The church that Jesus built is unique in many ways; this ‘uniqueness’ helps to identify it and separate it from man-made churches. The church that Jesus built is both unique and identifiable by its organization; its worship, and its doctrine. The ‘doctrine’ of Christ’s church is called “truth”. The church is said to be the pillar and ground of TRUTH (1 Tim. 3:15). Truth characterizes the church and this has reference to its doctrine. This is because truth is what produced the church and now the church sets forth and defends truth against false teaching.
As was mentioned last week there is the one true gospel and “other” gospels (Gal. 1:6-9). Doctrine is what distinguishes Christ’s church from man-made churches. The Lord’s church will set forth truth thru its doctrines. Remember, salvation is dependent upon truth and truth is something that must be learned & obeyed by man in order for GOD to save him from his sins. We see this from 1 Tim. 2:4 which says of God, ”Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”; and in 1 Pet. 1:22 where Peter said that the soul is purified by obeying truth. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth...”
Salvation is not a result of blind trust; nor is it an unexplainable experience. It can be understood for it involves being taught. Man is ‘drawn’ to GOD by being taught of God. This was one of the reasons that Jesus taught while He was on earth. Jesus stated in John 6:44-45, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him…”. THEN JESUS EXPLAINS HOW THE FATHER DRAWS: “…every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” Did you notice the order: hearing and learning precedes coming unto Him.
The church consists of those who have been saved and as such, have learned truth. Salvation involves both God and man, for God purposed salvation for man. Salvation in Christ was foreshadowed in the way that God dealt with those who lived prior to Christ. Take for example Noah. Let us note the similarities in Noah’s salvation from the flood and our salvation from sin. What do we know of Noah’s life before the flood? We are told:
Noah was “righteous” before God in his generation (Gen. 7:1). Previously in Gen. 6:9 were told of Noah that he was “…a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” What made Noah ‘righteous’? What made Noah just; perfect? HOW did Noah walk with God? We can learn the answers from what is said of Noah in Gen. 6:22; 7:5, 9, 16. There we read: “…according to all that God commanded him (Noah), so did he (Noah).” While we don’t have all the commands that God gave to Noah recorded for us in the Bible; we know that there were other commands. How? Because it is recorded that Noah walked w/God; that he was righteous, just, and perfect. How was this so of Noah? Do you know the answer? It was because of the existence of commands! God gave him commands and he obeyed those commands.
NOTICE: By doing as God commanded, Noah “walked with God”. By doing as God commanded, Noah was righteous. By doing as God commanded, Noah was ‘just’ and ‘perfect’.
The reason for this is that ALL GOD’S COMMANDS ARE RIGHTEOUS, JUST AND PERFECT.
This is why Noah “found grace” in God’s eyes (Gen. 6:8) prior to the flood. It is why God chose to save him from the flood.
Notice something else about Noah from Heb. 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…”. Where and how did Noah get his faith? The same way that you, and I, and everyone else that has faith, got theirs. Remember Romans 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing; hearing by the word of God”? Without God’s word faith cannot exist! Which came first, Noah’s faith or God’s commands? Compare the wording in Heb. 11:7, “By faith Noah, being warned of God…moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…” Consider…did Noah move with fear before God warned him of the flood? Did Noah begin building an ark before God gave him the command? How did Noah know to build an ark? Whose idea was it; his or God’s?
We learn something VERY IMPORTANT about God’s eternal purpose from this story of Noah and the flood; we learn of HOW God intended to save us from our sins thru His SON. Again, notice concerning Noah’s salvation:
Was grace involved? Yes, from Gen. 6:8. It could properly be said that Noah was saved by grace couldn’t it? But does that mean that Noah was saved by grace ‘alone’? Was anything else involved? Yes, from Heb. 11:7, Noah’s faith was involved. It says that Noah prepared an ark “by faith”. Was Noah’s faith also necessary for him to be saved from the flood? How? Just believing that a flood was forthcoming? Was anything else involved? Notice also from this verse that Noah prepared the ark “to the saving of his house”. Was the building of the ark related to Noah’s salvation? Was it also necessary? Did Noah build it by faith? Was there any obedience connected to his faith? If so, what obedience was there? Do you see from all of these passages how that grace, faith, and obedience were all involved? This is what God’s eternal purpose involves: GRACE; FAITH & OBEDIENCE. His grace combined with man’s faith and obedience to His word.
Likewise today, God warns us of the consequences of sin; and gives commands as to how to escape the punishment of sin; whosoever will believe Him and obey what He commands, will escape what befalls those who don’t.