So the question is How does one join the church? The church, that is, which was established by Jesus and the apostles?
Acts 2:47 reads, "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." This indicates that becoming a member of the Lord’s church depends upon him. This, I believe, would be conceded by all Christian people. But just how does the Lord add members to his church, and what qualifications must one possess in order to be recognized by the Lord as belonging to his church?
The Scriptures indicate the steps of approach to the church as being, first, a repentant recognition of the fact that we are members of a sin-cursed and dying race, and could therefore have no standing before the Lord in our own righteousness. (Mark 2:17; Acts 26:20)
Next, the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Redeemer and Savior, realizing that only through the merit of his shed blood can we be acceptable to God. — Acts 13:38,39; 16:31; Rom. 3:22; 5:1
Then, upon the basis of our confidence in the merit of the shed blood of the Redeemer, we are invited to present ourselves in unreserved devotion to do the will of God. We could speak of this as making a consecration of ourselves to God. And Me us emphasize that this consecration is made to God, not to man, nor to an organization of men.— Rom. 12:1,2
The Scriptures are very explicit as to what this consecration will mean in our lives. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me [be my disciple], let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24)
To deny self does not mean merely the giving up of some petty pleasure or satisfaction for a short period of time, or even for all time. It is, rather, just as the expression implies, a complete denial of self. It is the same word that is used concerning Peter’s denial of Christ, when he said that he did not know Jesus at all. So to deny self is to deny ourselves the right to recognize our own wills. We renounce our wills and accept instead the will of God as expressed through Christ and the Word.
And what is the divine will for those who, responding to Jesus’ invitation, deny self? It is expressed in his further invitation, "Take up the cross, and follow me." Jesus used the symbolism of cross-bearing to denote going into death. When Jesus gave this invitation he was himself laying down his life in sacrifice. His sacrifice was completed at Calvary when he cried, "It is finished."— John 19:30
Those who accept Christ’s invitation to take up their cross and follow him, likewise lay down their lives in sacrificial service. They are not all literally crucified, although in the beginning of the age some were. Many suffered martyrdom in other ways. In the case of every follower of Jesus, the will to serve and to suffer regardless of the consequences must and will be present.
Following in the footsteps of Jesus is described by Paul as being "planted together [united] in the likeness of his death." (Rom. 6:5) Before we came to Christ we were 'dead' in trespasses and sin. But through obedient faith in the merit of his shed blood we are released from Adamic condemnation. Yet we die, not as sinners, however, but as joint-sacrificers with Jesus. Paul expressed the thought when he wrote, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service."—Rom. 12:1
When one is ready to make such a decision, they tell the Heavenly Father in prayer, symbolize their consecration by water immersion to fellow believers, and are adopted as 'Sons [or daughters] of the most high God, Jehovah. Plain and simple, no organization to join, except God's organization, which is in the heart of true believers.
"Church" simply means "called out ones," we have been called out of the world, when we consecrate we are sanctified or set apart, there are no buildings to build, no organization to form, just fellowship with fellow believers!
Less Religion and more Jesus!