What is the “church of Christ?”
The word “church” means the “called out ones.” The church is composed of those who have been “called out” of the world by the Gospel unto Christ (2 Thess. 2:14). Thus, these “called out ones” are simply Christians trying to be just what the followers of Christ were in New Testament times (1 Thess. 1:5-6).
In New Testament times, each local congregation of God’s people was a church of Christ. For example, there was a church of Christ at Philippi, a church of Christ at Corinth, a church of Christ at Jerusalem, etc. (Phil. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 8:1; Romans 16:16).
What We Are
The Saved – The church is the saved (Eph. 5:23). The church is NOT the Savior; Jesus is. The church is the body of Christ, with Jesus as its head (Eph.1:22-23). ALL who believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, and are baptized (immersed in water) for the forgiveness of sins are saved (Mark 16:16); that is, they are “added to the church” by the Lord (Acts 2:38, 41, 47). The church at Samaria consisted of the saved, those who had believed and been baptized after hearing the things concerning the kingdom of God (i.e., the church of God), and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:5, 12).
Subject to Christ – Jesus is “the head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:24). We have no synods or conventions to guide us. We are not part of any amalgamation or association of churches. We are subject only to the authority of Christ (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17).
What We Are NOT:
A Denomination – We are not associated or affiliated with denominationalism. The creeds of denominations are foreign to the Bible teaching on Christ’s church. The only church founded by God is the one mentioned in the Bible (Matt. 16:18).
Catholic or Protestant – We are not a Catholic Church. We honor and revere no man or human authority such as the Pope (Matt. 28:18). We are not a “Protestant” church in the popular sense. We “protest” sin, false doctrine, ungodliness, and immortality, but we are not allied with Protestant denominationalism. Catholics and Protestants are not referred to in the scriptures; Christians are (Acts 11:26).
A Social Club – The church was purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). The Son of God did not die for a social organization, but for a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). We are not a glorified social center. We are the church. We worship God “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), not by fun, food, and frolic (Romans 14:17).
Why the Name “church of Christ“?
In New Testament times, the church was called:
“the church” (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 8:1)
“the church of God” (1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Tim. 3:15)
“the body of Christ” (Col. 1:24; Eph. 4:12)
“the churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16)
“the church of the first-born” (Hebrews 12:23)
Christ Promised to build His church. Mat 16:18
Christ died for the church. Eph 5:25
Christ purchased the church with His blood. Acts 20:28
Christ is the Head of the church, which is His body. Col 1:18; Eph 1:22-23.
Christ is the savior of the body, which is His church. Eph 5:25.
Wouldn’t the most accurate & scriptural designation be ‘the church of Christ?’
Individual members of the church were called:
“Disciples” (Acts 11:26)
“Saints” (Romans 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2)
“Brethren” (1 Cor. 1:10; Gal. 6:1)
“Christians” (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16)
Whatever we do in word or deed must be by the authority of Christ (Col. 3:17). Jesus Christ is the only creed of the church (Matthew 16:16-17). Anything more or less is of human origin (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
As Christians, How Do We Worship The Lord?
The New Testament says, “Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, the same hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). Christians must conduct worship consisting only of those elements found in the New Testament church (John 4:24).
Prayer (Acts 2:42)
Singing (Colossians 3:16)
Gospel preaching or teaching (Acts 20:7)
Observing the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26; Acts 20:7)
Contributing of our means (1 Cor. 16:1-2) for the work of the church (Eph. 4:12)
All of these actions of worship are privileges of the members of the Lord’s church and in no way will be forced upon our visitors.
How Can You Tell If a Congregation Is of Christ?
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…” (John 8:31-32; cf. 13:34-35).
We live in a world where there are hundreds of different kinds of so-called churches, all of them differing in name, creed, and in practice: And yet many of them claim to be Christian and headed by Christ. How can one be sure which church, creed, or practice is what Jesus wants and which is of man? Answer: By examining what is taught and practiced against the only standard available – GOD’S WORD (1 John 4:1).
How Does One Become a Member of the church of Christ?
The Lord adds to the church those who are being saved (Acts 2:47). One does not “join” the church. To be saved, one must do the will of God, as expressed by the New Testament (Matthew 7:21).
For the sinner to be saved he must:
HEAR the Gospel (Rom. 10:17)
BELIEVE in Jesus (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6)
REPENT of their sins – a change of mind involving action (Acts 17:30-31; 26:20)
CONFESS faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10)
Be BAPTIZED for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38)
People are saved and added to the Lord’s church today in the same manner that they were in New Testament times (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:47).
Please contact us with your comments or questions.
originally posted at: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/churchBrief.htm