The Southside church of Christ is made up of Christians who are obeying the commandments of Christ that are found in the New Testament. It is important to understand that the church of Christ is not the name of a denomination. We are simply a congregation of the Lord’s people who desire to serve God and worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24).
Jesus said, “on this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, He is the builder of the church to which we belong. Christ is the Head of the church (Ephesians 1:22). The church is referred to as Christ’s body (Ephesians 1:23). He shed His blood for the church (Acts 20:28). The church is to be subject to Christ (Eph. 5:24). For these reasons we call ourselves by His name.
The church that belongs to Christ began on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Peter let His audience know that they had crucified the Lord and Christ (vv. 23, 36). The men and women wanted to know what they should do. Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (v. 38). Three thousand souls were baptized that day (v. 41). The Lord continued to add to the church daily those who were being saved (v. 47). That church is still in existence and growing today. It is Christ’s church, and the people who make up the Southside church of Christ are a part of His church.
How does one become a member of Christ’s church?
Jesus said, “all authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Because we receive our authority from Jesus Christ, we do what He told us to do in order to become a part of the church.
Before Jesus ascended back into heaven, He told His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” Mark 16:15-16). Therefore, it is necessary for us to have faith in Christ and to be baptized in water in order to be saved.
In order for individuals to believe in the gospel, the disciples had to preach it to everyone. When we hear the gospel of Christ, we develop faith in Him because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the people to “repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Repentance is a change of mind that we have regarding sin. It is when we decide in our hearts that we want to stop living a sinful lifestyle. However, faith and repentance is not enough. We must have a faith which works (James 2:17). Baptism is an act demonstrating our obedience to God. The word “baptism” means “to immerse.” Therefore, baptism involves our bodies being completely immersed in water (Romans 6:4). When we obey this commandment, God forgives us of our sins.
Romans 10:9-10 says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” We must be willing to let others know that we believe in Christ and that we want to serve Him.
From these verses we learn that we must hear the gospel of Christ, believe or have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, confess our faith in Christ, and be baptized for the remission of our sins in order to become a member of Christ’s church. God has promised to save anyone who obeys these commands contained in the gospel of Christ because He doesn’t want any person to perish spiritually (2 Peter 3:9).
What do members of the church of Christ do?
Because Jesus is our authority, we must do what He taught us. The Bible shows us that the church in the New Testament met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Thus, we assemble on that day and perform the acts that the Bible commands. Likewise, we must not add to or take away from what He has commanded. We don’t have the right to decide to perform acts of worship that have not been commanded.
We are taught to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Because the New Testament says nothing about instrumental music, we only use our voices to make music.
We are commanded to partake of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-29; Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We remember the Lord’s death every first day of the week because that is when the N.T. church remembered His death (Acts 20:7).
We are commanded to give of our means (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:7). Every first day of the week, the members of the Lord’s church give money to the Lord’s treasury. This is the only method the Bible authorizes for the church to raise money.
We are expected to pray together when we assemble (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 14:15). We use the opportunity of worship to offer up “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks” (1 Timothy 2:1).
We study God’s word (Acts 2:42; 20:7). Paul preached to the church at Troas on the first day of the week. We also use this opportunity to teach and learn the word of God.
These are all acts of worship that have been commanded by God for Christians to perform. Because we are told not to add to or take away from God’s word (Revelation 22:18-19), we only do what the Bible teaches us to do.