Why Be A Member Of The Church Of Christ?

by Garland M. Robinson

        This question is a very serious inquiry and deserves the utmost consideration. As always, let's turn to the Bible and let it give the answer. No one should settle for anything less than what heaven has to say! Will you accept it? You need to be a member of the church of Christ because...

1.         The church of Christ is NON-DENOMINATIONAL.
        The word denomination is a terrible, ugly, ungodly word, when applied to the Lord's church. Not one hint is given in the scriptures of the church of Christ being a denomination. As a matter of fact, the very opposite is shown.
        The word denomination means DIVISION -- DIVIDED! Webster says it is "a value or size of a series of values or sizes (as of money)." It identifies a thing as being a smaller part of something that is larger. The church of Christ is not a "part" of a "whole." It is the whole church which Jesus established on Pentecost (Acts 2)! The Lord did not die for a denomination -- a part of something! He died for His church and did not leave it up to men to choose its name (church of Christ, Romans 16:16), choose its organization (bishops, overseers, elders, Acts 20:28), or choose its worship (preaching and Lord's supper, Acts 20:7; giving, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; singing, Ephesians 5:19; praying, Acts 2:42).
        Jesus prayed for unity, not division. "Neither pray I for these (apostles) alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. ...That they may be one... be made perfect in one ..." (John 17:20-23).
        The Holy Spirit demands unity. "Now I beseech you, brethren...that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment " (1 Corinthians 1:10).
        There is one body , not many (Ephesians 4:4). The one body is the one church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Contrary to popular belief, all the denominations do not make up the one body. Their very nature demands they be divided, not united. That is why they all teach different doctrines. The New Testament church was of "one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32).
        The church of Christ is the church of the New Testament.

2.         The church of Christ is the CHURCH FOR WHICH CHRIST SHED HIS BLOOD IN HIS DEATH.
        The apostle Paul exhorted the elders of the church in Ephesus saying, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). He died for His church and no other. He promised to build his church in Matthew 16:18. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." It was established on the first Pentecost after his resurrection (Acts 2). Men and women have been added to it ever since by faith and obedience (Acts 2:47; Hebrews 5:8-9).
        Jesus did not shed his blood to purchase denominational bodies. The word denomination represents divisions and segments. Jesus did not die that those who believe and obey him might be divided. Instead, he died that they may be united in Him. In the Lord's prayer we read, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:20-21).
        The Lord only has ONE church. "There is one body..." (Ephesians 4:4). "But now are they many members, yet but one body" (1 Corinthians 12:20). The one body is the church. "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18). In order for one to be a member of the Lord's one church, he must obey what Jesus has commanded: Faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6), Repentance of sins (Acts 2:38), Confession of faith in Christ (Acts 8:37), Water Baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). When one obeys the doctrines and commandments of men (such as "faith only"), he joins a man-made church which is vain worship (Matthew 15:8-9). But when one obeys the doctrine and commandments of Christ, it makes one a member of Christ's church -- the church of Christ (Acts 2:21,47).
        Friend, don't you want to be a member of the Lord's church? Obey today (1 Peter 4:17) and be added by the Lord to His church!

