige and power; so now he was convinced that he needed the spiritual power and strength provided only in our Lord. He was aware that the omnipotent attributes of God were more needful than anything in this whole world, yea, even than life itself

With this state of mind and condition of heart the jailor asked the most important question ever asked by man. He cried from the very depths of his inner being, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This does not sound like the kind of question a prison keeper would ask his prisoners. Do you notice the humility by which the jailor addressed Paul and Silas? He did not address them as prisoners, peons, false prophets, “jacklegs” or scalawags. He called them “Sirs” in a respectful manner. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” There is a lot of valuable information wrapped up in the question asked by the jailor. There are many suggestive thoughts packaged within the framework of this question.

The first word is WHAT. When the word WHAT is at the very beginning of a written thought, a question is asked desiring information or instructions. The jailor was deeply concerned about his soul, and wanted to become acquainted with the right information to remedy his spiritual inadequacies. The word MUST implies that the jailor knew whatever instructions were given to him, it was imperative that he comply with them.

It was a dire necessity that the directions given him be obeyed. It could not wait for a more favorable setting nor a more convenient season. Let us notice the word “I” in this question. “What must “I” do to be saved?” The jailor suggested that he, himself, was individually responsible for his own sins. He blamed no one for his faults. He was cognizant that he must follow the directions given him. Nobody else could stand for him but himself. He did not ask what must the Roman officials do. Or what must the Jews do? Or what must the other prisoners do? nor what must God do? but “What must ·r do to be saved?”

Another word to consider in the question under scrutiny is the word DO. “What must I DO?” The word “DO” IMPLIES ACTION. The jailor understood that there was something for him to DO in order to be saved. He did not say, “Nothing must I do to be saved {” He did not ask, what must I say to be saved? or what must I feel to be saved? or what must I get to be saved? or what must I experience to be saved? Neither did he ask what must I pray for to be saved? He asked “What must I DO to be saved?”

Many people think that there is nothing that man has to do to obtain salvation. They fee) that God, through his grace, saves us and that the moment we believe we are saved. Friends, this doctrine will cause many honest souls to be lost. 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 which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 ). In Revelation 22: 14, the Bible says, “Blessed are they that do His commandments that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates of the city.”

The Bible teaches against the “faith only” doctrine in many passages. Listen to James in the second chapter of his epistle and verse seventeen. He said, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead being alone.” Listen to James again in James 2:24, ” … by works a man is justified and not by faith only.” An honest man will accept what the Bible says, not what man says. The last three words in the question asked by the prison keeper are “TO BE SAVED.”

These three words teach us that salvation was to be enjoyed last, not first. First, the jailor had to know something-the gospel of Christ. Second, the jailor was compelled to believe something – the gospel. Third, the jailor was to do something – repent, confess faith in Christ and be baptized (Acts 15:7, Acts 17:30, Matthew 10:32, Acts 22:16). Lastly, he was to receive something -salvation from God.

The question asked by the jailor contains two major parts in regard to salvation. God’ part and man’s part. God’s part is the big part. God has arranged a plan for us “… TO BE SAVED.” God has done his part by sending Christ to the world that it might be saved (John 3:16-17, Luke 19:10). Christ did His part by dying a horrible death on the tree of the cross that we might be

Saved. The Holy Spirit was sent to guide the apostles into “all truth” (John 16:13). The apostles spoke and wrote God’s plan of salvation without error, being inspired by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:1-5).

We now have the Bible – God’s revealed message to man. This is God’s part. The “… to be saved” part of this question is God’s part; but the “What must I do? “Part of this question is man’s part. “What must I do to be saved?” was asked by the jail keeper. The answer to this question is applicable even today. No person was more qualified to give the answer than Paul, and his helper Silas. The jailor was told to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

He was not told to believe only. Believing was necessary, but what else was necessary? The Bible teaches that the jailor and his house were baptized (Acts 16:33). This example of conversion was done as Jesus commanded in the Great Commission. He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved …” (Mark 16:15-16).

Hence, the answer to the prison keeper’s question was to “believe and be baptized.” Thus, we know that a man cannot be saved by belief only, nor by repentance only, nor by confession only -although these prerequisites are necessary. One’s obedience to the first principles of the gospel must be climaxed in baptism, which puts him into Christ and His Church (Galatians 3:27, 1 Corinthians 12:13).

This narrative teaches the value of baptism, by the time element in which the jailor was baptized. He was baptized at midnight (Acts 16:25). It was during the same hour of the night (Acts 16:33). Some denominational churches wait until the first or second Sunday in every month to baptize their candidates; others wait until momentous holidays to baptize their candidates.

This shows just how much importance is attached to it! If baptism saves and remits sins as Peter taught in l Peter 3:20-21 and Acts 2:38, why prolong it? What if the candidate dies before he’s baptized? During Bible times people were baptized during “the same day”(Acts 2:41); “immediately” after they were taught (Acts 9: 18); and “the same hour of the night” (Acts 16:33). Who are we to change God’s plan? Let us believe it like the Bible teaches and practice it like the Bible teaches. ” … What must I do to be saved?” I must obey the gospel of Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

The Perfect Plan Of Salvation

Is there a perfect plan of salvation? If so, who arranged it? For whom was it made? What was it like? Of course, if there is one, God must be back of it and Jesus must be involved in it. But if such a plan exists, what is it like? Let’s begin with this point – according to the Bible the salvation of every living person depends on Jesus Christ.

