The principle of restoration is as old as the hills. Someone might restore a piece of antique furniture which is to say “bring back to former place or condition or use, re-establish” (Oxford Dictionary). You could say that as you looked upon that piece of furniture there would be no difference between the time of its origin and the present day. In order for the restoration to be completely authentic there must be an original plan, pattern or blueprint to guide and direct in the process. Don’t let the doubters convince you that it can’t be done; because it can. These doubters might say the materials or ingredients are not available today for true restoration meaning you need to use a suitable substitute. However, it would not be a true restoration if a substitution were implemented. For example, a 17th century table stripped of its dilapidated protective finish would not be truly restored by applying an epoxy resin for such a finish was not available to the original cabinet maker. All the old techniques and materials are available today albeit not readily available, but nothing is impossible for the truly conscientious. So it is for those seeking to restore the condition of the church belonging to Jesus Christ.
This leads me to think about how many people get to a stage in life or perhaps go through a stage in life whereby they want to discover God. They genuinely and sincerely want to find out what God wants them to do in life in order to be pleasing to Him. Now, before I continue, I am not talking about the god of the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or the thousand or so gods that seem to exist in the minds of some. I am talking of the God of the Bible Who says He is unique in that He is one and only God in the sense of unity. This God is three individual identities that make up the “Godhead” (Romans 1:20). There is God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4), God the Son Jesus Christ (John 20:28) and God the Father (John 1:1). To the cultist that cannot come to grips with this concept and therefore denies the above then all I can suggest is restudy, for sound hermeneutics proves conclusively the Genesis Elohim is one and the same as in John 1;1-3 and Colossians 1:13-20.
Oh, and you might like to consider this, God the Father is in heaven along with the Holy Spirit while Jesus whom Thomas referred to as “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28) was on earth in the presence of the disciples. Three separate beings in two separate places yet all referred to as God according to the references I have given. Something to think about, eh!
So what is one to aim for in order to please the God of the Bible? For it becomes apparent from reading the Bible from beginning to end that there are three distinct groups of people spoken of within its pages. Which group is it that one is to emulate if one is to please God?
The first group being the “fathers” referred to by scholars as the Patriarchs is found in Genesis 1 through Exodus 20 which tells how some heads of families such as Noah, Job, and Abraham had direct communication with God about what they should do in order to obey God (cf. Hebrews 1:1). Then came along Moses who was selected by God to receive the law written on tablets of stone that would exclusively govern the Hebrew race of people, according to Deuteronomy 5:2-3, toward a predetermined point in time at which God would send His Son Jesus Christ to be born in human form and walk and talk among men in order to sympathise with man’s plight and take their place to suffer the penalty of sin which was due them (Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 2:17-18). Such events culminated at the cross on Calvary’s hill thereby ushering in a new group of people called Christians (Acts 11:26). It is this last group that man must belong to in order to execute the will of the Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21) and are to “listen” to Jesus (Mark 9:7) as God now gives instructions exclusively through Him and His apostles (Hebrews 1:2; John 16:13; cf Matthew 28:20 “even to the end of the age”), for the first two groups had laws that have since been abolished at the death of Jesus on the cross according to Ephesians 2:15, Colossians 2:14 and Hebrews 1:2. What characterises these people first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26) is their obedience (Mathew 7:21) to the way they are saved, the way they are organised and the way they worship. In fact these people were derogatorily known as “belonging to the Way” (Acts 9:2) in the first century. It is not long before one sees “the Way” as people who make up the ekklesia i.e. the called out aka the church. The church that Jesus said He would “build” (Matthew 16:18) and pay for with His blood (Acts 20:28). This church is made up of the saved that were “added” (Acts 2:41, 47). It is this church that must be restored if one is to enjoy the privilege of the heavenly home.
This church is identified by its characteristics in a not too dissimilar fashion that one identifies the origins of an antique piece of furniture or a classic motor vehicle. Either project of restoration requires study and research of designer, time and place of manufacture. The plan might be easily obtained forensically and matched to what is commonly known. For instance paint sample analysed will lead to the correct colour and composition in order to repaint to restoration standards. Remember to restore the vehicle means to follow the original pattern, but if one were to digress from that pattern and use, for example, paint from another model and year, then one would be merely reforming it; making an amendment but it would not be restored as it was first made in the beginning.
So, where do you go in order to research and study the design of this restored church? Let me say; only the Bible contains the pattern for the church, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Look at the time and place of the original church, i.e. first century, specifically the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2). In Acts you will see what is required to be added to this church – repent and be baptised (Acts 2:38). So, if a church says all you need to do to be saved is to ask Jesus into your heart and pray a manmade prayer, you will know that is a substitution meaning it is not the restored church of the Bible.
Worship God consisting of “breaking of bread” i.e. communion of the Lord’s death upon the cross as instituted by Jesus in Matthew 26:26-29, “prayer”, “apostles’ teaching” on the first day of the week i.e. Sunday as Pentecost always, without exception occurred on the first day of the week as it was the 50th day after the Passover. So, if a church says that they worship God on Saturday as do the Adventists then you will know that is a substitution meaning it is not the restored church Jesus the designer, builder and owner would not be pleased with.
Look, if you are genuinely interested in the restored church of the Bible which exists in your community then go to www.timarucoc.org.nz and read an article or two, follow some links I have provided, do your research and get back to the restored church of the Bible. Take care that you give those man-made institutions a wide berth that is, of course, if you want to go home to heaven.
Accept no substitute