Tag Archives: mercy

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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Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

To date, I have written many things about love and God and how the two ideas intertwine. Two weeks ago, I wrote about “How to Love a Deity.” In that article, I discussed that the first way to love a deity is to accept the love that He showers on you. In other word, it is to let God love you and let Him take care of your sin by giving your life to Him. I hope that you have made the choice to make Jesus your Lord. If you haven’t, then give me a buzz, and I’d love to talk with you more about it.

To love a deity, you cannot simply stop once you have decided to let Him love you. There has to be more to it than that. Will He love you less if you don’t do what I am about to write? No! But the apostle, Paul, was pretty clear in Romans 6 that we are not supposed to do just anything since we’ve been saved. We are to put away our old, sinful selves.

When I was a teenager, I remember a job that my mother had. She was the secretary for a public relations director for a school system. She was really good at her job, and because she was good, the school did well at fund raising and gained credibility in the eyes of the community. The P.R. guy she worked for was a good man, but when the rubber met the road, my mom was doing 95% of the work in the office. He was usually off doing something else while my mom got the work done in the office and talked on the phone to celebrities to arrange for fundraisers and contacted influential officials to get her job done. This all went well for a while, but once she noticed that she was doing all the work, and no one was giving her any of the credit, she got pretty disgruntled. She still did her job to the best of her ability, and her boss still took all the credit without giving her any, but inside this really ate away at her.

Have you ever felt that way? Maybe you were due some credit that never came. Maybe you felt like no one ever gave you a second thought, or people didn’t think you were good enough.

Have you ever wondered if that’s how God feels?

We live our lives day by day and breathe and eat and walk and work and talk and do all the other normal everyday things that humans do, yet most days we don’t take the time to give credit where credit is due. God created everything. According to Acts 17, He gives you “life and breath and everything else.” So do you give credit where credit is due?

If someone were to ask me the purpose for humans on this earth, I would answer them, “To glorify our Creator in everything we do.” That’s how we love our Deity.

To give glory to God can happen in many ways. We can simply notice all the little magnificent things that God does like the sunrise this morning or the bird that is singing a hymn to its creator outside your window as you eat your lunch. These are things that we take for granted every day, but God created them for us nonetheless. In fact, God loves you so much that He created all this for you! In the process, He wants us to give Him credit for His creation. Maybe that’s why the idea of evolution is so repulsive to many Christians – because it takes the credit due God for this magnificent earth and all its inhabitants and gives it to chance.

Another way to give glory to God is to worship Him. We seem to have many ideas of worship. When I am standing in a clear-water stream in the hills of Arkansas or California, I an basking in the delight of my Creator, and I am worshiping Him even though I may make no sound other than the occasional squeal of joy when I hook a nice fish. Some people seem to think that worship only happens when we gather with other Christians on Sunday morning at the local church building. This kind of worship is formal and is usually done through singing. Hebrews 10:25 says, “ Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(NIV)” The Hebrew writer is saying that we need to assemble with the other Christians, but worship is not limited to just this.

If we are to love God, I think we need a broader view of worship to Him.

Paul says, in Romans 12:1, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.(NLT)”

According to Paul, the way to worship God – to show Him our love for Him is a continual offering of our lives to Him. This is not just a once-a-week thing. This is a 24/7 thing. This is us continually offering our hearts and lives to God to give Him credit as our Creator by obeying the two laws: Love God and Love your neighbor. Worship is one of the ways we love our Deity.

I hope you have a church family with which to worship on Sundays. If you don’t, I’d like to personally invite you to the Nichols St. church of Christ here in Bay City. But even when you aren’t in the church building, love God with everything you have and everything you are – this is the only reasonable way to give credit where credit is due – to love a Deity.


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