Jesus Built His Church
If you have read your Bible you have read about the church of Christ. The church of Christ exists anywhere people follow the Bible and the Bible only. (Acts 2:38-47) Jesus promised to build His church. “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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 16:13-18) The church is the Lord’s house and "Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it..." (Psalm 127:1) Jesus promised to build His church. Observe: (1) The foundation for the church -- "upon this rock," (2) The certainty of the building -- "I will build My church," (3) The owner of the church -- "I will build My church," (4) The nature of it of the church -- "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," (5) The authority involved with the church -- "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." Jesus kept His promise
and built His church. (Acts 2) He is both foundation and chief corner stone for His church.
It was God's eternal purpose that men should serve Him in the one church that Jesus built. Both Jew and Gentile are reconciled unto God in one body or one church. (Ephesians 2:16) There is only one true church for all nations. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 4:4) This one body is also called the church in Colossians 1:18. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” The one true church was purchased by the blood of Jesus. "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) The church began on the Pentecost Day following the resurrection of Christ. On that day sinners were told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) Three thousand people gladly received the word and were baptized. These people were added by the Lord to His church. (Acts 2:47) Are you a member of the church you can read about in the New Testament? Salvation and membership in the church of Christ is the same thing. You are not saved outside of the church. Today you can be a part of that same church that Christ built!
Man needs a better understanding of and more commitment to Christ and His church. Sometimes the term church is used to describe all the Christians. In Hebrews 12:23 we read, "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." A particular church or body of believers that met at a certain place may also be described with the word “church.” 1 Corinthians 1:2 reads, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." The church of Christ or the New Testament church was, (1) Called by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14), (2) Grafted into Christ by baptism (Galatians 3:26-27), (3) Made alive by the love of God (1 Corinthians 15:22), (4) United in a deep fellowship with other Christians (Acts 2:42), and (5) Molded into the image of Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The connection between the death of Jesus and His church. There was no way for Jesus or His disciples but the way of the cross. "From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." (Matthew 16:21) Peter rebuked Jesus for talking about suffering, dying, and being resurrected. Jesus called him "Satan." "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:23) Satan was using Peter to speak a message to Jesus. Satan uses many voices today to have his message heard and to silence the message of God. We must understand the necessity of the church and its connection with the cross if we are to understand Christianity. Christianity would make no sense apart from the sacrifice of Jesus and His blood purchased church. What a shock it must have been to the disciples when Jesus told them that (1) He would suffer at Jerusalem, (2) That He would suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, (3) That He would be killed, and (4) That He would be raised again the third day. Jerusalem was the city of sacrifices where our Passover Lamb died for our sins. (1 Corinthians 5:7) John the Baptist had said "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) Christ died to purchase and cleanse the church. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Ephesians 5:25) Christ is the Savior of the church. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." (Ephesians 5:23) If a person is saved he is a member of the blood bought church of Christ. Salvation and membership in Christ's church is the same thing.
Our commitment to Christ and His church must be strong. The challenge is simple. Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24) To deny self is to say no to self and yes to God. To deny oneself means to deny one's own idea and accept God's word as the only absolute truth. To follow Jesus means to learn of Him. To follow Jesus means to learn His lifestyle and to imitate it. To follow Jesus means that we must be a faithful part of His church. The greatest challenge of a lifetime is not the highest mountain or the fastest speed. The greatest challenge of life is to follow Jesus. This means that real sacrifices will be made for God. (Matthew 16:25) A true disciple gladly gives up all that he has in exchange for an unending life of joy and happiness with God. God expects you to give yourself. Anything less would mean the lose of your soul. (Matthew 16:26) The glory we give to God is given in the church. “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21) Those that live for the glory of God will live forever and will receive that everlasting reward, eternal life.
Are you ready to lose all for Jesus Christ in order to gain all with Jesus Christ? Our greatest privilege is to be in the blood bought church of Christ. To be saved you must hear the gospel, (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus, (John 8:24); repent of sins, (Luke 13:3); confess Jesus as Lord, (Matthew 10:32); and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) God will then add you, as a living stone to the church that Christ built.
- - - - Charles Box
News & Notes
1. Prayer List: In Need of Prayer: Shelby Jean Black (mother of Stacey Black), LeRoy Boutwell, Mary Ann Bozeman, Willie Frank Burnett, Brenda Burkett, Camron Coleman (nephew of Annie Webb), Bonnie Croley, Debbie Cunningham, Marietta Faulkenberry (mother of Neil), Hilton Gorum, Patrick & Wanda Hicks (uncle & aunt of Trina Croley), Felice Kendrick, Patricia Kennemore, Peggy Lassiter, Alice Little, Carolena Long, Larry Lucas, Annie McKee, Jewel McNaughton, Charlotte Miller, Jeff Miller, Ray Moore, Jeff Mustin, Jane Owen, Candice Parker, Emma Peterson, Payton Pierce, William Pierce, Tina Pouncey, Shane Prater, Jack Queener, Amber Raines, Dan Raybon, Peggy Rice, Brenda Richburg, Billy Rodger, Timothy Rowell, Rosie Rudolph, Katie Sanders, L.D. Sessions, Chuck Shepherd, Nathan Simmons, Margaret Skipper, Debbie Stone, Bobby & Sylvia Taylor, Mary Lou Terrell, Arlene Thomas, Frank Thomas, Alice Thompson, Corrine Till, Jenny Trawick, Dannie Waller, Gladys Warren, Jim Watts, John Watts, Mary Ann Wilkes, and Jim Wood. Crowne Health Care: Helen Autrey, Dorothy Buck, Jewel Cauthen, Gladys Childs, Arlene Coltrane, Betty Findley, Kathy Johnson, Sarah Knight, Nelda Sanders, and Annie Ruth Tetter.
