I Want To Be In The Church That Is In The Bible
Churches are every where to be found. Many people are members of some church or the other. It is not enough just to be in a church. I want to be in the church that is in the Bible. Denominations teach, whether intentionally or unintentionally I know not, that it is not necessary to accept and follow Bible teaching about the church. Most religious people never study and learn the scriptural nature of the church. All who believe the Bible must believe that God intended the church to be a present reality. In Matthew 16:16-18 we read, "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
These are sobering New Testament truths concerning the church:
The church was purchased with Christ's blood. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)
The saved are added to the church that you read about in the Bible. "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47)
The New Testament church is singular in nature. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27)
Christ is coming back to receive the church and claim it as His own possession. "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:27)
I want to be in the church that was planned by God. The church was not just some after-thought for God. He had planned and purposed it from eternity. Ephesians 3:10-11 says, "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." God planned a spiritual body in which both Jews and Gentiles could be "fellow heirs." The Bible teaches that Jews and "the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel." (Ephesians 3:6) The church is a fellowship of all redeemed people. "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Ephesians 2:13-19) The church in the Bible is made up of all people who are in Christ.
I want to be in the church that was predicted by the prophets. Isaiah predicted that a kingdom for all races would be established in Jerusalem. "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the Lord's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:2-3) This prophesied kingdom is the church of Christ. The church was to fill all the earth. Daniel wrote, "...And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." (Daniel 2:35) It was also prophesied that God's kingdom or church would be perpetual. "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." (Daniel 2:44)
I want to be in the church that was established by Christ and belongs to Him. In preparing people for the kingdom John said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2) The twelve were told, "And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 10:7) The seventy went forth with the same challenge. They were to, "Heal the sick there, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you." (Luke 10:9) The church was planned by God, purchased by Christ and was at hand during the preaching of John, the twelve and the seventy. The church did not exist in Old Testament days. It was not established in the days of Abraham or John the Baptist. The church of Christ was established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was established in the city of Jerusalem. (Acts 2:1-47) As sinners gladly received God's word and were baptized they were saved and added to the church. (Acts 2:47)
The church in the Bible belongs to Christ because: (1) He is its builder (Matthew 16:16-18), (2) He is its purchaser (Acts 20:28), and (3) He is its head. (Ephesians 1:22-23) The church or kingdom came in the lifetime of some who heard Jesus speak. "And He said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power." (Mark 9:1) The church or kingdom came with power on the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2:1-47.
I want to be in the church that has so many wonderful relationships with Christ. Jesus Christ is the foundation for the church. "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:11)
Christ is the builder of the church and no one has the right to change His house. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus Christ is the owner of the church. Observe the expression "My church." (Matthew 16:18) Jesus alone has the right to make laws for the church. The church should not be ruled by a pope, council, convention, or any assembly, but rather by Jesus.
Jesus purchased the church with His blood. "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28) The church of Christ is a blood bought body. This shows that the church is both important and essential.
Christ is also head of the church. "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18) Christ is head and as such He directs His body. As head of the church He is preeminent.
Jesus Christ is also Savior of the church. "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body." (Ephesians 5:23) Christ saves His church and only His church. Outside of the church of Christ there is no promise of salvation. Are you a faithful member of the church that Christ promised to save?
Is Christ's true church in the world today? Yes! When the word of God and only the word of God is planted in honest hearts the one and only church of Christ is produced. Obey the gospel today. Hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized into Christ. (Romans 6:1-5) Take upon yourself the name of Christ. Glorify God in His one church.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA