How Does One Enter the Church

The church is the family of God on earth, and is entered by experiencing the new birth (John 3:3-5). This occurs by:

I. Hearing the gospel of Christ preached or taught.  As in any birth there is conception. The word of God is the seed of the Kingdom (Luke 8:11). The word being preached and received is described as “born of the Holy Spirit” (John 3:5), or as being “regenerated” by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). It is by the influence of the Spirit’s instructions that one is lead to be born again (John 6:45; Matthew 28:19; Romans 10:17).

II.  Faith in Christ.  Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...” Mark 16:16).
Once the word is received into the heart one is then “begotten” of God, but not “born” of God.

III. Repentance of sins is necessary.  It was Jesus who said, “I tell you, nay; but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). It is faith that changes the heart, but in repentance one turns about-face and reformation of life is brought about.

IV. Verbal confession of faith in Jesus Christ is required.  One must confess with his mouth what he believes in his heart – namely, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:38; Acts 8:37).

V. One must be baptized (i. e., immersed) in water in obedience to God’s command.  In this act, one is brought forth, born of water, born into the family of God (John 3:5). He is then a child of God, a member of the family of God, the church. He is “baptized” into one body” (I Corinthians 12:13). He is, by completing this final act in a series of five requirements, now said to be regenerated, or born again.
  – Thomas C. Hickey

How Am I Supposed to Know What is Right? There is so Much Confusion and Division in the Religious World...
   I can readily sympathize with anyone who suffers this problem! There is confusion and division in the religious world. But God did not so intend for it to be!
Let’s see just how simple it really could be...
Jesus taught, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Jesus prayed for his apostles in John 17:17, asking among other things that God might “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Speaking by the Holy Spirit of God, the inspired apostle Paul wrote of the dispensation of God’s grace given him for the benefit of mankind “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words; Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-4).
Now, let us summarize the above thoughts:
1. We can know the truth, and it can make us free.
2. The word of God is the truth (that makes us free).
3. Paul, among other apostles, was chosen to reveal the mystery of Christ to us. He wrote about it. When we read what he wrote, we can understand what he knew and understood.
Now, what’s so hard about that?

(Oh, by the way, the mystery of Christ about which Paul wrote was the revelation that God planned to save both Jews and Gentiles in one common spiritual body.)
Friend, have you ever tried just sitting down and reading the Bible for yourself? Now look, it is a big book. Why not start with the New Testament, beginning with the Gospel of Matthew, reading the entire New Testament through. You can do it in a matter of hours. Try a few hours each evening for a few evenings. Don’t be discouraged that you don’t understand everything you read at first.
All of the Bible was edited by the Holy Spirit of God, and it is all inter-related. As you continue to read, you will find that one part explains another.
As you read, if you read carefully, you will come to realize that a lot of people have not told the truth about what the Bible teaches.
Can you trust your heart and mind to believe what God has said after you have realized that some men have denied and/or twisted the statements in the word of God? Remember, Paul said, “when ye read, ye may understand...” (Ephesians 3:4). Now, let’s put our new found abilities to the test: Can you find I Corinthians 1:10-13 in your Bible? Please read over the passage carefully. Now, carefully reading your Bible, see if you can agree with me that Paul taught the following:
1. The brethren should have all been teaching the same things.
2. It had been reported that they weren’t (by the house of Chloe).
3. They were calling themselves by different religious names: some were “Paulites.” Others were “Apollosites.” Still others were “Cephasites.:” And, finally, some were actually calling themselves “Christians.” In other words, they were divided over religious names! (Does this happen today?).
4. Paul asked three rhetorical questions to show how incorrect 3 out of 4 were in this matter.
“Is Christ divided?”
“Was Paul crucified for you?”
“Were ye baptized in the name of Paul?”
Now, in John 17:20-23, Jesus prayed for unity among his believers. In the face of this, did Jesus want his people to be divided? Can you say then that religious division is good, or that it pleases God?
Secondly, in John 3:16, Jesus said that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but might have everlasting life. In view of this, wasn’t Jesus the only one who was crucified for us?
Thirdly, in Acts 2:38, the apostle Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins....” Now, in whose name are we to be baptized?
Now, given the three rhetorical questions which Paul asks here, can you agree with me that Paul is arguing that we should only be wearing the name of Christ? (That is, we should only be calling ourselves “Christians”. Please compare Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28 and I Peter 4:16).
Now, given what the Holy Spirit says in the New Testament on this subject, and looking around you in the religious world, can you see a problem with the myriad of religious names which people wear in the religious world?
What name do you think we ought to wear in religion?
Are you wearing that name, and only that name?
Why not?
(The ball is in your court.)
  – Thomas C. Hickey

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