THE LORD'S CHURCH IS:
The greater number of folks with whom I speak about this subject are of the strong opinion that the church is not essential to one's salvation. I can agree if they speak of a particular denomination, or of all of them combined. They not only aren't essential to one's salvation, they are "plants not planted by the Lord" which are destined to be "rooted up" (Matthew 15:13; Psalms 127:1; Matthew 7:13-23.
This cannot be said of the Lord's New Testament relationship (church) for the following reasons, and many more which could be cited no doubt.
The Lord's Church Is:
1. The kingdom of Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 2:2-3; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 16:18-19; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 12:22-28; Joel 2:21-24; Acts 2:22-38, 39-41, 47).
2. The epitome of God's wisdom and eternal plan for all mankind: 1 Peter 1:10- 25; Ephesians 3:8-11.
3. The relationship wherein "reconciliation unto God" is found: Ephesians 2:10-22; 3:1-6; 4:1-6; 5:22-27; Acts 2:41, 47.
4. Christ's "purchased possession": Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
5. It is God's household (family) on earth: 1 Timothy 3:15 ; Ephesians 2:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
6. The body over which Christ reigns as head: Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18;1 Corinthians 15:25-28; John 5:21-23; Hebrews 10:19-24; 1 Peter 4:17
7. Made up of the faithful members of this, His bride which He will save eternally when He returns for His chaste bride: Ephesians 5:23-33; Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 15:24.
8. The church (the saved, redeemed, justified, sanctified, reconciled) is a "royal priesthood" with Christ as our "high priest:" 1 Peter 2:5-10; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 8:1-6.
9. It is the "pillar and ground of the truth:" 1 Timothy 3:15. The organism charged with propagating the truth to the whole world: Acts 13:1-3; See Acts 14:26- 27; Philippians 4:10-20; 1 Corinthians 9:3-11.
10. The church is "God's temple" His dwelling place among redeemed citizens of Christ's kingdom: 1 Corinthians 3:16; Philippians 2:21-22; John 3:3-5; Acts 5:32; Acts 2:38.
11. The church of Christ is the "fullness of Christ" Ephesians 1:22,23. Since all spiritual blessings are "In Christ", Ephesians 1:3, and the sphere of being "in Christ" and of being "in the church of Christ" are identical, if any blessings whatsoever-can be enjoyed outside of this relationship, the church would lack just that much being "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all."
These things being absolutely true, one should desire above all else in this life, to know how to get into Christ and into the church of Christ!
All one must do to learn the answer to this great question, "What must I do to be saved?" is to read the "great commission" of the Christ as given to His chosen apostles in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:44-49; And John 3:3-5.
Having read them, one must then follow the teaching and activities of the apostles of Christ as they carried out this "worldwide commission." What were folks taught? What were they told they must believe and do to be a Christian in the first century? Having learned this, we will know how to become one today. The same things that made them Christians, made them automatically members or Christ's blood bought church you see. The same will be so in our case as well.
Conversions all followed these logical steps of faith:
1. They had to be taught the gospel message, for "faith comes by hearing the word of God" Romans 10:17; John 6:44-45; Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:15.
2. Having heard they must believe in God the Father and in Jesus the Christ as His Son: Hebrews 11:6; John 8:21-24; Romans 5:1.
3. The believer in Jesus as His Lord who died, was buried, arose and was exalted to the Father's right hand, must repent of sin and or error: Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9.
4. Having heard, believed, and repented of sin and or error, one must now "confess with one's mouth" the faith he holds in his heart that Jesus is "the Christ" the Son of the living God, Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:37.
5. One thing NOW stands between the believing, repenting, confessor of Jesus as the Christ, BAPTISM INTO CHRIST and INTO HIS ONE BODY, THE CHURCH. Acts 2:22-38, 40-41, 47; Acts 8:12-13; Acts 8:26-39; Acts 9:1-6, Acts 22:16; Acts 10:1-2, 43-48; Acts 16:1-4; Acts 16:30-33; Romans 6:3-6; Galatians 3:26-29; Titus 3:3-5; Acts 3;19; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Hebrews 10:22; Ephesians 5:26. The final act which consummates the New Birth of the water and of the Spirit is immersion in water into Christ and into His blood bought body, the church. Satan knows this, and keeps as many as he possibly can from submitting to the "one baptism" of Ephesians 4:5, thereby keeping folks in his kingdom and destined to eternal torment Matthew 7:21; Hebrews 5:8-9; 1 Peter 1:22-25; Romans 6:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.
Will you not yield your will to that of the Lord Jesus Christ Luke 6:46?
by Kenneth E. Thomas
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