Theme: Understanding God’s work of adding saved people to His church. Acts 2:47
A. You’ve probably heard the expression: Join the church of your choice.
1. Many Christians disdain this advertisement because a person is suppose to join only the one True Church belonging to Christ.
2. The only problem is that no one in the Bible ever joined a church…the Lord added him to His church.
3. Herein lies the very hypocrisy we abhor and some associated misguiding among Christians today.
B. Let’s see just how muddy things get before attempting to clear the water with the pure Word of God.
1. Notice how things start simply with God’s word.
2. Then come the innovations of man’s wisdom…that muddies up the water.
3. Restoring the 1st century practice in modern times.
I. The Lord Added to His Church… Pure and Simple
A. A person – hearing the gospel – believes and obeys the gospel just as others did in the Bible.
Cp. Rom. 10:14-16; Acts 10
1. The believing person “calls on Him” (Jesus Christ is the risen Savior who sacrificially died to take away my sins). Mk. 16:15-16; Rom. 10:8-10
2. This person who is baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27) begins his new walk (lifestyle) in Him.
3. Rom. 6:1-7
B. First century practice taught, practiced, and exampled by respondents to the gospel message.
C. Acts 2:37-47
1. These souls were saved from among the perverse generation of unbelievers. Acts 2:40
2. As more continued to hear and receive the message of Christ, the “Lord added to the church (the saved) daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47
II. Next, Placing Membership… Here Comes the Mud
A. Many Christians believe the Lord adds them to His church, yet insist on the practice of placing membership.
1. Some insist on a pattern, but proof-texting does not create one. Acts 9:26-27 (Gal. 2:9)
2. There is no teaching or example of this happening after someone becomes a Christian.
3. Whether in Jerusalem (Acts 2) or in Egypt (Acts 8:36-39)… all were members of one another.
B. Human wisdom does not establish divine authority to mandate such a practice.
1. Placing membership is needed for elders to shepherd over the flock. Acts 20:28
2. There is no practical way to keep up with Christians if they don’t have a “church home.”
3. Note: congregations existed…but not because “placing membership” was a mandated practice.
C. Here’s where things get muddy:
1. Through the practice of “placing membership” one has to choose the “right” church.
2. How does a babe in Christ make such a choice when all he has are the “mature” brethren from which he was initially associated with when he was baptized into Christ?
3. What congregation serves as the perfect standard of emulating the “correct” church?
Conclusion: Getting Back to the Pure and Simple Gospel
A. It is the Lord who adds those whom He saves to His church. Acts 2:47
B. Creating practices from proof-texts only muddies the waters that can cause divisions among believers in Christ… when the practice is bound as the “doctrine of Christ”.