3 Ways To Be Added To God’s Church

3 Ways To Be Added To God’s Church

In this study we will find that there are three ways someone can join God’s church, and so the same standard is applied for the Boston International Christian Church. Lets get a running start in the book of Acts. Remember the book of Acts is the only place we find people being converted as “Christians” and is a book written as a directive, compared to the letters being correctives.

Acts 1:4,8

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

As Jesus was crucified, buried and then resurrected he then preach about the Kingdom of God for 40 days. Jesus continued to preach the word until the day he ascended into heaven. On this day his disciples total a number of only 120 (Acts 1:15). Finally the day of Pentecost comes and the disciples receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter then stands up and preaches the word to over 3,000 Jews from all over the world. We pick up in the end of his sermon in Acts 2:36-41:

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brothers what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call. With many other words he warned them: and pleaded with them, ‘save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

Baptism

We understand this day three thousand was added to the 120 through being baptized. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 says that we are brought into the one body through baptism. In order for someone to join the Kingdom of God, the Body of Christ, or the Church they would need to be baptized as one who has been made into a “disciple of Jesus” (Matthew 28:18-20).  This is one way to be added to the church universal (the one church that is outside of our control, but is the one body that God sees when he looks down from heaven) and also to the visible church (this we do have control over and should strive to be built on Jesus’s standards and the rest of Gods word as a foundation).  This is one of three ways someone would be added to God’s Church or the Boston International Christian Church.

Place Membership

Philemon 1:10,15-17

“I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me…Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good- no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.”

Luke & Jessica Bergeron Place Membership!

Paul is telling the leader of this house church to accept Onesimus as a brother. Since Onesimus has already entered the Kingdom of God he wouldn’t need to be baptized again (Ephesians 4:4-6). But in order for him to join the local congregation, there needed to be a place membership. Place membership is when one brother or sister travels from one congregation to another congregation in another city or town. In Revelation 2 the church in Ephesus is commended for testing those who claim to be apostles (Revelation 2:2). So for someone to Place membership there still needs to be a “test” to make sure they are truly a “sold out disciple” and aren’t trying to run or “hide-out” spiritually in another congregation.

 

Restoration

The third way for someone to join is by being restored both to God and to Christ’s physical body, the church. There are two types of “falling away” we find in the Bible that can take place in our day and both would need to be restored.  We find both in the parable of the Prodigal Son, or the Lost Son.

Luke 15:11-32

“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son go together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ ‘My son’, the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Sal DiFusco getting Restored!

We can clearly see the younger son leaving God in total rebellion. By him wanting to get his inheritance of the estate (which happens once your predecessors have passed away) he is basically telling his father “I wish you were already dead!”  Once the son is no longer in his father’s house, the world humbles him. As he goes through one of the toughest times of his life, he then understands what true humility and gratitude really is and “comes to his senses”.  This type of falling away is obvious by every one. When someone deliberately disobeys God’s word and turns back to the world for comfort, back to their old habits, and back to their old sins. Though the son “came to his senses” in a distant country, he doesn’t get “restored” to his father until he is embraced by his father at his father’s house. When someone gets restored we need to have the same attitude as that of the father: we run to them, throw our arms around them, give them the best of everything, and have an incredible celebration, because they were lost (again) and are now found.

The Older brother is the example of the other way someone could “fall away” and need to be restored. He’s in the field, working hard (slaving away) and not disobeying any of the father’s orders. Yet his true heart is exposed when his brother gets restored. Revelation 2:1-5 rings loud and true:

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:”

This is a letter written to the “Angel” of an entire church. The same Greek word used for angel is also used to describe John the Baptist and can be translated as messenger. Many scholars believe this is either written to the “guardian angel” of the entire church, or to the evangelist “messenger” of the church. I agree with the latter, considering that if you lead you will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). And each leader will have to give an account to God not only for their own life but also for how they lead the people in their ministry (Hebrews 13:17). As we remember Jesus’s words in Matthew 26:40 “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.”  All the men were sleeping, yet Jesus held the leader to account, implying he let them fall asleep. Exodus 32:25 “Aaron had let them get out of control” God has always held his leaders to account for his people.

It later reads: “These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. (Sounds like a cranking church at this point!) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

The issue wasn’t that they weren’t “living as disciples” the issue was the heart! In their hearts it was no longer a joy to serve in God’s house, but had become a burden, a grind, slavery. The older brother had fallen away even while “physically” being in the Father’s house. In fact Jesus says here they had “forsaken” their first love, not “lost” their first love. They have allowed other things to reign in their heart before God. This is a fall away that is still going through the actions of living like a disciple, but their heart is not in it, just like the older brother.

In both cases, each person would need to be “restored” to God, and to Christ’s body, the church. In order for them to do this, they both need to “come to their senses” and “remember the height from which they have fallen” in order to be truly grateful and excited to be able to be with God and in God’s household, the church (Ephesians 2:19). At this time they would need to repent, and re-devote their whole heart to God and God’s word. This would then be done before the congregation and prayerfully a celebration would follow shortly after! In regards to joining a local congregation each one should seek understanding on where they are at: whether it be a Baptism, Place Membership, or Restoration they all bring glory to God!

Love,

Coltin L Rohn