The Church in the Bible
It is possible for people living today to be members of the church that you read about in your New Testament. The Austinville Church of Christ is not just another denomination among denominations but is Christ's church in Decatur, Alabama. We accept as our mission the responsibility to glorify God in His one church. One way that we give honor to our Creator is to carry out the great commission. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20) The church of Christ is made up of believers who put Christ on by baptism. (Galatians 3:26-27)
The Austinville Church of Christ is a body of people that respects the patterns found in the New Testament. (Acts 2) The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. It is our purpose to glorify God; therefore we identify ourselves simply by the name Christian. Concerning salvation our emphasis is a Bible emphasis. People are taught to (a) Hear the Gospel (Romans 10:17), (b) Believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Acts 8:37), (c) Repent of sins (Acts 17:30), (d) Confess faith in Jesus as the Christ (Romans 10:10), (e) Be baptized into Christ, by immersion in water, for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), and (f) Live a righteous life before God and man until death. (1 Peter 1:14-16) We invite all believers in Jesus to join us in uniting on the New Testament way of salvation and Christian living. To accomplish this goal we must understand about the New Testament church.
1. The prophets spoke for God and predicted the church. "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Isaiah 2:1-4)
2. John said during his life that the church was near at hand. "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:1-2)
3. Jesus promised to build the church. He never broke a promise. "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:16-18)
4. Jesus purchased the church by shedding His blood for it. But, if he shed his blood by which men are saved and purchased the church, then the church and salvation are closer related than men think. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)
5. The 3,000 who were saved on the Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection were added to the church. When they were saved that made them members of the church for which Jesus shed His blood. It is by that blood that men are saved. (Acts 2:38-47)
6. Jesus is head of the same church that He built and only the church that He built and He is Lord over it. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:22-23)
Our goal is simply to be Christ's church. The church of Christ is not a denomination; it is the kingdom of God. We are pleading for primitive Christianity just as it was before it was polluted by men. To begin your Christian life hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of your sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized into Christ. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) After being washed in the blood of Jesus at baptism be among those that are blessed by serving as a faithful member of the church of Christ.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA