The Church We Are
by Dr. David L. Lane
With church buildings located every few blocks and with nearly 1,200 different religious groups recognized by the IRS as tax exempt, one can easily live in a community and not know much about any particular religious movement called a church. This article however, is intended to introduce you a fellowship of believers known as congregations of the Churches of Christ (Romans 16:16)
The Church of Christ is a distinct fellowship of believers who are bound together by their common relationship to Jesus. Our central concern is to follow our Master in every detail of life and faith. We believe the heart of God is most vividly portrayed in the sacrifice of his son on the cross. The death of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection form the fundamental doctrines of our faith. Through his death we obtain forgiveness of our sins, and through his resurrection we receive the promise of eternal life.
The Churches of Christ seek to call men and women back to the simplicity of doctrine taught in the New Testament by Christ and His Apostles. In the first century everybody who was saved was saved the same way by being born again (John 3:5 ) which is sometimes referenced in scripture as obeying the Gospel (2 Thessalonians. 1:8). The Gospel involves facts that are to be believed. The fact that Christ died, was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
The gospel also include commands to be obeyed. Those commands are to believe the facts of the gospel, repent of one's sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ to be Savior (Romans 10:9,10) and Lord and be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Mk 16:15,16). . The gospel finally involves blessings to be enjoyed such as eternal life, forgiveness of sins and access to the father in prayer.
Responding to God's grace by being born again, and obeying the Gospel makes one a Christian; nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. Every time, not every now and then. Every time, not nearly every time. Every time God saves a man, God adds him to the church (Acts 2:47.)
Religious leaders may tell you to join the church of your choice, however, you should seek to be added to the church of Christ's choice. The Scripture is clear:
• BUILT by Christ, Matt. 16:18
• BOUGHT by Christ, Acts 20:28
• BLESSED by Christ, Eph. 5:26, 27
• BACKED by Christ, Col.1:18
• ERECTED by Christ
• PROTECTED by Christ
• INSPECTED by Christ
• LOVED by Christ, Eph.5:25
• SUBJECT TO CHRIST, Eph. 5:24
• SAVED BY CHRIST, Eph. 5:25-27
• MARRIED TO CHRIST, Rom. 7:1-4
When one visits a congregation of the Church of Christ, he will find God being worshiped in ways God prescribed in His Holy Word. We all sing together in order to teach and to admonish one another with grace and melody in our hearts to the Lord, according to principles found in Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16.
Not only do all participate in praising God with their voices without the accompaniment of instrumental music or the aid of a choir, congregations of Churches of Christ also observe the Lord's Supper every Sunday (Acts 20:7). We do so to remember and reflect on the unity we have in Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The first century church had a simple organizational structure, which eliminated any earthly headquarters. Such was restricted to the local congregations, since Jesus is the only Head of the Church. No dioceses existed then; as a result, neither must they exist today. Our pray and plea is for believers to become one that the unbelieving world may believe we belong to Him (John 17:20,21). In order to do so, we must go back to the simple pattern of New Testament Christianity found in the pages of our Bibles (specifically, the New Testament Scriptures), call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things the Bible way.
We invite you to investigate the Church of Christ. And, like the commendable Bereans of the first century, we urge you to search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11, NASB)
The Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ is continuously striving to be a God focused, Christ imitating, Holy Spirit filled, household of faith that is multicultural and intergenerational.
Our mission is to make and develop followers for Christ. We believe that all people should be believers in Christ, that all believers should become disciples of Christ, and that all disciples of Christ should make disciples for Christ.
We share the vision of Jesus that every member bears much fruit for God (John 15:8). This is accomplished through equipping the saints for the work of ministry, edifying the body of Christ, and exhortation.
As we worship God in spirit and in truth, it is our prayer that even the unbeliever among us will bow down before God and worship Him, declaring, "God is really among you." (1 Corinthians 14:25)