Entering the Church

Lesson 7

In our studies so far we have seen the importance of the church. This is supported by the fact that the scriptures teach that Christ died for the church (Ephesians 5:25), that he purchased it with his own blood (Acts 20:28), and that he is the savour of it (Ephesians 5:23). These questions are raised: Would Christ die for something that is unimportant? Would he shed his blood to buy a church that is worth­less? Would he be the savour of it if one can be saved outside of it? Surely you would say no to each one of these questions, and rightly so. Then why is it said that the church is unimportant and that one can be saved without ever being a member of it? Simply because such people misunderstand the church and they have been deceived into so think­ing.

Certainly the Bible does not teach that the church is the savour, but at the same time it teaches that one must be in the church to be saved. Just as the ark was not the savour, yet Noah and his family had to be in the ark to be saved from the flood, so it is with the church. Not only so but as one is saved the Lord adds him to the church. When the people heard the gospel and obeyed it on the day of Pentecost, and the days following, the record says, “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). So if one is saved he is a member of the Lord’s church. If he is not a member, he is not saved. It is just that simple. In other words, there is no such thing as being saved outside the church. One can be saved without being a member of a denomination or the sects of men, but he cannot be saved without being a mem­ber of the church of Christ.

Continuing our study, one cannot join the Lord’s church. Instead, the Lord adds the saved to his church. Since he adds only the saved to the church, then the church is made up of the saved. The Lord looks on the heart, motives, etc., that produce the person’s actions to see if he is sincerely obeying. If he is sincere, then God adds him to the church. If he is not, then he is not added by God even though we may accept him, because he has gone through the outward acts of obedience, and since we are unable to look into his heart. If one could join the church, all would be accepted regardless of their motives. This is why the Lord is responsible for each addition. He makes no mistake as to who should be among the saved and who is only going through a form.

Since Christ is the Saviour of the church, and he adds only the saved to it, one would naturally want to know what the Lord requires of one so that he might enter it. This is clearly set forth in God’s word. Especially is this made clear in the various cases of conversion in the book of Acts. But note the specific terms or steps of entering the Lord’s church:

1. One must hear the truth. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

2. He must believe in God and Christ. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).

3. He must repent of his sins. “/ tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

4. He must confess Christ to be the Son of God. Christ said himself, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).

5. And he must be baptized for the remission of his sins. This baptism is a burial in water (Romans 6:3,4; Acts 8:26-39). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Now what did we learn earlier in this lesson? We found that the Lord adds the saved to the church. This means that when one obeys the Lord and is saved, he is automatically added to the church. We have just seen that by hearing the truth, believing it, repenting of sin, confessing Christ, and being baptized, one is saved. Thus, when an individual does this he is added to the church, since obedience to God is the plan by which we may be saved, and then the Lord adds the saved to the church.

Another way of putting it, the Lord said that the only way one can enter the kingdom of God is through being born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:3-5). But what is the kingdom? It is the church (Matthew 16:18,19). Does the Lord have two ways for one to enter the church? Certainly not. Therefore, when one believes and is baptized (having been begotten by the Spirit through the word and thereby obeying its teaching) one is born into the kingdom of God, or the fami­ly of God, which is the Lord’s church.

Again, Paul says that we are baptized into the one body (1 Corinthians 12:13). But what is the body? It is the church (Colossians 1:18). How many are there? Just one (Ephesians 4:4; Ephesians 1:22,23). How does one enter it? Through being baptized. Christ says that one must believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16). That is what the Corinthians did (Acts 18:8). Therefore when one is baptized into the church he becomes a part of it or is added to it.

There is just one way to be saved, as we have seen, and the Lord adds the saved to the church. Are you a member of the church that you can read about in the Bible? If not, you are not saved. Investigate, study, and obey the Lord, and he will personally add you to his church.

Questions

Please give correct answers:

1. What have we seen in our studies of the church? .

2. Who died for the church? ……………………………..

3. With what was the church purchased? ……………

4. Who is the saviour of the church? ………………….

5. How do we know that the church is important?.

6. Why do some say that the church is unimportant? .

7. Does the church save? ……………………………………..

8. Must one be a member of the church to be saved? .

9. Where did Noah and his family have to be in order to be saved from the flood? ………………………………………………..

10. Was there any salvation outside the ark?

11. Who added the saved to the church? …….

12. Give the verse of scripture that teaches this…………………………

13. If one is saved he is automatically a member of what church?

14. Can one join the Lord’s church? ………………………………………..

15. What are the five steps that one must take to enter the church?

16. Can one be saved without obeying these commands? .

17. What is baptism? …………………………………………………

18. What is the purpose of baptism? …………………………….

19. What is the kingdom? ……………………………………..

20. How is the only way one can enter the kingdom?.

21. What is the body? ……………..

22. How many bodies are there?

23. How can one enter it? ………..

24. How many ways are there to be saved?

25. How many ways are there into the church?

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This article is from “The Church of the Bible” by J.C. Choate Publications

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