by Michael Gilbert
January 7, 2007
As you can see, we now have a new bulletin format. It is much smaller than the old format, but it will still carry most of my sermon outlines. We hope this format is warmly received by all.
Elizabeth, J.M. and I deeply appreciate the time off during this Christmas season. Spending time with family is important, especially when J.M.’s grandparents (on both sides) don’t get to see him very much.
OUR GOSPEL MEETING
I hope you are as excited about our upcoming Gospel Meeting with Burt Jones as I am – remember, it starts this coming Sunday. As we have advertised, brother Jones will preach the gospel on Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday. Then, we will ‘shift gears’ and he will conduct a singing class for the congregation. I was privileged to attend one of these singing schools while in East TN and it was warmly received by the congregation there, and they seemed to appreciate brother Jones’ instruction. Singing is such an important part of our worship. The Bible says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). Our Savior taught His apostles to sing for Matthew wrote, “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Matt. 26:30). What a joy it is to sing with Christians without the use of instruments! I can see our Lord’s wisdom in forbidding the use of instruments in worship – without instruments, the songs truly come from the heart!
SIGN UP TO FEED THE VISITING PREACHER!
In regard to the visiting preacher, you can sign up to have him in your home for a lunchtime or evening meal. Please use the sheet on the table in the foyer. This is a good opportunity for fellowship, and Elizabeth and I would be glad to visit and enjoy a meal with you as well during this time.
Now, let us turn our attention to things of a Biblical nature.
IS SALVATION IN THE CHURCH?
The word ‘church’ in the question above refers to the divine institution mentioned by Jesus when He said, “…upon this rock, I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Is salvation in that church which Jesus promised to build? What does the Bible say?
In the first place, has God promised salvation outside of the church? Many answer yes. Slogans such as “get saved, then join the church of your choice” or “Jesus saves, but the church doesn’t” make salvation and church membership two separate things. But, do these slogans have any basis in the Bible? NO! Paul told the elders at Ephesus “to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Again, Paul wrote that Jesus is “the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23) and that He “gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). How then can anyone separate salvation and church membership?
Next, if salvation is not in the church, then salvation is not in the body of Christ, the kingdom of Christ, or the house/family of God. How can this be? It is simple: the body, the kingdom, and the house/family of God are all different names for the church (church/body – Eph. 1:22-23; church/kingdom – Mt. 16:18-19 & Col. 1:13; and church/house – 1 Tim. 3:15). For anyone to claim that salvation is not in the church, they would also have to claim that one does not have to be in the body of Christ, the kingdom of Christ, or the house of God to be saved. Surely no one would make such an assertion! “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47)