Becoming A Member Of Chestnut Mtn. Church

Matthew 16:13-19

 

A minister related the following story  stating:

    A number of years ago a man sat in the worship who had not attended church for a long time he had stated: Though he had been raised by Christian parents, he had left home while still a young man to join the service.  There followed several years of sowing wild oats during which time he had little or no concern for God and for Christian living. 

 

One day at the suggestion of his wife he came to the worship services.  This continued  for several Sundays then he  suddenly suffered severe heart attack  In the hospital he stated that on many Sundays he had wanted to become a Christian, but had not known exactly what  was he was expected to do in order to  become a child of God. Through prayers his life was spared, and he obeyed the gospel of Christ and was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins.

 

This story  made a deep impression upon me, I have resolved not to allow many Sundays to  pass without  trying to tell people who may be thinking of becoming a Christian,  what they must do.

 

It is quite difficult to include full and meaningful details on becoming a Christian in every sermon, but I feel we should not go long without doing so.  It is in this consideration that an invitation is offered at the end of each sermon to those out of Christ, to become a Christian. For this reason I also want to spend this period of study reviewing with you the simple facts of “Becoming a Christian, by God's standards,  the Bible”.  I believe that everyone present can profit from this kind of instruction  Occasionally, after one has visited here for a while, they will ask me what they need to do to join the church at Chestnut Mt. 

 

So! to make this study as meaningful as possible,  I wish to make it specific let us ask and answer:  "What must I do in order to become a member of  the Chestnut Mtn.  church of Christ. "

 

Membership at Chestnut Mtn. requires nothing more or less   than the scriptures require of one in becoming a Christian..     Our earnest endeavor is to speak as the scriptures speak, this means that we must teach the same things that was taught in the times of the apostles of Christ.  This means that we must teach only as the Bible teaches, having a "Thus Saith The Lord" for everything we do in faith and practice. The Bible is our blueprint, and guide  and this means of course  when one has obeyed  the requirements of the Lord as laid down in the New Testament to become a Christian, without any further action whatsoever, he is considered a member of this congregation.

 

There are two essential parts in man's salvation: “What man must do, and what God does”.

God's part is very significant, and we often characterize that  by the word "Grace" suggesting the  great love of God for man and the unmerited favor that He bestows upon man.   A passage I like to share with those I teach is found in Romans 5:6-10

 

  6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life

U    sunivsthmi God’s Love 

 

to place two things placed side by side to show by one thing the esteemed value of the other

God demonstrates or establish

John 3:16

 

The apostle Paul referred to God's grace in his mention of  the Ephesians salvation Eph 2:5-10

 

5Even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved), 6and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus: 7that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus: 8for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not of works, that no man should glory. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

 

Together these two passages tell of God's great love for a sinful humanity, and by His loving Grace, He has provided a way that we may be justified by the Son…  Salvation is a gift from God,  made available to all men by the coming of Christ.  A statement from the lips of the Lord Himself shows that man does not earn salvation —

            

10So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 7:10

Salvation is for all, but not all will be saved, Salvation is in Christ, but not all accept Christ.

 

Man's part is by far the lesser part, though absolutely necessary of his salvation.  Man's part might be characterized by  the single word   obedience”. 

During the earthly ministry of  Jesus,  He plainly indicated that not all would be saved.  In Luke 13:23-24

 

23Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  

 

As Jesus concluded His matchless Sermon on The Mount He said —  Matthew 7:21-27

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them,  I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

 

Even though the most significant part in man's salvation is God free gift, man's own acceptance is significant. Man must obey the Lord's commands to receive God's gift of grace.  Matt 7:21

  21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

 

Perhaps the most significant question from the lips of man, recorded by inspiration is:  What Must I Do To Be Saved?

The scriptures are very plain in showing what man must do in order to be saved. The four  gospel accounts,  tell the story of Christ's life and the mighty signs.  The purpose of these recordings is to produce in Jesus as the Divine Son of God.  

John verifies his purpose for writing in  John 20:30-31       Hear it,

            

30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

 

Immediately following these 4 gospel narratives, which produce faith is the book of “Acts”. The design of this book is to  tell man and illustrate through example “what he must do in order to be saved”.

 

The first occasion of the gospel being preached to man is recorded in Acts chapter 2. The apostle Peter magnificently showed that Jesus Christ was God's gift to man for salvation.  As he reached the conclusion of his sermon he said:  Acts 2:36-42

 

36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then 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. 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers

 

Another account of conversion is found in   Acts 8:26-40. Here the story of the conversion of the Ethiopian nobleman is told. As the evangelist Philip rode along in the chariot beside the eunuch, the scriptures picture his conversion and we pick up the reading in Acts 8:35

 

35Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip,  that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.      Acts 8:35-39

 

3- Still another example of conversion found in    Acts 16:25-29     “paraphrase the story ”

 I begin reading in verse 30 with this question —

30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

 

A careful examination of these conversions indicate in every case the gospel was 1st preached and as a result of preaching the gospel, those who heard it, believed in Christ as the Son of God,  Jesus Himself stated the importance of one believing      John 8:24

24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 

But next we learn from Paul’s preaching in Athens  that God requires repentance of all men Acts 17:30-31

30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.           

 

Again we read in  Matthew 10:32-32  that we must confess the name of Christ.

32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men,  him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

 

Paul reminded a young evangelist  Timothy:  1 Timothy 6:12

12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

And Finally from the mouth of Christ:  Mark 16:16

15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

 There are several members here who became Christians at another congregation, but later have moved  here to work and live, we sometimes use the expression:  "they have placed membership, or identified with the church here" . A Christian's responsibility includes that of being an active member of a local congregation. To drift from one congregation to another means that one fails to bear his responsibility to the Lord. Every Christian needs to be a member of a local congregation in order to be under the oversight of a qualified eldership. God has so ordained that elders should oversee the local congregation —   Titus 1:5; Acts 20:28

 

We further read of the members responsibility towards the eldership in Hebrews 13:7

7Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Each Christian needs the supervision, encouragement and teaching provided by a consecrated eldership. In order to have these benefits, one must be a part of a local congregation.

 

At this point it might be well to suggest the ideal procedure in becoming a member of a new congregation is to bring a letter of introduction from the elders of the congregation from which one comes.  This has scriptural precedent, for we read in Acts 18:27  concerning Apollos,

27And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

 

And while this is true for those coming our way,  it also holds true for those moving away from us to worship at other locations.  Ask the eldership for a letter of introduction to the next congregation. Most often members move in and on their own profession of being members are accepted into fellowship.  But now the elders must have a period of observation, a period where they are getting to know the new members. Elders must know the condition of each member in order to "watch for their souls".

 

Finally, on behalf of the membership of the  Chestnut Mountain church of Christ,  I want to assure all of you who may be visiting with respect of looking for a place to call your home congregation —    We warmly seek your participation with us here in the Lord's work. I would like to say, if you are looking to place membership, let me encourage you to do so. God desires that each of us worship and work in a local setting.  In Acts 2:47 we read

And the Lord added to the church daily such as were be saved.

 

If you are not a Christian, you can become one now, following the examples we looked at  this morning….

 How does one become a member of Chestnut Mtn. church of Christ?  For those yet to be saved, we require only what God requires before adding you to His church,      Namely  faith in Jesus, —Repenting of one sins— Confession of the name of Christ, — And burial in water, into the name of the Sacred Three, and for the remission of sins. This action makes you a Christian, a child of God, and a member of this congregation. If you need to identify with this congregation, let it be known as we stand and sing.