At our Autumn Fest event, someone from the community asked me this question, “What kind of church is this?” I really appreciated the question because it showed me that she had some interest in us and it gave me an opportunity to introduce her to the church here.
I want to investigate this question with you in this article for two reasons: 1) Because I thought there might be others who are interested and asking the same question. 2) Because it will give us an opportunity to see what God says about the church, which we will see is very important to our salvation.
We are the church you read about in the Bible! What? You can read about the Northwest church of Christ in the Bible? Yes, we are the same church that was built by Christ 2,000 years ago!
Hear me out…
Before going to the cross, Jesus promised to build his church (Mat. 16:18). He died for the church (Eph. 5:25) purchasing it with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Being raised from the dead He ascended into heaven to sit at God’s right hand as head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23). This is what Peter proclaimed (Acts 2:33-36). This preaching led 3,000 souls to be saved and added to the church (vv. 37-41). Since that time God has continued to add the saved to His church (v. 47). Whenever we hear the same message and respond in the same way, we are a part of the same church!
Yes, we are the church you read about in the Bible!
Look at it a little closer with me…
The gospel of Christ spread from Jerusalem into all the world establishing churches of Christ (Luke 24:47; Mat. 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Col. 1:23). We read about the many churches that were produced by the preaching of the gospel in Acts (Jerusalem, Samaria, Antioch to Rome). The letters of Paul to the churches include: Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonica. In the Revelation, we read of the seven churches of Asia. When Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, he sent greetings to them from these various churches of Christ (Rom. 16:16).
Today, many of the congregations we read of in the Bible no longer exist but many other such churches of Christ have been produced by the preaching of the gospel of Christ in many places around the world, including right here at Northwest.
In Luke 8:11, Jesus uses the figure of “the seed” to teach us how the church is produced. The seed of the kingdom of God, His church, is the word of God. God’s word produces God’s church! As long as we have apple seeds we get apple trees that produce apples and as long we have the seed of God’s word we get God’s church that produces God’s people!
“Oh, but today there are many different kinds of churches that you do not read about in the Bible, that have been produced by man and not by God!” That’s right!
We are not a man-made denomination! Northwest is a congregation of Christ’s church. We do not denominate ourselves from other Christians nor are we a part of any denomination.
Paul explained to the Ephesians that there are not many different kinds of churches but one church (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; 5:23; cf. Mat. 16:18) and to Corinth that we should not denominate ourselves (1 Cor. 1:10-13).
This is in harmony with Jesus’ prayer for the unity of all Christians (John 17:20-21).
So, those of us at Northwest, like those in Rome, were all baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3) where salvation is (2 Tim. 2:10) and when we were baptized into Christ we were all baptized into the body of Christ, His church (1 Cor. 12:13), the church of which He is the Savior (Eph. 5:23). We were not baptized into some man-made human religious organization but into the church you read about in the Bible!
“So you are saying you are perfect and better than everybody else!” No!
We are imperfect but our Lord Jesus Christ is perfect! Being the church of Christ does not make us perfect or better than anybody else, it just means we are saved by the blood of Christ. We do not deserve to be saved because of anything that we have done but because of what Christ has done for us (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). It took the blood of a perfect One to pay for our sins (1 Pet. 1:18-19). He, Himself, is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). That means that His sacrifice appeased God’s wrath and satisfied His justice (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus said there is no other way (John 14:6)!
God’s plea to all sinners is to come out of the world, out of sin, out of human religious organizations and to come to Christ, into His church; to be a Christian, nothing more, nothing less; to follow Him, nobody else. Will you answer His call, today?