We are a group of multi-ethnic Christians who love Christ and His church. Like Paul, we might be timid, and we might not have superiority of speech or wisdom, but we love to know and teach Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:1-2).
In an age where it's popular to say, "I love Jesus, but I don't love the church," we continue to preach "the whole purpose of God," and that Christ purchased the church "with His own blood" (Acts 20:27-28). If the church came at the price of the blood of the Lamb, we are compelled to love both Christ and His church! The word church can be found in the New Testament about 100 times. That number doubles when you count how many times the church of Christ is referred to as the body of Christ (Col. 1:18). The first time the word church can be found in the Bible is when Jesus said, "I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matt. 16:18).
A Bit of Church History
In the first century A.D., Christ's church was alive and well. You can read about its spreading through all of the known world in the book of Acts. Of course, since the church is made up of people, it was not without its faults. One of the first issues dealt with among the church was division.
Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Cor. 1:10.
It was God's intention that His people be united in belief, teachings, and practices. When the Bible was completed, it was expected that the teachings therein would perpetuate, unaltered, from generation to generation.
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 2:2.
As time went on, men saw the potential of power within the church. Eventually, the first major shift from pure, New Testament Christianity was made, which later was known as the Catholic Church. As time went on, the Catholic Church became more powerful and started officially writing their own doctrine, which can be found today in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To make a long story short, Martin Luther paved the way for the Reformation and Protestant Movements in the 1500s by challenging the Catholic Church. By doing so, he opened the door to many new denominations. Today, no one knows the number of denominations in the world, but it is estimated to be around 50,000.
Martin Luther's intentions were great. He wanted to go back to before the Catholic Church was corrupted. However, we say he didn't want to go back far enough. Why go back to the origin of the Catholic Church when you can go back to the first church? God has left us a blueprint of His church in the New Testament (in which, you cannot even find the word Catholic). If we do the things therein, not adding to or taking away, we simply become what they were back then- the church of Christ.
There are many things that divide the tens of thousands of churches out there today. All of the divisions are man-made. Things like man-made names, unbiblical worship style, and additions to the Bible with creeds and catechisms. All denominations have an earthly creator. If you trace the history of any given denomination, it will lead back to a human founder, albeit usually a well-intentioned one. For instance, the Methodists have Wesley, the Salvation Army has Booth, and the Presbyterians have Calvin and Knox. If these churches were started in the last few hundred years by men, they are not the church that Jesus started in the first century.
The Challenge We Offer
As individuals, those who followed Christ are known in Scripture as disciples and Christians. As a collection, they are known as the church.
And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Acts 11:26.
If we start adding new names and titles to who we are (such as "Baptists," "Jehovah's Witnesses" or "Adventists"), we are not being true to pure Christianity, and we are not identifying with the church of the Bible.
Why not simply be Christians? Why not call yourself a disciple? Why not be a part of the church? Paul was right when he appealed to the "simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3). When you use man-made names and teachings, you complicate a simple thing. Our challenge to you is to throw off man-made burdens, and accept the easy burden of Christ. Watch the video below for more information.
The confusion that exists around the questions of salvation exists only because of the teachings and followings of men (Mk. 7:6-7). If we remove the commandments of men from the equation, and go straight to the source of salvation (God), it becomes very clear. Like mentioned above, the body ("church") of Christ is the group of those people who are saved by grace through faith by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:8-10; 5:23). When we examine the commandments and examples of the New Testament of Jesus Christ, we see how sinners were transformed by God's grace into the saved body of Christ. We see that one cannot be saved from his sins unless he believes in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (Jn. 8:24; Mk. 16:16). Jesus is unwilling to acknowledge that person before God unless he or she is willing to confess that belief in Christ to others (Mt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:8-10). One cannot inherit the kingdom of God when sin is still an active part of his or her life (1 Cor. 6:9-11); therefore, one must repent (turn away from) his or her sins in order to have those sins forgiven (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31). Sins separate humans from their Creator (Isa. 59:1-2). The point at which those sins are washed away and forgiven, is when one obeys the commandment to "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16; 2:38). Baptism also places one in the church/body of Christ, where the saved are (Acts 2:41-47; 1 Cor. 12:13).
According to the Bible, someone is not baptized unless he or she is "buried" in water (not a sprinkling or pouring of water [Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12]). Jesus says that we do not love Him unless we keep His word (Jn. 14:21), and if we do not keep His word, we have one who judges us (Jn. 12:48). Jesus' word is, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk. 16:16).
People ask us, "Why don't you teach the Sinner's Prayer?" The easy answer is that the Sinner's Prayer is an invention of men (Mk. 7:6-7), which cannot be found in the Bible. In fact, it was not even popular among men until Billy Graham started spreading it with his crusades in the 20th century. If you would like to study more about what Scripture teaches about salvation (or any other subject), request a Bible study today.
for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.”
Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2.
Christianity would just be another "good works society" if there were not for salvation in Christ and the reverence and worship we show to Almighty God. When we assemble together we glorify God with our hearts, minds, and actions. Because we respect Him, our priority is to please God in our worship, not ourselves. Therefore, to worship in "spirit and truth," as Christ describes, we always consult His word as to how to worship Him (John 4:23-24).
Perhaps you're wondering what to expect when you visit us. First, you should know that you will not be singled out or embarrassed. You should also not worry about fancy clothes. Though the opportunity of financial giving will be offered to members, we do not ask our visitors to give. When you visit us on a Sunday morning, you should...
A vital source of the Christian’s strength is the power of prayer (Jas. 5:16).
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:16-18.
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. Acts 20:7.
Singing is a very important (and beautiful) part of our worship, as it was to the Christians in the New Testament (Eph. 5:19).
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:16-17.
Now these were more noble- minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Acts 17:11.
Expect Financial Giving
The Bible teaches the Christian to give freely and liberally on the first day of the week as God has prospered him or her (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.
Expect Fellowship and Love
The family of God is united by blood- the blood of Christ. We love each other, and we love spending time with each other. Though we sometimes fail, we do our best to emulate the love of Christ within and without His family.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7.