3.         Because the church of Christ has the right ORGANIZATION.
        The church in the New Testament was organized by God, not by men. Therefore, the church today to be approved of God, must be organized according to the pattern of the church of the first century.
        The headquarters of the first century church was in heaven, not on earth (Philippians 3:20). Jesus is its only head (Eph. 1:22-23; Matt. 28:18). The church of Christ today also has its headquarters in heaven. There is no man-made ecclesiastical body, synod, con- ference, council or any other type of governing body on earth. Each congregation is autonomous, governed only by the Word of God.
        The church of Christ in the Bible had elders to oversee each local congregation (Acts 14:23). These men are also called: bishops (1 Timothy 3:1-2), pastors (Ephesians 4:11), overseers (Acts 20:28), presby- ters (1 Timothy 4:14). They are men, not women, and are always spoken of in the plural. Such men never had oversight of a group of churches but only the single congregation of which they were members. The church of Christ today is organized the same way. When two or more men in a congregation meet the God-given qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-8 and Titus 1:5-9, they are appointed as elders or overseers of that congregation. The elders have the responsibility (according to the scriptures) to see to it that God's Word is obeyed among the members of the flock. "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof..." (1 Peter 5:2-3).
        Special servants of the church are called deacons. They have no authority to rule over the congregation as do the elders. They simply perform certain physical tasks they have been assigned that the elders may be relieved to give more attention to spiritual matters. They must also meet qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8-13).
        Evangelists or preachers preach the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:2). As the deacons, they also work under the oversight of the elders. Their function is to study and preach (1 Timothy 4:13).
        The remainder of the local congregation is made up of members. They are involved in many areas of the work of the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Philippians 1:1).
        Is the church of which you are a member organized like the church of Christ in the New Testament?

4.         Because the church of Christ has SCRIPTURAL WORSHIP.
        God has not left it up to men to determine when and how they will worship. God approved worship is God appointed worship. Our plea and practice must be, "What does God want?" Jesus told the woman at Jacob's well that "...true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth " (John 4:23-24). Those who worship God acceptably must worship him with the proper frame of mind (spirit) and with the proper actions (truth).
        To know how to worship God acceptably we must observe how the Christians in the first century worshipped. We find...
        Praying was a part of worship. "...Prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God..." (Acts 12:5; 2:42). Prayer was addressed to God the Father in the name of Jesus the Son (John 16:23; cf. Matthew 6:9).
        The Lord's supper was a part of worship. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread..." (Acts 20:7). Notice it was very first day of the week.
        Singing was a part of worship. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). Singing was a cappella (without the accompaniment of mechanical instruments of music) and congregational. There were no "special music" presentations by choirs, choruses or singing groups.
        Giving was a part of worship. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him..." (1 Corinthians 16:2). There were no fund raisers. Each member gave of their own free will each first day of the week.
        Preaching was a part of worship. "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together...Paul preached unto them..." (Acts 20:7). Nothing but the whole counsel of God was preached without fear or favor from any man (Acts 20:26-27).
        The church of Christ today follows this same God-ordained pattern. Worship is conducted "decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40). Is this how your church worships?

5.         Because it's only authority is THE BIBLE, THE WORD OF GOD.
        The Lord's church does not recognize any man or legislative body. It has no conference, convention or synod and follows no creed, discipline or manual. All of these are man-made. The Lord's people demand nothing more or less than the holy, inspired Word of God!
        It came from God and is able to supply our every spiritual need. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3).
        The Bible is true and is the word of truth (Psalm 119:160,43). It is right (Psalm 33:4) and the gospel of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). It is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day." "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:103,97,104).
        Every manual or creed that claims to direct man's spiritual welfare, other than the Bible, is a false way. When a creed says more than the Bible it says too much. When it says less than the Bible it says too little. And, when it says the same as the Bible it's not needed for we have the Bible. Man cannot improve upon God's Holy Divine Word! We must respect God's commandments (Psalm 119:6). The curse of God rests upon anyone that would change or modify the Bible in any way. Paul said, "though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8).
        All mankind will be judged by the Bible, not a human creed or discipline. The Lord said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).
        Are you ready to be judged? Follow the Bible, the Word of God, for it alone is the ONLY spiritual guide! The Bible says: believe, repent, confess Christ, be baptized and remain faithful to be saved!

