“A church of Christ, according to the Gospel-Institution, is a Congregation of Godly Christian, who as a Stated-Assembly (being first baptized upon the profession of Faith) do by mutual agreement and consent give themselves unto the Lord, and one to another, according to the Will of God; and do ordinarily meet together in one Place, for the Publick Service and Worship of God; among whom the Word of God and Sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ’s Institution.”
This quote came form page 104 of Ready for Reformation by Tom Nettles. According to his endnotes he took it from The Glory of a True Church and its Discipline Displayed by Benjamin Keach. There are several aspects of this definition that are relevant but I want to highlight a couple. First, notice that the members must be baptized after making a profession of faith. This means that only regenerate people should be members of our churches. Second, the members first commit themselves to the Lord. That has to be our primary concern but the members are also to commit themselves to one another. We ARE our brothers keepers. We are responsible to each other and for each other. How many times have you heard Christians claim that they cannot judge others? They use Matthew 7:1 which says “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The problem is that they don’t read the verses that follow. Without them, you don’t get the full context. Here are verses 1 through 5:Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. (2) For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (3) Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Context is king….always make sure that you read more than just one verse.