Introducing the Church Of Christ
In Matthew 16.18 Jesus said, “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.” Here the Lord promises to build His church. And this church was to become the greatest institution on the face of the earth.
The church of Christ was not limited to one nation of people, but for all people of every nation who rightfully call upon the name of the Lord. Many years before the Lord came and established His church, Isaiah the prophet records these words in chapter 2, verses 2-3:
“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.”
Another prophecy about the Lord’s church being for all nations of people is in Daniel 2.34-35:
“You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
From these two prophecies we see that the Lord’s church was to become a great body of people from all nations of the earth. These people would be those who would love and respect God, and obey His word of truth.
The Lord’s church was to be a divine church, not a human or man-made church. This church was to follow the truths and commands of God’s word, not human doctrines and philosophies. In Ephesians 3.10-11 it reads:
“…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…”
The plans for the church of Christ were of eternal origin – planned by God and executed by Christ, His Son.
These human organizations, called denominations, that exist in abundance today, are the product of man and not of God. In fact, they often call themselves by the very name of their founder or by the method in which they operate. This becomes a mockery of divine authority: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5.23). Again, in Colossians. I.18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
“On this rock I will build My church”
The church of Christ is governed by Christ and His Word of truth called the gospel or New Testament. Christ is the universal head. He does not have a representative on earth as some would suggest. In Ephesians 5.27 it reads, “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.” The Lord had such a concern for His church’s welfare that He requested we walk in newness of life and lead sober, godly and righteous lives in order to safeguard the church’s influence in the world. The church’s mission is one of evangelism, ministry, and benevolence. To add to, or in any way change this, is to bring divine disapproval.
Our salvation is the reason that Christ came to this world. If mankind had not been hopelessly lost in sin, Jesus would not have come. But He came to seek and save that which was lost (Matthew 1.21, Luke 19.10, I Timothy 1.15). Because Jesus was put to death on the cross, He arose from the dead for our justification (Romans 4.25), and returned to God the Father. He prepared the apostles for the great work of converting the world, but this work was to be done in His church. Paul writes in I Timothy 3.15: “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” It is the duty of the church to uphold the Lord’s truth to the lost. And those who obey the truth, according to Acts 2.47, are added to the church. While the church does not save by itself, it is Christ who saves, yet our salvation is in the Lord’s body or church. In Ephesians 5.23 it reads: “…Christ is the savior of the body.” (Also read Ephesians 1.22-23). To be in Christ is to be in His church. If any of us are saved, we must be in the Lord’s church. No wonder the poet so fittingly wrote:
“I love thy kingdom Lord, the house of thine abode. The church our blest redeemer saved with His own precious blood. I love thy church O God, her walls before thee stand, Dear as the apple of thine eye and graven on thy hand.”
God bless the church!!
By Dr. Ronny F. Wade