6.         Because the church of Christ believes ALL the BIBLE IS THE HOLY, DIVINE, INSPIRED WORD OF GOD.
        Every book, chapter, verse, word and letter is inspired of God, i.e., God breathed! The Bible is infallible, faultless and perfect. It can safely be said that it is the plenary, inerrant, verbal, inspired Word of God. Plenary means it is full, absolute, accurate in all subjects dwelt with. Inerrant means it is free from error or mistake. Verbal means every word is inspired alike. Inspired means that it is God- breathed, God directed.
        I have read statistics, and perhaps you have too, which report that only 50%, 30%, 60%, etc., of individuals in some religious groups believe in a particular Bible teaching. Some deny the miracles of Jesus while others deny his deity. Some reject the Biblical account of creation while others say there is no devil or hell. However, Hebrews 11:6 presents a stunning rebuke to such unbelief: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
        Evidence abounds from both outside and inside the Bible that it is the divine Word of God. From within the Bible we read: " All scripture is given by inspiration of God , and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost " (2 Peter 1:21). "...When ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God , which effectually worketh also in you that believe" (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Expressions such as: "The Lord said," "The Lord spake," "Thus saith the Lord" are found more than 2,000 times throughout the Bible. King David said, "The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue " (2 Samuel 23:2). God said to Isaiah, "And I have put my words in thy mouth ..." (Isaiah 51:16).
        To be acceptable with God we must believe ALL the Bible, not just a part of it. To reject any part of it is to reject the God who gave it. Do you believe it all? Are you willing to obey its commands?

7.         Because the church of Christ believes the Bible is to be "RIGHTLY DIVIDED."
        "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). The words "rightly dividing" mean to cut straight, to make straight or smooth. The Greeks often used the word for the work performed by a mason in cutting and squaring a stone so that it might be fitted in its proper place. The application of it in the Bible would be for a diligent student to take every passage and use it in its proper place, i.e., handle it correctly. We must not twist or misuse a passage to make it fit what we desire nor seek to make it occupy a place it will not fit. Some "wrest" (twist, torture, pervert) the scriptures unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). No one would surely desire to be among that number!
        Whenever we read a scripture, there are a number of questions we must ask to learn if that passage has direct application to us. Who is speaking (God, satan, etc.)? To whom is he speaking (Jews, Christians, etc.)? When is he speaking (Old or New Testament)? How is he speaking (literally, figuratively)? What is the context in which this is said? We are not to obey every statement or example in the Bible. For example: Matthew 27:5 says Judas hanged himself and in Luke 10:37 Jesus said, "go and do thou likewise." However, by "rightly dividing" these verses we know we are not to hang ourselves. In understanding the Bible we must be reasonable in handling correctly the word of truth.
        Instead of approaching the Bible in a hit and miss fashion, here a scripture, there a scripture, we must use all the scriptures as God has intended for them to be used. Therefore, we cannot go to the Old Testament to know how God desires to be worshipped today. That section of scripture was for a different people in a different time. Jesus died to take away the Old and bring in a New Testament by which all men must live and worship today (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 9:15-17).
        Far too often, men do not rightly divide the word which leads them to believe and practice things contrary to the Bible. We must all "study" to shew ourselves approved unto God. This is done when we "handle aright" the word of God. Search the scriptures and make sure what you believe and practice is approved of God.

8.         Because the church of Christ is the KINGDOM OF GOD.
        The kingdom was prophesied of throughout the Old Testament (cf. Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Joel 2:28-32).
        Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached concerning the kingdom. "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:1-2). "...Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:14-15). In Matthew, the "kingdom of God" (5 times) is often called the "kingdom of heaven" (32 times).
        Both John and Jesus preached the kingdom was "at hand" (Mark 1:15; Matthew 3:2). "At hand" means it was nigh, approaching, near, on the horizon. Jesus said it would come during the lifetime of those who heard him. "...Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1). The kingdom came on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:1-41). Peter said the events of that day were the fulfillment of prophecy (Acts 2:16).
        The words "church" and "kingdom" are used interchangeably throughout the New Testament. Jesus referred to the kingdom as the church. "...I will build my church;... the kingdom of heaven..." (Matthew 16:18-19). Paul preached concerning "...the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Acts 28:31). There is no distinction made between the church of God and the kingdom of God. When things concerning the kingdom were preached, a local congregation of the church was established (Acts 8:12; 19:8; 20:25). When men obeyed the gospel they were added to the church (Acts 2:41,47) but they were also translated into the kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Those who are members of the church are members of the kingdom (Hebrews 12:28; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Revelation 1:9). The kingdom of Christ, therefore, is the church of Christ.
        Those who are faithful members of the church/kingdom will be ushered into heaven at the second coming of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:24). Don't you want to be in that number?

