ROBERT >> The church is all about relationships, connecting with one another. I know there are some who don’t have much use for the church for whatever reason. Maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the church. We certainly are not perfect. And sometimes we don’t act like Christians. We hurt each other. Some Christians just don’t think they need the church and can do better on their own, and so they have very little if anything to do with it. Others see the church as something you do on Sunday morning, and that’s about as far as it goes for them. But let’s see if we can move past some of this and see what God tells us about connecting with one another in the church.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> The first thing that I want to emphasize today about the church is this: That Christ loved the church. In fact, according to Ephesians 5:25, he loved the church so much that he gave himself for it. He loved the church more than himself. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. According to Acts 20:28, it cost him his own blood.

How valuable is the church to you?

What does the church mean to you?

Do you love the church like Christ loved the church?

Are you willing to give yourself for the church, too?

Surely it disappoints Jesus if we do not love the church like he does. And realizing what Christ has done for the church, can anyone who loves Christ just turn away from his church or show so little interest in it or neglect it so?

No. We love the church. We thank God for the church. We remember the sacrifice that was made for the church. Jesus Christ loved the church. But there’s something else that I especially want to emphasize this morning, and that’s how we are all a part of it. I mean, if you’re a Christian, you are a part of the church, because the church is made of Christians. If you look over in Acts the 2nd chapter, you’ll read about the beginning of the church. It was here that the gospel of Jesus Christ was preached for the very first time in its fulfillment, Christ having died and buried, and then raised again the third day. Peter proclaimed that good news, how that because of Jesus Christ we could all be forgiven of our sins.

The people wanted to know what to do. And on that day they were told to “repent and to be baptized everyone in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” Acts 2:38.

If they believed on Jesus as the Christ the Son of God, their Lord, their deliverer, their savior, then they in trusting faith must make that decision to turn away from sin, to live for God, and then give themselves to him in the waters of baptism so they might be forgiven, so they might be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, raised up to walk in newness of life, as Paul explains in Romans chapter 6. If you’re a Christian, you’re a part of the church. Because you trusted in Christ, because you obeyed the gospel, God added you to his church.

Here’s what it says in Acts 2:41. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

The church began with three thousand souls who had been obedient to the gospel. That’s what the church is.

But as I continue reading on in Acts 2:47, we see that church was “praising God and having favor with all the people; and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

As people continued to hear that gospel and respond just as the others had responded in repentance and baptism, the Lord added them to his church. Every saved soul God adds to his church. That’s what the church is. You see, the same act of faith that puts us into Christ, into union with Christ, into fellowship with Jesus puts us into the church, the church that belongs to Christ, his body, the church. You see, we were baptized into Christ.

Let me read this to you in Galatians 3:26-27. The apostle Paul was reminding the church there how they became a part of the church by being baptized into Jesus Christ. Here he says in verse 26,” For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

You see, the Galatians had responded to the gospel in obedience to Christ. Out of faith they gave themselves to the Lord in baptism. They became united with Jesus Christ. But at the same time they are put into his church.

Read with me in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, where the apostle Paul is reminding the church at Corinth about their baptism. This is what he says: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

Yes, when we were baptized into Christ, we were baptized into the one body, his church. If you have been united with Christ, then you have been united with his church. You cannot separate Christ, the head, from his body, the church. Look what the apostle Paul says about the relationship between Jesus and his church.

In Ephesians chapter 1 beginning in verse 22 it tells us how “God put all things under Christ’s feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

So you see, Jesus Christ is the head of the church, just as our head is the head of our body. And you can’t separate the two. And yet some want to say yes to Christ and no to the church. But the church is the body of Christ. He is the head of that body. No Christian can rightly say I’m not a part of the church. We who are Christians are all a part of it. We need to love it like Jesus loved it.

