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HOW DO I CHOOSE A CHURCH?
The determining factor in joining a Church is not the personality of the preacher, the sociableness of the members, etc., but solely and alone the degree of loyalty to the word and spirit of Christ. "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (John 8, 31-32).
IS THERE SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH?
Since God instituted the Church and committed to the Church His Word and sacraments and the power to forgive and retain sins (John 20, 22-23), it is not possible to be a Christian without being a member of the Church. Those whom the Lord saves He adds to the Church (Acts. 2, 47)
WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION?
The believer's contact with the Church is through a Christian congregation in his community, the local headquarters of the Church. The fellowship of Christians is realized, practiced and put to work by the groups of Christ's people who have banded themselves together for the worship and service of their God. The Christians of Rome, Corinth, etc., to whom the Epistles were written, were members of the Christian congregations in these cities.
WHY DOES A CHRISTIAN JOIN A CONGREGATION?
1. To participate in and provide for services of public worship which the Lord of the Church enjoins. Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father who are in heaven."
2. To be taught and to teach the Word of God
"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it" (Luke 11, 28).
3. To receive and to administer the sacraments which the Lord has committed to Christian congegations. "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2, 42)
4. To edify and be edified through his association with fellow-Christians. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Col. 3, 16)
5. To share our blessings in Christ with all our fellowmen. To spread the Gospel and bear effective witness to Christ in the world requires of Christians that they pray and work together and pool their talents and resources. The members of the Church stand in the same relationship to one another as members of the human body, needing one another, working together with one another under on Head (1 Cor. 12, 4-31)