The Church-The Fellowship of True Christian Believers

The church of God is not a man-made institution, but is of the Lord. Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). Jesus knew that the church was essential to God's great plan, and declared it would endure for time and eternity. The church is the spiritual home for believers while they are here on earth; heaven is the home of the saved throughout eternity.

What is the Church?

The term "church of God" refers to a visible group of people which can be located and observed, as in Acts 13:1, Romans 16:5, and Ephesians 1:1. This body is defined in the Scriptures as "the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). In the church, the doctrines and ordinances of the Word of God are taught and practiced. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are identical to the kingdom of Christ (Luke 17:20-21). This kingdom consists of all souls throughout the world who are the children of God, who truly have Christ as their King, even though some of them are not members of the visible church. Jesus referred to these children of God in John 10:16, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

How Can I Recognize the Church of God?

The church of God can be recognized because she believes, teaches, and practices the Word of God. The church does not add or subtract from Biblical teachings, but holds to them even in the face of opposition, ridicule, or death (John 14:15). The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ. The saving gospel is her most important message. The new birth is required to become a member of the church. Water baptism is the door into the church. This baptism symbolizes the covenant made by members with God and the church (Matthew 16:16-19). The presence of the Holy Spirit is revealed within the church. The unity of the Holy Spirit is proven by a kindred spirit and a mutual love for one another. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). This love and humility will instil a desire in the observer to be united with the children of God. The church teaches against worldly pleasures, fashion, lust, and the pursuit of power, fame, and riches. Strife, force, and war have no place in the church of God. Ministers are chosen by the leading of the Holy Spirit from among the brethren. These ministers teach and proclaim the will of God. The church of God teaches that marriage between a man and woman is honorable and must be a life-long commitment. It is against the will of God for a believer to marry an unbeliever. Those seeking marriage recognize the importance of God's leading in their lives and the necessity of purity in their conduct. 

Since the time of Christ, there have always been a people who have embraced Jesus' doctrine of living in peace and loving their enemies. These people, known by different names at different times, believed and taught that the kingdom of God is a peaceable kingdom which does not allow the use of force or violence by its citizens.

Why Do I Need the Church?

Complete text of: The Church-The Fellowship of True Christian Believers

Every Christian needs spiritual food and spiritual fellowship in order to grow. He welcomes the reminders, warnings, and the encouragement of other mature believers. Jesus instructed God's children to watch over each other and to be their brother's keeper. There is safety in the company of fellow believers. Jesus wanted His children to live in unity for the same reason that a shepherd wants his flock to be close together. The writer of the book of Hebrews instructed the believers not to forsake assembling themselves together (Hebrews 10:25). This brotherly concern for one another, as taught in the New Testament, can only be carried out within a body of born-again believers. Keeping the doctrines and ordinances of baptism, holy matrimony, Holy Communion, and church discipline requires a visible, united body. Christ built the church to meet the needs of the believers and to portray God's plan to the lost world. This church is endowed with spiritual gifts to edify the believers and to bring the gospel to the world. In times of trouble, the church is a friend indeed, as Peter discovered. While Peter was in prison, the church prayed without ceasing in his behalf, and the Lord delivered him (Acts 12:4-14). When going through the valley of the shadow of death, or in other times of sorrow, it is comforting to know that God's people are caring and praying.

How Can I Become a Member of God's Church?

Those who repent of their sins and are born again shall be baptized (Acts 2:38). To repent means to find remorse for one's sins and to forsake them. Upon these conditions, God grants forgiveness and the Holy Spirit is received. This gives one a new life in Christ Jesus. If you serve the Lord by faith and are willing to believe and obey all of the doctrines and teachings of His church, then the conditions for church membership are met.

The Blessings of the Church

Believers find unity, warmth, and fellowship in the church. There is love and concern for one another, and a burden for the unsaved. The pastor and the members join in a common effort to keep sin out of their hearts, homes, and congregation. Parents love their children and teach them to be obedient and respectful. In the church, both young and old receive courage and inspiration for daily Christian living. Bible principles are taught which nurture lasting marriages and produce solid homes. Moral purity and peaceful consciences in the membership creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence. True contentment overcomes the temptation to pursue selfish pleasures, fame, riches, or power.

Where Can the Church of Christ Be Found?

Jesus will dwell in the hearts of humble, obedient believers (John 14:23). This group of Christians is identified by their adherence to all of the doctrines of the Bible and by the witness of the Holy Spirit. A seeker should carefully and prayerfully read the outline described in the New Testament and join the church that abides by Scriptural teachings and is under the anointing power of the Holy Spirit. "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).

  

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Just a Little Drink Why Not?

So drinking is your own business? Indeed it is! At least up to a point.

You’re right, man has used alcohol for thousands of years to brace up the faint, to cheer up festivities, to drown out his problems. So you say moderate drinking is all right.