9.         Because it is the church ESTABLISHED BY CHRIST ON PENTECOST.
        John the baptist preached the kingdom/church was "at hand" (Matthew 3:1-2). Jesus preached the same (Mark 1:14-15). The long awaited kingdom or church spoken of throughout the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Daniel 2:44) was about to be established. The time was right--all things were ready. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son..." (Galatians 4:4).
        Jesus taught the kingdom/church would be established during the lifetime of those to whom he spoke. "...Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1). If the kingdom has not yet come as many claim, then either Jesus lied or there are 2,000 year old people still living today that saw and heard Jesus on this occasion!
        In Mark 9:1, Jesus said they would see the kingdom come "with power ." After his resurrection but before his ascension into heaven he told his apostles to wait "...in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). Jesus also tells the apostles when they would receive power. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." (Acts 1:8). To learn when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles is to learn when the power came and consequently, when the kingdom/church came. The twelve apostles received the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:1-4; cf. John 14:26).
        To summarize: the kingdom/church would come with power (Mark 9:1), power would come with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), therefore, the kingdom/church was established on Pentecost. Acts 2:4, therefore, marks the beginning of the church. Every verse prior to Acts 2:4 speaks of the church to be established in the future. Every verse after Acts 2:4 speaks of the church in existence.
        The church of Christ today is the church established by Jesus on Pentecost in Acts 2. You can be a member of the Lord's church, the church of Christ, by believing, repenting, confessing and being baptized (John 8:24; Matthew 10:32- 33; Acts 2:38; 8:36-39; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Why not do it today?

10.         Because it is the church in which SALVATION IS FOUND.
        For one to be saved is the most important thing in life. One hundred years from now it will not matter if we had lost every thing we had in this life as long as our soul will be saved in the day of judgment. Jesus said, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul" (Matthew 16:26)?
        Men have long said that one does not have to be a member of a church to be saved. If by that they mean a denomination, then they are right. If, however, they are referring to the Lord's church which he shed his blood and died for, then they are wrong. Acts 20:28 speaks of the church which Jesus "...hath purchased with his own blood." If the church is not important, Jesus died in vain to purchase it. The Lord's church, Christ's church, is therefore essential for salvation. The church is not a physical building of wood and stone. It is a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Tim. 3:15). Jesus said it was a kingdom "not of this world" (John 18:36).
        Salvation is found only in the Lord's church and no other. The body of Christ is the church of Christ (Colossians 1:18), and Jesus is "... the saviour of the body " (Ephesians 5:23). If you are a faithful member of the church/body you will be saved (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:6-8). If you are not in the church/body you will not be saved! When one "obeys the gospel" (2 Thess. 1:8) they are added by the Lord to his church. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. ... And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:41,47). To be added to the Lord's church one must: believe in Christ (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 2:38), confess faith in Christ (Acts 8:37) and be baptized to wash away sins (Acts 22:16).
        It is in the church of Christ that one is reconciled to God. "And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross..." (Ephesians 2:16). One is not restored to fellowship with God outside the Lord's body, his church. Reconciliation is in the church!
        It is in the church of Christ that God receives glory (Ephesians 3:21). Outside the church, God does not receive glory.
        Won't you become a member of the church of Christ today?

