What About Membership?
Upon your faith in Jesus as the resurrected Savior, repentance of sin and baptism for forgiveness of sin, you become a Christian, a member of the Church of Christ.
What Must I do to be saved?
Salvation is Deliverance from an old relationship, as a servant controlled by sin, to a new relationship as a servant controlled by righteousness (Rom. 6:16-18) . The scriptures provide the principles which , when followed, will result in our being saved from our sins (II Tim. 3:15). We will be judged by the scriptures (John 12:48). Therefore, we are wise to obey the scriptures (Matt. 7:24-37).
What must I do to be saved is a most necessary question in all the earth. Many different and differing answers are often given, but, how do the scriptures answer this question?
Our Lord Requires that:
- We hear and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 15:7)
- We repent of sin and confess (admit) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 2:38, 8:37).
- We are to be baptized in water for the forgiveness of sin, in response to our belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 2:38, I Pet. 3:21).
- We continually commit ourselves to the New Testament principles which govern all Christians.
- Fall of man.
- Man condemned to death.
- Seed of the woman. Gen. 3:15
- Promise produces hope
- Prophesied of "grace to come." I Pet. 1:10
- Moses and all the prophets. Act 3:19-26
- God provided a Savior. Matt. 1:21
- God provided a plan of salvation. Rom. 1:16
- God provided ministry of reconciliation. Mk. 16:15,16; 2 Cor. 5:18-21
- God provided the church as place to work out our salvation. Acts 2:47; Phil. 2:12
- Man unable to provide for his own salvation. Jer. 10:2
- Offered to all. Matt. 11-29
- To Jews. Acts 2:36-41
- To Gentiles. Acts 10:1-48
- Blessings assured. James 1:25; Rev. 22:14
- Damnation certain. Mark 16:16; 2 Thess. 1:7-9
What is a Christian?
The word "Christian" occurs three times in the Bible:
- And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26b)
- Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadeth me to be a Christian. Acts 26:28)
- If a man sufferer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed: but let him glorify God in this name "(1 Pet. 4.16) The name "Christian" is, no doubt, the new name promised by Isaiah, "And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, end all kings thy glory; and thou shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name "(lsa. 62:2) After Christ's ascension those who obeyed were sometimes called saints, disciples, brethren and children (sons) of God but these names were not new. (See Deut. 33:2: Isa 8:16: Psa. 33:1 and Gen 6:2)
- The name "Christian" is the only new name. Its use in the church age is comparable to the name "Israel" in the Jewish age. But what is meant by "Christian"? It is a name applied to all who have obeyed the gospel of Christ and who, by virtue of that obedience, become the children of God. The name "Christian" was given to those who became members of the heaven-approved church that began on Pentecost long before the days of digression and division. I am encouraging sinners to become Christians only, such as they were in New Testament times and to be members of the one church they read about in the Bible. Now why should anyone become a Christian? What will he gain in becoming one? What does he lose if he does not?
- No one should become a Christian because he thinks it is going to be easy. Jesus said,"strait is the gate and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:14). The gate is constricted and the way is narrow. The drunkard, the covetous and all other worldly souls must turn away from their sins in order to pass through the strait gate. This requires no little effort. Many of the early Christians were arrested and persecuted even unto death. (John 16:2; Acts 7) Al-though the day of martyrdom seems to have passed, some in our day have lost friends and employment on becoming Christians. The world will not receive Christians with open arms and it need not be expected. (1 Tim. 3:12) Although Jesus promised the way would be re-warding, He did not suggest that it would be easy. He never held out false hope to induce men to follow Him. He made no political promises of an easy time. No one should ever think of becoming a Christian because he believes it will be easy. He must be ready to suffer. He who is unwilling to make all sacrifices needed does not really know the way.
- No one should become a Christian because the majority are Christians. In the first place the majority aren't Christians and in the second place if they were it would not be a justifiable reason for my becoming one. Right never becomes wrong nor wrong right just because the majority stand on the other side. In New Testament times the matter of majority was surely not considered seriously. Throughout the apostolic days Christians were in the minority and suffered persecutions in some instances of the most horrible description. To them death must have been a welcome relief. Yet they would not renounce Christ. They did not become Christians because they wanted to be with the majority. There were other-far greater, reasons.
- No one should become a Christian just because his friends and relatives are Christians. One is fortunate to have grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters who are Christians; But he makes a mistake if he reasons he must also become a Christian because he can not afford to break the tradition. It is one thing to hand down teaching that leads to clear understanding, faith and intelligent obedience and quite another to expect children to obey because their parents have done so before them. The church would soon depart from the faith if a sufficient number became members who were not first indoctrinated. The Lord wants men to be taught the truth and to be convinced of it before they became Christians. You will do yourself a favor and others a service if before you obey you become fully convinced in your own heart that it is the thing and the only thing, for you. Yours must be no meaningless acceptance of Christ. It is as essential the man without Christian relatives obey. The more important reasons for becoming a Christian apply equally well to the sinner who has no Christian relatives.
Reasons To Become a Member
- I need to become a Christian became I am lost. (Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22) I am guilty. I am a sinner. I need pardon. My own sins bar me from heaven. (John 8:21) I need forgiveness for todays sins and for the sins of yesteryear. Time alone will not erase even one sin nor will good deeds make up for even one wrong. Past sins may seem to lie buried under the weight of more recent events but they will be brought to light in the judgment unless before that time I obtain divine pardon. I need forgiveness and the assurance that my sins will not be remembered against me anymore forever. (Heb. 8:12)
- I need to become a Christian because I must be born again. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. " (John 3:3) I need to be-come a new creature in Christ with new aims and new hopes. (2 Cor. 5:17) By this birth of water and Spirit (John 3:5), I will become an adopted son of God. (Eph. 1:5)What a privilege!
- I need to become a Christian to obtain peace in my soul. I need the rest Jesus promised. (Matt. 11:28) I need the peace that comes by being right with God. I need the burden of guilt lifted from my soul.(l Pet. 3:21) My heart will be cleansed when I obey the word of truth. (1 Pet. 1 :22)
- I need to become a Christian to make my life count for eternity. Paul taught us to live 'Soberly, righteously, and godly. " (Titus 2:12) There is no system that requires any more virtuous life than that taught by the apostles and demonstrated by Christ. I do not want to live a wholesome moral life in vain. I want to make every day count for eternity.
- I need to become a Christian so that I may have the assurance of the earthly blessings promised to those who seek first the kingdom. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (food, raiment and shelter) shall be added unto you. "Jesus promised to bless His own and to meet their needs. I want to live the kind of life He blesses.
- I need to become a Christian so that my every prayer will be heard and answered. If I turn away He will not hear me. "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. " (Prov. 28:9) "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. "(1 Pet. 3:12)
- I need to become a Christian so I can enjoy the fellowship of Christ and the apostles. "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. "(1 Cor. 1:9) "Bur if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another."(l Johnl:7) I want to work with Jesus and to know that I have joined hands in a common effort with the finest who have ever lived.
- I need to become a Christian so I can serve Jesus. He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. " (Heb. 5.9) I do not enjoy the prospects of continuing to serve a master who makes no promises and who, were he to make one would break it, and whose destiny is eternal banishment apart from all that is good and noble and pure. I need to become a Christian so I can serve the triumphant Lord.
- I need to become a Christian to help influence others in the right way. Young folks probably do not feel the weight of their example as strongly as they war later on, when they come to realize their children and perhaps others are following in their footsteps. This is not the main reason for obeying Christ of course, as those without children need to obey, but the fact one is influencing others is an additional reason for his obeying. I want others to become Christians too.