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What is the church of Christ?

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For over a hundred years there have been churches that refer to themselves as the Church of Christ. These churches have that sign on the door or out by the street, and many people recognize that there are certain things that make these churches unique.

However, the name that is used was never meant to be a name. It is and has always been a description of the people. The people are the church that belongs to Jesus, the Christ (Romans 16:16).

So what does the church that belongs to Jesus look like? The following is a list of ideas that Jesus presented which should be attributes of his followers. I encourage you to read this with your bible open following along with the passages referred to.

What is the church of Christ?

The church that belongs to Christ understands its need for forgiveness and is anxious to be able to extend that forgiveness to others. It is not a church that holds grudges. (Matthew 6:14-15)

The church that belongs to Christ seeks the Holy Spirit in the lives of each believer. They follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives as they live each day – not just on Sunday. This creates within them a fire, a passion, as they experience life in the presence of God who lives within them. (John 14:15-17, 26-27)

The church that belongs to Christ understands that belief in Jesus and connection with Him in baptism (immersion) are essential to salvation. They don’t try to argue this away. They accept it and are willing and eager to follow Jesus’ instructions and example in this manner. (Mark 16:15-16)

The church that belongs to Christ believes that unity with one another is essential to life in Him. They believe that this unity is key to their ability to evangelize to the world. They are not known for their division. (John 17:20-21)

The church that belongs to Christ believes that faith is essential to a person’s ability to follow Jesus. They recognize where their faith is weak and ask Jesus to strengthen their faith through the Spirit at work within them. They understand that without this faith it is impossible to please God. (Luke 17:5-6)

The church that belongs to Christ is a praying church. Prayer is seen as powerful and necessary to the connection and relationship between the church and God. They understand that it is through prayer that much of the power of Christ is released upon the world around them. They follow Jesus’ example of being constantly in prayer. (Luke 5:16; 11:1-13)

The church that belongs to Christ believes that He has called each one of us, no matter our past, to evangelism – to tell others about Him. This is not just the preacher’s job, but it is the role of each follower. A follower excited about his or her Savior cannot help but tell others about Him. (Mark 5:19)

The church that belongs to Christ believes that communion – partaking of the body and blood of Jesus – is essential to the life of the believer. They believe it is in communion with Jesus that relationship with Him is fostered as often as it is taken. (John 6:53-56)

The church that belongs to Christ doesn’t make it a practice to stand in judgment of others. They are accepting of all people because they recognize that all have sinned, and everyone has need for the same Savior. (Matthew 7:3-5)

The church that belongs to Christ seeks the reign of God, His kingdom, in their lives each day. This is not relegated to once or twice a week in a certain building but is shown by a lifestyle devoted to following God in every decision and action daily. (Matthew 6:33)

The church that belongs to Christ is full of flawed people who haven’t got it all figured out. They are broken people who are trying their best to allow God to change them, but it is a daily process, and some days are better than others. This creates an atmosphere of equality among all people regardless of race, age, gender, or class. (Matthew 9:12-13)

The church that belongs to Christ seeks to obey Him in all things. They see their obedience as part of their faith. (John 14:15)

The church that belongs to Christ seeks to show mercy and grace to all whom they come in contact with. They understand that they have been shown mercy and grace by Jesus and seek to reflect Him to others. (Matthew 5:7; 9:13)

The church that belongs to Christ is in the business of disciple-making. They aren’t interested in merely inviting someone to a weekend service. They want to help one another grow in their understanding and ability to follow the teachings of Jesus. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The church that belongs to Christ is compassionate. They seek to show that compassion in the world around them and seek nothing in return. (Luke 10:33-37)

The church that belongs to Christ is generous because it understands that everything it has has been given by the One who owns everything. It understands that the money and possessions it acquires are to be used to glorify God by helping others. It gives generously as an act of worship. (Mark 12:42-44)

The church that belongs to Christ focuses on what Jesus said are the most important ideas: Love God and Love your neighbor. This church is recognized by its love. The world all around knows there is something different about the church that belongs to Jesus because it loves like no other entity does – masses of followers banding together to be an example of love to everyone around them. (Matthew 22:35-40)

The church that belongs to Christ doesn’t worry about names on building or denominational association. This church is boundless. It has no borders. It is found in every church as people claim allegiance to the Savior who died and rose again. (John 10:16)

The church that belongs to Christ follows Jesus. No. Matter. What. (Matthew 10:38; 16:24-26)

This is the church of Christ. It’s not a name on a building but a way of life. It is all people who choose to follow Jesus – his examples and his teachings. Are you a part of that church?

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Freed Men Living Like Slaves

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Culture is changing rapidly. It used to be that the technology we use was the fastest thing changing in our culture, but I see that the ways we talk and act are keeping in step with the pace of technological change.

Churches, too are changing, though most church leaderships do not want to admit it or do what it takes to address the change.

The thing that alarms me most, however is that the culture of the lives of Christians looks almost exactly like the culture of the lives of non-Christians.

I spend a lot of time on social media and talking to people of various Christian faiths throughout my week. As I interact in those various places I hear and read as much profanity as I would expect from the world. I see the same negative attitudes. There is just as much alcohol abuse and drug addiction. The divorce rate is the same as that of the world. Disrespect is just as rampant.

Why is this? I think it has to do with a couple of definitions that have been skewed over the years.

The first is “Christian”. It is a word that has come to mean anyone who professed a belief that Jesus is the savior. This is NOT the biblical case. A Christian is supposed to be a Christ-follower. The scripture says that even the demons “believe”, and they even tremble at the thought. We claim belief, and so many of us don’t even give it a second though much less have any emotional or intellectual feeling about it.

The next definition that has been morphed over time is the word “grace”. Grace is a gift given to someone who doesn’t deserve that gift. It is paired with “mercy” which is not getting the negative consequences that we deserve. Our society has taken this idea and soaked it in to the point that it has become a license to live just like the world. This is completely different than the idea that Jesus presented. He wanted to make sure that we lived in the world, but he wanted us to look nothing like the world. Jesus never promised you happiness. He never promised you peace. In fact, he said he didn’t come to bring peace.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul makes a statement that is mentioned twice in that book: “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” (6:12; 10:23). The idea behind this is that we can do all those things, and we will be able to be forgiven of those deeds, but that doesn’t mean they are good nor should we do them.

I can cuss a blue streak, and I can probably be forgiven of that sin, but the path of destruction left in the wake of my tirade is a much longer lasting consequence than I should have caused.

In the book of Hebrews, the writer reminds us that anyone who knows the good he or she ought to do, and doesn’t do it sins.

We are called in Romans 6 to be done with the life of sin. Completely. Totally. Holistically. Done.

What the culture of the church has done, however, is cuddle up with sin as its marriage partner. Jesus made it pretty clear that you must choose your bridegroom. Jesus is not willing to be in a relationship with us where we are living as his bride on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, but we are cheating on him with our girlfriends Selfishness and Sin.

Church, it’s time for a wake-up call. It’s time for the church to rise up and show the world what it means to truly be forgiven for good. We need to show the world the saving grace of Jesus that heals us of our hang-ups and addictions. We need to show the world that Jesus truly is the Master of our lives.

It has been said that the whole world is a slave of sin, but we who are in Christ have been set free from slavery to sin. It’s time to stop living like we are still slaves. You are free! Live in the freedom that comes from living the life God has called you to.

There is much work to be done. Would you join with me In praying that this church culture can change so that the world can be turned upside-down? Would you also pray, as I do, that the change would begin in each one of us?

Thanks. God bless you. And if you need anything, as always, you may contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611.


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