        Every religious organization came either from God or man. If it came from man, it is without scriptural (Bible) authority. If it came from God, it enjoys the sanction and approval of God. It would be good to examine and see where the church of which you are a member came from. Is it from God or man?
        The church of Christ's only foundation is Jesus. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11). Any other foundation will perish for Jesus is "...the stone which...is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:11-12). Denominations are founded upon men, but not the church of Christ.
        The church of Christ was promised and built by Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus revealed to the apostles that he would build his church when he said "...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The establishing of his church/kingdom was his message (Matthew 4:17). He spake of it in Mark 9:1 when he said, "...Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." Denominations are built by men, but not the church of Christ.
        The church of Christ's only head is Jesus. To the brethren at Ephesus the Holy Spirit spoke of Jesus saying that God the Father "...hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). To those at Colosse we read: "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (Colossians 1:18). Many denominations have a succession of men as their head, but not the church of Christ. The Lord's church does not look to any man for authority. The Lord's church only has one head, Jesus the Christ.
        Become a member of the Lord's church, the church of Christ.

12.         Because it is SCRIPTURAL IN NAME.
        Men consider names important. No man would consider giving another man's family name to his children. He certainly would not want his wife to wear another man's name. I have never heard of a woman named Jezebel or a man named Judas. Names have always been counted as meaningful and significant, except when it comes to the Lord's church. Men have started their own church and have called it after their own name or perhaps a movement or philosophy. All kinds of names can be found in the yellow pages of the phone book and on signs in front of buildings that give honor to men instead of Christ.
        Since no man died for nor purchased the church with his own blood, no man has a right to name the church as he desires. Why would anyone desire to call the church by any name other than what God called it? The Lord's church is referred to in the Bible by several different names, designations or expressions.
        It is referred to in Acts 11:26 as "the church." The word "church" in the Greek means "called out." It describes the body of individuals who have been called out of a life of sin in the world (1 Peter 2:9) and translated into the Lord's kingdom/church, having been redeemed by the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:13-14).
        It is called the "church of God" in 1 Corinthians 1:2. This shows ownership. God the Father is supreme over all.
        It is called the "body of Christ" in 1 Corinthians 12:27. It belongs to Christ. The church is his body, his body is his church (Ephesians 1:22-23). There is only one body (Ephesians 4:4).
        It is called the "house of God" the "church of the living God" (1 Timothy 3:15). This also shows ownership and pictures the church as a house, a family.
        In the plural it is called "churches of Christ" (Romans 16:16). This shows ownership and refers to the church in various locations. Since the Lord died for the church it is His church. No man has a right to attach his name to the Lord's blood-bought body.
        It is called the "church of the firstborn" (Hebrews 12:23). Jesus is called the firstborn in Colossians 1:13-18. It is His!
        God has not given men a right to be a member of a church that does not wear a scriptural name. The church of Christ is scriptural.

13.         Because it gives the Bible answer to the question "WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?"
        The jailor that had charge of Paul and Silas at Philippi asked, "...Sirs, what must I do to be saved " (Acts 16:30)? It was also asked on the day of Pentecost by at least 3,000 people. "...Men and brethren, what shall we do " (Acts 2:37,41)?
        The answer given to this question is of utmost importance. Without the proper answer and proper compliance to the answer, one cannot become a child of God nor be saved. The answer given in both cases was in regards to what the individuals needed to do. The jailor, not having the religious background of those on Pentecost, was told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It was obvious at that point he did not know what to believe. However, belief in Christ is not mentioned to those in Acts 2 when they asked the question for it is evident they already believed. They were fully aware of the facts of Jesus' life as well as his death on the cross. Peter's sermon explained the details of his resurrection in fulfillment of prophecy. Faith/Belief was produced in the hearts of those that cried out, "what shall we do" (v.37). Since they already believed, they were simply told to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (v.38). The jailor, on the other hand, did not know about belief/faith in Christ. He was, therefore, given instruction concerning Christ (16:32). Having received such instruction, which included water baptism, he was baptized the same hour of the night (v.33). We find that both the jailor and those on Pentecost believed in Christ, repented of sins and was baptized for the remission/forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 16:33).
        It is clear from every example of conversion in the book of Acts that each of these "steps" was complied with. Jesus had certainly taught that no one will be saved without Faith in Him (John 8:24; Mark 16:16; John 14:6). He also made clear that no one could be saved without Repenting of sins (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30). Confession of faith in Him is essential (Matthew 10:32-33; Acts 8:37). Water Baptism is the act that puts one into Christ (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3) where salvation is (2 Timothy 2:10). Jesus said to be saved one must be baptized (Mark 16:16) -- baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). The church of Christ teaches what the Bible teaches. Does the church you attend give a Bible answer?

