How Do I Become a Member of the Continuing Church of God?

Some have wondered how one becomes a member of the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

Let’s start by looking at several scriptures about being a follower of Jesus.

Jesus said:

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44, NKJV unless otherwise specified)

If God is not calling you in this age, you will not be a true Christian. It matters not how you act on the outside or how you see yourself. For more on the calling, consider the following:

Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?

If God is calling you, notice what the Apostle Peter said you should do (those wishing to argue against this, obviously would not wish to be part of the CCOG):

38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

In order to do that, you must have faith and believe in Jesus as your Savior:

10 let it be known to you all, … the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth … 11 … has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)

If you have any doubts about Jesus, or to strengthen your faith, consider the following:

Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the MessiahProphecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and deathJesus’ prophesied divinity200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He madeWhy Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.

Notice also the following:

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

If you have any doubts about God, or to strengthen your faith, consider the following:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?

You need to believe before you are baptized.

After immersion in baptism, a laying on of hands is done along with a prayer asking God to grant His Holy Spirit.

As far as receiving God’s Holy Spirit goes, notice that it is given to those who obey God:

32 the Holy Spirit … is God’s gift to everyone who obeys God (Acts 5:32, CEV)

This is part of why Jesus said to “count the cost” (Luke 14:23) as “none of you can be my disciple unless you give up everything you have” (Luke 14:33, GNT).

Jesus said:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34)

Yes, you must have God’s kingdom as you top priority. As far as righteousness goes, the Psalmist wrote:

172 … all Your commandments are righteousness. (Psalms 119:172)

To be a true Christian, you will strive to keep God’s commandments (see also the free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast).

Christians accept and truly learn to understand the purpose of the Ten Commandments.

Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote:

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love … (1 Timothy 1:5)

God loves us:

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Why do we love God?

19 We love Him because He first loved us.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:19-21)

Jesus said:

30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)

Loving brings tremendous benefits into our lives. Obeying God means that we will show love to Him and our neighbor. God guides us and shows us the way to living happier, more fulfilled lives.

Jesus confirmed that when He stated:

10 I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

God has set in motion a plan for our eternal salvation. This is a plan that will result in His people being able to give love in each one’s own individual way to make eternity better for oneself and every one else (more on that can be found in the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?).

Once you have made the decision to put God first in your life, you should spend some time to determine if the Continuing Church of God is the appropriate church. You should also pray, and if possible, consider fasting about it.

We are NOT a Protestant denomination (for details, check out the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism) nor Roman or Eastern Orthodox Catholic.

Study is an important part of a believer’s life, especially when making fundamental decisions about the path you will follow.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV)

5 … Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)

Yes, verify that the Bible backs up what we teach.

We encourage you to be like the Bereans of old:

11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

Also, understand that the various Church of God groups are not the same (see How does the Continuing Church of God differ from other Sabbatarian COG groups?). In the Continuing Church of God we strive to be the continuation of the Philadelphia portion of the Christian church. This is consistent with the following

1 Let brotherly love {Philadelphia} continue. (Hebrews 13:1)

We strive to do that.

Yet, Jesus warned in His messages to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3 that most end time Christians would NOT be Philadelphian. We have links to articles on dozens of Christian groups explaining where they differ from the Bible and the Philadelphian work, as more on the CCOG in the article: How does the Continuing Church of God differ from other Sabbatarian COG groups?

If you have already been appropriately baptized, then we also suggest that you read the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God. If you agree, will live as a true Christian, and wish to be part of us, then we accept true believers who wish to support us as we lead the Final Phase of the Work by proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as a witness (Matthew 24:14), teaching all that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20), working to reach the full number of those called in this age (see What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles), while also preparing for the ‘Short Work, remembering the poor (Galatians 2:10), and proclaiming the Ezekiel Warning.

You can contact a minister or other representative near your area to let him know you wish to be part of us. We also would expect you to live as a Christian and, among other things, keep the Sabbath, attend or watch our church services, and strive to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.

If you have not been appropriately baptized, or are not sure if you have been, and you believe you are being called to become part of the Continuing Church of God, you will want to meet with a deacon or minister in the church to discuss church teachings and get questions answers  We have many congregations around the world, several of which are listed on our Local Churches page. You can also read about the teachings of our church throughout this www.ccog.org website as well as the www.cogwriter.com website. For more on counseling, etc., check out the article: How does the CCOG handle Counseling, Prayer Requests, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick?

Please understand, there is no minimum or maximum amount of time required to learn about the church. The important thing is to believe the word of God and understand the about living as a true Christian. We also have a booklet that may help online: Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian.

If you have not already been properly baptized, once you have turned you life over to God and learned about the church, you are ready to become part of the body of Christ. You become a member of the Church of God through being baptized by a representative of the church. Baptism is a critical and fundamental step. Baptism signifies the death of our carnal nature and our being begotten as a follower of Jesus Christ. It allows us to partake God’s plan of eternal salvation.  Furthermore, baptism is a public statement to the church and the world that the believer is turning away from loving the world and dedicating his/her life to God.

Additional information on baptism can be found in the article Baptism, the Early Church, and the Continuing Church.

But baptism is not the end.

Jesus taught:

22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

You are not to give up and think just being baptized is enough.

To be a true Christian, you must desire turn your life over to God, study Christian teachings as found in the Bible and church literature, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, start to live as a Christian, you must be appropriately baptized and have hands laid upon you, support the work of the church, and you must continue.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them (2 Timothy 3:14)

If God is calling you, and you will learn, continue, and seriously do the other items mentioned in this article and what is taught in the Bible, you can be a member of the Continuing Church of God.

