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October 9, 2005 AM


2 TIM 2:1,2

INTRO: Last Lords day morning our sermon study was entitled It Does Really Matter What You Believe About The Church. When I finished writing the notes for that sermon, I wondered if it really addressed the need of people today ... a need to understand that the church of which I spoke must not be just a historical institution ... but that it must be todays church. And I was not sure that I had accomplished that objective. So, I want to come at this from a slightly different direction. The church of which we read in the New Testament must, must be the church of the 21st century, too. There are some specific things I need to say relative to that critical, urgent necessity. It does, you see, really matter what you believe about the contemporary church ... todays church.


A. Our world is steeped in denominational thought

1. theres no doubting that the denominations practice, believe diversely

2. still, my guess is that each believes it is some way of the N.T. church

3. there is an any church will do mentality

B. That mentality may be part of your thinking about churches of Christ

1. my church, our church expressions may signal this confusion

2. I am church of Christ may also express ambiguity of thought

3. yes, if denominational thought is everywhere around us and we hear it constantly, it may be difficult for us to remain free from that mentality

C. The church of Christ today must be simply the church of the 1st century

1. there were no denominations then ... just the church

2. there were congregations of the Lords body spread through the world

3. but they were unified in belief and practice based on revealed truth -and divisions (departures) were soundly condemned (1 Cor 1:10-13)


A. Unique in its foundations

1. no birthday or birthplace other than Pentecost & Jerusalem

2. no founder (in any sense) other than Christ

3. no creed but the revealed scriptures - specifically, the New Testament

B. Unique in its holding fast to the pattern of scripture

1. 2 Tim 1:13,14 & 2:2

2. 1 Cor 4:17

3. when people or groups deviate from the pattern, they become something other than the church of Christ, the Lords church, the church of the N.T.

C. Unique in how one enters it

1. remember 1 Cor 12:13 and Col 1:18 - body and church are same

2. remember, too, Mk 16:16 and Acts 2:38 - both belief and penitence are prerequisite to baptism - so, when a believing, penitent person is baptized, he becomes a member of the Lords church

3. Acts 2:47 - upon ones obedience, the Lord adds him to the church

4. fact: this pattern is simply not found in denominational world, thinking

D. Unique in its worship

1. Acts 20:7 -the day of worship, remembrance is the 1st day - communion

2. 1 Cor 16:1,2 - the worship of giving of ones material means

3. Eph 5:19 & Col 3:16 - the worship of praise in song (a cappella)

4. 1 Cor 14:19 & 1 Tim 2:8 - teaching and praying are part of the Lords day observance

5. to be the church of N.T. we must follow this pattern in 21st century

E. Unique in its organization

1. Acts 14:23 & Phil 1:1 - elders (bishops) and deacons in each church

2. 1 Tim 3:1-13 - specific qualifications given for each office

3. Col 1:18 - Christ is the head of the church ... no hierarchal organization between local congregations and Christ ... each church autonomous

4. is this pattern found in denominational settings? no (variations are rule)

F. Unique in its purpose

1. Mt 28:19,20 - evangelism and edification (teaching)

2. Acts 11:27-30 - benevolence

3. while entertainment, recreation and such are certainly important things, these are not the purpose given in scripture for the church

G. Whats the point?

1. a church deviating from the N.T. pattern can no longer the Lords

2. it is not enough for us to simply be religious - we must accept and practice the faith clearly revealed in scripture (Jude 3)

3. should we not, then, be so much more evangelistic than we are now?

4. I plead with you to think scripturally ... of the Lords church

CLOSE: I would conclude with Jno 13:35 - By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. We must follow the New Testament carefully in its pattern details of the church ... and within the body we must be people of love for one another!

Cecil A. Hutson

09 October 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)