June 2021

 

Why I Am a Member of

the Church of Christ

by Tom McLemore

 

“...And the Lord added to their number day by day

those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).

 

          Are you a member of the church of Christ?  If so, how would you respond if someone asked you, “Why are you a member of the church of Christ?”  Would your response be the truth according to the New Testament?  I hope that reading this article will enable you to examine your understanding of this most important matter.

          Why am I a member of the church of Christ?  In reality, four questions must be asked and answered before one can know the answer to this question.

          WHAT is a member of the church of Christ?   A member of the church of Christ is one who has been saved by Christ (Acts 2:47).   Since this is true, ALL individuals who have been saved by Christ are also members of the church of Christ.  That is why the church of Christ is not, and cannot be, a denomination. By its very nature, a denomination does not, and cannot, claim that all who have been saved by Christ are in it!  That is also why no denomination can be the church of Christ.  All those who have been saved are members of the church of Christ.  On the other hand, since, by definition, the church of Christ is those who have been saved by Christ, it is impossible for anyone who has been saved not to be a member of the church of Christ!

          WHO is RESPONSIBLE for one’s being a member of the church of Christ?  The Lord does both the saving and the adding (Acts 2:47).  The LORD adds persons to HIS church and to HIS church ONLY (Matthew 16:18).  The Lord is himself the Savior of those who are members of his church, and he obtained those who are members of his church by his own blood (Ephesians 5:23; Acts 20:28).  The Lord does not add ANYONE to ANY denomination. 

          Membership in the church of Christ is not the result of a choice of the individual.  (Contrast denominationalism’s “Join the church of your choice”).   Acts 2:47 does NOT say, “Those who were being saved added themselves day by day to their number.”  Why I am a member of the church of Christ does not mean why I chose the church of Christ instead of any other church.

          WHEN does one become a member of the church of Christ?  It is not BEFORE one is saved that one becomes a member of the church of Christ.  Acts 2:47 does NOT say, “the Lord was saving those who had been added to their number.”  (This is the view of Catholicism, viz., one is saved as the result of church membership).

          It is not AFTER one is saved that one becomes a member of the church of Christ.  Acts 2:47 does NOT say, “The Lord added to their number day by day those who already had been saved.”  (This is denominationalism’s view of church membership, viz., “Be saved, and then join a church”). 

          Acts 2:47 teaches that one becomes a member of the church of Christ AS one is being saved.  Acts 2:47 says, “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”  Grammatically, “were being saved” (Greek present participle) is occurring at the same time as “added” (Greek aorist indicative).  Therefore, Acts 2:47 affirms that AS the Lord saves, he adds; AS the Lord adds, he saves....AS one is being saved, one is being added by the Lord; AS one is being added by the Lord, one is being saved.  There is no distinction in time between being saved and being added.

          So then, HOW does one become a member of the church of Christ?  According to Acts 2:47, one becomes a member of the church of Christ BY being saved by Christ.  “Why am I a member of the church of Christ?” really means, “Under what conditions was I SAVED by Christ?”  Acts 2:36-41 gives the answer:

 

“...Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”  And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.”  And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves [more accurately, “Be saved” (aorist passive imperative)–tm] from this crooked generation.”   So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

 

BY responding to the gospel as Acts 2:36-41 describes, I became a member of the church of Christ.  AS I was responding and being saved by Christ, the Lord was adding me to his church.

          That is why I am a member of the church of Christ.  The same is true of every other individual who is a member of the church of Christ.  If you responded in the same manner, Christ was saving you and adding you to his church as you were responding (Acts 2:47).  Therefore, if you are asked why you are a member of the church of Christ, Acts 2:47 provides the fundamental answer.

          If you are a member of the church of Christ, I hope this study has helped you to understand more clearly why you are a member.  If you are not a member of the church of Christ, now you know why you are not yet a member–it is because you have not yet been saved by Christ (Acts 2:47).  Be saved (Acts 2:40, 41)! (This article is the substance of a sermon presented at Houston Park May 16, 2021).

 

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