CHURCH-03 - Truths About the Church of Christ
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CHURCH OF CHRIST
"No other foundation can any man lay except that which is laid which is Jesus Christ," 1
In this series lesson, we're discussing the true nature of the Lord's church. What is
the church of Christ and its nature really like? What are the fundamentals? What's its
design? What makes it stand out as unique? What do we really learn about the Lord's
church from the Bible? In this lesson specifically, we'll talk about identifying truths of the
church that we find in the Bible.
The first truth is the true founder of the Lord's church is Jesus Christ. Who founded
the church that you read about in the Bible? If we were to look around in the
denominational world, there might be a host of answers. If we turn our attention to the
Bible, we learn that Jesus founded His church. In 1 Corinthians 3:11, "No other foundation
can any man lay except that which is laid, and the idea is already laid, which is Jesus
Christ.” Jesus is the foundation of the Lord's church. He is the founder of it. Matthew
16:18? Only the true founder could say this: Jesus said to Peter, "And I say unto you that
you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it." What did Jesus say He would do there? I'll build my church and hell won't even
prevail against it. You see Jesus is that interlocking stone that the Jews had left out. In
Acts 4:11-12, Peter said to the Jews there, “This is the chief cornerstone, nor is there
salvation in any other name other than the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Let's realize
Jesus is the one true founder of His church. It's very important that we realize if a church
or denomination or religious group wasn't started by Jesus then it cannot be the church
you read about in this book.
Let’s examine when various religions were founded and who they were founded by
to understand the importance of following God's teaching concerning the church. This just
simply for factual analysis. You can look at any denominational handbook like Mead's
Denominational Handbook, and it will tell you when these started. If the church Jesus
founded began in the book of Acts, when did some of our modern religious groups start?
The Lutheran Church was founded by Martin Luther. The Mennonite church was founded
by Menno Simmons. Calvinism was founded by John Calvin. The Presbyterian Church
was founded by John Knox. The Baptist Church was founded by John Smith. The
Methodist Church was founded by John Wesley. The Mormon Church founded by Joseph
Smith. We point that out to say that modern religious groups, denominations, which exist
today clearly recognize they weren't founded by Jesus upon His principles. The first truth
we learn is that Jesus is the sole founder, and if the religious group I'm a part of doesn't go
all the way back to Christ in its origin, it cannot be the church that you read about in the
A second truth that we learn about the Lord's church is the time period in which it
began. When was the New Testament church founded? The church of the Lord Jesus
Christ began in the first century. In Daniel 2, you've got four kingdoms: the Babylonians,
the Greeks, the Medo-Persians, and the Roman kingdoms. Daniel prophesies that during
the time of these four kingdoms, God in heaven will set up a kingdom, a new kingdom,
which will never be destroyed. Now during the time of the Babylonians, God is still
reigning through Israel. During the time of the Greeks and the Medo-Persians, God is still
reigning through the kingdom of Israel. Israel's still in existence. During the Roman era
and something unique happens. Jesus says in Mark 9:1 to His disciples, "Assuredly I say
to you, there are some of you standing here today, listen, who will not taste death until you
see the Kingdom present with power." Something happened in the first century. What was
that? Jesus promised and prophesied his Kingdom would be established. In Matthew
16:18 Jesus said, "I'll build my church." continuing in verse 19, Jesus said to Peter, "I'm
going to give to you the keys of the kingdom." What's the church? The kingdom. What's
the kingdom? The church. When the church came into existence during that Roman
period, God promised that He would set up a new kingdom during the first century. Did
that happen? You bet it did. In Colossians 1:13 the apostle Paul said to Christians that
God was transferring some out of darkness presently into the kingdom of his dear Son. In
Acts 28:30-31 Paul was preaching the kingdom of God as a present reality, so I know who
founded the church: Jesus Christ. I know, based off the prophecy of Daniel and the
fulfillment in the New Testament, when the Lord's church started. It started in the first
century. It started in Acts 2, when men and women were added to the church by God in
If the church of the Bible, the church of Christ, started in the first century, we must
ask again: when did most modern religious groups start? Again we direct your attention to
this chart recognizing when they started. For example, the Lutheran Church began in
1517, Mennonites in 1525, Calvinism in 1536, the Presbyterian Church in 1560, the
Baptist Church in 1605, Methodists in 1739, etc. What's the problem with all those dates?
Here's the problem they're all 1500+ years too late. The Lord's church started in the New
Testament, not the year 1500, 1600, or 1700. Those weren't started by Jesus. His church,
which you read about in the book of Acts, started in the first century. If one is a part of a
religious group that was started 1500 years too late, can it really be the church of the Lord
Now let's direct our attention to a third truth about the Lord's church. We can know
from the New Testament that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ was founded in
Jerusalem. I already know who founded it: Jesus. I know when that time period was:
during the Roman kingdom. In Acts 2, does the Bible tell us where the church would start?
