In a recent article, we presented the picture of the church as the Lord’s house. The apostle Paul pointed this truth out to Timothy when he wrote, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). We also noted that the church was built by Christ (Matt. 16:18), that He is the head of it (Col. 1:18) and that it was built according to the pattern of God (Heb. 8:5). All this being true, there is no possibility that any improvements could be made upon the house of God. Yet, damage, distortion and deterioration of that perfect house certainly can and has taken place. When such has taken place, a restoration is needed.
Regarding a material house, a dwelling place for man, they commonly and regularly need to be repaired, remodeled and refurbished. However, only seldom do we hear of anyone attempting to restore such a dwelling. The difference in repairing, remodeling and refurbishing as compared to restoring is that only in restoration is the goal to bring it back to its original state. When one remodels, he often changes floor plans, types of materials used, size and such. When repairing, often a better material or more cosmetically appealing material or style is utilized. Often we see or hear of automobiles that have been restored. They are only truly restored if they have been brought back to their original condition. A nineteen twenty-three Model T, with a V-8 Chevrolet engine, no matter how meticulous the body and interior has been restored, is not a true restoration. When speaking of the Lord’s house, since it was built exactly as God desired it to be, any changes detract from its value even to the point of it being no longer the Lord’s house. No additions may be made and nothing can be removed. A principle found in the words of God to Israel concerning the law of Moses shows the necessity of every detail of the Lord’s house being kept just as given. Moses said, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deut. 4:2). The apostle Paul, speaking of the law of the gospel wrote, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
It has been nearly two millennia since the Lord build His house. Many efforts have been made from the very beginning to alter the Lord’s house from the way it was originally built. Note just prior to Paul’s statement about not preaching any other gospel (Gal. 1:8), he said that there were some that were perverting the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:7). The first noticeable change in the Lord’s house was in the realm of church organization. According to the pattern, each congregation of the Lord’s church was to be overseen by a plurality of men called elders or bishops (Tit. 1:5). When one reads from those commonly called “the early church fathers” who wrote in the second and third centuries, one reads of “the bishop” of Rome or Corinth or other such churches. One man had been elevated to a position above the other elders and designated “the bishop”. Within about five hundred years, one man had been elevated to the position of head of the entire church on earth, though the pattern clearly said that Jesus Christ is “the head of the church” (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). It did not take long before changes also began to take place in both doctrine and worship.
Hundreds of years later, the house of the Lord had been so corrupted, so perverted and so renovated that it no longer even resembled the Lord’s house. Men with all good intentions began to see the great incongruity between the Lord’s house as found in the Bible and that which was being called the Lord’s house. These men, with good intentions, set out to “reform” the existing church, when what they needed to do instead was to “restore” the original house of the Lord. The end result of their efforts has turned out to be a multitude of houses, all with different names, different forms of polity and with different doctrines and creeds, while all proclaiming that they are the Lord’s house. No one in their right mind could look out across a housing complex with hundreds of houses, no two identical and conclude that they were all built to the exact specifications of a single set of blueprints. Yet, many do that very thing when it comes to the Lord’s house.
Friend, it would behoove each of us to study the original blueprint that has been provided by the Lord. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17). Every detail of the Lord’s house, including the organization, the doctrine and the worship, must be found in that original blueprint. If not: “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13).
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