God promises to bless those who hear and read His Words. (Revelation 1:3). Understanding is still important, but there is a blessing whenever you read God's Word. He goes on to say that we need to "take to heart what is written." Still, complete understanding does not come automatically. Start by reading/studying; then seek understanding; then put it into practice; then teach others (Ezra 7:10)
Our world has a somewhat confused idea about what the church is. The church that Jesus died to bring into existence is simply the family of God. It has nothing to do with facilities, or certain ministries, or programs of work. It is an undenominational group of believers who recognize that God has added us to His family by virtue of what Jesus did on the cross.
Some of Jesus’ last words on earth were when he prayed in John 17 for the unity of all believers. The early church started out great with literally thousands of souls coming to be baptized as they accepted the message of grace through faith in Christ. The church was highly regarded by the community and God blessed them as they understood that they had a higher calling than living for themselves.
Even in the New Testament, early Christians, as the believers came to be called, had a difficult time in living up to their calling. Some of them often became self-centered, easily swayed by false teachers, and prideful. Thus, it is not our aim to simply make the first-century church a blueprint for today.
It is our aim to use the New Testament teachings as our guide in all matters of faith.
This is not to deny the guidance of God’s Spirit. He will guide us into all truth as we seek to follow the scriptures. Through the ages, many churches nearly abandoned God’s Word opting for the teachings of man.
The American Restoration Movement of the 19th century was an attempt to go back and use the scriptures only as our guide.
Did they succeed?
To a certain extent, they did, but did they arrive?
Despite our noblest efforts, we are all subject to misunderstandings. As we grow, hopefully, we will be able to come closer to God and His will.
The very nature of nondenominational Christianity demands that we grant any person or group the ability to read God’s Word for themselves. This is important because a lot of changes have taken place in many congregations throughout the world. It is easy to simply say that they have lost their way. To simply believe that all churches will come to the same understanding if we will just study the book with an honest heart is, perhaps, a little naive.