A young man visited with us recently who told me he found us on a webpage, data base which lists non-institutional churches of Christ. According to his research there were two “sound” congregations in Clarksville and he assembled with us because North Second Street was one of those two. I was encouraged to hear a person under thirty years of age be able to articulate some understanding of what it means to be a New Testament church. May all of our young people understand the importance of worshipping and working with a group of Christians dedicated to making every effort to, “get it right.”
We use several words to describe this concept. Our friend used the word, “sound.” We understand what it means to say a congregation is: conservative (often expressed as “not liberal”), following the New Testament pattern, not part of a denomination, faithful, or a true church. No matter which term we use, it demonstrates a personal desire to be part of a congregation dedicated to, “getting it right.”
At this point it is worth asking the question, “Does it even matter?” The simple answer is, “Yes!” To understand this a little better, let’s consider a few things. Whose church it in the first place? Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”-Matthew 16:18. Any group of Christians gathered together is a church which belongs to Christ. Should I follow what Jesus and his apostles instructed, “all the churches”-I Corinthians 7:17, to do? Who should I seek to please with the worship and function of a local church?
One of my favorite verses to teach someone the importance of making a good faith effort to worship and teach like a New Testament church is II Thessalonians 2:15, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.” The command is clear, “stand firm and hold to.” So, is the source of, “the traditions.” We examine what the inspired apostles said and wrote, and do those things.
God asks the children of Israel to compare their worship to God to serving an earthly ruler; “When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil?…Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor?”-Malachi 1:8. As a matter of respect, should I not want to please my God when I worship him in, “the kingdom of his beloved Son.”-Colossians 1:13?
Even Cain, the first murderer, was given simple instructions to please God, “If you do well, will you not be accepted?”-Genesis 4:7. Turn that verse inside out and it would read, “You will not be accepted if you make no effort to do well.” Stand firm on the teaching of Jesus and his apostles. Strive to enter in at the narrow gate. Make every effort to be right before God. Show the love you have for and faith you have in the Father and Creator of all things. To paraphrase I Peter 1:15-16, be right, for God is right.