Who is truly in "the church?
The word church is often used to describe a building where people meet to participate in some type religious service. The word may be misused by today's language usage. Anything to do with religion we tend to call the meeting place a church. The first time I encountered this word in the Bible is in the book of Matthew. In Matthew 16:18 Peter had just confessed that Jesus was the son of the living God. Jesus told peter that upon that confession he would build his church. We must keep this passage in context to fully understand its meaning. We must also understand that the word church was translated from a Greek Word in the New Testament. Ekklesia. That is to say calling out or the called out. It does not mean a physical building at all. It more likely means a group of individuals.
Let us also remember that Jesus also told Peter that he would give to him the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Again keeping this passage in context. He told peter that the kingdom was not an open realm, but there was something that had to be done to gain admission. We must also remember that Jesus lived and died under the Law of Moses The Old Testament Covenant. We will have to recall that under the Law of Moses there were actions men had to take to be a Jew and enjoy the benefits of that law. Let us remember that some of those actions were tied to the land of promise. Deuteronomy 23:18 Removal of the foreskin, tithing from the produce of the land, and reading of the Law on the Sabbath to name a few. Yet those did not eradicate a person's sin. The sin was rolled forward one year. Jesus was the only person to keep that law perfectly. I might point out here that money was not an acceptable tithe. Also we find that only a member of the tribe of Levi could accept the tithe.
I am so glad that Christ accepted the task of going to the cross that I might live. He was the only perfect sacrifice. We will recall that before he began his earthly ministry he went out to John the Baptist Matthew 3:15. Once I understood the truth of the matter I felt no shame or remorse at going down into the watery grave a second time. Yes, I was baptized as a Baptist on a lovely summer afternoon. Then I heard the Gospel and understood on a cold winter's day in February. I went down to ensure that I had fully complied with Mark 16:16. My fear was that I had responded to the emotional appeal of the Baptist preacher rather than a sincere desire to identify with the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. I made it right. I went looking for the narrow path Jesus spoke of. Up until that day in February no one had correctly explained to me the relationship between what Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:17 and what Jesus commanded to all his disciples in mark 16:16. I believed it was just a matter of believing and all would be alright. There are millions who believe as I did. But I searched for that narrow path Matthew 7:13-15. The false prophet will tell us that Jesus brought peace to the earth. I challenge you to read Matthew 10:34, Luke 12:49, Micah 7:6.
A forceful speech will sweep the congregation up and move then in the direction the speaker wants them to go. Keep your wits about you, we must come to Jesus with understanding not in an emotional wave. I challenge you to find one scripture where the multitudes or crowd was so swept away by the preaching of Jesus that they went into a trance. The young man that fell from the loft in acts actually fell asleep during the sermon. It is not an emotional decision it is about hearing the truth realizing that we are outside the protection of Jesus and desiring to change that situation.
Romans 10:13 does say "Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" I believe that most people misread what is stated there. Suppose I said. "Whosoever is halted in the name of the law shall go to jail" In the name of the law is a set of laws that govern an officers authority to take people to jail. Well one who is calling on the name of the Lord is call on the authority of the Lord. I suspect that the set of rules that govern that authority is the hold scriptures. So by calling on the name of the Lord one obeys the commandments of the scriptures. Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38 and following. It is not safe to assume that all one have to do is say Lord save me to get saved. There are some actions that one must take. Read all of Romans 10 we will be less likely to take the Apostle Paul's writings out of context. The authority of the Lords name does not permit salvation without the steps he prescribed. I find no authority in scripture for the so-called sinner's prayer. One calls upon the name of the Lord when one obeys his command.
Jesus said that every idle word must be accounted for. Matthew 12:36. The very first time I read that passage and realized the impact of it. I was afraid to speak for a time. I hear people say things about the Kingdom of God and about scripture that clearly have no consideration for impact on the present and future. Some people I have to conclude are following after a multitude to do evil. Others appear to be of sound intelligence and understand that they seek to defy scripture authority. Eternity is a long, long time. Dollars, sex and fun are not going with us into eternity. There is no marriage in the resurrection. I believe that we can draw from that if there is no marriage there will be no marital relations. I do not think that God will allow fornication in his kingdom. Our freewill will have ended at that time.