Now there’s something else that we really need to know as those who belong to Christ’s church. Every member is important. You’re important. If you’re a part of Christ’s church, you love that church and you recognize that God has a special place for you in his body, the church. Somebody says, well, maybe I’m important; but the church doesn’t really need me. I’m not necessary. I’m not really that important to the church. And I know sometimes that’s how we feel, and I know sometimes that may be the way some feel about you or about me. But that is not what God says about it. Let’s take a closer look at 1 Corinthians chapter 12, and I want you to notice how the apostle Paul helps us to see the importance of every member of the church.

In chapter 12 beginning at verse 14 he says, “For in fact the body is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, Because I’m not an eye, I’m not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?”

It’s kind of comical, isn’t it, how Paul drives this point home? Imagine if I was not a body, I was just a big eye up here. Imagine if I was not a body, I was just a big ear up here. Paul says the body’s not just one member. He said it’s not just one member of the body that’s important. It’s every member. The foot can’t say to the hand, Hey, I don’t need you. Just because they have different functions and are in a different place doesn’t mean that one is more important than the other, that one is not important and the other one is. The body’s not one member. It’s many members. And every member is important.

But let me also remind you of this. Not only does Jesus love the church, not only are all Christians a part of the church, and not only is every member important in the church, but we need every member. That’s right. We need every member because we need each other. Some of us may not want to admit it, but we all need each other in the church. I need you. You need me. That’s the way God put the church together. Let’s read on a little further here in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. And I’m going to pick it up in verse 18 where the Bible says, “But now God has set the members each one of them in the body just as He pleased.”

Think about that, that God put you in his church,that God put you in the place that he wants you to be, that God has a place for you. In verse 19 he says, “If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you. Nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. No, much rather those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.”

You see what he’s saying here? He’s saying that every one of us is needed, and we need each other in the body of Christ, the church. Just like the human body needs all of it members to function effectively and properly, so in the church.

And did you notice the words here right here in verse 23,” And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable,”

and in verse 22, “Those members of the body which seem to be weaker.”

They seem to be, we think them to be weaker, we think them to be less honorable. When we look at certain members of the church, we might get the idea we don’t need them, they’re not that important. But these are the very ones Paul says are necessary, verse 22.

He says, On these, verse 23,” we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need.”

But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. Or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. That’s why we’re to have the same care for every member, because we need every member. You see, when one hurts, it hurts us all.

Have you ever stubbed your toe real bad?

You know what happens, don’t you? You grab that toe, your whole body goes into shock, and you start jumping around, and you’re groaning and you’re moaning and your eyes begin to tear up. It hurts so badly. In the same way, when one member of the church is in trouble, it affects the whole church. And the same thing is true when one member is blessed by God, the whole church celebrates together. That’s the amazing body of Christ, the church of Christ that God put together, that God puts all of the saved in. Scattered throughout the New Testament there are commandments about how we relate to each other, how we connect with one another in the church. And to be honest, I don’t do as well as I should concerning some of these things, and I think some of you could say that same thing with me today. And so we need to look and explore some of these passages.

They all have one thing in common, one phrase in common: One another. They are called the one another passages.

Maybe you remember some of them. We are told to greet one another, Romans 16:16. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to, Encourage one another; or Galatians 6:2, to, Bear one another’s burdens. Romans 15:7 says, Receive one another. Colossians 3:16, Admonish one another. James 5:16, Confess to one another and pray for one another. John 13:34, Love one another. We can’t do these things and we can’t receive these things without the church. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are dozens of one another passages in the Bible.

Does the church always do these things? I think that’s the wrong question. No, you should be asking, I should be asking, Do I do these things? If you’re a Christian, if you’re a part of the church, yes, the church is going to let you down, and you may be mistreated. And yes, there are hypocrites among us.

No one is perfect. We all fail one another. But Christ is always faithful.

Jesus Christ will never let you down. He’ll never fail you. He’ll always do what is right. And I’m not in the church and I’m not assembling with God’s people and working with God’s people and being a part of that church because the church is perfect, no, but because Christ is perfect. And this is where he wants me to be. This is where he wants you and me to be, in his church worshiping, working, serving together in the body of Christ.