In summary, if you are not already a properly baptized part of the Church of God, in order to be considered a real member of the Continuing Church of God, you must:

  1. Be called of God.
  2. Be willing to seek first the kingdom of God.
  3. Repent of your sins.
  4. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
  5. Strive to live as a loving Christian.
  6. Be persuaded that our beliefs are biblical.
  7. Contact a CCOG leader for counseling.
  8. Be properly baptized and have hands laid upon you.
  9. Support the work of Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:19-20, and other aspects of the Philadelphian work.
  10. Continue to live as a Christian and endure to the end.

We also have literature to assist you in the process.

For some historical information on being part of the Church of God, here is something from the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God:

Jesus Christ said: “I will build my Church.” What IS that Church — human organization, or spiritual organism? Of whom composed? How does one become a member? Does it have a divine Commission?—and if so, WHAT? — and HOW carried out? By organization, or by individuals acting independently?

MANY ARE CONFUSED about the nature of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. How shall we know? WHO or WHAT is the AUTHORITY to give us the right answer?

It was Jesus Christ who said, “I will build my Church.” He is the “WORD” of God (John 1:1-3) in person — the Spokesman. The Bible is the Word of God in writing — the Maker’s Instruction Book for mankind. The Bible, therefore, is the Authority.

HOW One Becomes a Member

The first place the word “church” is used following the inception of that Church (Pentecost, 31 A.D.) is Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” This immediately gives insight into the means by which one enters the Church as a member. God adds each one. It is God who puts each one into the Church as a member.

Again, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). The word “baptized” means immersed — put into. So, again, it is GOD who puts one into His Church. And HOW? By His Spirit! When God bestows within one His Holy Spirit, that puts the believer into the Church.

So note it well! One cannot enter the true Church by putting him{her}self in — by “joining. One may join a social club, a sports team, or a secular group — but NOT the Church of God. Incidentally, is it not significant that so many of this world’s “churches” have become, virtually, just social clubs?

Notice, too, the Church is here referred to as “one body.” In several passages the Church is referred to as “the body of Christ.” I Corinthians 12:12 says: “For as the body is one, and hath many members. …

How the “Body of Christ”

The twelve disciples became the twelve original apostles. But HOW did they, with the other disciples, become “the BODY of Christ”?

While Jesus was starting the Work of God, He said, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” and again, “The Son can do nothing of himself,” and again, “… but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

It was the power of God’s Holy Spirit, dwelling in His individual human body, doing THE WORK OF GOD.

Without this same Spirit dwelling in them, His disciples would be utterly impotent. The very night before His crucifixion He said to them: “As the branch [of a grapevine] cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches… without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4, 5). It is sap flowing from the vine into the branch that produces grapes. It is the Spirit of God and of the living Christ, flowing into the collective Body that is the Church that produces results.

After His resurrection, just before ascending to God’s throne in heaven, Jesus commanded these apostles: that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father…” — that is, for the Holy Spirit, the same power that did the Work of God in Jesus’ human body.

On the day of Pentecost, 31 A.D., this POWER of God did come and enter into the COLLECTIVE BODY — the Church — that now was to carry on the Work of God.

The Head of God’s Church

When Jesus ascended to the throne of God (the Father of the divine creating — ruling — governing Family) in heaven, He became the Head of the Church. Notice Eph. 1:22, 23: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.”

The CHURCH is composed of those who are the begotten CHILDREN OF GOD — of the FATHER of the divine Family. One becomes a begotten SON of God upon receiving within him{her} the Holy Spirit of God.

This Spirit comes from the very Person of God — it is, first of all, the impregnating LIFE of God — divine, eternal, ever — living LIFE. As the physical sperm cell from the body of a human father begets a human embryo that develops into a fetus and later is born a human child, so the Spirit of God begets us into a state by which we are called, even now in this life, sons of God (I John 3:2).

Of What Composed

And thus it is that the CHURCH is composed of those who are the children of God. That is why the CHURCH is the Church of GOD, even as the Old Testament Church was called “the congregation of Israel” — the human children of Israel.

That is why, also, one CANNOT PUT HIM{HER}SELF into the Church by “deciding to JOIN.” When he becomes a son of GOD, by having and being led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14), then God has PUT HIM{HER} INTO the Church by begetting him{her} as a son {daughter/child} of God.

“Joining” a group that calls itself a church — having one’s name on the membership roll of some group calling itself a church — does not make one in true fact a member of THE Church Jesus founded. Here is positive proof: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). …

GOD Chooses Each Member’s Job.

We do not all do the same job!

These special spiritual gifts are given “to profit withal.” That is, to profit THE WORK — not the individual.

These gifts are aptitudes, or spiritual “tools” to use in doing the Work — not ornaments to embellish the person, as some have seemed to think — bragging about the least of the gifts.

God Himself decides which gifts to give each member: “But all these [gifts] worketh that one and the self — same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as HE will” (verse 11).

Continue: “For the body [of Christ — the Church] is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” (Verses 14-15.)

If one young man has been given special aptitude for a certain more or less routine office job that is actually a big help in the whole organized Work, he is doing HIS PART in the Work. But is each one free to decide whether he will be the apostle, or the pastor, or a teacher, or a routine office worker making it possible for them to do their jobs?

Here is your answer: “But now hath GOD set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased HIM” (verse 18).

But what if one is placed, by those God has set over him, in an office that this individual considers very unimportant, not honorable enough to suit his vanity?

Here’s the answer: “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem [to us] to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor, and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness… but GOD hath tempered the body together… THAT THERE SHOULD BE NO SCHISM [division] IN THE BODY…. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And GOD hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of languages. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?… but covet earnestly the best gifts…” (verses 22-31). (Armstrong HW. Just What is the Church? Tomorrow’s World magazine, July-August 1970)

For more on the Church, check out the free online booklet: Where is the True Christian Church Today?

For more on God’s plan, check out the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?