This is true whether they lived two thousand years before His birth, as Abraham did, or whether they live two thousand years after His birth, as we do. How is this? The plan of salvation called for the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as the payment for the sins of all time. Hebrews 9: 15 says, “for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” At the center is Christ. He was given for all mankind, whether they lived before His death or after His death.

How does this sacrifice relate to both the past and present? Those in centuries prior to Christ’s coming were unaware of the exact role He would play in their salvation or of His connection with later generations. Nor did the writing prophets have a clear idea how things would be worked out. Peter said they searched for more light on the subject (1 Pet. 1: 1 0). Regardless of how much or how little they knew, there is a truth revealed in the Bible that forever makes every man dependent on Him. That truth is, “without shedding of blood is no remission” (He b. 9:2 2).

Without the giving of the life of Christ there is no pardon. His death is the perfect offering for sins, theirs and ours. Who were these people who lived so long ago? The Bible deals with people who lived in two great time periods prior to Christ’s coming: first, the Patriarchal, that extended from Adam to Moses, and second, the Mosaic, that extended from Moses to Christ. The time period after the death of Christ is the Christian.

To be more specific, the Patriarchal age actually extended from Adam to Christ for the Gentiles, and for about fifteen hundred years, paralleled the Mosaic age which involved the Israelites only. In other words, from Adam to Moses, all men stood together before God, with God communicating to the heads of families. But in the Mosaic age

God singled out the Israelites and gave them a special covenant. From that time until Christ died, the Israelites were subject to the covenant given at Sinai. The rest of humanity didn’t receive this special covenant. So they continued as they had before it was given. Both the Patriarchal and Mosaic periods ended at the cross.

In each of these time periods God gave laws and called on men to obey them. But the laws differed, depending on the age in which the people lived and whether they were Gentiles or Israelites. In the Patriarchal age the head of the family served as a priest, while in the Mosaic age only Levitical priests were permitted to do the actual sacrificing.

In the Christian age no animal sacrifices are to be made. The laws in these ages are so distinct one could not possibly be subject to any two sets at the same time. Once the change from the law of Moses to Christianity had been accomplished the New Testament prohibits a return to the earlier system (Gal. 5:4; Rom. 7: 1-7). There was a place for all three and each served its own purpose. The point is, God made the crucifixion vital to the effectiveness of each one. One thing called for, in each of these time periods, was a sacrifice. From the beginning, such offerings were made a part of divine service. In the beginning Abel offered a sacrifice (Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11 :4).

Later Noah offered a sacrifice immediately after the flood (Gen. 8: 20). Still later, when the covenant with Israel was given at Sinai, animal sacrifice was made a part of it (Num.29). In each case they were offered for sin, yet according to scripture they could not remove sin permanently. The reason? “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Reb. 10:4).The sin was remembered (Reb. 10:3), and another sacrifice had to be made. It is easy to see that although the Israelites continued their animal sacrifices, their sins would be remembered year after year.

When Jesus gave His life, their sins would finally be blotted out forever. Without Jesus there was no eternal pardon. His was the final payment. This again attests to the perfection of the offering of Christ. During the first two time periods God revealed His will in various ways (He b. 1: 1, 2). Sometimes He used types (examples), as in the case of Moses the mediator, prophet and lawgiver. Moses was a type of Jesus who would serve as the greater mediator, prophet and lawgiver (Deut. 18:18-20). The father in the Patriarchal age and the Levitical priest in the Mosaic age, offering animal sacrifices, were types of Jesus who later offered Himself to atone for sins. These examples were no longer needed when the final mediator and the final sacrifice

came along. Otherwise a conflict would have developed. How could a system that depended on animal sacrifices and a human priesthood continue, after Jesus the real lamb of God, had been offered and after the great High Priest (Jesus) began His work? A change of the priesthood necessitated a change of the law (He b. 7: 12). God had one overall plan in which He called on men to tum to Him for salvation. The conditions He gave in each case were peculiar to the age in which the people lived.

The Israelites were subject to the covenant given at Sinai. All others were subject to the system that had been in force from the time of Adam. Both would be superseded by Christianity when the time was right (Gal. 4:4). The specific conditions for pardon that applied to Christianity would be announced when Christianity would be introduced.A timely question at this point is, if people who lived before the coming of Christ could live by the rules given them, and then receive pardon when Jesus died on the cross, why was there a need for Christianity? Why didn’t God permit the Patriarchal and Mosaic systems to continue till the last day, and on that day have Jesus give His life to take away sins? Would not all sinners have had an opportunity to be forgiven? Why was there a need for Christianity? If the other systems worked,

why change them? There was a need because of what Christianity offers. The book of Hebrews gives what is probably the best reasons for Christianity, as it contrasts the old covenant with the new. It points out the new (Christianity) offers: a better hope (7: 19), a better testament (7:22), a better covenant (8:6-13),

better promises (8:6), a better sacrifice (9:12-14, 23), a better mediator (3:1-6), a better priesthood (7:11,15,16,24-28), a greater tabernacle (9: 11 ).There were also prophecies to be fulfilled concerning Christ: the virgin birth (Isa. 7: 14; Matt. 1 :23), His sacrifice (lsa.53 :7), and more. In addition there were prophecies to be fulfilled that involved His being the descendant of Abraham (Gal.3:16), and the son of David (Lk. 1:32,33).