14.         Because it believes SALVATION IS BY "FAITH" BUT NOT BY "FAITH ONLY."
        The scripture says, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). Faith is essential for salvation. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
        The Bible says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Faith is produced or comes as a result of testimony or evidence. It is not a "leap into the dark." In John 20:30-31 we read, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." Jesus prayed that men would believe on him through the inspired Word of the apostles (John 17:20). All who were saved in the book of Acts, first believed or had faith, after hearing the Word of the Gospel (Acts 4:4; 8:12-13; 11:20-21; 14:1; 17:11-12; 17:32-34; 18:8; 28:23-24).
        As important and essential as faith is to salvation, faith alone or faith only will not and can not save! If there is anything clear in the Bible it is this point. The Holy Spirit said, "Ye see than how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24). This is certainly not teaching salvation by "works only," but is emphasizing the fact that salvation is not by "faith only" either. If salvation were by "faith only" then the demons would be saved for the have faith (James 2:19). Saving faith is a faith that works. It is an obedient faith. One that has faith and does not work (obey) is one that has a dead (barren) faith (James 2:17,29,26).
        Abraham and Rahab are given as inspired examples of individuals who had saving faith (James 2:21- 26). Both were saved by faith but only AFTER, not before, they obeyed. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews sets forth a working faith. In every example, they were justified after they worked/obeyed!
        Saving faith will cause you to obey God: Believe in Jesus (John 8:24), Repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), Confess faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32) and be Baptized for forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
        Won't you obey the gospel today? Why delay any longer? Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

15.         Because it practices scriptural BAPTISM.
        This may seem like an unusual statement, yet it is accurate due to the fact that so many practice a "baptism" that is not scriptural, i.e., not authorized in the Bible. For example: some sprinkle and some pour, some "baptize" babies, while others do not use water at all!
        Scriptural baptism involves only those who have been taught the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). One must first hear and be taught before they come to the Father (John 6:45).
        Scriptural baptism is only for those who believe in Jesus, the Son of God (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:37). Babies cannot believe!
        Scriptural baptism is only for those who repent of sins (Acts 2:38). Babies cannot repent! They know no sin.
        Scriptural baptism is only for those who confess faith in Christ (Acts 8:37). Babies cannot talk nor confess Christ!
        Scriptural baptism involves water (Acts 10:47).
        Scriptural baptism involves being immersed in water (Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:4-5; Colossians 2:12). There is no command, example or implication in the Scriptures for sprinkling or pouring. The Greek word baptizo demands immersion. Sprinkling or pouring cannot fulfill the scriptural requirement of water baptism.
        Scriptural baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19). Saul of Tarsus was baptized for this purpose (Acts 22:16) and so was every other person converted in the New Testament.
        Water baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21), but not baptism alone. It is the act or point at which one enters Christ where salvation is found (2 Timothy 2:10; Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27). It was in Christ's death that he shed his blood and it is by being baptized in water, into his death, that we contact His blood (Romans 6:3-6,17-18). This is when our sins are washed away (Roman 6:6,18; Acts 22:16).
        There is one baptism (Ephesians 4:5). It is to be preached and practiced till the Lord comes again (Matthew 28:18-20). Have you been scripturally baptized? Does the church of which you are a member practice scriptural baptism? If not, then "...come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17).
        Don't resist the Word of the Lord. Study it (2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11). Love it and Obey it (1 Peter 1:22-23; Heb. 5:8-9).