2. Anniversary: Celebrating an anniversary this week is: September 15th Dennis and Virginia Lowery.
3. Birthdays: Celebrating a birthday this week: September 9th Heather Bagents, Tony Bozeman, Kimberley Garlock, and Jamey Thomas, and September 10th Erin Taylor.
4. Ladies Bible Class: The Wednesday morning Ladies Bible Class is meeting every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. All ladies are invited to come and enjoy the fellowship with one another and study books in the Old Testament.
5. Special Meeting for Education Program: There will be a meeting to boost our education program on Sunday, September 16th, in the fellowship hall at 4:30 p.m. This meeting is for any and every person that would like to be involved with the education program here at Walnut Street. This includes teachers from all quarters, substitute teachers, and those willing to help prepare materials and classrooms. There is room for everyone. Come learn more about what we can do to help make the program here the best that it can be.
6. Wedding Reception Honoring Kayla and Dustin Houston: Everyone is invited to a wedding reception honoring Kayla and Dustin Houston on Sunday, September 30th from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. in the fellowship room. We encourage all to attend.
7. Ambridge University Spiritual Enrichment Forum: The Spiritual Enrichment Forum will be held downtown Montgomery at the Embassy Suites Hotel on October 1st – 3rd. On Tuesday night, October 2nd the Annual Appreciation Dinner will be held honoring Bobby and Mary Lou Terrell along with George and Nina Herring. Please attend if possible. See Bobby Terrell for more information. *There are forms on the table to register for the Appreciation Dinner.
8. Secret Pals for 2012-2013: It is time to reveal and draw Secret Pals again. The forms for 2012-2013 Secret Pal are on the table in the foyer. Fill it out and return it to Nell Daughtry by October 3rd. The ladies will meet at the home of Nell Daughtry on October 7th at 2:00 p.m. to reveal Secret Pal from 2011-2012 and draw for 2012-2013.
9. Gospel Meeting: Walnut Street Church of Christ will be conducting a gospel meeting on October 21st-24th with the speaker being Eric Lyons. Eric is the youth minister at the Wetumpka Church of Christ and he is employed with Apologetics Press. He has authored many books and publications and is a well know speaker and defender of God’s word. Mark your calendars and start inviting others to attend this gospel meeting.
10. Fifth Sunday Meal: Our meal that would normally be on Sunday, September 30th will be moved to October 21st. Please participate.
11. Pray For Our Elders: Elders in the church have great responsibility. Pray for Mike Bagents and Bobby Terrell daily.
Are You Watching?
Are you being watchful? Job said, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) No matter how you look at it, each of us will only be here on this earth for a little while. “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalm 90:10) This time frame is only a generalization…we are all aware that death or the Lord’s return could come to anyone at any time.
In light of this, it is of utmost importance that we all cast a watchful eye on the condition of our souls, for the day is coming when we will stand in judgment. Paul said in I Thessalonians 5:4-6, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” With God’s will revealed to us perfectly in His word, there is no need for any of us to be surprised by the coming of the Lord.
We must watch for the devil. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) However, we can defend ourselves against our wicked foe. James assures us, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) It is neither God, nor the devil who forces us to do evil. Rather, it is we who are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed. (James 1:14)
Finally, we must watch for the coming of the Lord. Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13) It may be difficult at times to be alertly awaiting Christ’s return, but there is no time to cease watching. Heed the apostle Paul’s warning, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11)
- - - - Darrell Powell
More News & Notes
Pray For Our Nation and Her Leaders: God said, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) PRAY “For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:20)
Bible Classes: If you are not attending Bible Classes Sunday at 9:30 am, and Wednesday at 7:00 pm, you are missing out on some great blessings. Thanks to those who teach and to those who attend these Bible classes.
Area Wide Youth Meeting: The Walnut Street Church of Christ will host the Area Wide Youth Meeting on Sunday evening, October 14th. Darrell Powell will present the lesson that evening. He will also be calling on you to help with the food for that night. I know he can count on you for help!
Area Events: (a) September 15th – Ladies Day 2012 – College Street Church of Christ – Speaker Windell Ross – Theme “Portraying Mrs. Right, But Living As Mrs. Wrong” (Matthew 7:15-23) – Time 9:00 am through lunch, (b) September 15th – Youth Rally – Sylacauga Church of Christ – Speakers David Bass and Chad Dollahite – Time 10:00 am until 2:00 pm, (c) September 22nd – Youth Day 2012 – Cartersville Church of Christ, Cartersville, Georgia – Speakers Stephen Russell, Andrew Gifford, Gina Simpson and Stephanie Tompkins – Time 9:00 am until 2:00 pm – Please RSVP by September 8th, – (d) September 29th – Ladies Day – Luverne Church of Christ – Speaker Janice Claunch, (e) October 1st – 3rd – Spiritual Enrichment Forum – Hosted by Amridge University at the Embassy Suites downtown Montgomery, (f) October 7th – 10th – Homecoming & Gospel Meeting – Luverne Church of Christ – Speaker Lee Jamieson, (g) October 14th – Area Wide Youth Meeting – Walnut Street Church of Christ – Speaker Darrell Powell – Time 6:00 pm, (h) October 19th – 21st - Backwoods Christian Camp Finally Fall Fling, and (i) Walnut Street Church of Christ will be conducting a gospel meeting on October 21st-24th with the speaker being Eric Lyons. Eric is the youth minister at the Wetumpka Church of Christ and he is employed with Apologetics Press. He has authored many books and publications and is a well know speaker and defender of God’s word. Mark your calendars and start inviting others to attend this gospel meeting.
Don’t just own a Bible; read it!
Walnut Street Church of Christ
P.O. Box 551
Greenville, Alabama 36037-0551