06/26/2016: Membership In The Church

Membership In The Church

Memory Verse: John 10:1 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other w

Memory Verse:  John 10:1 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you.  He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” 

         Now we all know what happens to theifs and robbers cause Revelation 21:8 makes it perfectly clear that, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”     

         From our studies in the Bible about the Church of God, we see that it is a divine church and different from any sect, denomination, or any organization that man can set up.  Let’s define those three words for a moment.  A sect is a subgroup of a religious, political, or philosophical belief system, usually an offshoot of a larger religious group.  A denomination is a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices and usually bigger than a sect.  A organization is a social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals.  To become a member of this church, one must obtain salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.  Then one must go on and be filled with the Holy Spirit to receive the power to do the work of the church freely.  It is not our church, but God’s.


The Door Into The Church

          John 10:9 – I am the door: by me if any man shall enter in, he shall be saved.  Jesus, speaking here, proclaimed Himself to be the only door to salvation – into the church.  No one is or can be a member of the Church of God who has not come through the door, Christ Jesus, into the experience of a new birth.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”   John 1:3-4 tells us that, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”  John 3:16 tells us that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This is definite experience in the heart.  It happens at one certain time.  One may not know what to call it, but you feel it.  The infilling of the Holy Spirit may be received at the same time, or it may be later.  The early church at Pentecost had to wait for this infilling, but we today do not need to wait for this power in our lives.  Luke 24:49 tells us what Jesus told His people, “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you (The Holy Spirit): but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”  It only takes long enough for us to sell out to God in dedicating our lives for His service.  Then Christ fits us into the active, visible body of Christ, the Church of God.

          John 10:9 says, “I am the door: by me if any men enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  Christ, still speaking here, told us that one entering in by Him shall go in the door and on out into God’s great, rich and green pasture and find fresh pasture – food for the soul.  One is not a part of the body of Christ until one is called out from the barren hills of Babylon, from all man-made churches, and comes home to the only true fold.  Here one can feed on the top of Mount Zion, which is above all the hills of Babylon’s confusion.

          Acts 2:46-47 says, “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  The Lord is the secretary of the church as well as the door.  He adds one’s name to the Book of Life when one is saved and blots the name out when one commits sin the Lord is the only secretary because He and He alone, knows when one is truly born there.  Psalm 87:5-6 states, “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.”  He knows only because he can make a dead soul live again through Him and only through Him.  Ezekiel 37:1-6 clearly states, “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”  I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”  Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”  Just like a good Shepard knows what sheep are his, the Lord knows them that are His.  2 Timothy 2:19 says, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.  And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  John 10:27-28, Christ clearly states, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  No man knows all who are saved and all who are not.  God does, because God looks at the heart.  Phillipians 4:3 states, “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”  Exodus 32:33 says, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”  No saved one is left out and no unsaved one is taken in.  Revelation 3:14-17 clearly and mistakenly states, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”

          Men write names of those who join their churches in earthly books of paper and ink.  These records can be destroyed now, and surely will be in the end time.  The only membership record that will stand is the one kept in Heaven by Christ.  Revelation 20:12-15 says, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”  Revelation 21:27 says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

The Name

          Ephesians 3:14-15 says, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”  The church is one family in Heaven and on earth and is named after the Father.  The family is the household of God.  Ephesians 2:19 tells us, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”  Every member born into a family takes the father’s name.  Therefore, the whole family is named and the children who are born in have no choice in the matter.  No one receives a nickname or an adopted name because there are no illegitimate children.  When a child is born into any of our families, there is no question in our minds what the child’s name is.  It is the same as the father’s.  Family names could not be carried on by the given names, or first names as is told in John 17:11 that states, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee.  Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me that they may be one, as we are.”

          When it comes to churches, many will say that the name is not important.  God let us know from the very beginning that He considered the name very important.  In speaking with His disciples, Jesus even tells us to address God by His name in prayer and acknowledge who He is as seen in Matthew 6:9, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”  In all cases, it distingushes families.  Your name is very important in every aspect of your life.  For example, if two men with identical names are called to discuss receiving an inheritance, each must bring proof of his father’s name.  This will identify the man that the inheritance is meant for.  God gave His family a name, and He will not tolerate anyone trying to separate His family by changing its name. 

No Strangers in God’s Family

          Ezekiel 44:9 says that, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.”  The sanctuary, or temple, was a type of church.  It was pictured beforehand in an outward, material form what was to be true of the church spiritually.  No stranger to Christ, no one uncleansed in heart can enter the church Christ is the door and He makes no mistakes.

God’s Church, Not Ours

          The name of the Church of God is a descriptive name, not one arbitrarily chosen and given to it.  Man did not name it.  In the Bible, it is called the Church of God because it IS that.  To assume the name of the Church of God can never make one a member of it.  To gather together with members of the Church of God cannot make one a member of it.  As stated in John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  One is a member only by being born into it of the will…of God.  When this study speaks of, “the Church of God,” it does not mean “our group” or a group meeting in a certain place or having the name “Church of God” painted over the doorway only.  These types of churches can contain the unsaved as well as the saved.  The church is those in places and all places who are in Christ Jesus.  They are truly the sons of God. 

Just a Thought

Quality is better than quantity.

By Minister Richard Hagemaster