Does it Make Any Difference?
I. Many think that anything in Religion is all right, that it doesn't make any difference about church membership or religious practices. Hence we ask:
II. DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?
A. What church I am a member of?
1. My Bible teaches there is only one (Matt. 16:18). Christ promised to build but one. Acts 2 reveals this promise was fulfilled.
2. Acts 2:41 reveals that about 3,000 were added to it on this day. Acts 2:47 shows that the Lord adds those to His church as they are saved. Thus the saved are in His church.
3. Paul said there was just one church (Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:1-6; 2:16; Col. 1:18).
4. And that Salvation is in it (Eph. 5:23; Acts 2:47).
B. Whether I am baptized and how?
1. Baptism is essential. Mk.16: 16.
The Master said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved!" Thus Salvation is AFTER Baptism.
2. I Peter 3:21 shows us that baptism is necessary to be saved. Also Acts 2 2:16 gives us an example of how necessary it was that Paul be baptized, and he was a chosen man!
3. How? Baptism is immersion (Romans 6:3-5). Paul called it a burial . . . Notice carefully. "Know ye not, that so many of us as who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are BURIED with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Col. 2:12. "Buried with him in baptism"
Jno. 3:23 says there was MUCH water there. Acts 8:26-39 states there was enough water for two men to get into. Thus a burial or immersion!
4. Baptism is for those who have reached accountable age. It must be preceded by Faith, Repentance and Confession. (Not a confession of our sins, but of our faith in Christ.) (Acts 8:37)
C. How I Worship God?
1. Must worship Him in Spirit and Truth (Jno. 4:23-24).
2. He has told us how to worship:
(1) Sing--Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19.
(2) Prayer--I Cor. 14:15. (3) Teaching--2 Tim. 2:2; 2 Tim. 4:1-2. (4) Lord's supper--Acts 20:7; I Cor. 11. (5) By giving of our means, as we have prospered (nothing said about tithing) (I Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7). These and only these 5 things are authorized for true worship.
D. How I support the church?
I must do so by weekly contribution (I Cor. 16:1-2).
E. What name I wear?
That of Christ (Acts 4:11-12) and there is Salvation in but one name. This was the name given by the Lord to all who were saved and added to the church. Isa. 62:2 . . . It was prophecy fulfilled . . . Acts 11: 26. "They were called Christians first in Antioch." Acts 26:28 . . . "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." 1 Pet. 4:16, "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." If we are a Christian, we shall wear the name of Christ, and not a man s name. If I were to ask you what you are religiously, what would your answer be?
F. Whether I obey a man written creed?
1. God's curse is upon all who do! Gal. 1:8,9 "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED. As we said before, so say I now again. If any MAN preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
2. The New Testament is complete; all instructions for one to be saved and stay saved are therein. It is all-sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Man has no authority to change it in the least.
After studying these Scriptures, is your answer still the same? DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE? If you can't find the answers in the New Testament, it will make a difference ... at the Judgment!
Truth Magazine VIII: 3, pp. 21-22 December 1963