So many tend to confuse the church of Christ with the various denominations of our day. We would like to point out some distinct differences. We hope and pray you will read the following with an open mind and receptive heart. Weigh each point carefully as you open the New Testament to compare what is stated here. If you find these points to be in accordance with the will of God, please accept them since your salvation depends upon it. (John 12:48)
CHRIST BUILT HIS CHURCH
Jesus said, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). Please note that “church” is singular in number and possessive in case: “my church.” This is the only church about which one may read in the Bible.
CHRIST DIED FOR HIS CHURCH
The church of Christ is the one for which Jesus died. As Paul spoke to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he solemnly charged them saying, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Jesus Christ gave His very life’s blood for it. Paul later said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”(Ephesians 5:25). Every time we read about Christ and His church in the Bible we see the close relationship between the two. It is impossible for one to accept Christ without accepting His church. We must accept both. One might as well talk about going to heaven without Christ as to talk about going to heaven without being a member of His church (Ephesians 5:25-27; Acts 20:28; 2:47).
THE SAVED ARE ADDED TO HIS CHURCH
People were added to His church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:47). Saul (Paul) persecuted Christ’s church (Acts 8:3). Members of Christ’s church went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:4). During the days of the apostles there was only one church. Today there are more than 2000 churches claiming to preach the Word of God. There was only one church then, there is only one church now that teaches Bible truth! Which one is it?
THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY BOOK
The church of Christ has no creed except the Bible. God has given us everything that pertains to a godly life through His Word (2 Peter 1:3). The Bible completely furnishes a person “unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17) and makes known to man the perfect way of salvation (Acts 2:38). In Matthew 4:4, Jesus says that man should live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” and has pronounced a curse upon those who transgress and “abideth not in the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9-11). We cannot worship God according to the doctrines, dictates, traditions, and precepts of men (Matthew 15:8-9; Mark 7:7-8). Man-made churches have creeds, manuals, disciplines, and catechisms, but the church of Christ has only the Bible.
CHRIST PRAYED FOR UNITY
If all the denominations would throw away those creeds, manuals, disciplines, and catechisms and begin to follow the Bible only, we would be one in Christ. Jesus prayed, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20,21). One can see that Jesus wants His people to be united for His cause.
GOD HAS GIVEN US HIS PLAN
Religious division has no place in the church of our Lord. The Bible teaches this, and we teach it. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Is it possible that God is pleased with all the religious division we have today? Not according to His Word! But what can be done about it? We can take the Bible as our only rule and pattern and investigate what is taught and practiced in the various religious groups. As we do this we will see that the worship of the church of Christ is the only one that is according to the New Testament. Each Lord’s Day we sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), pray to God through Christ (Acts 2:42; Colossians 3:17), study the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15, 4:1,2), commemorate the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34) and give as we “have been prospered” (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Most churches today do not realize that God expects us to worship Him in His way to be acceptable in His sight (Genesis 4:1-4; Hebrews 11:4; Leviticus 10:1,2; Matthew 15:8,9) Jesus said, “God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The church of Christ stands upon the Scriptures. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” (1 Peter 4:11).
THE GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED
The Holy Spirit said, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9). The gospel is God’s power to save. (Romans 1:16).
WHO ARE WE?
As individuals we identify ourselves only as Christians (Acts 11:26). As a congregation we identify ourselves as the church of Christ (Romans 16:16). This explains our relationship with Christ. We are of Christ, having believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24); having repented of our sins (having a change of heart which results in a change of lifestyle) (Acts 2:38); having confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:37); and having been baptized (immersed) “into Christ” (Galatians 3:26,27). All spiritual blessings are found in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). It is by His authority each one was immersed in water with the understanding that baptism is necessary to receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Revelation 1:5).
The Bible is the inspired Word of God and we follow it as our ONLY guide in religious matters (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 1 Peter 4:11; John 12:48). The Scriptures teach that each congregation should be self-governing, led by “elders” (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-3). Each congregation is autonomous, i.e., independent of all other congregations and religious groups. We encourage one another to love and do good works (Hebrews 10:23-25) by following only the Word of God. (John 12:48; 16:13; Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3).
It is our prayer that you, our friend, will not go to the judgment of Christ without investigating the teachings of the Word of God. Men have made additions to the worship and practice of those who would follow Christ and these changes are often popular, but does God approve them? We urge you to study God’s Word and follow it as the only infallible guide in religious matters.
WHEN YOU VISIT
You will be treated as an honored and respected guest. You will not be embarrassed in any way. You will not be singled out for public attention. You will not be solicited for contributions. At each service there is an emphasis upon obedience to Christ and His teachings (Hebrews 5:8,9; Matthew 7:21).
PLEASE COME AND VISIT WITH US!