Topical Sermons Power Point Show
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 3:1-6
What Makes a Church a Church of Christ?
1. Psa. 127:1; Matt. 16:18 – Only the church (house of God) built by Jesus will prevail. It is His church, not ours.
2. “What do men say my church is?” (Matt. 16:13) “Cult…legalists…water salvationists…extremists…antis…just another denomination…”
3. “What do you say the church of Christ is? (Matt. 16:15) Bible answers.
4. Church a part of God’s eternal plan of redemption in Christ, & in the church of Christ glory will be given to God (Eph. 3:10-11, 21).
-Christ is its head (Eph. 1:21-22); chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:19-20); Christ has only one body (Eph. 1:23; 4:4); Christ is its Savior (Eph. 5:23).
5. The church is made up of Christians, not churches:
a. Word “church” used universally: The general assembly of the saved (Heb. 12:23). The Lord adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47); Only the church is saved (Eph. 5:23).
b. Word “church” used locally: Local congregations (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2).
6. Concern of this lesson: What makes a local church a church that belongs to Christ. (It makes a difference, & we can tell the difference!)
-All do not agree: Quote from Bruce Terry (1 Pet. 3:15)
I. WHAT DOES NOT MAKE A CHURCH A CHURCH OF CHRIST? – cf. Lk. 13:23-27
A. Past Accomplishments – Rev. 2:2-3, 5; Heb. 6:9-12.
-Continue in diligent perseverance, Rev. 3:8-9.
B. Present Reputation – Rev. 3:1. (The way others view us.)
C. Just Saying it is so – Rev. 3:14-19 (Prov. 14:12).
D. Just Having a Sign that Says it is so – cf. Rom. 2:28-29 (9:6).
1. Not advocating changing the name of signs, etc.
2. Name is important because it identifies us – Rom. 16:16.
3. Unless we are faithful to Christ, we are not His – Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:4-5.
II. WHAT MAKES A CHURCH A CHURCH OF CHRIST?
A. The Right Head: Submission to the Authority of Christ in All Things – Eph. 5:24; Col. 3:17; Lk. 6:46. (Obedience to Christ)
1. Right head (Christ), Matt. 28:18; Rev. 1:17-18.
2. Right heart, Col. 3:12-16.
3. Right living, Col. 3:1-11.
B. The Right Teaching: Preach & Practice Sound Doctrine: The Whole Counsel of God, Acts 20:27, 20, 32. (One faith, Eph. 4:5)
1. Teach no other doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3; 4:6; 6:3-5) – Gal. 1:6-9.
2. Hold fast pattern of sound words – 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:14-16; 4:2-4.
3. Church that won’t loses fellowship w/ Christ – 2 Jno. 9 (Rev. 2:5).
4. Applications include:
a. Plan of salvation.
b. Worship of the local church: Instrumental music; LS into “celebration” rather than a solemn memorial.
c. Organization of local church: Human organ.; Sponsoring church.
d. Work of local church: Preach, edify, care for needy saints. Not…Social, recreational, political.
e. MDR: Heb. 13:4; Matt. 19:6, 9; Rom. 7:2-3.
f. Fellowship faithful brethren – 3 Jno. 5-8; cf. 2 Jno. 10-11.
g. Holy living – 1 Ths. 1:9; Acts 19:18-20.
5. Devil objects & deceives (so do some brethren): 2 Co. 11:2-4 (12-15)
a. “It is certainly not the purpose of this article to condone false teaching. But to teach that a church must be doing or teaching everything exactly right in order to be a church of Christ is itself false teaching.” (Bruce Terry, “What Makes a Congregation a Church of Christ,” Firm Foundation, 18May99).
b. Demanding 100% doctrinal conformity!
c. Always been division among brethren (Acts 9:31).
d. Best we can do is “agree to disagree” – cf. 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4:1-6; 3:3-4.
6. Remain faithful to “the faith” – 1 Tim. 4:1-3 (Jude 3).
1. What makes a church a church of Christ? Faithfully doing the will of God in all things:
a. Christians who do no do the will of the Father will not go to heaven! Matt. 7:21-23
b. Some will depart the faith (1 Tim. 4:1). We must hold fast to be God’s house – Heb. 3:4-6.
c. Unity in local church is not only possible; it is commanded – 1 Cor. 1:10.
2. Right Head … Structure … Teaching … Worship… Work … Living.
3. Will this church truly be a church of Christ? That will be determined by how you respond to the word of God as individual saints & as a congregation.
(Professor of Bible Humanities, Ohio Valley College)
“The question arises, however, what if a congregation takes on a non-Biblical name, such as “New Testament Church” or “Fellowship of Christ”? Does it then cease to be a church of Christ? Or in the area of organization, what if a Church of Christ follows the Baptist pattern of having the deacons run the church? I have known of such happening when the elders resigned. Does such a church cease to be a church of Christ when this happens? If so, does it once again become a church of Christ when it again appoints elders? These questions relate to what is sometimes called “the marks of the true church.” It is commonly taught that for a congregation to be a church of Christ it must have the right name, worship, organization, teaching, etc. But while all these things are important, they are not what makes a congregation a church of Christ, either individually or collectively.”
What Makes a Congregation a Church of Christ (1982)
(Firm Foundation, 18May99)