Only The Saved Are In The Lord’s Church
In order to be in the one church the Lord established, those added to it by the Lord must be saved according to His requirements. In Acts 2:47 we read, "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." The Lord only adds the saved to His church. The Lord makes no mistakes. We are not saved just because we think or say we are. We are saved only when we have done what God has said we must do. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father which is in heaven." We must do God’s will, not man’s will, to go to heaven.
According to the Bible, who are the saved? Jesus is quite clear as to who the saved are. Jesus says in Mark l6:16, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." A person has to have help to misunderstand what the Lord says here. Here we see the Bible says we must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. This is what Jesus says. But men have tried to change what the Lord has said. Men today say that all you have to do is "to accept Christ as your personal Saviour" and you will be saved. This may sound good and impressive, but this is false. Where in the Bible are you told that all you have to do to be saved is "to accept Christ as your personal Saviour"? It is not there. Men say that one does not have to be baptized to be saved, because they say you are saved before you are baptized. Who are you going to follow men or Christ? Do not allow the different doctrines of men to blind or confuse you concerning your salvation. You have too much to lose.
And also Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:21, "The like figure baptism does now save us." Only when we have obeyed the Lord’s command to be baptized will we be saved. These scriptures will be the only standard of judgment on Judgment Day, and not what we think or what men say. Jesus says in John 12:48, "The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." Are you putting your trust and confidence in what men say or what God has said in the Bible? You will have to make the choice whether you are going to follow God’s word or man’s word.
Also in order to be the church which Jesus built, the church must worship God and Christ according to the way They have specified. We are told in Ephesians 5:17, "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." It is very unwise not to find out and understand what the will of the Lord is. The vast majority of people do not know what the will of the Lord is. All you have to do is look around and see all of the differing doctrines that are being taught in all the differing churches. Are they understanding and following the will of God? Absolutely not. If they were there would only be the one church which Christ established, the church of Christ. This is a pitiful condition of which people should be ashamed, but they are not.
If you are not worshipping God and Christ the way They have specified in the Bible then your worship is vain. Our Lord says in Mark 7:7, "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." Have you been following the commandments of men and only some of what God says in the Bible? If you have this is vain. Jesus says in Matthew 28:20, "Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you." We must observe all the Lord has commanded us and only what the Lord has commanded us. Is your worship vain? If it is then it will do you no good and you will be lost eternally.
Each congregation of the Lord’s church is autonomous. The church that Jesus built does not have a central earthly headquarters. There is no Biblical authority for an earthly headquarters. Christ is the only head over His church. As we read in Ephesians 1:22, "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church." The church is not to be overseen by a pope, patriarch, president, cardinals, association, convention, synod or any other organization that man has come up with.
Each autonomous congregation of the Lord’s church is to be overseen by a group of elders. In Acts 14:23 we read, "So when they had appointed elders in every church." Notice there is to be a plurality of elders in every church or congregation. This is the way the Lord set up His church.
But what does the Lord intend for the elders to do in His church? In Acts 20:28 the apostle Paul was talking to the elders from the church at Ephesus and told them, "Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers." The church the Lord built is to be overseen by a group of elders. The qualifications of elders who are to oversee each congregation of the Lord's church are given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:3-9. Is the church you belong to overseen by a plurality of elders? If not, why not? Or is your church overseen by the preacher? If it is to be the Lord’s church and has men who qualify, each congregation is to be overseen by a plurality of elders.
If we really accept the Bible as our only authority, we will want to worship God only as He has specified. We must reject human traditions and doctrines such as creed books, catechisms, manuals, articles of faith, confessions of faith, the book of Mormon, the Koran, constitutions, disciplines and other guidelines which men have written, all of which produce new and differing religious doctrines.
We are warned in Colossians 2:8, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." It would be a tragedy to find out on Judgment Day we have been cheated of our eternal reward in heaven; but it will be too late then. These differing doctrines have caused the many departures from the New Testament teaching concerning Christ and His church.