Summary: The Study Of Entering The Church
The Study Of Entering The Church
John 3:3 (KJV)
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
In our studies so far, we have seen the importance of the church. The Bible teaches that Christ died for the church (Ephesians 5:25). He purchased it with His own blood (Acts 20:28). He is the Savior of it (Ephesians 5:23). These questions are raised:
• Would Christ die for something that is not important?
• Would He shed His blood to buy a church that is worthless?
• Would He be the Savior of it if one can be saved outside of it?
Surely, you would say "no" to each of one of these questions. Then why is it said the church is not important? Why is it said one can be saved without ever being a member of it? Simply because such people do not understand the church. They have been deceived into thinking this way.
Certainly the Bible does not teach that the church is the Savior. However, it does teach that one must be in the church to be saved. The ark was not the savior for Noah and his family. They had to be in the ark though to be saved from the flood. It is the same with the church. When 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 Bible says, "...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. 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. He has gone through the outward acts of obedience, but we are unable to look into his heart. If one could join the church, then 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. He knows who is only going through the actions and who is sincere.
Christ is the Savior of the church. He adds only the saved to it. One would then like to know what the Lord requires so that he might enter it. This is clearly set forth in God's Word. This is especially made clear in the different cases of conversion in the book of Acts. Note the steps or things needed to be done in order to be added to 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. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Christ said, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me" (John 14:1).
3. He must REPENT of his sins. "I 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).
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 added to the church. Well, we have just seen that by hearing the truth, believing it, repenting of sins, and confessing Christ, one is saved. Thus, when an individual does this, he is added to the church. That obedience to God is the plan by which we may be saved. The Lord then adds the saved to the church. Isn't that simple?