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September 18, 2005 AM

MT 16:18,19 & ROM 16:16

INTRO: Some years ago I heard and read statements like Jesus, yes; the church, no. I heard and read of those advocated something called the man, not the plan. I heard and read of those who insisted that we should preach more about Christ and less about the church. Out of my confusion about such statements as these grew a conviction that I was not the one who was confused! Indeed, the more I heard, read and thought, the more convinced I was that either there was a very basic misunderstanding about the nature of the church ... or ... those who were saying such things had an agenda other than that of preaching the truth of the gospel. Dear friends, it does really matter what we believe about the church!


A. Mt 16:18,19 - The timing of this statement is important

1. this is obviously before he is rejected and crucified

2. thus, the idea that the church is a substitute for Gods initial plan because the Jews rejected Jesus is simply not credible (premillenialism!!)

3. Jesus came with the absolute intention of establishing His church

B. The church is the kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament

1. Dan 2:44 - the kingdom prophesied to come during Roman dominion

2. Dan 7:13,14 - clearly, O.T. prophecy referred to Jesus & His kingdom

3. Lk 1:31-33 with Lk 17:20,21 and Jno 18:36,37 - it is also clear, though, that His kingdom is not of the sort with which the world is familiar!

C. Consider, too, ....

1. Col 1:13 - people were being placed into His existing kingdom

2. 1 Cor 15:24 - after all earthly affairs are completed, Jesus will deliver the kingdom to the Father ... until then, He reigns over it (v. 25)

3. the church/kingdom is here and now - not in some future time


A. Put some thoughts together: Col 1:18 - 1 Cor 12:13 - 1 Pet 3:21

1. the church of Christ and the body of Christ are one and the same thing

2. people are baptized into the body, the church

3. salvation is attributed to baptism

4. Acts 2:47 - this, then, explains why the Lord was adding them

B. Or, here is another thought: Col 1:13,14

1. Christians have been placed into the kingdom of Christ

2. the redeemed, the forgiven are in the kingdom of Christ

3. and how does this forgiveness come? see Acts 22:16 & Rev 1:5

4. fact: the unredeemed, the unsaved are not in the church


A. Col 1:18 & Eph 1:22,23 - ...the church, which is his body...

1. Jesus is the head of the body

2. no where in scripture is there the suggestion of some earthly head

3. indeed, there is no hierarchy between the head and the church

4. yes, each congregation is to select elders to oversee ... still, beyond the local congregations there is no organization revealed in scripture

B. Each Christian is a member of the body - 1 Cor 12:13

1. 1 Cor 12:18-20 - many members ... but one body

2. the picture of todays religious world? one head and many bodies ... in nature this would be totally unnatural - an is in the spiritual realm

3. Eph 4:15,16 - each member of the body is expected to be functioning

4. if a member ceases to function as intended, the body is weakened


A. Rev 21:2,3,9,10 - Here is an incredible word picture of Gods view

1. the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them...

2. new Jerusalem takes me back to Gal 4:22-31 and the allegory of Hagar and Sarah

3. we are of the Jerusalem which is above (v. 26) - the bride

B. Eph 5:23-26 - Here is a similar idea - Christ is the husband

1. according to v. 26, the marriage takes place in baptism

2. thence, one must be faithful to the groom, the husband

3. unfaithfulness to the husband is spiritual adultery - submission to the husband is simply expected and required

CLOSE: Read with me Acts 20:28. What could be more important to God than the church? If we are careless with our relationship to the church, be assured that God cannot be pleased. If we are careful with our relationship to the church, we can expect ultimately our place in the joys of a heavenly home!

Cecil A. Hutson

18 September 2005

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)