Other reasons for Christianity include: Christ’s coming and sacrificial death were the greatest demonstrations of God’s love the world has ever seen (John 3 : 16;Rom. 5: 8,9).His coming provides the world with the clearest view of the Father. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14: 9).His coming enabled Him to bring life and i1nmortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1: 10). His coming provides the perfect example for us to follow. Others, as Abraham, David and Moses, had their strong points, but they also had their weaknesses. Jesus was sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Phil. 2:5-11).God’s grace is best shown at Calvary.

There He gave His Son for us (John 3:16).The gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1: 16). Christianity is the most powerful effort ever made to enlighten lost men. It offers the most evidence to build the trust that is needed. Christianity offers immediate pardon, fellowship, peace and hope. We become the sons of God the moment we obey. Step by step God revealed the truth, presenting evidence that led to Christianity .Jesus was involved in the plan from the beginning.

He was to leave heaven and on earth suffer for the lost. Now sincere men can examine the evidence, be convinced, and be persuaded to turn to God. When Jesus came, earlier covenants were taken away. They served their purpose in leading men to Christ. Once He completed His work they we:-e regarded as stepping stones, as a schoolmaster to lead to Him (Gal. 3:24 ).The perfect plan of salvation is God’s plan that has been revealed through the centuries and completed with Jesus

We might even think of its revelation as a drama played out in three acts. The Patriarchal age would be act one in which the problem is presented. The Mosaic age would be act two in which great effort is exerted to deal with the problem and the third act would be the Christian age in which the problem is resolved. Of course the analogy is not precise, in part because of the overlapping of acts one and two as God dealt with the Gentiles and Israelites, since the two systems were operating for about fifteen hundred years at the same time. One marvelous thing about it is that, in the final act, we learn provision had been made for those who took part in the first two as well as for those in the third. This is God’s perfect plan of salvation, planned in heaven, executed on earth and revealed to us through the Bible.

Why was Christ’s sacrifice so perfect? Because it met the demands of both justice and mercy. A son gets in trouble, is arrested, charged with a crime, condemned and fined. But he has no means to pay the fine and faces a jail sentence. His father then steps in and offers to make the payment that will satisfy the demands of justice. In doing so he shows, to some extent, how much he cares. So with us. We sinned and are justly condemned. We have no means to pay for our wrongs. But God, our Father, makes the payment, not with money for this is insufficient, but with a willing Son who is ready to give up his life to save all who are condemned. In offering Himself He proves His love and the love of His heavenly Father. The result? Everyone is invited to share in the blessings, and all who accept by meeting the conditions of pardon, receive it.

Christianity Offers:

  1. A perfect Savior (John 1:36; Heb.10: 14; Acts 4: 10,11).
  2. Perfect pardon (He b. 8: 12). Sins are not disremembered for a year but forever.
  3. A perfect administration (Acts 2:47;Isa. 55:6,7). God pardons and the Lord adds to His church which is the family of God. We do not depend on our fellow men making a decision about our relationship with God.
  4. A perfect system of grace. Pardon is offered by our meeting the conditions He named, not by wild schemes offered by others or meritorious efforts on our part.
  5. A perfect revelation (2 Tim. 3:16;Jude 3). It is able to make us spiritually mature.
  6. A perfect invitation (Matt. 11: 28).It comes from the Lord Himself.
  7. Perfect coverage. The gospel is offered to every person of every race and color (Mk.16:15,16)
  8. A perfect solution (repentance and confession) for Christians when they make mistakes (1 John 1: 7), again based on Christ’s offering on the cross.
  9. Perfect conditions for the lost that are simple enough to be understood and that will be accepted only by humble penitent believers.

What are these conditions of salvation in the Christian age?

How are lost men to answer heaven’s call? They are:

  1. To believe in God and in Christ (Reb.II :6; John 8:24).
  2. To repent of sins (Luke 13:3; Acts2:38).
  3. To confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10; Matt. 10:32).
  4. To be immersed in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22: 16; Mark 16:16)

At this point the lost alien sinner is forgiven, saved. He is then God’s adopted son. He is added to the church. And he is ready to live a faithful Christian life.

Today, why should anyone want to change a single thing?

Why should anyone want to do anything more or less, or to become anything other than just a Christian?
Why should anyone want to risk his eternal destiny, especially with so many warnings against being misled? (Prov. 14:12; Matt. 15:9,13,14;7: 13,22).
Even those who preach another gospel are condemned (Gal. 1 :8,9).

Christianity is God’s perfect plan of salvation for today. We need to accept it and rejoice in it.