16.         Because it believes the Bible when it WARNS about FALLING FROM GRACE so that one will be eternally lost.
        Some believe and teach a child of God cannot so sin as to be eternally lost. If this is so, then why does the Bible give so many warnings against falling from grace? Why does the Bible say some would depart from the faith and forfeit salvation? And, why does it reveal accounts where some did fall away?
        To the church at Corinth, the Holy Spirit writes, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall " (1 Corinthians 10:12). Paul did not believe this lie of the devil as Eve did. He knew it was possible for him to fall for he said, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway " (1 Corinthians 9:27). If one can't fall, why warn about it?
        Heaven revealed there would be some who would fall away. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith ..." (1 Timothy 4:1). Is this passage a mistake? Is it so worded that people cannot understand it?
        To all the churches scattered throughout the region of Galatia, many of whom were desiring to incorporate the Old Testament law of circumcision as a part of the teaching of Christ, we read, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace " (Galatians 5:4). How could the Bible be any clearer? What more would the Lord have to say before people would understand they can lose salvation if they stray away from the teaching of the inspired apostles? The Bible teaches: one is saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), one can fall from grace (Galatians 5:4), therefore, one can so sin to fall and be lost eternally!
        The parable of the sower shows there will be those who embrace the teaching of the Lord and then later fall away. "They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection" (Luke 8:14-15). Did the Father in heaven forget to tell Jesus that once one becomes a believer they cannot fall away?

17.         Because it believes the Bible when it teaches that Christians can sin, FALL AWAY FROM GOD'S GRACE AND BE ETERNALLY LOST.
        If one cannot fall from grace and be lost, then why does the Bible say there are things one must do to keep from falling? To abide in the Lord and continue in salvation, one must grow and develop in certain qualities. Christians must give every effort to add to their faith: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. "... For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall " (2 Peter 1:5-10). Continuing in salvation is conditioned on doing these things! IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall. But what if one does not do these things? He will fall from grace! Do you want to test the Lord and see if it's true?
        To those in the church at Laodicea the Lord said, "...I will spue thee out of my mouth" unless they repent (Revelation 3:16,19). Do these words of the Lord mean it was impossible for them to fall? Was he just teasing them? Was it a joke? Or, did he really mean it?
        If one cannot fall from grace and be lost, then why is 2 Peter 2:20-22 in the Bible? "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world... they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righ- teousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Did someone forget to tell Peter about the impossibility of a Christian so sinning as to be eternally lost? No, heaven did not forget, he wrote what he did by inspiration (2 Peter 1:3,20-21).
        Jesus said that one who departs from him will be cast into the fire. "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:6). If the impossibility of apostasy is correct, did the Lord forget about it when he uttered these words?
        The unfaithful servant of Matthew 25:24-30 was cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do you believe he thought it was impossible for him to be lost?
        Believe, repent, confess, be baptized, be faithful!

        The "body of Christ" is the "church of Christ." Both phrases are used interchangeably. "And he is the head of the body, the church..." (Colossians 1:18). Christ is "...the head over all things to the church, which is his body..." (Ephesians 1:22-23). "There is one body..." not many (Ephesians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 12:20).
        The word "church" identifies the "called out" ones. The saved are those who have been "called out" of the world of darkness and have been translated into the kingdom which is the body or church of Christ (Colossians 1:13).
        The Lord's church is the body of the saved for Jesus is the savior of the body. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body " (Ephesians 5:23). Only those in the body (church) of Christ will be saved while those not in the body (church) of Christ will be lost. One is either "in the body" or "not in the body." What does the Bible say? Are you in the body of Christ (church of Christ)?
        Since the saved are in the body or church of Christ, someone asks, "HOW and WHEN do I get in the body?" Let the Bible answer. In Acts chapter two when the first gospel sermon was preached, the apostle Peter, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave the requirements for entrance into the Lord's church. In this text, the answer to both questions (HOW and WHEN) is given. "Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. ... And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. ...Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. ...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:37-38,40-41,47). HOW does one get into the church? God ADDS him (v.47). WHEN does God add one to the church? WHEN he is baptized (v.41).
        When the terms of entrance are complied with, the Lord adds such individuals to his church. The church of Christ is made up of those who are saved because that is where the Lord put them. Don't you want to be a member of the Lord's church?