Salvation in the oldest church in the world
by Sparta Live | June 11, 2018 8:47 am
By Derrick Coble – West Sparta church of Christ
Jesus is the cornerstone of the church (Acts 4:10,11), and each person who obeys Him has been built upon Him as a living stone (1 Pet. 2:5). Jesus established His church in AD 33 and died for it (Mat. 16:18; Acts 20:28). There was no church in existence before this time. So, when it was established on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Jesus’ church became the first and oldest church of any in existence today. In fact, it is the only one you read about in the scriptures in which people are saved. There was no such thing as a denomination at that time. There was only one church where everyone believed the same thing, taught the same thing, and did the same thing in order to be a part of it (Acts 2:41,42,44, 47). They taught the doctrine of Christ, and when division did occur, they were rebuked for it (1 Cor. 1:10-13). All of those in Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae, etc. were members of Jesus’ church and a part of His body (Col. 1:18). This is true because every person in these congregations did the same thing to become a part of the body – they called on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13). The ultimate question is, “How does someone call on the name of the Lord?” Is simply believing on Him enough? Or, is simply saying, “Lord, Lord” enough? The answer is, “No.” Belief alone has never been enough to save. In fact, the “demons believe and tremble” and are not saved (James 2:19). There were also many chief rulers who believed on Christ but were not saved (John 12:42,43). Saying, “Lord, Lord” is not enough either according to Jesus Himself (Luke 6:46; Mat. 7:22,23).
So, how do we call on the name of the Lord? First, Acts 2:21 details Peter quoting Joel 2:32. He mentions that salvation is for those who “call on the name of the Lord.” But, we have to consider what those people did on Pentecost in order for this to happen. They were told they had murdered the Christ (Acts 2:36) and they were cut to the heart by this fact. For this reason, they asked what they should do in order to be saved (Acts 2:37). They were simply told to “Repent and be baptized” for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). They were not simply told to believe because they already did. When those roughly 3,000 souls obeyed Peter’s command, they were added to the church (Acts 2:47)—the oldest and only one available. They were not told to “join the church of their choice.” There was no choice. The same must be true for us. Second, when the apostle Paul was saved he also “called on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). However, that did not happen by mere faith, or a “testimony.” It only happened when he was baptized. He was not saved before this (Acts 9:18).
Every person in the Bible congregations did the same thing to be saved. Those in Corinth believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8; 1 Cor. 6:9-11) and upheld the doctrine of Christ. Those in Ephesus believed and were baptized (Acts 19:1-5; Eph. 4:4) and upheld the doctrine of Christ. Those in Colossae believed and were buried with Christ in baptism (Col. 2:12). The reason for this was a desire to be a part of Christ’s only church by calling upon His name in obedience. It is the oldest church and only church that provides salvation today (Eph. 5:23).