Do I Have to Be A Member of the church of Christ?

Do I Have to Be A Member of the church of Christ?             December 18, 2022

Before we answer the question given in the title, let’s first qualify some things.  Reason being, everyone has been given free-will.  Thus, we can choose to do whatever we want.  The question at hand is more of, do I have to be a member of the church of Christ to be pleasing to the Father?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

What pleases the Lord?

It is vital that we understand that pleasing the Lord is not based upon what pleases us.  So often you find religious people doing things for God that He did not approve of.  Consider what Cain did.  In Hebrews 11:4, we are told that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.  Did you notice it said that Cain offered a sacrifice?  And, he offered it to God.  This pleased Cain but it did not please the Lord.  Reason being, the Hebrew writer clearly stated that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).  The faith we are to have comes from the word of God (Romans 10:17).  All of this simply means, the Father tells us what is pleasing to Him, so we don’t have to guess.

What is the church of Christ?

It would be silly to answer the original question if someone doesn’t even know what the church of Christ is.  Just like the previous point where people are guilty of assuming what God wants, people are guilty of thinking they know what the church of Christ is, when they don’t.  We are not talking about a denominational church.  Are there denominational churches of Christ?  Yes.  But that is not what we are dealing with.  From a Biblical standpoint, what is the church of Christ?  To begin with, it isn’t to be a man-made religious organization.  Jesus promised to build His spiritual body, the church, which He did (Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:22-23).  Those who obey the gospel are the Lord’s special people that have been called out of darkness (I Peter 2:9; Colossians 1:13).  So what we are talking about is a people that belong to Christ which He rules over since He is the head of the church having all authority (Colossians 1:18; Matthew 28:18).

Who is a member of the church of Christ?

Just like the previous point, again, man thinks he can control who becomes a member or not.  The truth is, man has no say in the matter.  No one, not a group of people can vote in, or add anyone to the church of Christ.  Why?  The church does not belong to the church, it belongs to Christ, it is His.  I realize this is foreign to many people.  Since the thousands of man-made religious organizations establish their own doctrines, it therefore puts them in control of who they will accept into the church.  What everyone needs to know, is that Jesus adds all those who obey the gospel to His church (Acts 2:41-47).  Obviously, since Christ promised and built it, it only makes sense that He decides who He will add to it.  And those are the saved!

If not a member of the church of Christ, what other choices are there?

I can’t imagine anyone who wants to be saved, and be added to the church that is Christ’s, asking the question: Do I have to be a member of the church of Christ?  Every saint in the first century was a member of Christ’s church (Romans 16:16).  Now we see the answer is crystal clear.  If someone wants to please the Lord, be part of a spiritual family, Christ’s church, then YES, one must be a member of the church of Christ.  No, not some religious sect that uses the Biblical name, but those who became Christians, having the Savior add then automatically to His spiritual family – the church of Christ.

By Chuck Barlett

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