Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 19 Number 7 July 2017
Page 6

One Must Be in the
Church to Be Saved and
to Finally Enter Heaven

Sunny David

The Bible teaches that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). To be saved from sin, one must be taught, believe in Him and be baptized (Mark 16:16). Those whom He saves, He adds to His church (Acts 2:47), which is His kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19). At His coming again on the last day, Jesus will receive His kingdom unto Himself, and He will deliver the kingdom, the church, to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24). “And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). One must, therefore, be in the church to be saved and to finally enter heaven. However, as much as it is required to believe and obey the Gospel to be saved and to become a member of the church of Christ, it is also equally important to remain saved in Him until the end. Christ taught, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

People become followers of Jesus Christ after hearing His Gospel, believing in Him, repenting of their sins, confessing Him to be the Son of God and being baptized for the remission of their sins. Christ, according to His promise, adds them to the church, and they try to be faithful to Him for some time by attending worship services of the church every Sunday and by staying away from all sinful things and bad habits in which they formerly engaged. However, due to the lure of sin and peer pressure, many again fall back into worldliness. The Bible describes such Christians.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the latter end is worse for them then the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the Way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Sin, if persisted in, is a process that progressively hardens souls. A Christian who goes back to his former life of sin becomes more and more insensitive to the voice of God as well as to his own conscience. It becomes apparent that he finds himself in a state that is worse than the state in which he was prior to becoming a Christian. He or she had previously been in a condition where they were more easily reached with the Gospel than after turning away from that which they had espoused. Also, the former state of such is better insofar as the reputation of the church is concerned, for those who have never known and obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ do not bring reproach upon His church as do those who fall away and go back into the world.

To remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ, the followers of Christ are taught, “Do not love the world or the things of the world.” Then, they are warned, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

What is the will of God the Father for His people? In his epistle to Christians, the apostle Peter wrote:

As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the pollution that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-11)

Christians are citizens of the kingdom of Christ on earth; they enter Christ’s kingdom at the same time when the Lord adds them to His church at their conversion (Colossians 1:13). Yet, the entrance into the eternal kingdom of Heaven into which they will enter at the time of the Second Coming of Christ will depend on if they have been faithful to the Lord until their death on earth [or if yet living, until the return of Jesus]. This is exactly what Christ taught in His Parable of the Tares found in the thirteenth chapter of Mathew's account of the Gospel. He wrote:

Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13: 40-43)

Remember, Jesus said that on the Day of Judgment and reward, His angels will gather “out of His kingdom” all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness! What is the kingdom? It is the church. [It is the body of the saved, for which Jesus Christ will return and retrieve.]

“Jesus in the Midst!”

Mark N. Posey

Mark N. PoseyShadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were accompanied by a fourth in the fiery furnace—one “like the Son of God.” Many believe the fourth was Jesus. If so, He was in the midst of the fiery furnace with them; He was literally with them in the worst of their trial. Jesus has promised us the same (i.e., in our midst; cf., Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).

The word “midst” comes from the word “middle.” It is vital that Jesus is in the midst of our lives, not on the outside or on the left or on the right, but the focus, center or nucleus. What can we learn, and how can we be comforted when “Jesus is in the midst”?

Jesus was in the midst of the doctors and lawyers (Luke 2:46)—hearing. Jesus was 12 years old, and all were astonished at His understanding and His answers.

Jesus was in the midst of the disciples (John 20:19-29)—comforting. The resurrected Savior appeared to the disciples, confirming His promises and His teaching.

Jesus was in the midst of the assembly (Matthew 18:20)—gathering. Jesus’ presence provides confidence and confirms accountability.

Jesus was in the midst of the churches (Revelation 1:13)—judging. If we want to be a Christ-centered church, we must live Christ-centered lives.

Jesus was in the midst of the church (Hebrews 2:12)—singing. The Lord deserves all the praise, honor and glory we can give. Consider how much the Lord has done for us!

Jesus was in the midst of those crucified (John 19:18)—suffering. Jesus died a death He did not deserve; He paid a price He did not owe. Jesus paid it all.

Jesus is in the midst of the throne (Revelation 5:6)—reigning. He is the Head of the church (Ephesians 5:23), King of the Kingdom (John 18:36) and Lord of all (Philippians 2:11).

In conclusion, “Jesus in the midst” will affect every area of one’s life. Jesus will make you accountable, dutiful, hopeful and responsible. Is Jesus in the midst of your life?

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