Identifying the Biblical Church
The Biblical Church is only one of many different churches in existence today. One source said that in 1982 there were 21,000 different churches. By 2012 that number had more than doubled to 43,000. No wonder there is so much confusion in the world. How can a person know which church is the right one? Jesus prayed that we could all be ONE. John 17:20,21. What has happened to the prayer of Jesus? Are we willing to follow His teaching?
Consider for a moment, whenever law enforcement begins looking for a missing person, it is always necessary to include a description of the missing person. Such a report will most always include the name of the person, the age, a physical description, and the clothing the person was last seen wearing. These identifying marks will enable those searching to differentiate the missing person from others. A person may have the same name as the missing person, but if that person is not the same age then he or she is not the correct person. Furthermore, only the person with all the identifying marks is the right one.
Seeking the Biblical Church
When one is searching for the Biblical Church this same method must be used in order to identify the right one. Therefore, as we examine this important subject, let us do so with an honest and true heart.
1) Who Built the Biblical Church?
In Ephesians 3:9-11 the Bible says that before the world began God planned the church to make known the manifold wisdom of God. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Most of all, did Jesus speak the truth and did Jesus build the right church?
2) How old is the Biblical Church?
The church in the Biblical Church began on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. In verse 47 it says “and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” As a result, this is the first time we read of people being added to the church. Therefore, the church that began on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 is the correct one.
3) Who is the Head of the Biblical Church?
Today there are popes, presidents, head apostles, board of deacons, councils, synods, conventions and the like who determine what church doctrine will be. There are creeds and books of rules written by men stating a denomination’s beliefs and rules for governing the church. In contrast to that, the Bible states that Jesus Christ is the head over all things to the church. Ephesians 1:22,23.
4) Where did the Biblical Church Begin?
Isaiah prophesied that the house of the God of Jacob would begin in the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2,3. Jesus said, “…that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:46,47. In Acts chapters one and two the apostles are in the city of Jerusalem where Jesus told them “…and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8. The Bible teaches that the right church began in the city of Jerusalem in 33 A.D.
5) Whose name describes the Biblical Church?
In Romans 16:16 the Bible says, “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” The church is also called the “family of God,” “the church of God,” and “the church of the first born.” Christ is the owner for He built it and He purchased it with His own blood. Acts 20:28. It is His body.1 Corinthians 12:27. It is His bride. Revelation 19:7. Man does not have authority over Jesus’ church to change it as he sees fit. Ephesians 1:22,23.
6) The Bible is the Biblical Church’s only Creed.
2 Timothy 3:16,17 says, “All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Bible is the only guide book or it is not.
7) What Day did the Biblical Church Worship?
First of all, the Biblical Church met together every first day of the week to worship. Acts 20:7. They gave a freewill offering on the first day of the week. 2 Corinthians 16:1,2. When the church began in Acts 2 it was the Day of Pentecost. This was on the first day of the week, fifty days after the Saturday Passover Feast. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:4 “there is ONE body.” In this passage of Ephesians 4:3,4 it also states that there is one Spirit, one Hope, one Lord, one Faith, one baptism, and one God.
Therefore, can we see the unity in all of this? In Colossians 1:17-19 “And He is, before all things, and by Him all things consist, And He is the head of the BODY, the CHURCH, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.” So, my hope is that you will search these Scriptures and just see what the Bible says about the church of the Bible.
8) How did the New Testament Church Worship?
In Acts 2:42, they followed the apostles’ doctrine. They had the Lord’s supper every Sunday. Acts 20:7, and had preaching. They had a freewill offering each Sunday 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 And 2 Corinthians 9:7. Also, they sang spiritual hymns without the accompaniment of mechanical instruments. Matthew 26:30, 1 Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 13:15. Finally, they also prayed, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. So it is clear, God is serious about worship, John 4:23,24. Worship must be in the RIGHT SPIRIT and in TRUTH.
9) How did the People Become Members of the Biblical Church?
First of all, they had to hear the gospel, Romans 10:14. Also, they had to believe the gospel, Romans 1:16. In addition, they had to repent of their sin and be baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit for the remission of their sins. Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38.
10) What were the Members of the Biblical Church Called?
Isaiah 62:2 & Isaiah 65:15 prophesied that God would give a new name to His people. Acts 11:26 gives that new name—Christian. See also Acts 26:28 & I Peter 4:16. When a person says, “I am a (insert kind) Christian,” then they have gone beyond the Scriptures and has changed or added to the name given by God. Paul rebuked the Christians at Corinth for doing so. 1 Corinthians 1:10-13.
11) Aren’t ALL Believers Part of that Church?
Jesus Said, “not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” Matthew 7:21. The only way a person may know God’s will is by what is written in the Bible. John 8:31,32; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; John 12:42,43 also says so. The Bible teaches Jesus is not divided and that denominationalism is contrary to God’s will. Jesus prayed that we all would be ONE. John 7:20-23; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13.
The Bible is right, ALWAYS! It is a fact that the Bible teaches that God planned only ONE CHURCH, and, that Jesus built ONLY ONE CHURCH. Ephesians 3:9-11; Matthew 16:18. It is also a fact the Bible teaches us the right church. If it is true that Jesus built His church, and the Bible shows us that, isn’t it reasonable to believe that God wants all believers united in that one church? What church did Jesus promise to save eternally? Note: Ephesians 5:23-33.
I hope that you will read these Scriptures and study them and just make sure that you salvation is secure. Remember the church in the Bible was called “The churches of Christ.” Romans 16:16.
This article was penned by Bill Arnold and Steve Vice.
See also: Church of Bible
In Christian Love,
Bill Arnold, Minister
Ridgeway Church of Christ