Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). It began on Pentecost after His resurrection in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 2). When the gospel of Christ was preached the people asked, “What shall we do?” (v. 37). The apostle Peter told them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (v. 38). “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them… And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (vv. 41, 47).
Whenever and wherever that same gospel is preached, and people respond in that same way God adds them to that same church. Jesus never wanted the church to be divided into different denominations. He prayed that His disciples be one (John 17:20-23). He purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28). It belongs to Him.
The apostle Paul vigorously condemned division in the church (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). He reminded us that Christ is not divided, that Paul was not crucified for us, and that we were not baptized into the name of Paul. It is by Christ’s sacrifice and by His name that we are saved and added to His church (not that of some mere human).
Paul also taught that Jesus is the head of the church, which is His body (Ephesians 1:22-23), that there is one body (4:4), that Jesus is the Savior of the body (5:23), and that He loved the church and gave Himself for her (v. 25).
Salvation is found in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:10) and all the saved are in His church (Acts 2:47). When we are baptized into Christ for salvation (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:12) we are baptized into His church (1 Corinthians 12:13).
The gospel of Christ calls all people out of sin and the world, with its false religions and manmade denominations, and into Christ and His church (Acts 2:39; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 2:9-10).
Do you belong to Christ and His church? Does the church mean as much to you as it does to Christ?
1 Peter 2:9-10 "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy."
Peter uses several descriptive phrases to remind us who we are and why we are here. The same expressions were applied to Israel in the Old Testament. The church of Christ which consists of both Jews and Gentiles is the true Israel of God (Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 3:26-29; 6:16).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135