Moderate drinking? When does moderate drinking develop into intemperance? You can go to any rescue mission and hear the same story over and over. The person had money, prestige, a good job, a fine family, but then all at once, or so it seemed, he was on the skids. It all started with a little drink that “won’t hurt.” The very thing that had made him friends had turned on him and had caused his ruin. The biblical warning, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1), had now been proven in his own life. And the drink demon had not been satisfied until the victim hit bottom.

Many traffic accidents are caused by those whose judgment has been impaired by alcohol. Rosita W. hadn’t drunk much; she could still drive her car. She did, and forced another car into the path of an oncoming truck. The result: four cars piled up, six people dead, a whole family wiped out. Rosita went free, walked away from the carnage unhurt—except for the responsibility.

Kenneth, a minister on his way to a mission, was driving his car on the right side of the freeway. Then, without warning, a car came hurtling through the snow flurry, head-on, killing him, his wife, and a passenger, and injuring their little son for life.

Complete text of: Just a Little Drink Why Not?

So it’s your own business if you drink? Well, that’s what many drinking drivers say. The victims of such drivers think differently—at least those who are still able to think.

It’s your own business if you drink? What about a wife, a husband, children? How much abuse, neglect, shame, and insecurity do they suffer when you drink? Many a promising marriage has been wrecked as a result of alcohol.

The young man and woman, pure, well-intentioned, after a few drinks lost their inhibitions, and the blight of sin set in to haunt them the rest of their lives.

But you say you can quit anytime you want to. You are sure you will quit before you plunge too deeply. But wait! Two young women, out to see the magnificent Grand Canyon, stepped past the guardrail to the very edge. A little gust of wind came, and one of them plunged to her death on the rocks below. Avoidable? Yes—if they had followed the safety rules.

He who drinks is breaking the rules, is leaving the guardrail behind, and is on his own. It’s the first step into sin. The plunge to the point of no return is now possible anytime.

It is sin. The Bible warns against drinking. It says:

“Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:29-32).

The Bible, however, offers hope to those enslaved by alcohol. Joe is an example of the person who took advantage of the promises in the Bible. Joe had brought shame to himself and to his family. He was on his way to becoming a slave to drink. Then one day he remembered the words of Jesus: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He prayed, committing his life to God. With forgiveness came peace in his heart. His burden of sin disappeared. His desire for drink left him, and he was on his way to a new life.

So you can drink if you want to! That’s your responsibility, your sin, and in the end, your remorse.

Instead, do like Joe did. The Lord has called you to holy living. Your life is not altogether your own. You have to give an account of what you do with your body, and what you do to your spirit. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Alcohol destroys; God’s Holy Spirit builds. Living for God helps develop the best in you; alcohol has a tendency to bring out the worst in you.

Call upon the Lord. Ask His forgiveness. He will fulfill the deepest desires of your heart.

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Profanity—What is It?

The Bible says: “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).

Swearing is a very prevalent, evil practice in society. It adversely affects our relationship with God and our fellowman. The use of profanity is associated with speech that is not sacred or holy, irreverent toward God and man, showing contempt for holy things, and blasphemy. In Exodus 20:7 we read, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

Often there is ignorance involved in the use of profanity, especially in children. This habit that is formed in youth can last a lifetime and is very difficult to break. In James 3:6 we read: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

The meaning of some curse words is that God should curse instead of forgive, put in prison instead of set free, cast away instead of deliver. They also infer that God should use His power to punish instead of bless or have mercy. Should someone be deprived of all happiness of both body and soul in this world, and in eternity shut out of heaven and cast into hell? The horrible condemnation man can pronounce upon himself is indescribable when one is sold to and under the control of Satan. When God opens our eyes to what has overtaken us, it becomes abhorrent. Jesus said that “Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22).

The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:4 to the professing Christian: “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” The tongue, unless the heart of man is cleansed by the Holy Spirit, remains an unruly evil in one way or another. Even though man may possibly cease and refrain from sins such as profanity and kindred evils, the mouth speaks what is in the heart.  “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12: 36-37).

Complete text of: Profanity—What is It?

“The Lord…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  We are still in the day of grace when we can prepare to meet our God. He will deliver us from every sin, if we will let Him. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Jesus spoke of His own ministry when He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

Today there is still pardon for our sins if we come to the Lord Jesus who made an atonement for us through His shed blood. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness, and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).  “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers” (Ephesians. 4:29).

YOU TELL ON YOURSELF

You tell on yourself

By the words you speak, by the friends you seek,

By the way you employ your leisure time,

By the use you make of your dollar and dime,

You tell what you are by the things you wear,

By the spirit you, your burdens bear,

By the kind of things at which you laugh,

By the songs you sing, just a paragraph,

You tell what you are by the way you walk,

By the things of which you delight to talk,

By the manner in which you bear defeat,

By so simple a thing as the way you eat,

By the books you choose from the well filled shelf,

In these things and more-you tell on yourself-.

“Let not sin, [unrighteous thoughts, words or deeds] therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Romans 6:12). “Let your speech be alway with grace seasoned with salt...” (Colossians 4:6).

 

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