What is the church

Published 8:19 am Friday, October 13, 2017

The “Church” is not an institute of human design guided by societal ideology but rather an institute established by God and governed by His authoritative Word. When seeking a “church” to be a part of, one should seek out the “Church” which God established through His Son’s blood.
The New Testament teaches us about that “Church.” Consider the church of the N.T.:
First, the church is described as the eternal purpose of God (Eph. 3:9-11); because of its importance we must learn of it through the New Testament and not by the thoughts of men.
Second, only Jesus is qualified to purchase (Acts 20:28) and establish the church (Matt. 16:18). According to (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23) He established the “church.” For these reasons we know that no man has the right to establish any other church (1 Cor. 1:10-13). When division did occurred within the (Church) Paul asked, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:13). We cannot be a part of some church but of the “Church.” He died for the one he purchased with His blood (Col. 1:18).
Third, the Lord’s church was founded by Christ through the preaching of the apostles in Jerusalem, as prophesied in (Isa. 2:2-4). Since the “Church” began on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2), organizations that originated at some other time or other place originated in the wrong place and time. No denominations existed when the church was established. When the gospel of Christ was taught for the first time in Jerusalem and when people obeyed that gospel, the result was simply Christians belonging to Christ; collectively they were the church of Christ.
Fourth, only divinely appointed names were worn by the church. Such designations like church of Christ (Rom. 16:16) and church of God (1 Cor. 1:2) are scriptural names that describe the church as belonging to Christ and God.
Fifth, its membership is comprised of saved people who are added to the Church by God, not men (Acts 2:47). These people are those who follow God’s Word: they’re people who have faith in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sin (Acts 17:30), confess that Jesus is the risen Lord (Rom. 10:9, 10), and have been baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
When people are saved according to the New Testament, they are “baptized into Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27), at that time they are members of his church (Eph. 5:23). “…the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
Finally, the “Church” follows Christ’s authority and the apostles teaching (Acts 2:42). By His authority the “church” is commissioned to spread the gospel (Matt. 28:19-20). Consequently, those who submit in obedience and follow the pattern of worship as set out in New Testament teaching are the “Church” (John. 4:24; Col. 3:16-17).
(Tony Hoss is minister at the Centerview Church of Christ, Elizabethton. He can be contacted at 423-737-2287 or by email at: tmagho1@comcast.net)

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