The Church Is a Divine Institution of God
The practical truths on the subject of the church illuminate God’s will and purpose for us in this life and reveal much of the fallacy of religious institutions in society. The world has been inundated with religions and churches of all different standards and belief systems. While many people today espouse the theory to “attend the church of your choice,” the Bible teaches that there is only one narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).
Definition of ‘Church’
The first mention of the word church in the Bible is found in Matthew 16:18. “…Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The word church is a translation of the Greek word ekklesia which means ‘called out.’ The scripture uses the word church again in Acts 2:47. “…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The church is not a building or a place of worship but is composed of individuals who have been saved from their sin. True people of God have been ‘called out’ of sin, the world, religions, etc. They are in fellowship with God and in unity with the Spirit, walking in the faith of the Word of God.
Membership in God’s True Church
Membership does not come about by attending worship services, by getting your name written in a church roll book, or by receiving a baptism certificate. Only God sets the members in the body (I Corinthians 12:18). We come into God’s church when we are born again and saved from our sin by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Everyone in God’s church is living free from sin.
Jesus is the only door
Jesus is the only door through which we can enter into His church, as He alone has the power to forgive sin. “… by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9). There is no organization, priest, bishop, or minister with that power. Hence, no man can put us into the church and no man can put us out of it. The membership of the church is kept in heaven (Luke 10:20) and the names are in the book of life (Philippians 4:3). As God knows each life and each heart, the membership of His church is accurate and up-to-date.
Christ is the founderGod’s church was founded and built by Jesus Christ himself. “…I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Any religious organization that points to a man as their founder is not of truth. Circa 30 A.D., Jesus established His church on this earth, not man (Hebrews 8:1-2). He died, rose again, ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to fully equip believers to live holy lives.
The Foundation Is Christ
Jesus is the foundation of this divine institution. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:11). The divinely inspired Word of God is the singular creed or rule of faith of God’s church (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The scripture takes precedence and has final authority over every tradition, practice, or creed of man. In God’s church, there is no electoral body of bishops or ministers that determine the framework of the church. God has already given us His Word and His Spirit by which to live.
Christ Has No Substitute
Jesus is the “…head of the body, the church…that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). There is no substitute for Christ in heaven or on earth. He is head over all things. “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). In God’s church, there is no room, or necessity, for elections of a chief bishop or overseer, for Christ is the bishop of our souls.
Leaders Appointed by God
In God’s church, God sets the members in the body as it hath pleased him (I Corinthians 12:18). God gives the gifts in the church (Ephesians 4:10-13) and the Spirit organizes and leads according to His will. So often, man tries to fill this place of directing and appointing. In the body of Christ, members look to the Spirit to direct them in the way. Anointing and leadership come not by education, seminary, or by being related to someone of position but by consecration to God’s call.
The Church Was Named by God Himself
There are many names and descriptive titles for churches and institutions of religion. However, God has already named His people. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). It is a reproach for the spiritual family to be named by any other name than that of the father. The Word of God taught the ministers to “feed the church of God…” (Acts 20:28). The Biblical name of the true church is ‘The Church of God’. Local congregations of believers in the scripture were referred to as the Church of God (2 Corinthians 1:1). Carrying the name alone doesn’t save anyone but this is the given name of God’s church.
Only One Church
With all of the churches and religions that exist, God only has one church — The Church of God. The church is referred to as the ‘body of Christ’ (Ephesians 1:22-23). “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12). The scripture refers to the Church as being a bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). God is not a polygamist. He has one bride and one church.
May each reader see the difference between God’s true church and the churches of man. The Church of God is that city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid (Matthew 5:14). It rises above the confusion and quagmire of man’s religions and doctrines. God’s church — The Church of God — is pure, holy, undefiled, and true. Christ is the founder, leader, lawgiver and Saviour.