The church of Christ
The scope of this article will focus upon the local congregation. All souls that obey the gospel are added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). This church is the universal church and the membership role is kept in Heaven with God. Failure to abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9) will remove one from the membership roles until such time as they repent and once again begin to walk in a manner worthy of the Christ (1 John 1:9).
The local congregation comes into existence when a group of Christians agree to pool their resources and abilities in doing the work that God gave them to do. The membership is kept locally. The members are what make up the church. Each individual who has obeyed the Gospel and was added to the church may participate with the local church as long as they are in agreement with Christ's laws and rules.
This places a responsibility upon each Christian to keep the purity of the church intact. (1 Tim 3:15) When a practice that begins without Biblical authority is found, the individual member must seek to stop the practice and show the error associated with such practice, or they must determine to leave the congregation and join themselves up with another local congregation.
It must be noted that individual Christian responsibilities require membership in a local church. It must also be noted that individual Christian responsibilities requre participation in a local church's work. Whether it is involvement in teaching, building, maintenance, advertising, or whatever, the individual member is responsible to promote the church wherever they go.
Most faithful congregations pattern themselves after the examples and commands found in God's word. Most of them take seriously the commands about adding to or taking away from God's word. Also most will not change things that God has taught us through His word.
Most will appear peculiar to the world and most in the denominations. We in the church of Christ will appear as legalists and fundamentalists because we refuse to participate in unauthorized activities. So be it if people call us names. Christ said it would be a blessing for us when people revile us for His names sake.
Though none of us in the church of Christ claim perfection, our goal is to acheive it. This is done through continuous Bible study and working in the field of evangelism and edification.
We make ourselves into a cohesive unit and work together to help others find their way to heaven. We work with each other to see that none fall away into the sin that they did in the past. We support each other, and come to each others aid when necessary. We strive to maintain unity in the spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3)
We emphasize that worship is not limited to the building, but in our daily lives. This does not say that life in general is worship, but it does emphasize that our every action has the potential to offer worship to God. When we keep God in consideration as we perform our daily activities, we will keep ourselves out of sin. As long as we live as an example of Christ, we are performing a duty to God.
By Carey Scott
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