All of us who are Christians, we do what we do first and foremost for the Lord. In spite of what the church might or might not do, be faithful to Christ, whoever you are. Remember that we all need the church. It’s in the church that we can find healing and hope, because that’s where Christ is. It’s through the church that God reaches out with his love and with his forgiveness. That’s what makes this television program possible, because of the church. In all of the many ways in which God reaches out into this world, he’s reaching out through his body, the church.

Folks, we cannot make it to heaven without the church. God gave us the church because we need one another. It’s a part of what he has provided that we might get home to heaven to be with him. Let us never underestimate the church and our place in that church and the importance of God’s church. Remember this morning that Jesus Christ loved the church and he gave himself up for it.

Remember today that if you’re a Christian, you’re a part of that church. You were added to it when you became obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You remember that every member is important, that you are important to the body of Christ, and that yes, we need each other in the church. I hope that you’re not one of those who are saying yes to Jesus but no to the church, because to turn your back on the church is to turn your back on Jesus Christ who loved it and gave himself for it.

Remember that Jesus Christ purchased the church with his own blood. That’s how much it cost him. That’s how much it means to him. And so I beg and plead with you today that you would become a Christian, put your trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, recognizing that he paid the price for your sins, that he did for you what you could not do for yourself. And trusting him, turn from your sins.

Make that decision in your heart to say no to sin, to live no longer in it, to dedicate and commit your life to Jesus Christ, to live for him, to obey him in everything. That’s what repentance is. The Bible teaches us if we truly believe in Jesus, then we will repent of our sins.

“Unless we repent, we’ll all perish,” Luke 13:3.

And do as the Bible says, confess with your mouth Jesus as the Christ, the son of God. Acknowledge before others that Jesus is the savior who came to die for your sins, that he is the Lord of your life. With that confession comes salvation.

“With the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” Romans 10:10.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33, “if we confess him before men, he’ll confess us before the Father who is in heaven; but if we deny him, he’ll deny us before the Father who is in heaven.”

So trust in Christ, confess your faith in him, and having turned from your sins in genuine repentance, give yourself to him in the waters of baptism. Yes, this is how we come into Christ. This is how we come into his church.

As Ananias the preacher told Saul of Tarsus after he believed on the Lord and had repented of his sins, he was told to get up, to arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

It’s in baptism that we call upon him. Having confessed our faith in him, now trusting in him, now committed to live for him, we call upon him to cleanse us, to forgive us, to save us, to make us a new creation in Jesus Christ, and we’re raised up out of the waters of baptism to walk in newness of life, Romans 6:3-4.

Yes, you can have that new beginning today if you’ll give yourself to Jesus Christ, and you can be a part of his church. And having done that, and I know many of you who are listening today have, remember to keep faith. Continue to trust Jesus. Continue to keep his commandments, to be dedicated to live to him. And sincerely striving to being a Christian, being honest about your sin, he will save you, he will take you home someday.

We have this wonderful promise in 1 John 1:7: “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our sins. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Yes, that’s the assurance that we have in Jesus Christ. And we want you to have that assurance today. So please, whoever you are, whatever you’ve done, wherever you’re at, will you let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today?

SINGING>> All hail the power of Jesus’ name, let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all.
Oh, that with yonder sacred throng we at his feet may fall.
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting song and crown him Lord of all.

SINGING>> In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.
When your enemy presses in hard, do not fear.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Take courage, my friend, your redemption is here.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
And we sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.
We sing glory, honor, power and strength to the Lord.

ROBERT >> Thank you for watching our program today. We’ve but one goal, to help us all towards heaven. This is the mission God has given us, to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, baptizing and teaching them, Matthew 28:19. We know that the gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation, Romans 1:16.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.
Yes, “there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.

And therefore, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “We seek to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Unlike so many other religious television programs, we’ll never ask you for any money. Everything’s provided by churches of Christ and individual Christians who support us so we can bring it to you absolutely free of charge.

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If you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, whatever you need, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas, 76053.

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Again, remember that you’ll never have to pay for any of our materials and services. We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program, and let me also encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of the program. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven, so let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come, from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching, he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth, yea for evermore.

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