How to become a member of The Lord’s Church


    
The  Church is a Divine institution and not a human production for Jesus declared, “I will build my church,” (Matt. 16:18).  This He did and this Divine institution came into being on the first Pentecost after the Lord’s ascension  (Acts Chapter Two).  Membership in the church is a matter of great importance, yet being of Divine origin, one should not expect that the Lord has left it up to man to devise human methods of becoming members of this Spiritual institution.  It also should be noted that one cannot be saved without being a member of Christ’s body, His church:   Acts 2:47 (NKJV) ⁴⁷ “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
What can we learn and know from this passage?  For one thing, the Law of Pardon by which man is saved from His sins is also the Law of Admission into the church.  One might ask, “Did Jesus come to build His church, or to save men from sin?”  The answer is, “Yes, both!” That’s what Jesus came to do (Luke 19:10, “to seek and to save the lost”).  And He came to unite these saved ones in His One Body, the church.  (Eph. 1:22-23).
Some protest: “Yes, but the church doesn’t save anyone!” It’s true!  The church does not save one.  Jesus saves.  However, the church is the saved for the Lord adds all those whom He saves to the church (Acts 2:47).  That’s what the church is made up of, the saved ones so added by the Lord.   God takes lost ones “out of darkness and translates them into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).  His purpose was through Christ to unite all in one body (Eph. 1:10; 2:16).  What it takes to make one a member of the church, is the same thing that it takes to change him into a saved person, a kingdom citizen.  In doing the one thing for us, the Lord is also doing the other – saving from sin and adding to His body.
One is saved or made free from sin when he obeys “that form of teaching.”  Notice Romans 6:16-18 (KJV) ¹⁶“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  ¹⁷ But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  ¹⁸ Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”  (Study Rom. 6:1-3 along with verses 17-18).  The form of doctrine that frees from sins is the law of pardon and induction into the church.  That’s who the Lord adds to His church, those who were being saved. They are the ones who obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine.
We will see that this entails Hearing – (Romans 10:14,17);  Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ – (John 8:24; John 3:14-18); Repenting of our sins – (Acts 17:30-31; Luke 13:3-5); Confessing Christ before men – (Romans 10:9-10; Matt. 10:32-33); Baptism into Christ – into His death – (Romans 6:1-3; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38,41, 47).  Acts 2:38 (KJV) ³⁸ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  Baptism is into Christ –into His death   (Romans 6:3-6; Gal. 3:26-27).
There is much conflict in the opinions of men today regarding the necessity of baptism for salvation.  There was no such conflict in the First Century church as recorded on the pages of Scripture.  In Acts Chapter Two, when the Jews asked, “What shall we do?”  They were evidently asking what was needful to obtain forgiveness of their sin.  Peter answers them and tells them to do two things – “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38).  This was to be done by every one of them “in the name of Jesus Christ, unto (for) the remission of your sins.”

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