It absolutely does. In Isaiah 2:2-3, Isaiah prophecies, "Now it shall come to pass in the
latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on top of the
mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many
people shall come and say, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house
the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths.” For out of Zion
shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Micah 4:1-2 mentions the
same idea that the house of the Lord is going to be established. God's kingdom is going to
be set up. It's going to go forth and have its beginning in Jerusalem. Did the kingdom that
Jesus built begin in Jerusalem during the Roman Empire, or the fourth kingdom? It
absolutely is. They're all assembled in Jerusalem as Jesus told them to in Luke 24:49,
"Wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from the Spirit on high." In Acts 2, the spirit
comes upon them, they stand up. Peter stands up with the 11 for the very first time
preaches salvation in the name of Jesus. You can obey the gospel, repent and be
baptized for the remission of your sins Acts 2:38. Those who gladly received his word, the
Bible tells us, were baptized Acts 2:41-42. In Jerusalem during the Roman period the
Bible says that the Lord added to the church for the very first time those who were being
saved in Acts 2:47.
If the Bible identifies where the church was going to start, I want to be a part of that
church that you read about in the Bible. I want to be part of the church that Jesus himself
set up. Again we ask a question. Where did most religious groups begin? The Methodist
Church began in England, the Dutch Reformed Church began in the Netherlands, and
Baptist churches were founded in Holland, Calvinism in Switzerland, and the Lutheran
Church in Germany. If they're 1500+ years too late and if they're thousands of miles from
Jerusalem, the question is: how can they be the church I read about in the Bible? If they
don't fit these truths, if they're not followed by thus saith the Lord; if they weren’t founded
by Jesus in first century Jerusalem how can these denominations be the church that we
read about in the Bible? We're not trying to hurt people's feelings. That's the last thing
were trying to do. The gospel is all about saving souls. We want men and women to know
that denominationalism is not in line with the will of God and that you can know the truth.
You can know about the church Jesus built, that it does exist today and that it is the
church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let's now direct our attention to a fourth truth about the Lord's church. The church
of the New Testament must be called by biblical descriptions or name. What name does
the New Testament church wear? In Romans 16:16 the Scripture says, "Greet one
another with a holy kiss, the churches of Christ greet you." Is the name church of Christ a
biblical name? It absolutely is. We find it in Romans 16:16. Does it honor the founder, the
builder, and the one who purchased the church? You bet it does. Along with the name
church of Christ, it is called the church of God. In 1 Corinthians 1:1-2 Paul writes to the
church in Corinth and he says, "... to the church of God which is at Corinth." And so when
we think about the name Church of God, does that honor the master mind behind the
plan, God behind the plan? Does it honor God and His Son, does it honor the founder?
You bet it does. God and Jesus Christ, Him being deity, it honors both of them, Hebrews
12:28-29. It is called the church of the firstborn. Colossians 1:15 and following teaches us
that Jesus is that firstborn from the dead. It is the house of God, 1 Timothy 3:15. Paul said,
"These things I write to you though I hope come you shortly, but if I'm delayed, I write so
that you may know how to conduct yourself in house of God which is the church of the
living God, the pillar and ground of truth. House of God, church of the living God, all those
are descriptions that honor God and honor His Son, the one who founded it, Jesus Christ.
Now someone may be thinking, is there really anything in a name? I know there is,
for the Bible teaches that by principle and we learn that based on common sense. For
example, in the Bible God actually changed people's names, Saul of Tarsus became
Paul, and he went from bad to good after God changed his name. Now we understand
that. How many people do you know that like to wear the name Jezebel or Judas or
Adolph? Names carry a connotation, description, show ownership, or some similarity or
likeness. If we're going to follow Bible authority, then we've got to call the church by the
descriptions God calls it. Just for factual purposes notice the variance in names that you
don't find in the Bible. We ask in all kindness where do you find the Lutheran Church in the
Bible? Where do I find the Mennonite church or Presbyterian Church? If I read my Bible
from Genesis 1:1 to the very last word of Revelation 22, where do I find a Baptist or
Methodist church? Do those names pay honor to the one who built and founded the
church? You can't find them there and they don't honor the one who founded and built the
church, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
A fifth truth that we learn about the Lord's church is its purpose. The purpose of the
church of the Lord Jesus Christ is to bring honor and magnify the name of Almighty God.
