The ethics of Jesus must be imposed upon society, we are told, then all inequalities will vanish; the division of humanity into rich and poor, great and small, privileged and underprivileged will be no more. Under the benign influence of Christs ethics of love, greed and war will disappear from the earth and the dream of universal brotherhood be realized at last. The teachings of Jesus belong to the Church, not to society. In society is sin and sin is hostility to God. Christ did not teach that He would impose His teachings upon the fallen world. He called His disciples to Him and taught them, and everywhere throughout His teachings there is the overt or implied idea that His followers will constitute an unpopular minority group in an actively hostile world. The divine procedure is to go into the world of fallen men, preach to them the necessity to repent and become disciples of Christ and, after making disciples, to teach them the ethics of Jesus, which Christ called all things whatsoever I have commanded you. The ethics of Jesus cannot be obeyed or even understood until the life of God has come to the heart of a man in the miracle of the new birth. The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them who walk in the Spirit. Christ lives again in His redeemed follower the life He lived in Judea; for righteousness can never be divorced from its source, which is Jesus Christ Himself.
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Third, the church is depicted as an ark on the flood waters. As the ark of Noah floated on the waters and contained all who would be salvaged, so the church of Jesus Christ is an ark on the flood waters and contains all who will be salvaged. Remember that! All in the ark are saved, and all outside the ark perish. All around us is a perishing world, and we float on top of it in a little ark called the church. All that are not in the church—the ark—will perish. You say, "Now hold on a minute. Do you mean to say that if you don't join the Avenue Road Church, you will be lost"" No, but what I do say is that the church is the ark containing the ransomed, and inside the ark is life. Outside the living church of Christ are the lost. Inside are the saved. You are not saved by joining a church, which is a mistake local churches make. The animals all came into Noah's ark by the door. Christ is the door to the church, and whoever will be saved must come in by the door. There is no other ark on the flood. Suppose someone said, "Well, hold on a minute. Don't be so narrow-minded. Let's be tolerant. We do not want to get in Noah's ark; we want an ark of our own." Well, there weren't any other arks on the flood. It was either get into Noah's ark or perish. A few got into Noah's ark, and God preserved the race. In the church of Christ, God is salvaging a small number from the flood. A fatal error is the independent life—to say that you are a Christian, but you don't associate with any churches. You are a Christian, but you don't feel the necessity to join a church. It is true that there are hypocrites in the church—not in the true church, but in the local assembly. Even Jesus had His Judas. The local assembly and the true church of Christ are sometimes not synonymous.
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