[forthright] Finding the church of Christ

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 14:35:52 -0600
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: From Friend to Friend

Finding the church of Christ
by Phil Sanders

There are so many churches today that it can be
confusing to know what the Lord wills. We are
interested only in being a member of the church
that Jesus purchased with his own blood (Acts
20;28). We have no desire to be a part of or to
promote any denomination. We are not interested in
inventing our own faith or building our own
religion.

True discipleship means abiding in the words of
Jesus (John 8:31,32). The Lord says that God will
uproot every tradition planted by men (Matthew
15:14). It does little good, then, to follow after
contemporary, community churches that are
patterned after modern, American culture rather
than to follow what the Lord teaches in his Word.

The church described in the New Testament uniquely
belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the
head of his church (Ephesians 1:22,23) and the
Savior of his body (Ephesians 5:23). None other
can take his place or serve in his stead. "For no
man can lay a foundation other than the one which
is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians
3:11). If one can set aside the teaching of the
Lord to embrace popular thinking, one is really
replacing the Lord's way with self-made religion.

When the Lord saves a penitent believer who has
been immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of his sins, he adds that person to
his church (Acts 2:38-41,47). The Lord does not
add him to any denomination. The New Testament
never speaks of denominations or the concept of
denominationalism.  The Scriptures are not merely
undenominational, they are anti-denominational, in
that they speak against human traditions and the
division that denominationalism tolerates.

The church presented in the New Testament only
knew one body, one faith, and one baptism
(Ephesians 4:4,5). Those who hold to multiple
bodies, multiple faiths, and multiple baptisms
cannot "abide in" the words of the Lord Jesus but
go beyond the teaching. The Christianity of the
New Testament had only one gospel (Galatians 1:6-
9).  Some people today have deserted the purity of
that one gospel for a hybrid version, blending
some gospel with lots of popular thinking.

To find the Lord's church, we must return to the
New Testament alone and follow the Lord's
teaching. All else is a plant that will be
uprooted.

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