Why Am I a Member of the Church of Christ?

Indeed! Why are you a member of any church of which you call yourself a member? We read in the scriptures, Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves (2 Corinthians 13:5a). God does not want me to just take for granted that I am saved. He wants me to examine my life each and every day to make sure that I am doing what He wants me to do. He said to the Corinthians, Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).

To whom will you give account in the day of judgment? Each soul will be held accountable to God through the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 2:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). The gospel is the only standard of judgment. It makes a whole lot of sense to do what the gospel teaches in matters regarding the church. This is the basic answer to the question in the title of this article. I am a member of the church of Christ because the church of Christ does what the gospel of Christ says do. This is the ONLY reason that ANYONE should be a member of ANY church.

What is it that the church of Christ does that the gospel says the church should do? First and foremost, the church of Christ HONORS the name of Christ. Many churches today claim to honor Christ, but the name they show on their sign honors man. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 that ANY name that honors ANYONE other than the one who was crucified for your salvation is a name that is NOT worth keeping! Yet how many churches do we see today who are named after Paul, Peter, John or some great man? How many churches today do we see named after some city or place mentioned in the New Testament? How many churches do we see named after some religious rite or function? Is this right, when an apostle clearly said to do otherwise? Try your own selves whether ye be in the faith. I am a member of the church of Christ because the church of Christ honors the name which is above all names (Philippians 2:9)!

Second, the church of Christ seeks to make Christ the standard of authority for all matters of life. Perhaps you have heard someone say, (1) That’s the way we have always done it or that is what my mother and father taught me or my preacher says or our creed says or my opinion is, etc. When is the last time you heard (2) The Bible says; The scriptures teach; The New Testament authorizes; Thus saith the Lord! There is a vast difference between the thinking in the statements in section (1) above and the statements in section (2). The statements in section (1) are subjective, relative, changing, mutable, and not dependable for eternal salvation. The statements in section (2) are permanent, unchanging, objective, eternal and will go on forever. Of which type of statement is the will of Jesus for His church? It is of the second type! Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)! I am a member of the church of Christ because the church of Christ believes in ONE standard for THE ONE faith (Ephesians 4:5; Jude 3).

Third, the church of Christ honors THE plan that Christ gave for salvation. By looking at the process of salvation as given by Jesus in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, one comes to the undeniable conclusion that there are
five things that must occur before one can claim salvation. First, a person must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. We learn of this requirement in Matthew 28:19 in the command to teach all nations. If there is teaching, there must be hearing as well. We also read of this in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, and John 20:30,31. Second, a person must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. We learn of this requirement in Mark 16:16 and John 20:30,31. Third, a person must repent of sins before coming to Christ. We learn of this requirement in Luke 24:47. Fourth, a person must confess that Jesus is the Son of
God. We learn of this requirement in Matthew 10:32, 33. Fifth a person must be born of the water and of the Spirit by being baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We learn of this requirement in John 3:5; Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16. This is Christ’s plan! Search the scriptures; Try your own selves whether ye be in the faith. Prove yourselves. I am a member of the church of Christ because it honors the plan that CHRIST gave for salvation!

Some other wonderful things we could discuss in this respect are: I am a member of the church of Christ because it was founded on the day that Christ’s church was founded Pentecost in Acts 2. I am a member of the church of Christ because it is organized the way Christ’s church was organized; because it worships the way Christ’s church worshipped; because it teaches what Christ taught in regard to heaven and hell; because it teaches what Christ taught in regard to the day of judgment; because it teaches what Christ taught in regard to His own death, burial, and resurrection; because it teaches what Christ taught in regard to the inspiration of the scriptures. We could go on into the numerous things that Christ and the apostles taught regarding God’s will for man. But if the church of Christ was NOT teaching the truth regarding these many things, I would NOT be a member of it. The only reason to be a member of any church is because that church teaches and practices WHAT CHRIST TAUGHT! Try your own selves whether ye be in the faith. Prove yourselves!

