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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Matthew 16:18, "And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

This morning, man is concerned with the things that are his and the things that he thinks he is capable of possessing. All of man's natural pursuits are driven by the motive to get gain for himself. Therefore, man naturally does not esteem something unless he desires to make it his own. However, things in this life are fleeting, and they are not man's anyway. The Lord owns all, and man was put on the earth to keep things.  The Lord gave man dominion over the beasts and other elements of the natural world. However, there is a big difference between dominion and possession. A king may have possession over everything in the realm, but he still delegates dominion over different areas to his stewards, governors, etc. Our King owns all, but He has blessed us with stewardship over different areas.

This verse has been of great comfort to me over the years. It has so much contained therein that I am always finding something else every time that I read it. Such is the case again. The verse plainly states that the church belongs to the Lord. He calls it "my church." I must have read over the little but important word "my" numerous times without realizing the weight and importance of it. The church does not belong to any man or group of people. We are blessed with the stewardship of the kingdom, but stewardship is something that can be taken away (as it happened to the Jews in AD 70).  

A steward has not the authority of the King. A steward can have authority FROM the King, but not OF the King. A minister's authority comes from the King, and if he oversteps that bound (as has happened before), he is no longer doing the will of the King. The same goes for deacons, members, young, and old. We all have been given something to do in HIS church. We are to occupy and earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.  The number of talents that we have is not important, but the importance is in how we utilize them.  

Therefore, if the church is not our possession, we are not at liberty to do as we please. We are not at liberty to say, "Well, the old church did fine like that in years gone by, but this is a new time in need of some new things." We are not at liberty to say, "Well, the Lord gave me some special instructions that He didn't give to others." The Lord built His church upon Himself. He is the Rock upon which she is founded, and nothing has needed changing since the time of her establishment. She was founded with Christ instituting singing, preaching, and prayer.  There was no other practice exercised by the early church by any account. Therefore, if the practice varies from that, people are overstepping the will of the King.  

Also, the Lord laid out His doctrine plainly, and no other doctrine besides grace will distill as the dew. No other doctrine gives comfort like the small rain upon the tender plant. No other doctrine causes rejoicing during the showers of blessing. And, I boldly declare that all the other orders of "churches" out in the world never experience the feast and bounty at the Master's table like the true church experiences. They may be fed with crumbs from time to time, but there are not times of great feasting. Indeed, it is HIS CHURCH, and we need to be faithful stewards in His kingdom.

In Hope,

Bro Philip