The Church of Christ Can Be Strong
Those who obey the gospel of Christ are saved and added by the Lord to His church. It is impossible to separate being a Christian from being a member of the church that Christ purchased with His blood. (Acts 2:47, Acts 20:28) The church of Christ is the precious, blood bought body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us learn to love the church like Jesus loved it. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." (Ephesians 5:25) As a member of the Spiritual body of Christ we must share a deep concern for its future. What does the future hold for the church of Christ?
The church of Christ can be strong if we continue to preach the gospel. It is the gospel of Christ that produces the church of Christ. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (Romans 1: 16) Many congregations are characterized by a disregard for what is reveled on the sacred pages of the Bible. They have forgotten the power of accepting the Bible as God's authority. (John 8:32) On the other hand, there are many churches, preachers, and elders that have great confidence in the power of the gospel. I am forever grateful that so any members of the Walnut Street Church of Christ will not move, either to the right or to the left, from the gospel. The powerful gospel of Christ will never be destroyed. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." (Matthew 24:35) The power of the gospel to save man is an abiding power. "The word of the Lord abides forever." (l Peter 1:25) It is impossible for one to have faith in the gospel of Christ and not love and appreciate the church of Christ. The church of Christ can be strong if we continue to preach the gospel
The church of Christ can be strong if our members will continue to be faithful. God looks for righteous people. Ten righteous souls would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18-19) In the Church of Christ there are Christians who love God, love the lost, love God's truth and are willing to STAND for God. They will not allow sin and error to go unchecked and unchallenged. Thank God for faithful members of our Lord's church that are rooted and grounded in the truth and that will not be tossed about by every false doctrine. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4: 1) There are many faithful and sincere brethren in the church of Christ who insist on loyalty and allegiance to Christ in all teaching and practice. The church of Christ can be strong if our members will continue to be faithful.
The church of Christ can be strong if our members will hold on to the promises of God. Let us have confidence in Jesus' promise that the church would not be destroyed. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus made two great promises. Let us have confidence in both. He said, (l) "I will build my church," and (2) "The gates of hell or Hades shall not prevail against it." Jesus knew and warned of the fact that there would be attempts to destroy His church, both from without and from within. Yet He promised that the powers of evil would never defeat His church. The church of Christ can be strong if our members will hold on to the promises of God.
The church of Christ can be strong if our members will have a willingness to work. In Nehemiah 4:6 the Bible says, "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work." Many members of the Church of Christ have a mind to work. God has enlisted all Christians in the great work of evangelism and of service to others. Our good works spring from our love for God and from our desire to give Him glory and praise. Children of God must be careful to maintain good works. "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." (Titus 3:8) Scripture is designed to lead us to do good works. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3: 16-17) The church of Christ can be strong if our members will have a willingness to work.
The church of Christ can be strong if our members· will keep our love strong for one another. As Christians we must abide in Christ and His love must abide in us. We must love our brethren and esteem them better than ourselves. Brotherly love is one of the very most positive qualities in the church of Christ. Every soul that gains eternal life must be like Christ, "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." (Hebrews 7:26) These qualities will definitely produce brotherly love. The "love" manifest by members of the church of Christ is seen as they actively seek the well being of others. The importance of love cannot be over estimated. It is the avenue through which our faith works. "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." (Galatians 5:6) Love is rooted in the character of God and patterned after His nature. "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (1 John 4:8) Hear the inspired words of Paul in Philippians 1:9-10, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ." The church of Christ can be strong if our members will keep our love strong for one another. Love one another!
Let us ever love God, stand for truth, be on guard against liberalism and extremism and always appeal to the Bible alone for religious authority. "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Jude 3) Sinners need to be saved. They need to be added to the church and serve God and others by being New Testament Christians. Paul wrote, "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Philippians 2:12) Are you a Christian? Those that are saved are Christians. The saved ones are added to the church. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (l Peter 3:21) "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16: 16) After baptism use your life to help build up the church that Jesus died for!
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037