"Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have
Here is a question with an answer that portrays one of the most pathetic scenes in all the word of God. Mary Magdalene had come to the tomb of our Lord very early in the morning to pay her last respects to the body of Him whom she loved so dearly. The tomb was empty. She did not know which way to turn in order to look for Him; therefore, she is found standing at the door of the empty grave. She stoops to look into the tomb once again, just as we in our anxiety for the lost article look again and again in the place where we think it ought to be.
Two angels are in the sepulchre. They ask, "Woman, why weepest thou?"
She unburdens her soul to them: "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him."
Turn to the enemies of Christ and ask them "where they have laid him." They answer, "His disciples came while the soldiers slept and stole away His body." True, those hypocrites knew the truth, but they were not willing to admit it. Many times today the enemies of Christ know the truth, but refuse to submit to it.
Ask the friends and disciples of Christ, "where they laid Him." They answer, "We are amazed. We do not know where the body of our Teacher is at this time." Having lost the Shepherd, the sheep know not which way to turn. They truly desire to be with the Master, yet how can they be when He is not found?
Hear the voice of the angels as they tell the truth about the situation: "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen." The Lord was not to be held in the throes of death or of the tomb. He came forth, triumphant over death, hades, and the grave. A great state of confusion existed until the angels came to the rescue with the true answer. The Lord Himself bore witness to their testimony by appearing to the disciples.
There is another and greater confusion in the world today than the one that existed back there over the empty tomb. Where have they laid our Lord today? Where do His enemies place Him? Where do His friends place Him? What has been done with our Lord in the world today? Many look for Him, but cannot see Him because of the haze of confusion that exists. Let us consider some of the things attributed to Christ today. Is He occupying the same position now that He held nearly two thousand years ago?
The world says, "Everybody is going to be saved in the end. It does not make any difference what we believe and teach religiously, just so we are honest in our intentions. Join the church of your choice; one is just as good as another."
The devil is still active. He is wise and cruel. He uses the sanctimonious and innocent-looking sectarian preachers to send out that poison to those who have willing ears to hear. What a victory for Satan when he can persuade some loyal preacher to put on the "soft pedal"!
"This people honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men..."
"Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up."
"Let them alone, they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit."
"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected in one."
Do these statements sound as if the Son of God taught the things that are now preached by the denominations? Has Christ reversed His position? Does He now sponsor that which He publicly condemned in His earthly ministry? No, He has not changed! His word is the same today as it was when first given. He stands for unity upon His word and obedience to God's will. Christ called the sects and sectarian preachers of His day "hypocrites." Does He desire that we call the same today, "brother?" Denominational preachers are instruments of the devil who pervert the gospel. God forbid that we should give them the glad hand of fellowship and thereby partake of their evil deeds. "If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting, for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works" (2 Jn. 10-11 ASV). Denominations teach that anything is good in the sight of God, but the word of God does not so teach. It then becomes a choice between the will of God and the will of the "god of this world."
The Bible says there is, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). Man says, "There are many faiths and several baptisms," but there is only one law in the world today that has any recognition from God in matters pertaining to the soul of man. That law belongs to God and was given by inspiration. Man must obey that law before he can be saved. God forces salvation on no one, but He gives His prescribed law, obedience to which will bring salvation to man. If we are saved, it must be by God's plan.
"One baptism" is all we have today. There may have been many baptisms in the past, but there is only one now. There is yet another to come in the future — "the baptism of fire" — yet there is only one in force now. Ephesians 4:4-5 teaches the number of baptisms now in effect, not those of the past or any which may come in the future. Those in the past are gone. Those in the future have not yet come to pass. "We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death" (Rom. 6:4-5 ASV). The Holy Spirit foresaw the false doctrines of those who now teach sprinkling and pouring for baptism and forever settled the question of baptism as a burial. Where have they placed the Lord in this matter today? The sectarians have Him in direct opposition to His own word.
I once heard a Christian Church preacher preach who told eight different stories to bring out his teaching concerning faith and repentance. Note that I said, "his teaching," because there is something wrong with any teaching that has to rely on something foreign to the word of God.
When he came to baptism, he failed miserably to teach the "whole counsel of God." There were some "sprinklers" and "pourers" in the audience, so he couldn't preach the truth and still maintain his popularity. God pity the preacher who thinks more of his popularity than he does Christ!
There are those in the church who persist in saying and thinking of, "our digressive brethren," or, even worse, "our denominational brethren." One who does the devil's work belongs to the devil's kingdom, not Christ's. We fail to see how we can term one a "brother in the Lord" when he is not in the Lord. Sectarians are not in the Lord.
The church is the bride of Christ. "Woman, why weepest thou?" Is the church indifferent to the false things imputed to our Master? Are we deeply concerned over this matter, or shall we think of sectarian institutions as our "sister congregations?" Our Saviour taught that the Pharisees made a proselyte twofold more a child of hell than themselves (Matt. 23:15). Even today the Saviour's words can rightly be applied to denominational preachers. Christ has not reversed His position. Man is the one who has done the reversing, and backslapping, soft-pedaling, compromising preachers continue to deceive the unsuspecting.