Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 13, 1961

He's A Church Of Christ

John H. Tull, Grand Prairie, Texas

How often do we hear sectarians saying, "He's a church of Christ," when telling about some member of the church. We realize that the word "church" comes from a word which means "called out assembly," and that one person does not constitute 'a church. The church is spoken of in two senses in the New Testament — the universal sense, Matt. 16:18, including all those who have been redeemed by the blood of. Christ; and the local sense, 1 Cor. 1:2, and others, including those saints in a given locality who assemble to form a local congregation.

We realize also that our opening statement is purely sectarian language, much the same as one would use in referring to a Baptist or Methodist, but we have heard some members of the church using that language. One person cannot be a "church," anymore than the hand or the foot doesn't constitute the entire body. But, on the other hand, did you ever stop to think that, to those people of the world with whom you come in daily contact, you represent the church of Christ?

In view of this, what manner of life ought we to live, in order that we may not bring reproach upon the church, or upon Christ who bought us? The greater part of the New Testament is to tell us what manner of life ought to characterize us, and in a study of this nature, it would be impossible to exhaust the material contained therein. Still, let us notice a few passages:

Peter tells us in I Peter 2:9-12, "But ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him -who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the, soul; having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

Peter tells us that we are a purchased people, a people for God's possession, and that we are to show forth his excellencies. Further, we are to put aside fleshly lusts, which are not compatible with the Spirit. Paul tells us that if we mortify or put to death the deeds of the body, we shall live. (Rom. 8:13) We are admonished in verse 11 of our text to abstain from fleshly lusts because they war against the soul. In the seventh division of Romans, beginning with verse 14, Paul pictures the constant warfare that exists between the two natures of man — the inward man trying to serve God and the outward man desiring to serve the flesh. When we lie, cheat, curse, and act just like, the people of the world, how can we claim to be an elect race, a holy nation, etc.? How can we even expect God to claim us as his purchased possession? We are to put the teachings of God into practice in order that we might overcome the flesh.

If there were to be no resurrection, then we might well act like the world; but alas! there is to be a resurrection, and there is to be a judgment day! (Matt. 25:31-46) No, our entire manner of life' is to be honest among the people of the world. In 2 Peter 3 we are reminded of the impending judgment and the destruction of the world, and-then asks; "seeing that these things are thus to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God, by reason of which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (verses 11, 12) If we, - of all people, are living ungodly lives, we will most certainly not be earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God. Let us follow Paul's admonition in 1 Cor. 6:19-20, "or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? And ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body."