THE ONE CHURCH JESUS BUILT

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Jesus promised to build one church. Contrary to the popular notion that one may join the church of his choice, the Bible teaches that there is just one church. In fact, Jesus Christ never promised to build but one church. In the area of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus said, “And I also say to you that you are Peter (petros-Greek)), and on this rock (petra-Greek) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV). Jesus did not say, “I will build my churches,” but he said, “I will build my church,” singular. Jesus built but one church, and he called it “my church.” The church was not built on Peter, a weak and wavering disciple, but on the rock like Gibraltar confession of faith that Peter made when affirmed “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16 NIV). It is not the church of Peter, but it is the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). Continue reading “THE ONE CHURCH JESUS BUILT”

BIBLICAL CHURCH GOVERNMENT

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The church at Philippi was established on Paul’s second evangelistic journey in about 50 A D (Acts 15:41-18:22). He was very endeared to this congregation as they were to him. They contributed financial help to him several times while he was in prison at Rome. He wrote the letter to the Philippians from his prison cell in Rome. It is one of the four prison letters that he wrote while he was in custody for at least two years. In the very opening verses of this letter, the apostle Paul gave the pattern that is to govern each local congregation. Previously Jesus promised to build his church upon the confession that the apostle Peter made when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Then Jesus promised to build his church upon the rock of his divinity (Matthew 16:18). Christ Jesus rules over the church universal through his inspired word. The Bible does not sanction any kind of church government over the universal church except Christ himself! The universal church has only one head, and that is Jesus Christ. To the Ephesian church Paul established the headship of Christ over his church: “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22, 23 NKJV). Therefore we all must live and die with Christ Jesus as the head of the church. No man is head of the church Jesus purchased with his own blood. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

In the introduction to the letter to the Philippians we have the order of ecclesiastical government for each congregation of the universal church: “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:1,2 NKJV). In this text bishops (episkopois—Greek) translates to “overseers” and refers to the overseers of the local church (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7). In Paul’s speech to the “elders—presbuteros” of the local church at Ephesus the word is used interchangeably with the word bishops (episkopois–overseers): “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:28-30 NKJV). Therefore the terms elder (older man) and overseer defined and explained what the responsibility was of those governing the local church. Their task was to make sure the plain word of God was taught and to chase the false teachers (wolves) away!

Early in the apostolic history of the New Testament church bishops-overseers or elders-presbuteros were established in every local congregation with Jesus Christ as the universal head of the church. For instance, near the end of Paul’s first evangelistic journey it is written, “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed” (Acts 14:23 NKJV). Therefore Paul and Barnabas set up the governance in each local congregation. Later Paul authorized the young evangelist Titus to also appoint elders in every church: “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—” (Titus 1:5).

THE SYNONYMS OF THE OVERSEERS OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

Now let us analyze each biblical term used to identify the group of men who oversee the local church (congregation), under the Headship of Jesus Christ who rules the church through the New Testament and the group of men described by the following words:

 

 

THE UNSCRIPTURAL TITLES USED BY RULERS OF SOME CHURCHES

 

 

THE BIBLICAL WARNING TO THE  OVERSEERS

The first major departure from the biblical church was in the government of the local congregation. In the New Testament teaching a body of overseers or elders was to govern the congregation according to the inspired instruction of Christ and the apostles. The apostles taught and practiced appointing two or more qualified men over each congregation (See Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; and Acts 20:17, 28).

Jesus and Paul warned that false teachers would enter the congregations like wolves and destroy the churches: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Jesus–Matthew 7:15). The apostle Paul gave the same warning to the elders/overseers of the Ephesian church: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church [a]of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31). The leaders of the congregations did not take the warning seriously, and therefore over many years the government of the church was changed  from a body of men over a local congregation to one or more men in charge of all the universal church, wearing many unscriptural titles of governing prerogatives. Those titles are in the graph listed above.

BIBLICAL ELDERS/OVERSEERS ARE TO BE HONORED

In each congregation, the biblical overseers/elders are to be respected and held in the highest regard: For instance Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica: “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13). And then again Paul through the evangelist Timothy taught that the elders who both rule well over the congregation and also labor in preaching/teaching the word and doctrine, are to be worthy of double honor: “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (I Timothy 5:17). The spiritual and biblical qualifications for the overseers are listed in the word of God and are easy to understand (1 Timothy 3:1-7;Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4). 

We hope more preachers will have the courage to study the New Testament, learn the truth on the government of the church, and then courageously battle to restore the Biblical practice of a plurality of qualified men over each congregation with Jesus Christ as the Head and Overruling Monarch of the church He purchased with his precious blood.

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

*The biblical quotations are from The New King James translation

 

Shelby G. Floyd Minister, Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

Serious Bible Study

By

Shelby G. Floyd



The apostle Paul commanded his son in the gospel, Timothy, to : “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV). From his childhood Timothy had enjoyed superior advantages, for his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, had taught him the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Paul had also imparted to Timothy a miraculous gift which he was told to stir up, or use (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6). Notwithstanding all of this, however, Timothy still needed to study the Bible, God’s word.

Some critics of the Bible are deriding the use of the word study in 2 Timothy 2: 15. They say this passage does not teach that we should read, meditate upon, and examine the Holy Scriptures. But is this criticism correct? The word from which study is translated carries with it the idea of making haste, exerting oneself, endeavoring and giving diligence, which is exactly the meaning of the English word study. When one studies the Bible, one should give diligence, exert oneself and endeavor to understand what the will of God is. Therefore, the English word study in this context is an exact representation of the original language.

This is not the only passage in the Bible which emphasizes the need for children of God to apply their minds to the study of God’s word. We are told that the Bereans “were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). To fulfill the noble purpose for which man was created, we, like the Bereans, must search the scriptures daily. The word study, therefore, does not mean just to read the Bible but to thoroughly search the scriptures to understand the truth.

The Psalmist described the man who is blessed: “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalms 1:2). When we properly study the Bible, then, the meditations of our heart will be upon the scripture day and night.


One reason so many Christians fall short in studying the Bible is because it does require effort, diligence and exertion of our energies. The Sage, Solomon, said, “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). After all these years there is still no end to the making of books, but the book that demands our utmost attention is the Bible, which is still the best seller; and we should count it a joy to have the privilege to ponder God’s word. And, like Job, we should esteem it more than our necessary food (Job 23:12).

Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

 

Shelby G. Floyd, Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

GLOBAL WARMING

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning to all of you. We have had a great song service, prayer, and Bible reading. It is good to stand before you and present the word of God. Today we hear a lot about global warming! Whether it is true or false I do not know. But I know looking back when I was a child when we did not have air conditioning, there were many summers when it was so hot that my mom would make a pallet on the floor, and we would sleep there, and it would be like midnight before we could go to sleep since it was so hot. But we survived so maybe there was global warming back then. But there is one thing for sure that I do know, God has promised that there will be global warming and it is called the day of judgment and the destruction of the heavens and the earth by fire!

LONG AGO THE WORLD PERISHED BY FLOODED WATER

In the first place, I speak to you about the heavens and earth that existed long ago, when the earth was destroyed by water. There is so much evidence today that backs up the fact that there was a universal flood that interrupted time and history in the long ago. Peter wrote,
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue just as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water” (2 Peter 3:3-6 NASB). Continue reading “GLOBAL WARMING”

THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

It is so good to see all of you and we have almost all of our seats filled. I am glad to be able to stand before you today and speak on one of my favorite subjects. Just a few weeks ago we spent some time in 1 Peter 2:3-8 on the topic that I am speaking today. I love to preach on things that we have just studied because it is fresh on my mind and on the minds of those of you who are in our Bible class. And so my subject is The Chief Cornerstone. It is amazing how many times that phrase is found in Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. The topic is taught in 1 Peter and in Paul’s letters, as well also by Jesus when He was on earth. And so let us zero in on this subject—The Chief Cornerstone!

On the overhead screen the founder of our country, George Washington is pictured when he laid the cornerstone of the US capitol building, September 18, 1793. You can see that he was dressed up in his Masonic uniform. Most of our Founding Fathers were Masons. It seems the Masons started in the Middle Ages. And they were kind of like when you work someplace, and you learn a trade, then later that trade is passed on to the next generation. So those Masons were the builders of big buildings and cathedrals. They had special knowledge and skills. Some even say that these skills had been passed on from the days of Solomon when God gave special skills to those workers who built the Temple in Jerusalem! I do not know if that is true. They became members of a Guild and passed that knowledge on to other generations. So George Washington laid the cornerstone of our U. S. Capital. Continue reading “THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE”

SERIOUS BIBLE STUDY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The apostle Paul commanded his son in the gospel, Timothy, to : “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV). From his childhood Timothy had enjoyed superior advantages, for his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice, had taught him the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Paul had also imparted to Timothy a miraculous gift which he was told to stir up, or use (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6). Notwithstanding all of this, however, Timothy still needed to study the Bible, God’s word.

