Highway 9 church of Christ
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|Lesson 23: The Lord’s Church (Part B)|
The one church that Christ purchased with His own blood belongs to Him and the name it wears must honor Him. We read in Romans 16:16, "The churches of Christ greet you." This name glorifies and honors Christ, the one who built it. Other names honor and glorify John the Baptist, Martin Luther, the day of Penticost, the apostles, Rome, Antioch, Nazareth, the Greeks, the Russians, the methodical way of doing things, Christians, the free will, being primitive, southern, missionary, general, the seventh day, science, catholic, the advent, and the list goes on and on. Even by their names they do not claim to be Christ's one church. Why canít we give the glory and honor to God and Christ where the honor belongs?
Today we hear the sincere but mistaken plea to "attend the church of your choice." Why not attend the church of God's choice, the church of Christ, the only one that Jesus "purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28). Christ did not shed His blood to purchase any denomination nor did He purchase a group of denominations. The word denomination means a fraction or part of a whole. The Lord's church is not a fraction or a part of anything. It is complete within itself.
Any church claiming to be the only church Jesus bought with His own blood should be able to prove from the Bible they are that church of the Bible. Can the church which you are a member prove that it is the one and only church the Lord built, which is the church of Christ? If it canít then you will be laboring in vain if you stay in it. This may sound harsh. I say this with sincerity and sadness, but it will really be harsh if you are lost in eternity. We must wake up because this concerns the welfare of our souls and where we will spend eternity. People too long have ignored what the Lord has said in the Bible and have blindly followed men.
In order to be in the one church the Lord established, those added to it by the Lord must be saved according to His requirements. In Acts 2:47 we read, "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." The Lord only adds the saved to His church. There are no unsaved people in His church. We are not saved just because we think or feel in our hearts we are. We are saved only when we have done what God has said we must do. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father which is in heaven." We must do God's will, not manís will, to go to heaven.
According to the Bible, who are the saved? Jesus is quite clear as to who the saved are. Jesus says in Mark l6:16, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." A person has to have help to misunderstand what the Lord says here. Here we see the Bible says we must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. This is what Jesus says. But men have tried to change what the Lord has said. Men say that one does not have to be baptized, to be saved. Who are you going to follow men or Christ? Jesus says in John 12:48, "The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." We are not going to be judged by what our preacher says.
And also Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:21, "The like figure baptism does now save us." Only when we have obeyed the Lordís command to be baptized will we be saved. The Bible will be the only standard of judgment on Judgment Day, and not what we think or what men say. Are you putting your trust and confidence in what men say or what God has said in the Bible? You are making this choice everyday as to who you are following.
Also in order to be the church which Jesus built, the church must worship God and Christ according to the way They have specified. We are told in Ephesians 5:17, "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." It is very unwise not to find out and understand what the will of the Lord is from the Bible. Many people are not finding out for themselves but are relying on someone else to tell them. All you have to do is look around and see all of the differing doctrines that are being taught in all the different churches. Are they understanding and following the will of God? Absolutely not. If they were there would only be the one church, which Christ established, the church of Christ. What a pitiful condition the religious world is in, one of which people should be ashamed, but they are not.
If you are not worshipping God and Christ the way They have specified in the Bible then your worship is vain. Our Lord says in Mark 7:7, "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Have you been following the commandments of men and only some of what God says in the Bible? If you have then your worship is vain. Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." We must observe all things and only the things the Lord has commanded us. Is your worship vain? If it is then it will do you no good and you will be lost eternally. Please follow God and not men.
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