Many times, when speaking to someone about their spiritual condition, they will say something like, “Why should I belong to the church?” All too often, people have the mistaken idea that they can refuse to become members of the Lord’s church, and still inherit eternal life. However, this is simply not true. In this article, which will carry over into next weeks’ bulletin, I want us to consider why we should belong to the church.

BECAUSE CHIRST BUILT IT – It is common for people to associate themselves with various organizations simply because of those who organized them. Little concern is given to any other matter. Since the New Testament teaches that the church was built by Christ, we should want to belong to it. Consider Jesus’ words as found in Matthew 16:18, “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.”

BECAUSE CHIRST GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT – Notice what the Apostle Paul had to say concerning this, as seen in Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” As we seek to become Christians, we will love that which the Lord loves. It is clear that Jesus loved the church enough to die for it. We, therefore, should love Him enough to belong to the church. The true follower of the Master will give himself for the same things that the Lord gave Himself for.

BECAUSE IT IS SUBJECT UNTO CHRIST – The Apostle Paul, also, had something to say about this matter in Ephesians 5:24, “Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Since Christ is King (1 Timothy 6:15), we who seek to follow Him should be found abiding and working in His kingdom. If we really love the Lord, it seems logical that we would want to be found with those who love Him. We must realize that our influence is either for Him or against Him, as seen in His words found in Luke 11:23, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”

BECAUSE CHIRST PURCHASED THE CHURCH WITH HIS OWN BLOOD – From the words found in Acts 20:28, we easily see that the church has been purchased by the Lord’s shed blood, “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.” Because of this, we should have a profound desire to be a part of the church which Christ was willing to give His life for.

BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS CHRIST’S BODY – There is little doubt concerning this fact when we consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:30, “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Since the church is the body, and Christ is the head of the body, we should desire to be a part of this one body (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 4:4). Jesus taught a very important lesson along these lines in John 15:5, 6, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

BECAUSE CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH – Consider the words of the Apostle Paul found in Ephesians1:22, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” It seems that reason would suggest that one who claims to be a close follower of Jesus would want to be a member of that which Christ is the head of. We should belong to the church because Jesus is the head of but one body, the church, “Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:23). Because of this, we need to turn to the New Testament Scriptures to seek out that one body and become members of it, as God would have us to do.

BECAUSE CHRIST CHERISHES IT – Once again, note the words of the Apostle Paul concerning this fact, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” (Ephesians 5:29). By these words, we realize that the Lord will cherish us if we are a part of the church that He cherishes. However, we will miss all the blessings of Jesus if we are not in the church, because it is therein that “all spiritual blessings” are found (Ephesians 1:3). If we are “Christ like,” we will cherish the church that He cherishes. We should, also, understand that as Jesus cherishes His church, he does not cherish those, which have been started by men. Note Jesus’ words as found in Matthew 15:13, 14, “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” This one truth is reason enough that we should belong to the church of the New Testament.

BECAUSE THE LORD HAS GIVEN A PLAN SO THAT WE MIGHT BECOME MEMBERS OF HIS CHURCH – Found within the pages of the New Testament are those things necessary to be done in order to become members of the church of the New Testament. Consider the following passages, Romans 10:17; Acts 17:30; Romans 10:10 and Acts 2:38. Having seen the “plan of salvation” as found within these passages, consider the words of Acts 2:47, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” It is foolish for us to believe that Christ set forth this plan, and then allows people to become “Christians” by some other way. A survey of the Book of Acts will help us see why we should belong to the New Testament church. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we see Jesus or the Apostles, encouraging people to belong to any other “church” but His.

BECAUSE IN THE CHURCH YOU WILL HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD – The early church set the example of what fellowship in the church should be as seen in Acts 2:42, ” And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 2:19, points out that we are no longer strangers, but we are of the household of God. The true Christian family loves to be with other Christians. It does not make sense to say we are planning on heaven, but then have nothing to do with one another here on earth. In study of the life of Jesus, we see that He always was found with His followers when He desired fellowship. It is evident that if we do not enjoy fellowship of our brethren in Christ while on earth, we will not do so in heaven. If we enjoy being with those of the world more than we do with those who have been called out of the world, then we could not possibly enjoy heaven.

BECAUSE IT IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST – Consider the words of the Apostle Paul as found in Romans 7:4, “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” In Revelation 22:17, we note that both the Spirit and the Bride beckon men unto the Lord, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
Some day Jesus is coming again to receive unto Himself His bride, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

These reasons should cause us to consider the matter of why we should belong to the church.