 

Continue reading “SERIOUS BIBLE STUDY”

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Preach the Word

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Note: I proclaimed this sermon forty four years ago when I was thirty nine years old. And today I affirm these bedrock truths as strongly as then! Wake up America before it is too late!

In view of the transformation of the American culture, it is proper to ask, “Will God continue to bless America?” Whatever has made America great in the past and the present will make America great in the future.  We love to sing the prayer song, “God Bless America.”  Truly that song expresses our fondest hopes and desires that God will continue to bless America in the future like he has in the past.  I am quick to tell you that I am proud to be an American.  I am grateful to God that I was born in this country and that I have citizenship in this great nation.  I don’t think…

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TEST YOURSELVES

By

Shelby G. Floyd

What a beautiful day we have to come and worship God. Thank you for your attendance and your interest in worshipping and serving Christ in spirit and truth. We are sorry that Mitch cannot be here today. As you know he suffered a blood clot in his lung, and he is recuperating at home. Also Patsy McCluggage is suffering from a blood clot in her leg. We also want to remember Gabe Harman who had surgery this past week and is now recuperating at home. Let us pray that he will heal up and be back soon.

I am speaking to you on the subject—”Test Yourselves.” We are all being tested in various ways. Examinations are quite common these days. We are being examined for drivers’ tests, physical exams, blood tests, stress test, skin test, eye exams, dental exams, hearing tests, and pregnancy tests, and covid tests. There are physical and psychological tests. But today we are more interested in taking spiritual and religious tests!

I read of a husband who was sick and had to go to the doctor for an examination. He took his wife along with him. He went in to see the doctor who did a very complete examination. He sent the husband out to the waiting room and asked his wife to come in for a consultation. The doctor told his wife he had some awfully bad news. Your husband is extremely sick, but the good news is that he will be better if you will take him home, cook three hot meals every day, take care of all his needs and then he should be recovered in about two months. The wife yelled out, TWO MONTHS! The lady then left the doctor’s office and went out and got in the car with her husband. The man said, well what did the doctor say? The wife looked at her husband and said, “you are going to die!” Men we should be very thankful when we have a good wife that takes care of us all the time, cooks our meals and does our laundry and all that kind of stuff.

Sometimes it is necessary to regularly turn our attention on ourselves and examine our character and conduct. Do you examine yourself regularly to see if you are living right, and if your conduct is what it should be? We all need to do some self-examinations! Alexander Pope, who is one of my favorite poets said,

“Know thyself and presume not God to scan. The proper study of mankind is man.”

Therefore, we need to study man in order to know how we can take care of ourselves. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He was one of the great philosophers of ancient Greece. But the apostle Paul said it best in his second letter to the Corinthian church:
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV).
Paul is telling all of the Christians at Corinth that you need to take a test; you need to get an examination to see if you are qualified! In real estate training I remember that salespeople need to “have a checkup from the neck up!” He was really saying you need to check your thinking and your attitude. We really need to examine ourselves because we may be blind to our faults. Continue reading “TEST YOURSELVES”

AS NEW BORN BABES

By

Shelby G. Floyd

1

Good morning everyone. I had a wonderful visit in Florida with my daughters, my grandchildren, and great grandchildren. But I missed everybody here at the Heartland congregation. It is good to be back home with you and to sing these beautiful hymns today.

I was saddened to hear about the passing of our brother Pete Tinkle. We are going to miss seeing him every Sunday morning, as we come in here to worship. I was happy to see that things are really going great, and that Mitch came through his surgery in a fine way. Thank you all for praying for him and for others who have been going through some difficult times with their health.

A few weeks ago before I left to go to Florida, we were studying in 1 Peter 1:22-2:3. This context speaks of several concepts of being born and growing into mature adults. I love to study the Bible verse by verse, especially when things jump out at me that are going on in the real world. So I looked as we read about God’s children being as newborn babes, and said to myself, “That is what I am going to preach on the next time, because we have two brand new babes in our family—two great grandsons for me! We have Kai Gregory, Cheryl our daughter’s grandson and Damon’s grandson Kellen Brooks, who was born just recently. And then I started thinking  about others who have newborns. Jacob and Melanie Surface have a new daughter Amity Wren. And I especially like that name Wren which is really a beautiful name. Then of course Gary and Robin Stevens have several beautiful little granddaughters. And I must mention Paul, who has been on the front row since his birth and in two weeks he will be one year old!

So my subject today is “As Newborn Babes! Peter writes, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2,3 NKJV). Continue reading “AS NEW BORN BABES”