The Bible is inspired by God. We must follow all of the teachings… or face the consequences.
At Ripley St. Church of Christ, we have one reference book we turn to: the Bible.
The Bible was written for everyday people to read, think about for themselves and to put into practice. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. His coming (Genesis 49:10), His mission (Isaiah 53, Zechariah 6:13) and His new message (Jeremiah 31:31-33) were all foretold in the Old Testament hundreds of years before He was born. Jesus Christ wasn’t simply “a good man” but Himself said in Luke 19:10 that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Could “just a good man” seek, and save, those who are lost? Hardly.
But some have foolishly decided that Jesus is no longer relevant– or that His desires towards obedience has changed over time. But God said in Hebrews 13:8 that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today and forever.” His clear and simple teachings are just as powerful and relevant today as ever. Maybe even more so!
God holds us each of us accountable for our actions– both good and bad.
God says that He will hold each of us accountable for our actions. So what we say, what we do and how we live our lives is important. His only Son said so. His Son taught us that there are two destinations for everyone- heaven and hell. But He taught us us how to live our lives such that we can live with Him eternally– no matter how bad our lives “used to be.”
Once we become Christians, we must each check our egos at the door, and we must be personally accountable for following the teachings of the Bible. The apostle Peter, when confronted by an arrogant religious leader who didn’t like what Peter had to say about this leader’s sin and hypocrisy, replied “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) We urge our visitors and our members to constantly weight what they see and hear at Mariner Boulevard against the Bible. If we are wrong, tell us. That is truly what we are all about.
Since God holds us accountable for reaching out to others, we care about your soul, and will do everything in our power to help you to become a child of God– “a workman that need not be ashamed.” If we’re not doing our job in that regard, we want you to tell us that, too.
The Bible is the complete teaching of God.
II Timothy 3:16-17 says “All scripture is inspired by God”. Not some. Not most. All. It then goes on to say, “…and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” According to this and other teachings in the Bible, God has given us the complete teachings we need to live our lives– how to be good parents, good spouses, good employees, good employers, good students, good citizens and productive members of the only kingdom that matters- the kingdom of Jesus Christ! Why would any of us think that men could improve upon God?
The Heart and Mind of Jesus Christ
We believe that The New Testament reveals the heart and mind of Christ (Hebrews 9:15-17). By studying the New Testament, we learn that no denominations existed– history shows that these came later. We read of people in their faith obeying the conditions of God’s grace: they believed, turned to God, repented of their sins and were baptized in order to be forgiven of their sins. Being thus saved by God, they were added to the Lord’s people, or “church” (Acts 2:36-47). As the gospel spread, we see them assembling in congregations in various locations, each local group under the oversight of its own elders (also called bishops, overseers, pastors or shepherds) who did not answer to anyone other than Jesus. These men could not make laws or be masters, but were only given the responsibility of caring for the congregation as shepherds would a flock (Acts 20:17, 28; I Peter 5:1-3). These early Christians only knew of one headquarters: heaven, where their master, Jesus Christ, ruled over each of them (Ephesians 1:23).
This is what we believe. And this is what we strive to emulate.
New Testament Worship: Simple, Uncomplicated and Moving
New Testament worship was something that all believers participated in every Sunday, not something they watched. On the first day of the week they would eat the Lord’s Supper and hear preaching (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:23-29). They would share their mutual responsibilities by sharing their prosperity, and we find no other examples or commands of collections other than this (I Corinthians 16:1-2). No hierarchy could tell them how much money to give. They had no “church organizations” clamoring for their money and telling them how much to “tithe,” but they each “purposed in their own hearts” (II Corinthians 9:6-7). In their assemblies they would all sing (Ephesians 5:19) and all would pray while various men of the assembly would lead them (I Corinthians 14:15-16). No one person performed the worship, but each worshiped his or her God as commanded by Jesus Christ. It was simple but powerful, because each person had a responsibility to worship in spirit and in truth.
They were all involved, for each saved person was a priest (Revelation 1:5-6). These men and women lived godly lives. They taught others about Jesus Christ. They sent out preachers to other lands. They cared for their poor. With their simplicity of faith, and with their understanding that Jesus Christ was the head of the church, there was no need of centralization. Without any type of organized machinery, the gospel was preached throughout civilization in a short time (Colossians 1:23) and these early disciples were known simply as “Christians” (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; I Peter 4:16). They wore no other denominational name.
Pleasing God, Rather Than Men
In the New Testament, their religion was neither materialistic, flamboyant nor recreational. They were not interested in impressing men with ceremony, but were interested in pleasing God with the only thing that has ever pleased God: contrite obedience to His commands (I Samuel 15:22). They preached the gospel to a troubled world, for they knew that it was God’s power to save others, and not their own (Romans 1:16). Any other appeal they would not make.
“If only this could be the case today,” many say. It is. Men and women throughout the world have despaired of “organized religion,” taking a stand to know no other master besides Jesus Christ, reading for themselves the commandments of God. So can you!
At Ripley St , we worship and serve God in the same way the early disciples did, and we would like for you to serve God in the same manner: in simplicity, following His commandments. We’re not a part of any denomination. We’re simply “Christians.”
How about you? Would you like to be just a “Christian” and to freely serve God, following Christ without being bound by denominational laws and obligations? If such freedom appeals to you, please come meet with us, or call us.
We invite you to contact us for more information.