In the world today there are many churches, each one claims to be ok with God and most of them are doing good works in the community and are attracting good, honest, people as members. So, what is wrong with this picture, why would anyone criticize this situation? It seems, that these many churches are doing good for the community and there are many good people that be- long to them. As we look at these many different churches from a purely humanistic point of view, it seems that everyone would be content with what is being done religiously in the world and go along with the situation. I believe that many people look on the religious scene in the world through this kind of rose-colored glasses; they see only the apparent good to society institutions that is being accomplished and miss the greater and more important aspect of true religion. The social good that is being accomplished today is not wrong but the failure to follow God's instructions makes void the good works that may be accomplished. The key to correctly serving God is to follow His instructions.


The greatest failure of the kind of religious division that exist in the world today is the fact that God does not now approve of division {i.e., a plurality of diverse philosophies on the doctrine of the Bible, etc} religiously and that he has never approved of it -cf., John 17:21, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father,(art) in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me; {ASV}. Since The Lord does not approve of religious division, it behooves man in his religious pursuit to work diligently for its eradication from all religious relationships. To eliminate religious division is to object to the religious structure that is acceptable to most of the world's population today. You see, there are literally thousands of religious people in all nations of the earth practicing some kind of religion, many of these religions are completely in contradiction one with the other — they cannot all be right. The only correct religion is the religion that is approved by God. The only religion that has the approval of God today is the religion that God himself has authored via His Book {i.e., the Bible}.


God has provided mankind with three dispensations of religion, they are, in the order of Biblical history:

Ø THE PATRIARCHAL: This period began with Adam and continued until God gave the Law of Moses to Israel at Mount Sinai.

Ø THE LAW OF MOSES: This period began with the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai and continued until the establishment of the church of Christ as recorded in Acts 2.

Ø THE CHURCH: This period began with the establishment of the church of Christ on Pentecost Day recorded in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts and will continue until the Lord comes again to raise the dead and judge all mankind – cf.,John 12:48, He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings,hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day;{ASV}. After the judgement the saved {i.e., the Lord's church will be delivered to the Father by Christ ,cf., 1 Cor 15:24-28, Then (cometh) the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power.>For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. >The last enemy that shall be abolished is death. >For, He put all things in subjection under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him. >And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all {ASV}. As is apparent to the casual reader the first two periods of God's dealings with mankind listed above are no longer in vogue {i.e., are unacceptable to God for establishing and maintaining a relationship with HIM}.

Since these things are so, let us seek the current acceptable process for gaining and maintaining a right relationship with God.

As we have established, God requires obedience from man in order to receive the benefits of God's grace.Since the grace of God is already available to mankind, man is obligated to do whatever is necessary to acquire its benefits. Therefore, the question is simply:

Acts 2:37, Now when they heard (this,) they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?

John 6:68, Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life;


In the passages just pointed out,we see the great question that is on the mind of each person sometime in his or her life. Indeed,that question is, What shall I/we do In order to acquire salvation from sin?



Even though everyone in the world may be saved from their sin, not everyone will, because not everyone will comply with the conditions required by the teaching of Godv ia the Written Word. Please note the following Bible quotations:
Hebrews 5:8-9,
8 though he was aSon, yet learned obedience by the things, which he suffered; 9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation; unto all them that obey him. ASV
Mark 16:15-16,
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. ASV
Acts 2:38,
38 And Peter (said) unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission ofyour sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


One may ask, how do we know what church the people that you are talking about were added to, so that we may become a part of it today?

It is not difficult to know when we examine the teaching of the Bible. As we know, in order to know what God wants us to do we must appeal to the Written Word {i.e., the Bible} today.Whenever we appeal to the Bible, we find that:

Firstly – Jesus said during his lifetime here on the earth that he would, build HIS church… {Matthew 16:18}.
Secondly – If we want to be a part of it we need to find our when it began. The Bible also tells us that fact. In Acts 2, the apostles of Christ were baptized of the Holy Ghost and taught the gospel of Christ for salvation from sin for the first time in the history of the world. See Acts 2:1-47.
Thirdly – as we look at Acts 2 we are told how one becomes a member of the church and who it is that adds them to it.

NOTE: Acts 2:37-38, 37 Now when they heard (this), they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? {i.e., to be forgiven of sin}, 38 and Peter (said) unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of JesusChrist unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

{i.e., the church of Christ}

Acts 2:47 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.


Why not name it after its founder, JESUS CHRIST?
Note Paul's reference to it in Romans 16:16, "Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ salute you." ASV

Even though a church may display a sign that says CHURCH OF CHRIST, that alone does not identify a scriptural congregation. The Bible is the gauge that the searcher for the true church must use to identify it. The Bible contains certain identifying characteristics that must be present, some of them are:
1. A scriptural name: Romans16:16, etc.
2. Scriptural entrance requirements:
A. Believe the Word Mark 16:15-16
B. Repent of sin, Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38
C. Confess Christ as Messiah, Romans 10:9-10.
D. Be baptized, Acts 2:38.
1} For remission of sin
2} A burial in Water, Romans 6:1-5.
3. Scriptural Worship:
A. In spirit and in truth, John 4:23-24.
B. Lord's Supper, 1 Cor 10:16.
C. Giving, I Cor 16:1-2.
D. Singing; psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs, Eph 5:19.
E. Prayer, Col 4:2.
F. Teaching, 2 Timothy 2:2; Acts 20:7ff.

There are other identifying marks of the church revealed in the Scriptures but these three will give the individual that is seeking the Biblical church, some facts upon which to base a conclusion.

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Author: jfm

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