The Most Selfish Saying
By Lance Mosher
Here is a question to ponder: What is the most sincerely selfish phrase in religion? I believe I have come close to finding it. What is it? “Join the church of your choice.”
I call that a sincerely selfish phrase, because it is always said with good intentions. Most people who believe in and use it mean no harm. In fact, they mean only the very best.
However, it is also a sincerely selfish phrase. On the surface, the saying doesn’t even seem selfish. Isn’t it looking out for the interests of others? Isn’t that the opposite of selfishness? Think about those who would use such a phrase. They are those who have already followed such advice by joining the church of their choice. All they are doing is passing the advice that they clearly enjoy to others.
This saying is said by people who genuinely want to serve God. However, it is self-serving to join the church of your choice. What about the church of God’s choice? Is there such a thing? The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders the following.
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Behold, the most expensive transaction in the history of the world! God has a church of His choice, and it is the one He purchased with His own blood! Would you be willing to part of any other church? To “join the church of your choice” is to place your choice above God’s choice. To tell your friend, “Join the church of your choice,” is to place your friend’s opinion above God’s commandments. Jesus said He would build His church (Matthew 16:18). Would you want to be part of a church built by anyone else? There are plenty to “choose” from. Which one will you choose?
I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.
The church of the living God is called the “household of faith.” It is the family of God. To be outside of the church is to be outside of the family of God. To “join” some other group is to join some other family. Be sure you are a part of the family that is “the pillar and support of the truth.” So, how does one become a member of God’s family? Notice what Paul told the Galatian Christians.
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
It does not matter what race, class, or gender a person is. If a faithful one has been biblically “baptized into Christ,” he or she has become a child of God. No one becomes a part of God’s church by being voted in, filling out a form, or just sitting on a pew. One must completely submit to God through faith. Then, God redeems that person and receives him or her as an “adopted” child (Gal. 4:1-7).
In Acts 2, the apostles preached the first sermon about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. When their audience was convicted of their sins, they asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
They were to repent and be baptized. This process is mentioned in Romans 6:1-7 as dying to sin, being buried in baptism, and being raised to walk in newness of life. It gives a person the opportunity to be “born again” “of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3-5). In this process, God does one other thing. He adds the person to His church.
Never in the Bible will you find the commandment to “join the church,” much less “join the church of your choice.” Instead, when someone obeys the gospel, God adds that person to the church of His choice, which is the church He purchased with His own blood. Has God added you to His church?
Except where noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation