THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH #2
Must one be a member of the Lord's church in order to be saved? I believe the scriptural answers for the following two questions say, yes.
(Question #1) - What is the church? According to I Cor. 5:9, Paul as an unbeliever persecuted the church. Whereas Acts 8:3 says he persecuted men and women. So, when we read about the church, we are reading about people. Therefore, all the people of the world may be divided into two groups. One group is all those who are members of the Lord's church and the other group is all those who are not.
(Question #2) - Yes, the church is composed of people; but what kind of people?
(One) -1 Peter 2:3 teaches that the people who are the church have been made alive. All right, since the church is composed of those who have been made alive, well, those who are not a part of it, have not been made alive; but Eph. 2:13 teaches that those who are dead are those who have not been forgiven of their sins. Therefore, if one could be saved without becoming a part of God's house, he could be saved without receiving forgiveness of his sins.
(Two) - It is taught, in Acts 20:28, that the church is composed of people who have been purchased with the blood of Jesus. Surely, no one is ready to contend that one can be saved without being redeemed by the blood of Jesus (Matt. 26:27-28, Rom. 3:23-25,1 Peter 1:18-19, Rev. 1:5, Rev. 5:9)? So, how, oh how, can we say: Anyone can be saved without becoming one of the group which is the church?
(Three) - According to Rom. 6:17-18, the group of people which is the church of the Lord, is the group which has been made free from sin. Consequently, those who are not numbered among that group have not been made free from sin; but as per Rom. 6:21-23,1 Tim. 1:15 and many other scriptures, there is no hope for those who have not been made free or forgiven of their sins. Hence, how can we believe that those who are not num- bered with those who are the church, have been saved?
(Four) - The Apostle Peter's first epistle was written to people who were members of the church (I Peter 5:1-5); and that which he wrote, in I Peter 1:22, proves they were people who's souls had been purified. My readers, would any of us even consider, taking the position that those who have not been purified by the blood of Christ have been saved? Then on account of what is taught in the above cited scriptures, how can we take a stand that one can be saved without becoming a member of God's church.
(Five) - The Apostle Paul, in Eph. 2:14-16, declares that the one group of people who is the church, is the group which has been reconciled unto God. Whereas, this same apostle. In Rom. 5:10 and Col. 1:20, teaches that the reconciled are the saved. Since the people who have been saved are those who have been reconciled unto God and inasmuch as those who have been reconciled unto God are the church, well, how can anyone be numbered among the saved without being numbered as one of those who are the church?
(Six) - Oh yes, the church is composed of people; but what kind of people? According to what Paul wrote, in Heb. 12:15, the people who are the church of the firstborn, are those who have their names written in heaven. Therefore, if it can be said one can be saved without being one of the group which is the church, then it can also be said that people can be saved without having their names written in heaven; but God's proclamation, found in Rev. 21:27 and Rev. 20:12-15, is that only those whose names are written in (heaven) the Lamb's Book of life, will enter heaven and all others will be cast into the lake of fire. My readers, if only those whose names are found written in God's Book will enter heaven and all others will be cast into the lake of fire, I must continue to ask, how can one be saved without being numbered with the group of people which is the church of the firstborn?
(Seven) - The group of people which is the church are those who are in Christ (I Cor. 2:1-2). Since (as we have already seen) if the people in Christ are the church, then all those not in the church are not in Christ; but one must be in Christ in order to be saved. Yes, in Eph. 1:3, it is declared that all scriptural bless- ings are in Jesus; and Paul in I Thes. 4:13-18, teaches there is no hope for any who have died except those who were in Jesus at the time of their death.
(Eight) - Whereas, one's house is his family (I Tim. 3:4-5) and because God's church is his house (I Tim. 3:14-15, it neces- sarily follows that the group of people which is the church is composed of those who are the children of God. Question - Who are God's heirs? Only his children (Rom. 8:16-17). Thus, I ask again, what hope of inheriting is there, for those who are not members of God's family or God's church?
(Nine) - Who are the members of God's church? They are those who have been born again (Jo. 3:3). Can one be saved without being born again???
(Ten) - Who are the members of God's church? Those who have been saved (Acts 2:47). Can one who has not been saved be added to the number of those who have?
(Eleven) - The people who were the one church we read about in the Bible (Eph. 4:1-4), were those who had obeyed the gospel (I Pet. 4:17). Yes, Peter in this scripture said "The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" The us in this scripture is not the them: but who are the us and the them? The us are the church of God and the them are those who have not obeyed the gospel of God. Therefore, the difference between those who are and are not, members of the church, is that the members of the church have obeyed the gospel of God. Peter's question was: What shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God. He did not answer his question; but the answer for it is found in II Thes. 1:7-9. Yes, this scripture declares they shall be punished by fire, with an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Now, again I ask, since the people of the church are those that have obeyed the gospel and whereas the end of those that obey not the gospel shall be everlasting destruction from the presence of God, how can one be saved without becoming a member of God's church?
My dear readers, I have (I believe) proven by twelve different groups of scriptures that we must be members of God's church in order to be saved. Yes, I believe these scriptures say that which people must do to become members of God's church, is also what they must do in order to be saved. So, those who do what they must do to be saved, are (like it or not) members of God's church.
By: Tommy Hodge
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