Question #239

My brother will not attend my church!

MY BROTHER IS A MEMBER OF A "CHURCH OF CHRIST". WE HAVE ATTENDED HIS CHURCH IN OKLAHOMA, BUT WHEN HE AND HIS FAMILY COME TO FLORIDA, HE WILL NOT ATTEND MY CHURCH. WE HAVE A DIFFERENT NAME ON THE SIGN OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH - BUT WE WORSHIP GOD - JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT - USE THE SAME BIBLE AND CALL OURSELVES CHILDREN OF GOD - BUT WE ARE PRE-JUDGED AS NON-BELIEVERS. GOD IS EVERYWHERE AND WE ARE JUDGED WITH LITTLE OR NO FACTS TO SUPPORT THE FEELING THAT MY FELLOW BELIEVERS ARE LOST. MY POSITION IS THAT WE ARE ALL CHILDREN OF GOD AND OUR PLACE OF WORSHIP IS SUITABLE FOR ALL BELIEVERS TO WORSHIP IN. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHY MY BROTHER PRE-JUDGES MY FRIENDS AS LOST SOULS KNOWING THAT IF JESUS WERE IN THE FLESH, HE WOULD ALSO BE AMONG HIS FAITHFUL HERE IN FLORIDA. HELP.

The Answer:

You don’t say what you are religiously – just that you are religious. Neither do you delineate what you believe or what the church that you attend teaches. The real issue is not whether your brother accepts your faith. The real issue is whether your faith can be substantiated by scripture. Scripture teaches that it is not enough to be religious. You must do the will of God. Doing the will of God requires more than doing what you think is acceptable. It requires doing what God has commanded in the manner that He commanded, and for the purpose that he commanded. Anything less is the will of man and not God. The scripture clearly teaches that those who do their own will while calling it God’s will and even doing that which they do in the name of Jesus does not result in salvation. Matthew 7:21-27. Saying “Lord, Lord” is not sufficient.

If you are interested in learning the will of God regarding His church it will take substantial reading and study. Begin with the lessons as Class: Lord’s Church on this website. You may also read Class: Questions, Lesson 9, The Lord’s Church. You may find that the church that you urge your brother to accept is not doing the will of God taught in the New Testament. If so, you do not need to change your brother; ye need to change your faith and practice to conform to the teaching of the New Testament. Christ rejected much of the religion of His day because the will of God had been replaced by the will of man and man’s traditions. Having rejected their teaching, he could not and did not fellowship them. To the contrary, he condemned their practice. Again, saying “Lord, Lord” is not sufficient to receive the blessing and approval of the Lord.


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)