How does one become members of the New Testament Church


The Church is a divine institution and not a human production for Jesus declared, “I will build my church,” (Matt. 16:18).  Being of divine origin, one should not expect that the Lord has left it up to man to devise human methods of becoming members of this spiritual institution – his Body, the church.  To the contrary, we would expect that the Lord Himself would reveal His own terms for admission into this Body.
We learn very early on in reading the history of the church in the book of Acts that one cannot become a member of the church merely by joining it –  by making application or by the vote of the people as with social orders and by some religious institutions.  Acts 2:47 (KJV) ⁴⁷Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”   The Lord adds those who are being saved to His Body.  Neither can one be saved without being a member of Christ’s body, His church.
You see the law of pardon is also the law of admission into the church.  One might ask, “Did Jesus come to build his church, or to save men from sin?  The answer is a resounding “Yes!” “Both!”  Salvation is from sin: Matt. 1:21 “. . . and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  That’s what Jesus came to do, Luke 19:10, “to seek and to save the lost.”  Some protest: “Yes, but the church doesn’t save anyone!  How could the answer be ‘Both’?”
It’s true that the church does not save one.  Jesus saves.  However, the church is the saved for the Lord adds all those whom He saves to the church (Acts 2:47).  God takes lost ones “out of darkness and translates them into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).  What it takes to make one a member of the church, is the same thing that it takes to change him into a saved person.
One is saved or made free from sin when he obeys “that form of doctrine”  (Rom. 6:17-18).  The form of doctrine that frees from sins is the law of pardon and also admission into the church.  That’s who the Lord adds to His church – those who were being saved.
Jesus announced that a New Birth was necessary to enter His spiritual Kingdom.  John 3:3-5 (KJV) ³Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ⁴Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? ⁵Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ⁶That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
There are some deductions we can make from this statement.  One must be born anew before entering this spiritual Kingdom. This new birth is not a physical birth, but a spiritual one.  Just as we become members of our human family by fleshly birth, so we become members of the family of God by experiencing a new, spiritual birth.  This spiritual birth involves two elements: Water and Spirit.  Peter, as guided by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38 as well as in his first epistle links the water to the salvation.   1 Peter 3:21  ²¹The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” This is not a fleshly washing of dirt, but a spiritual washing that takes place at baptism which cleanses our consciences by the blood of the lamb – Rev. 1:5.

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