Ephesians 3:10-11 says, "to the intent now that the manifold wisdom of God might be
made known through the church.” Ephesians 3:20-21 says that the church is to bring
honor to God, “to God be glory in the church.” What's the church all about? It's not a social
club, it's not a place where you can go to mingle, and it’s not a place where you go to be
entertained, or place where you go to be served. The church is about glorifying God by
serving Him. What's the mission and purpose of the church? It’s to take the whole gospel
to the whole world “to the intent now that the manifold wisdom of God might be known to
principalities and powers and those in heavenly places” by the church. The church has
the awesome purpose and mission of spreading the gospel, of glorifying God in
everything that it says and does. Luke 19:10, "The Son of Man came to seek and to save
that which is lost." That's the mission of the church. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus gave us
marching orders when he said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature." In 1 Peter 2:9, we're called out of darkness to serve and we are a royal
priesthood, a holy nation, to proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness
into his marvelous light. What's the church and members of the body? What is their
mission? To proclaim God's goodness, His mercy, and His love to a lost and dying world.
The church is not about hosting functions. It's not about throwing pizza parties. It's not
about all the entertainment ideas that so many times we get caught up in. The church has
that mission of spreading the gospel to the lost.
A sixth truth that we learn about the Lord's church is: the church must be organized
according to the Bible. Do you find in the Bible a papacy meaning one Pope who rules
over all men or a priesthood where we bow down and call someone father? No, Jesus
said, call no man father in Matthew 23:9. Do we find a board of deacons or a one-man
pastor system in the Bible? That's not what you find in Philippians 1:1, "To all the saints
with the Bishop and deacons who are at Philippi." What do we have in the Lord's church?
We've got Christ as the head Ephesians 1:22-23, we have bishops, or another word is
elders or overseers in the church. We have to have deacons, 1 Timothy 3. There are
qualifications for elders and they're always a plurality and there are qualifications for
deacons and they're a plurality. Deacons serve under elders. We're all Christians. Here's
what you don't find - there's no clergy laity system. There's no hierarchy. There's no big
me and little you in the Lord's church. That's not the way it works. All men stand on level
ground at the foot of the cross. That's the organization of the Lord's church and again we
mention you don't find a pastor, you don't find the Pope, you don't find a board, you just
don't find those things in the New Testament.
How many churches did Jesus build? A seventh truth is: Jesus just built one
church. The Bible says Jesus only intended to build one church. Ephesians 1:22-23, “God
put all things under His feet and gave Him be head over all things to the church which is
His body." The church and the body in the Bible are synonyms. How many bodies are
there Ephesians 4:4? One Lord, one faith, one body. If the church is the body and the
Bible says there's only one body, how many churches are there? Just one. 1 Corinthians
12:20, "There are many members yet but one body." Colossians 3:15, "You were called
into one body and be ye thankful." Over and over again in Romans 12:5 and a host of
other places we find that there is just one body.
Another truth that we learn about the Lord's church is that it is essential. The
church is essential to being saved. In 2 Timothy 2:10 the Bible says that salvation is in
Christ. How do you get into Christ? You are baptized into Christ, Galatians 3:27. You're
added to the body, 1 Corinthians 12:13. If it is the body of Christ that's going to be saved
then salvation is in Christ and the church is essential. Hebrews 12:23, "To the general
assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are registered in heaven.” Whose
names are registered in heaven? Those in the church. If I'm not in the church, my name's
not registered. In 1 Corinthians 15:24, the Bible says that when Jesus returns He is going
to take those in the kingdom; He's going to deliver the kingdom to the Father. The
kingdom's the church, Matthew 16:18-19. At the second coming, Jesus is going to take
the Kingdom to the Father. If I want to go to the father, I've got to be in the Lord's church.
How is one added to the New Testament church? Simply, by obeying God's plan of
salvation. What is that plan of salvation? Men and women must hear the word. "Many of
the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized," Acts 18:8. They heard the
message, then they had to believe in Jesus. Acts 8:35-40, in that context you've got Philip
and Ethiopian eunuch and they're going down the road, "Here's water what doth hinder
me? If you believe with all your heart you may." Then a person must repent, "Unless you
repent you will all likewise perish," Luke 13:3. You must make that good confession.
Romans 10:10 says, "With the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth
confession is made unto salvation." The Bible makes it abundantly clear: to get into the
Lord's church, where all the saved are, where forgiveness of sins is, you must be
baptized. How do we know? "That by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body," 1
Corinthians 12:13. Are you a member of the church in this book, are you member of the
New Testament church? If not, we beg you to become one before it's everlastingly too
Study Questions for: “Truths About the church of Christ”
1. According to 1 Corinthians 3:11, what is the foundation of the church?
2. In Acts 2:41-42, what did the people who gladly received his word do?
3. What name does the New Testament church wear in Romans 16:16?
4. Ephesians 3:20-21 tells us the church is to do what?
5. According to Luke 19:10, why did the Son of Man come?
6. In Matthew 28:18, what did Jesus order us to do?
7. According to Matthew 23:9, we must call no man what?
8. According to Ephesians 4:4, how many bodies are there?
9. Where does the Bible say salvation is in, according to 2 Timothy 2:10?
10.In 1 Corinthians 12:24, who does it say Jesus will deliver to the Father?