The Scripture Speaks
Bible Study: 10:00 AM
Worship: 11:00 AM
Evening Worship: 4:00 PM
Wednesday Bible Study
9871 Big Creek Road
Ellijay, GA 30536
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I know that you have heard these expressions. "Join the church of your choice." "One church is as good as another church." "It really makes no difference what we believe." "We are all traveling different roads, but we are all going to the same place." These are very common expressions. But in my understanding of the Bible, I find all of them to be incorrect. Please study with me as we look at these expressions which are believed and accepted by a multitude of people.
We will look first at the expression, "Join the church of your choice." The Bible, which is our only authority in religion, teaches that one does not join the church. The Bible also teaches that one does not have a choice in this matter. Consider this passage of scripture: "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:47. Those who "gladly received his word and were baptized:" (Acts 2:41) were saved, and as a result of being saved, they were added to the church. The apostle Peter had told them to "repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins." (Acts 2:38). When a believer repents and is baptized, sins are forgiven which is necessary for salvation. This command was in line with the command of Jesus, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Mark 16:16. The saved are added to the church. The saved become the church. A passage of scripture at Acts 5:14 states that "the believers were the more added to the Lord." "Added to the church" and "added to the Lord" have the same meaning since "the church is the body of Christ." Ephesians 1:22-23. Choosing the church of your choice means that a decision must be made between two or more churches. The Lord Jesus Christ made this promise in Matthew 16:18: "I will build my church." Jesus promised to build only one church. The apostle Paul confirmed this truth in Ephesians 4:4: "There is one body." The conclusion which I draw is that the expression, "Join the church of your choice", is incorrect.
We will now examine the expression, "One church is as good as another." This expression displays a misunderstanding of the church. The church according to the sacred scriptures is those who "are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord." I Corinthians 1:2. People who hear the gospel call upon the name of the Lord. The means by which we "call upon the name of the Lord" is by being baptized. Acts 22:16. The church is also "disciples of the Lord." Acts 9:1. The church is built of "living stones." I Peter 2:5. The scriptures teach that we are "the temple of God." I Corinthians 3:16. This temple is the church. Ephesians 2:21. The Ephesian epistle is addressed "to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 1:1. The writer, the apostle Paul, later states: "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:32. The first gospel sermon is recorded in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The subject matter included the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Acts 2:41. These baptized believers are identified as the church in verse 47 of Acts 2. The Bible speaks of only one church. "There is one body." Ephesians 4:4. The church is those sanctified by calling upon the name of the Lord in the act of baptism. The church is those who choose to become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since all who obey these simple commands of repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38) are added to the one church of Jesus Christ, we draw the conclusion that only one church exists in the mind of God. God had Moses build only one tabernacle; God had Solomon build only one temple; God had Christ build only one church. Therefore, one is not as good as another.
Finally, we examine the phrase, "We are all traveling different roads while going to the same place." The place of which we speak is heaven. Hence, this statement means that there are different ways of going to heaven. God, in the law of Moses, gave specific commands for the nation of Israel to follow. A failure to follow those commands to the letter resulted in punishment, oftentimes death. Leviticus 10:1-2. God gave Noah a specific pattern for the construction of the ark. Genesis 6:14-22. As the children of Israel entered into the promised land of Canaan, Joshua was to "observe to do according to all the law" and "turn not from it to the right hand or to the left." Joshua 1:7. Jesus declared, "Enter ye in at the strait gate. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way." Matthew 7:13-14. Different roads did not lead to the same place in the Old Testament. Different roads do not lead to the same place in the New Testament. Many shall seek to enter and shall not be able because the gate is strait. This means that the gate is restricted. "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine." Acts 2:41. The only time that the New Testament speaks of doctrines is when the statement refers to the doctrines of men. Matthew 15:9. A way built by man will not lead to heaven. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12. I believe that we must all travel the same road making sure that it leads to heaven.
"Come now and let us reason together." Isaiah 1:18. My prayer is that you will accept the scriptures alone for your relationship with God.
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