If we teach what Christ and His apostles taught, then we WILL get what they got. A seed will produce after its own kind. An Apple seed cannot bring forth a Peach tree. A Wheat seed cannot bring forth a Pecan tree. A Grape seed cannot bring forth a Watermelon. Now, The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11b). When THAT seed is planted, what will come of it? Why should we NOT get the same thing that they got instead of a multitude of different beliefs and practices? They got Christians (Acts 11:26); they got the ONE church; the got the ONE faith; they got the ONE Lord; they got the ONE baptism; they got the ONE Father; they got the ONE Spirit; they got the ONE Hope (Ephesians 4:4-6). And when the church teaches and practices what Christ and the apostles taught and practiced, you can only get ONE THING GOD’S CHURCH CHRIST S CHURCH THE CHURCH OF CHRIST! That is why I am a member of the church of Christ.

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Taking Action on Sins Against Children

With the Michael Jackson verdict looming and an eighteen year old girl lost and presumed dead in the island nation of Aruba, the country’s attention has turned to crimes against children. There is, seemingly, no more horrible crime than that committed against innocent children for whom life has so much potential. The consequences of such crimes are life long for both the victim and the perpetrator, but especially for the victim as he still has his entire life ahead. Much care, love, and devotion is necessary to nurse such an individual back to mental health and recovery from his ordeal. Too, while we have less sympathy for the perpetrator (and for good reason), this individual needs help and while justice must be served in a nation that is governed by law, a compassionate nation will do what they can to get help for such an individual.

When offenses come in reference to children (or anyone) we ought to take to heart the words of Jesus in Luke 17:1,2 “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” But Jesus continues in that very same passage with these words, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him” (Luke 17:3,4). There is forgiveness available, but it would be infinitely better if the harm had never occurred in the first place. So what can we do to prevent such horrors in ours and the lives of others?

First, we must begin with ourselves. Unfortunately, we live in a world where each of us has the potential to commit horrible crimes. The Bible says that all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and that there are none that are righteous (Romans 3:10). Sin is something that we must grapple with on a daily basis and 1 Corinthians 10:12 still says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” But we’re not simply at the mercy of our own personal passions in this regard. The Bible gives us the tools in order to overcome sin in our life. We absolutely MUST apply these tools in our own personal lives to prevent such awful tragedies. These tools include: A. prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17), B. confessing our faults to one another (James 5:16), C. studying God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15, Psalm 119:11), D. leaning and relying upon our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:1-7), E. exercising self examination and personal restraint (2 Corinthians 13:5), F. understanding the fear of God (Hebrews 10:31). There are more, no doubt, but if these are used and applied properly, it would go a long way toward eliminating sin in our life.

Second, we must educate our children on the potential dangers. Certainly educating children in regard to such dangers is a concern in the scriptures. On several occasions in the book of Proverbs, the writer addresses his “son” and gives warning concerning the evils of the world. Proverbs 1:8 states, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” and in Proverbs 1:10 we read, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” We need to make sure that our children understand that anyone can be a sinner, not just those who “look like” sinners. This means we have to instruct our children on what is and what isn’t appropriate behavior for that is the only way in which they will know who is and isn’t a sinner. The boy scouts have a great program in this regard. Every year they encourage parents to go through standard safety materials with their child so that he will be aware of the various dangers that are in the world and how to react to those dangers when confronted. These materials are available to anyone who wants them on the Internet and by request.

Third, we must exercise constant vigilance. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Unfortunately, we live in a society where almost everyone must be a suspect when it comes to protecting our children. Someone, somewhere, is always lurking around the corner just waiting for that opportunity. And such could happen any place and at any time. We simply can’t afford to let our guard down. We must maintain a sober attitude toward these things and not allow poor judgment and distraction to cloud our vision.

When these crimes occur, admittedly, we feel helpless. But we don’t have to be helpless victims. We can take preventative action in our lives and for the lives of our children. For the sake of our children, we simply can’t afford not to be proactive. While other individuals are responsible for their evil behavior, we must also take responsibility by not giving such individuals the opportunity to behave wickedly. Admittedly, even when we are proactive, there are still cases in which individuals are affected, but we can drastically reduce the risk through our behavior and vigilance. I hope that no one I know ever has to go through something as horrible as having their child harmed by one of these predators and I ask that you join me in prayer that our children will never experience such.

