User-Friendly

Among the many things the Computer Age has given us, one is a new vocabulary list.  Computer and software makers know that to increase sales they need to make their products user-friendly.
   The Main Street church of Christ, in Manchester, TN, wants her community to know that she is user-friendly; that she has valuable things to offer the Manchester community; and, that those things are likewise user-friendly.
   Where computers and software are concerned, user-friendliness does not mean they will do anything you might want them to do; rather it means that what they do is (1) useful, and (2) their usefulness is friendly, which is to say easily understood and applied.
   Understanding this, let us consider a few areas in which the Main Street church of Christ is indeed user-friendly.

    The Bible
  • We do not view the Bible as a book of mysteries, codes and riddles subject to periodic special insight.  Neither do we believe the Bible is everybody’s own special piece of Playdough, which can be molded and made to say whatever one might desire it to say. We deeply believe the Bible is “given by the inspiration of God,” and that it is “profitable” for “doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Rather than man’s guessing, feeling, or just winging it, Jesus said that man must “live…by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).  The Bible is the “word”:  “of God” (Hebrews 4:12); “of Christ” (Colossians 3:16); “of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  We  “preach” it, and we “teach” it:

    I charge thee in the sight of God, and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:  preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:1-4)

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God.  And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16,17)

         The Main Street church of Christ is user-friendly when it comes to the Bible because our preachers preach the word and our teachers teach the word.

    Worship
  • The Main Street church of Christ obeys what the angel told John:  “worship God” (Revelation 22:9).   This is why we regularly “come together in one place” (1 Corinthians 14:23).  On “the first day of week” (16:2), in particular, Christians “come together” to: “lay by in store” for the “collection”; “eat the Lord’s supper” (11:20); “teach...and admonish...one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing...” (Colossians 3:16); “pray” (James 6:16); and hear God speak to us through “preaching” (1 Corinthians 1:21).  The collective worship of the very first Christians was precisely this, no more, no less.  “This is New Testament worship, and it is user-friendly.  It is easily understood both in action and in meaning.  Each act is distinct and each person participates.

    Salvation
  • The Main Street church of Christ is primarily focused on what the Bible calls “the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:10).  God has “abundant mercy” (1:3), and “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” He gives us a “living hope.”  “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  They are lost, and “the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The beginning point of salvation is when sinners are, by God, “begotten again” through “the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). This happens through their “obeying the truth” (1:22).  This means obeying the commands to:  “believe” (John 8:24), “repent” (Acts 2:38), “confess Christ as Lord” (Romans 10:9-10), and, be “baptized” (Mark 16:16).
         These newborn Christians must then spend their lives “growing” (1 Peter 2:2), “working out [their] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12); and, producing “fruit” (Galatians 5:22ff). 
         They work hard at “walking in the light” (1 John 1:7), but when they sin, they “confess [their] sins” (1:9) seeking God’s forgiveness (1:9). When circumstances require it, Christians will also “confess [their] sins one to another, and pray one for another” (James 5:16).
         At every one of our assemblies, we emphasize God’s Plan of Salvation:  As it regards one’s being “begotten again,” and as it regards a Christian’s “confess[ing] sins.”

    Family
  • One of the many joys of being a Christian is being a part of “the house,” the family, “of God” (1 Timothy 3:15).  We have God as “our father” (1 Peter 1:17), and each Christian is our “brother” (Philemon 1:16) or “sister” (Romans16:1).
         Those “who love God” must “love” their brethren (1 John 4:21). They have “compassion” when their “brother [has] need” (3:17).  They “admonish” their brethren when they are not doing right (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15). In a true family, when one messes up, the others work hard to “restore such a one in the spirit of meekness”; in other words, they believe that we should “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2). It is all about helping each other get to Heaven.
         The Main Street church of Christ is a tight family, but we welcome with open arms any and all who will obey the gospel and be born into the family of God.  We are brothers and sisters; we have all been begotten by the same Father; we are all members of the same household, and we all wear the same name, Christian. 

    If a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:16, 17)

         Before His crucifixion and resurrection, the Christ had promised “upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18).  The church of Christ first appeared in history on the Jewish feast day, the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).  A preacher preached; hearers were moved to plead, “What shall we do?” (v. 37).  They were told to “repent” and be “baptized” (v. 38).  Those who “received his word were baptized” (v. 41).  Thus, God “added to the church daily” (KJV) “those that were saved.” Note the description of the very first church of Christ:

    They continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And fear came upon every soul…all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need.  And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. (Acts 2:42-47)

         The church of Christ was user-friendly then, and the Main Street church of Christ is user-friendly now.  Come see us.