By Aaron Fleenor

This question does seem to come up from time to time.  One of the biggest obstacles we face today is the mindset that one “church” is a good as another.  “Attend the church of your choice.”  In reality, the only choices we have religiously are whether we are going to obey what we find in the scriptures or not.  

As we start to examine this question, let’s first establish some facts.  Jesus is the only way to gain access to the Father John 14:6.  Jesus is the true vine John 15:1-6.  We must be part of the vine to be viable and fruitful.  We cannot be apart from Jesus and still be living spiritually.  Jesus has all authority Matthew 28:18, Ephesians 1:22&23. 

Jesus said he was going to build his church. Matthew 16:13-18  The words  MY and CHURCH are very significant because one is possessive and the other is singular.  How many churches did Jesus say he was going to build?  The question of what makes Jesus’ church His is answered in Acts 20:28: Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. He purchased the church at the highest cost.  It, without a doubt, belongs to him.  There are several passages indicating where and when Jesus’ church would be established.  

 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2-3 

Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And peoples shall flow to it.
2 Many nations shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4: 1-2

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46-47.  This was accomplished on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.  

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:36-47

These are the establishment times and places for some religious organizations:

Catholic Church, Rome est. approx. 608
Lutheran Church, Germany October 31, 1517
Baptist Church, London 1607
Methodism, London est. approx. 1729
Mormon Church, Fayette, NY April 6, 1830
Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pittsburgh, PA est. approx. 1874
Christian Science, Boston, MA est. approx 1876
The Salvation Army, London 1878
Pentecostalism, Topeka, KS December 31, 1899 (source Traditions of Men versus The Word of God by Alvin Jennings)
The point is if an organization was established at any other place or any other time than the day of Pentecost it cannot be Jesus’ church.

Jesus is the head of the church. Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body., Colossians 1:16-18 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. The church is the body and the body is the church and Jesus is the savior of the body.  Therefore, if we desire salvation we must be a part of what Jesus is the savior of which is the body and the body is His church.  Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  The Ones listed in Ephesians 4 establish singularity.  Jesus is not divided. So to say one group or another is a division of Jesus or His church is a contradiction of the scriptures.  There is one body that we have already identified as the church. Why must one be a member of the church of Christ? 

It is vitally important that we be part of Jesus because through Jesus is the only way we have access to the Father  John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”.  He is the savior of the body/church Ephesians 5:23.  We must be an active and fruitful part of the body/church he is the savior of John 15:1 – 6

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 
3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
If the religious organization we are a part of is not patterned after the church we can read about in the New Testament then we are in the wrong place.  

Unfortunately, many who place the Lord’s name on their meeting place don’t follow only what is found in the New Testament.  Just because the Lord’s name is on the meeting place does not guarantee they are Christ’s church.  True and faithful congregations of the church of Christ follow the pattern of organization, work, worship, and authority found in the New Testament.  They use only the Holy Scriptures of God as their creed and adhere to the teachings of Jesus and his inspired Apostles.  In doing this they are truly Christ’s church.  

If we truly desire salvation and a relationship with Jesus we must join ourselves to a group of Christians as described above.  This is why one must be a member of the church of Christ.  

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