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One Ought to Know

  1. That God exists (Romans 1:19-21).
  2. That the universe and everything in it is God’s creation (Genesis 1-2).
  3. That the highest of God’s creation is mankind (Psalm 8).
  4. That God is love and that God loves mankind (1 John 4:16, John 3:16).
  5. That God is a holy and righteous God (1 Peter 1:16).
  6. That all men have sinned (offensive errors in our relationship with God) and fallen short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23).
  7. That these sins separate man from God (Isaiah 59:2).
  8. That to die in sin means eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23).
  9. That without God, man is helpless to do anything for himself to redeem himself (buy himself back) from the penalty of his sins (Psalm 49:7).
  10. That God’s righteousness and holiness demands a penalty for sin (Revelation 14:10).
  11. That God has sent his Son to pay the penalty for man’s sins (2 Corinthians 4:21).
  12. That God’s Son has redeemed mankind from their sins (1 Peter 1:18).
  13. That God’s Son is Jesus of Nazareth who is also the Christ/Messiah/Anointed one (John 20:30,31).
  14. That Jesus lived on the earth as a man and was tempted like men but did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
  15. That Jesus taught man and left man an example of what he must do to be pleasing to God (John 8:31,32, John 13:15, 1 Peter 2:21).
  16. That Jesus can be the perfect sacrifice for sins because he lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 9:28).
  17. That Jesus gave his blood a sacrifice for the sins of man (Matthew 26:28).
  18. That Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and then was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3,4).
  19. That Jesus gave His plan for man’s salvation to His servants the apostles (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15,16, Luke 24:46-49).
  20. That Jesus ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of the throne of God and rule as King (Acts 2:30-36).
  21. That Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to further teach and instruct men concerning the kingdom and their need to be saved (Acts 2:14-21).
  22. That the Holy Spirit was to guide the apostles into ALL truth (John 16:13).
  23. That those who believed and obeyed the message of salvation would be saved and added to the church, Jesus’ kingdom (Acts 2:37-47).
  24. That to be saved one must hear the gospel message, believe that Jesus is God’s son, repent of sins, confess Jesus as Lord and be baptized for the remission of sins (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 11:6, Acts 17:30, Romans 10:10, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16).
  25. That when one does such he is added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:47).
  26. That the church would be the place of the saved (Ephesians 5:23).
  27. That the individuals in the church are Christians (Acts 11:26).
  28. That the Christian is expected to live a life that is holy to God and not to corrupt it with the evil influences of the world (1 Peter 1:15,16, 1 John 2:15-17).
  29. That the Christian that sins willfully will no longer have forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:26) and that if he turns back to the world he will be lost (2 Peter 2:20-22).
  30. That Christians are the people of God (1 Peter 2:9).
  31. That the church belongs to Christ (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23-25).
  32. That it is only through our belonging to Christ in the church that we can worship God acceptably (1 Peter 2:9).
  33. That we must allow God to tell us how to worship Him (John 4:24).
  34. That God has told us through the Holy Spirit inspired apostles how to worship Him (Acts 2:42).
  35. That the praise in worship that Christians offer consists of “fruit of lips” (Hebrews 13:15).
  36. That we worship God by remembering every Sunday the death of Jesus in partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
  37. That we worship God by singing praises (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16).
  38. That we worship God by studying His word (Acts 2:42).
  39. That we worship God when we pray (1 Timothy 2:1).
  40. That we worship God when we give (2 Corinthians 8-9).
  41. That the church has a work to do, make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
  42. That the church has been given instruction on how to do this work (Colossians 1:10).
  43. That the Bible contains all the information that the church needs to do this work (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:16,17).
  44. That we must study the Bible in order to do this work and be approved before God (2 Timothy 2:15).
  45. That the church has been organized by her head, Jesus (Ephesians 1:22), in an efficient way to accomplish this work.
  46. That there was a temporary organization to initially build the church and that there is a permanent organization for the ongoing activities of the church (Ephesians 4:7-16).
  47. That part of the temporary organization of the church were men directly inspired by God, apostles, prophets, and others inspired to do other things (Ephesians 4:11,12, 1 Corinthians 13:8-10)
  48. That they completed their work and left a perfect pattern (seed) for all additional churches to follow (2 Timothy 2:2).
  49. That when this pattern (seed) is followed, we will have what they intended for us to have (2 Timothy 1:13, Luke 8:11, 1 Peter 1:23).
  50. That the permanent organization for the church is left in this pattern (1 Timothy 3:15).
  51. That this permanent organization consists of elders and deacons in each congregation (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9).
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