We run into people on a more or less frequent basis that are looking for a church. Many times you will hear people who are undergoing this process say things like, “How do I know which church to join,” and “How do I choose the right church?” It is well understood that these individuals are looking to be a part of a particular church but they just do not know which one they should be a part of. However, I submit to you that this type of terminology when looking for a church is foreign to the Bible. In fact, let me emphatically say that I don’t want you to join my church.
I don’t want you to join my church because it is not my church. It may be the church I attend or the group of people with whom I assembly, but technically speaking, it is not my church–it is the Lord’s church. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 “And I say unto you that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The church belongs to Jesus; it is His church; He is the Owner. The Bible also says that Jesus is the Head of the body (Eph.1:22, 23), the Savior of the church (Eph.5:23), the King of the kingdom (1 Tim.6:15), the Husband of the bride (Eph.5:21ff), the Foundation of the church (1 Cor.3:11) and the Chief Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5, 6). So I want you to be part of the church that belongs to Christ, not “my church.”
I don’t want you to join my church because you can’t join the church. One will search the scriptures all day long and never find an instance of a person “joining a church.” We read of the church having members in 1 Corinthians 12:12ff and Romans 12:4ff. However we never read of someone “joining” the church. Rather we read where God adds a person to the church. In Acts 2:47 we have, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The Lord adds those who are saved to the church. If you are saved you already have membership within the church. The question that stands before you is whether or not you will worship with God’s church. If you are not a Christian, the question that stands before you is “Will you be added to God’s church?” I don’t want you to join my church; I want you to be added to the Lord’s church.
I don’t want you to join my church because you nor I have a right to determine the characteristics of the church. Many people visit different churches in their search for a church. They look at the church and weigh the differences and then determine which characteristics most please them. This is not, however, how we should view the church. We should look for the church whose characteristics most please God! God has given us His word so that we can know about His church and He has given us His church so that we can know about His word (Ephesians 3:10). It is God’s church that we should be seeking. I don’t want you to join my church; I want you to seek God’s church (Matthew 10:33).
There are some things that I do want. I DO want you to be obedient to God. I DO want you to worship God. I DO want you to be a faithful Christian. I DO want you to be saved. I DO want you to be a member of the Lord’s church for which He shed His blood (Acts 20:28). Take the necessary measures today to ensure that you are part of the church that belongs to Jesus–the church of Christ (Romans 16:16)!