“How To Identify The New Testament Church” (Part 2)

Every religious group that exists in the world today was established by some man. For example, the Lutheran church began around 1530 by a man named Martin Luther. The Presbyterian Church had its beginning in the early 1600’s. It was established by John Calvin and John Knox. The Methodist church was established in 1739 by John Wesley. The Baptist church was established in 1607 by John Smythe and Thomas Helwys. Roger Williams was responsible for establishing the verty first Baptist church in America in 1639. The Seventh Day Adventist church was established in 1863 by William Miller and Ellen White. The Mormon church was established in 1830 by Joseph Smith. There are many others that we could name, but the fact that a religious body exists is proof that it was founded by someone. There are many religious bodies in the world today, which have different names, doctrines, and practices. Each one was either scripturally or unscripturally founded by either the divine, or a human builder. It is important to know whether the establisher of a church is scriptural or unscriptural. If a church was founded by an unscriptural builder, that church must be unscriptural and I can not be a part of it and be right with God. Why? It is the work of man and not of Christ. The Psalmist said, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it”(Psalms 127:1). One of the identifying characteristics of the New Testament church is that it was established or built by Christ. The prophet Daniel spoke of a kingdom which would never be destroyed (Dan 2:44). Every kingdom that is established bears the possibility of falling. The kingdom that Daniel spoke of would never fall. What would be different about this kingdom from other kingdoms? What would give it the strength to stand forever? It would be built by Christ. As Jesus was with his apostles, he promised to build his church. “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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:18-19). When examining this passage, the first thing that needs to be understood is the fact that the church and the kingdom are the same. Though they are different words, they are interchangeable words. When Jesus was speaking of his church, he was speaking of his kingdom and vise versa. In the second place, not only does Christ promise to build his church, but he also states that He would give Peter the keys to his church/kingdom. What are keys? Keys are a means of entrance. Therefore, Jesus was promising Peter that he would be the one who would tell the people what they must do in order to enter the kingdom. As the book of Luke closes, Jesus is once again with his apostles and the church has not yet been established. He instructs them to wait in the city of Jerusalem until they have received the power from on high (Lk. 24:46-49). In Acts 2, the apostles are in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and they are all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). Peter and the other eleven apostles stand up and begin to preach the gospel of Christ to the people who are present (vs. 14-36). When the people heard the message, they asked Peter and the other apostles, “what shall we do?” (vs. 37) Peter respond by saying, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38) In this passage, Peter and the other apostles used the keys that had been given to them by the Lord and opened the passage way into the kingdom/church. In Acts 2:47 the Bible states, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Up until this point, the church/kingdom has been spoken of as something that would be established in the future (Mk 9:1; Lk 24:46-49; Acts 1:5-8). From this point on, it is spoken of as something already in existence (Acts 5:11; 8:1; 11:22, 26; I Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:13-14). In Acts 11:15, Peter stated that the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles as on the Jews in the “beginning.” What was Peter referring to when he used the word beginning? It was the beginning of the church. Therefore, the church that Jesus promised to build was established in Acts 2, in the city of Jerusalem, which would have been around AD 33. Not only did Jesus build his church, but he is also the foundation of it. A building or institution can not be stronger than the foundation on which it rests. If a house does not have a good solid foundation, it will not stand long. Likewise, if a church does not have the proper foundation, it will not stand. Jesus is described as being the “foundation” of the church. The apostle Paul states, “For other foundation can no man lay that that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:11) The Bible refers to Christ as the “chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). The chief corner stone was the perfectly cut rock that determined every characteristic about the building. Jesus is not only the founder/establisher of the church, but he also determines every characteristic about the church (Doctrine, worship, etc…). Dear friend, is Jesus the builder of the church you are a part of, or was it established by some man? Is Christ the foundation of the church you are a part of? Are the things which are taught and practiced found in the pages of the New Testament? Make sure that the church you are a part of has its founder and foundation as Christ.


Wait on the Lord

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen tine heart: ...

Daily Verse

Ephesians 4:31-32

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Anyone can be bitter, get angry, shout at others (clamor), say things that damage the reputation of others (slander), and wish evil on others (malice). The challenge in life is to treat people the way that Christ treated individuals. He treated individuals with kindness even when they were unkind to Him. He was tenderhearted. He was compassionate concerning the problems and pains of others. He was forgiving, regardless of what others had done to Him. What an example! How will you treat the people around you today?