Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 13, 1959
NUMBER 14, PAGE 6-7b

Joining The Church Of Your Choice

S. R. Tipton, Hope, Arkansas

When men attempt to speak, in matters religious, they are commanded to speak only as the oracles of God. The apostle Peter enjoined, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." (I Pet. 4:11). The absolute necessity of abiding in, and teaching only those things authorized by the doctrine of Christ, may be seen in reading 2 Jno. 9: "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the teaching of Christ hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." Whatever we do then, in religion, must be authorized by the words of Christ, else it is sin, and the condemnation of God rests upon us.

Some today teach and exhort people, "to join the church of your choice"; or again, "go to the church of your choice". We find that this is a very popular idea today, and almost every time we listen to our radio, we hear those expressions. We find that this is a very popular idea today, and almost every time we listen to our radio, we hear those expressions. We desire to ask, "By what authority do some teach these things? Is it by the authority of the Son of God, or by the sole authority of man?" If it is by the authority of men, it is not authorized by the Son of God, and the ones who so teach, are not speaking as the "oracles of God", and they are not abiding in the "teachings of Christ."

The expression, as used by many today, "Join the church of your choice, or attend the church of your choice", comes from a mistaken idea that salvation may be had out of the church. I say a mistaken idea, because the Bible does not so teach! Those who teach that man may be saved out of the church, as well as in the church, have certainly studied their Bible to little profit!

Of those who write, and speak to encourage people to attend or join the church of their choice, I would like to ask some questions.

What about the Lord, is there a Church of the Lord's choice? Does the Lord have a choice in the matter? Did the Lord die, and shed His precious blood for the Church of His choice, or the church of your choice? Is the church of your choice the Church of the Lord's choice? Will the Lord be pleased with you, if you join the church of your choice, IF IT IS NOT THE CHURCH OF HIS CHOICE? Friends, these are serious questions, and they demand an answer.

Kind reader, I believe the Lord does have a choice in the matter. I do not believe that the Lord would have died on the cruel cross of Golgotha and have shed His precious blood for a non-essential institution. I believe therefore, that the Church which was purchased with the matchless price of the blood of the beloved Son of God, is essential to man's salvation. I do not believe a person can be saved unless he is a member of the blood-bought Church of our Lord. We read in Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to the whole flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood."

On a dark and dismal day over two thousand years ago, the Man of Sorrows, stricken with untold grief because the sins of the whole world were being borne by his own body on the rugged tree. As the Dear Son of God was suspended between heaven and earth, with arms outstretched on the cruel cross atop Golgotha's hill, outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem, having been cursed, spat upon, a crown of thorns pressed deep on His brow, having nails driven to His hands and His feet, with darkness having embraced the entire land from the sixth to the ninth hour, having prayed so recently in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Oh Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me, however not as I will, but as thou wilt", bowed His head and cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me"? Then, having thus said, he cried, "Father into thy hands, I commend my spirit". Immediately the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the very foundations of the earth were shaken with a fearful earthquake, and the Centurion of the Roman army standing by said, "Surely this was the Son of God." As the cold, lifeless body of our Lord hung there between the twilight of two eternities, a "Roman soldier with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water". (Jno. 19:33, 34). With this blood having been shed, our Lord purchased the Church of His choice. (Acts 20:28). Friends, what about the Lord? Did He have a choice in the matter?

The apostle Paul speaks further concerning the church of our Lord, by saying, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, eve the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby". (Eph. 2:13-16). My friends, to be in Christ is the same thing as being in the church. Indeed, one cannot be in Christ without being in the church. In verse 13 of this reading Paul tells us that those who were afar off were made nigh by the blood of Christ, but in verse 16, he tells us, "that both Jews and Gentiles are reconciled in the one body by the cross". To be "made nigh" in verse 13 is the same thing as being "reconciled" in verse 16. "By the blood of Christ", in verse 13, is exactly the same thing as "by the cross" in verse 16, therefore, "in Christ Jesus", as is stated in verse 13, by Paul, is exactly the same thing as, "in the one body", in verse 16. Thus to be "in Christ", is to "be in His body". and since we read in Eph. 1:22,23, that "the body is the church", we naturally conclude, that men cannot be reconciled, or made nigh, unto God outside of Christ, or outside of His body the church.

But again, let us notice, salvation is in Christ Jesus, for Paul states, "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sake that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus". (2 Tim. 2:10). The apostle Peter further tells us that this salvation is in none other. Listen to him speak, "For 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). If one is saved, then, he must be in Christ Jesus, for that is where salvation is. But, by friends, the very thing that puts a person into Christ also puts him into the church. When one believes on Jesus Christ, repents of his sins, confesses with his mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he then may be baptized, and this baptism is the very act that puts that individual into Christ. There are only two passages in the entire word of God that tell us how to get into Christ. These two passages are Rom. 6:3 and Gal. 3:27. Let's read them, "Know ye not that as many of us as were baptized into Christ, were baptized into his death"? (Rom 6:3); Again, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ". (Gal. 3:27). Friends, that is what the Bible says, "we are baptized into Christ." But it is by the act of baptism that we get into the Church. "For by one Spirit have we all been baptized into one body". (I Cor. 12:13). It is more than foolishness for man to argue that a person may be saved outside of Jesus Christ, but from the verses read above, we found that the same act that puts a person into Christ, also puts him into the Church, therefore, it is just as foolish for any man to argue that salvation may be had out of the Church.

Perhaps you are ready to ask, "How may I know which is the Church of the Lord's choice, since there are so many churches today"? Paul tells us that there is only one church, not many! Listen to him, my friends. "There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling." (Eph. 4:4). There are many religious institutions today, but there is only one Church, and that is the Church of the Lord's choice. How may you know the Church of the Lord's choice?

Friends, the Church of the Lord's choice is the Church that He purchased with His own blood, the Church that is married to Him, and therefore the Church that wears His name.

I would not encourage you to join or attend the church of your choice, for this is taught solely by the authority of men. I would encourage you to obey the simple gospel of our Lord, and by your obedience to the gospel the Lord will add you to the Church of His choice.