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Lesson 4 The Restoration from the Apostasy

 

Devotional Reading:   Psalm 133

 

Memory Verse:           Zechariah 14:6, 7

 

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.

 

LESSON TEXT

 

1 Corinthians 1:10–13. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

 

2 Corinthians 6:14–18. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 

COMMENTS ON THE LESSON TEXT

 

1 Corinthians 1:10. An exhortation to unity that credit the name of Christ. This is an outward and visible unity as well as an inward unity. V11. Paul had learned of strife that was resulting in division. This he desired to correct. V12. The strife was over leaders. Had these men been rivals what open breaches and shame would have resulted. V13. There is no division in Christ and no salvation out of him. How vital then is Christian unity! This is a strong plea against division and for unity among the people of God.

2 Corinthians 6:14. Contrary elements have no affinity. Sin and holiness, or truth and error, should not be mixed. V15. Persons of opposite characters cannot have spiritual fellowship. The spiritual difference between saint and unbeliever is like that between Christ and Satan. V16. The Temple of God is the church—a spiritual institution. It can have no agreement with unscriptural institutions. V17. A call for separation from all that is unholy. V18. The place promised in God’s family is quite enough. Though written against participation in idolatrous worship the principle calls for separation from sin, error, and unscriptural institutions.

 

LESSON TOPIC: THE RESTORATION FROM THE APOSTASY

I. THE NEED OF REFORMATION

 

1. The need of reformation.

 

A) The fact of apostasy requires a restoration. We cannot believe that God intends for his work to retrograde and never be recovered. The redemption of man causes us to believe likewise in a redemption for the church. B) The apostasy is a historical fact. Since it has already occurred it is now time for reformation.

 

2. Found in present conditions.

 

A) Present conditions in the church are not ideal. The earnest efforts of leaders to find a basis of union proves the dissatisfaction felt in present conditions. B) Present divisions do not properly represent the original church. A reformation is needed to restore the unity and purity properly belonging to the church.

 

3. A return is needed.

 

A) Not progression. The continuance and development of present conditions can never attain the ideal. There must be a discovery of the fundamental errors and a forsaking of them. B) A return to primitive truth. “Back to the Bible” must be the slogan. A forsaking of error and a returning to truth will effect the restoration.

 

II. THE LINES OF REFORMATION

 

1. The restoration of a pure doctrine.

 

A) The rejection of erroneous doctrines. The orthodoxy of a doctrine is to be determined solely by the Bible. Any doctrine failing in the test, however venerated, must be discarded. B) The rejection of human creeds. These contain a mixture of truth and error. The truth is not thereby lost, for it is still found in the Bible. Human creeds are also objectionable, for they circumscribe one’s belief, thus hindering a progress in truth. They likewise effectively separate God’s people. C) The acceptance of the full Bible teaching. There must be a whole-hearted acceptance of the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth.

 

2. A return to holy living.

 

A) Sinners are to be rejected from Christian fellowship. The work of the church is to save sinners, but the church fellowship itself must be kept pure. The restored church is a pure church. B) The experience of entire sanctification is the standard to which the church is to be brought.

 

3. The uniting of God’s people.

 

A) This is not a corporate union under a visible head as in the case of Rome. Such a union is a return to apostasy rather than a restoration. B) It is not a federation of various religious bodies. Such may be a union, but it is not a unity. The church is one body, not a compound of conflicting units. C) It is a spiritual brotherhood in which all of God’s people are equal. This is far different from the unity of Rome which includes its lordship and its servitude. D) It is an inward unity where all are of one heart and soul. E) It is a visible unity revealing itself in one doctrine and one cooperative fellowship. F) The improvement does not come from man, but the recognition of the Holy Spirit in his place as the acting force of the church.

 

III. THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION

 

1. Was a work of God.

 

A) No one man responsible for movement. Certain men were prominent in it. It sprang up independently in different places. It was the power of God’s word that accomplished the work. B) Martin Luther attempted to purify the church by preaching against evil. But he had to come out. “Wherefore come out . . . and touch not the unclean thing.” C) Luther insisted on the Bible as the true test of doctrine. D) Zwingli went farther in rejecting all that he did not find taught in the Bible.

 

2. It rejected the hierarchy.

 

A) It was general among the Protestants. Luther and others rejected the papacy because of its corruption, Zwingli and others on doctrinal grounds. B) They failed to discern the true church.

 

IV. THE EVILS IN PROTESTANTISM

 

1. It has many creeds and divisions.

 

A) They had no clear light, many traditions of Rome were carried over. B) The recognition of human authority, with no central authority like the pope gave rise to divisions.

 

V. THE PRESENT REFORMATION

 

1. Its purpose.

 

A) The present movement seeks to restore the church to her primitive purity, unity, and powers. It seeks to finish the task only begun by past reformers. B) The acceptance of all truth no matter by whom it is proclaimed, for all truth belongs to all of God’s people. It stands committed to all truth that has been revealed or may yet be revealed. C) The gathering of God’s people in the one spiritual body outside of all sectarian factions, recognizes Christ only as its center. D) The holy ministers proclaim the message and must go forward till all God’s children are in unity.