Often one driving will see a bumper
sticker or sign of some kind which states the above thought; sincere as the person
who created the sticker or the one who attaches it to their car may have been,
they have missed what is most important!
“I BELIEVE IN ALL PATHS TO GOD”
The above phrase is uttered in a number
of television ads by our supposed “enlightened” experts in Hollywood.
If I may, let me make the following
vMan’s choice does not matter (Jeremiah 10:23; Isaiah 55:8-9); one
must attend THE CHURCH OF JESUS’ CHOICE
ØThe church of Jesus’ choice is THE ONE
WHICH HE PURCHASED with His blood! (Acts
20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23; Revelation 5:9; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews
9:12-14; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5)
ØThe English word “CHURCH” comes from a
compound Greek word which means “called out.” This is illustrated in 1 Peter 2:9 and Galatians
ØA church is not a literal building made
of brick, wood, or any other such substance;
it is a SPIRITUAL BUILDING—God’s building (1
Corinthians 3:9-11)—made of living stones (1 Peter 2:5) which are built upon a foundation with Christ being
the cornerstone (Acts 4:11; Matthew
21:42; Ephesians 2:20-22)
ØChurch buildings are not holy;
Christians are (1 Corinthians 6:11)
I have been asked a number of times how
many churches were established in the first century.That answer is very easy.Certainly there were numerous congregations (Galatians 1:2; Revelation 1:11; et al);
however, there was but one church: That which was composed of all faithful
Christians (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47;
Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:6, 10; 5:25-27; Colossians 1:18; 3:15; 1 Corinthians
10:17; 12:12; Romans 12:5; Galatians 3:26-28; 1 Timothy 3:5, 15).
The next logical question then becomes
how did we end up with so many denominations?The concept called “DENOMINATION” both implies and indeed requires
division.The word means “to name”;
something named is thereby differentiated from anything not so named.Consider the example of when people have
children.The child is shown as distinct
by having its own name—even if that name be “Junior”.How about when a biologist discovers an
organism never before observed, he will give it a two-word name to show its
distinction.When it comes to the church
our Lord made His thoughts very well known.Seventy four (74) times in the New Testament the word church is
mentioned; not once is it referring to a divided body.
16:18 - And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock (THE CONFESSION THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD) I will build my
church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
5:23 - For the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ also is the head of the church, [being] himself the
saviour of the body.
takes on a less-than-ideal sense when one considers its popular use in the
lexicon of “Christendom.” “Christendom” is a term that embraces the entire
religious terrain that professes any identification – however remote the
connection may be – with Jesus Christ. This would include every kind of
organism, from the Unitarian Universalist Church, to the various cults that
allege an association with Christ (e.g., Christian Science, the Watchtower
ØDenominationalism tends to focus more upon tradition
and preferential values than Scripture.
ØThe system engenders a spirit of adversarial rivalry
rather than cooperation.
ØThe denominational concept encourages the idea that
the freedom to differ on major points of doctrine is a healthy spiritual
these propositions is antagonistic to biblical truth.
is wrong. There must be no compromise on this issue. Christians can and should
oppose the system compassionately and courteously, but it must be resisted
relentlessly. To neglect to do so is to fail in one’s responsibility.
Jesus prayed for the unity of His
disciples, “That they all may be one; as
thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).Paul asked the Corinthians who were trying to
denominate into groups following Paul, Apollos, Peter, or Christ, “Now this I say, that every one of you
saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is
Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of
Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:12-13).Paul also urged the Ephesians to “… walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye
are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one
another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of
your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who
is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
The religious world COULD BE UNITED but
like Jerusalem many do not desire to be (Matthew
23:37; Proverbs 1:24-31), for they could only be united with each other and
God THROUGH HIS WORD!Those who are
truly obedient to the Word of God are united with God and each other, for He is
not the author of confusion (1
Corinthians 14:33) or division (1 Corinthians 1:13), but of unity (Hebrews 13:20-21)—any not obeying are neither united with God nor
So we return to the question at the
beginning of this article: DOES THE CHURCH OF THE BIBLE EXIST TODAY?Yes, it does!
religious body … 1.1.… is wholly submitting to the commands
of God… 1.2.… rejects every doctrine which
originates with men… 1.2.1.Did
the first century church use anything other than God’s doctrine which we know
today as the Bible? 18.104.22.168.Religious
groups have many CREEDS (e.g., Apostle’s Creed, Nicene Creed, Luther’s
Catechism, Book of Discipline, Hiscox’ Standard Manual, The Book of Mormon,
only creed was the INSPIRED WORD OF GOD (Revelation
22:18-19; Deuteronomy 4:2): the BIBLE, albeit in earthen vessels at that
time (2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 13:10)—if
that were all they had and it was sufficient (2 Peter 1:3), why would anyone want or need anything else? 22.214.171.124.Simply,
other creeds represent man’s desire to dictate to God (Matthew 15:9; Titus 1:14; Galatians 1:6-9) 1.3.… is the spiritual building of God, … 1.4.… is composed of those who are holy, … 1.5.… is called out from the world, … 1.6.… is distinct from all man-made
institutions, … 1.7.… is not divided, but endeavors “to
keep the unity of the spirit,” … 1.8.… is that one eternally purposed, … 1.9.… is the one of which the Old Testament
prophesied, … 1.10.… is
the one which John and Jesus promised, … 1.11.… is
the one established on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem in the days of the
Roman Empire, … 1.12.… uses
no creed but God’s inspired Word, … 1.13.… is
the one to which God adds “such as should be saved,” … 1.14.… is
the one which recognizes God’s role (grace) and man’s roles (faith and works)
as being equally necessary for salvation, … 1.15.…
recognizes the authority of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, … 1.16.…
worships in the right manner—in spirit and in truth, … 1.17.… is
organized Scripturally with Christ as the Head, … 1.18.…
wears a Scriptural name, … 1.19.…
reaches out to the lost with the Gospel, … 1.20.… is
concerned with meeting the physical needs of all men, … 1.21.… is
concerned with spiritually strengthening her members, … 1.22.…and
is the church of Jesus’ choice which He purchased,
… then IT IS THE CHURCH OF
How are we to be added to the
church?People were not born into the
church physically nor voted in, etc.; rather, “the Lord added to the church
daily such as should be saved (baptized)” (Acts 2:38, 41, and 47).
The design of water baptism in the New
Testament is unquestionably to allow for the sinner’s sins to be removed by the
blood of Jesus. This purpose is variously described as “to be saved” (Mark 16:16), “for the remission of
sins” (Acts 2:38), to “put on
Christ” (Galatians 3:27), to “enter
the kingdom of God” (John 3:5), to
“wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16),
to place one “into one body” (1
Corinthians 12:13) and “into Christ” (Romans
6:3). These are parallel expressions that identify the same design.
In an effort to avoid the clear
introduction of such verses, some theologians have invented the concept that
water baptism is a post-salvation action that follows the forgiveness of sins. Christendom, almost in its entirety, insists
that remission of sin is imparted to the sinner at the very moment the sinner
“believes” (i.e., accepts Jesus as personal Savior). This reception of Christ
is an internal, mostly intellectual/mental decision in which the individual
makes a genuine commitment to receive Jesus as Lord.This philosophy has no basis in scripture.
6:3-7 - Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ
Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through
baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory
of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have
been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be
in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was
crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we
should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.
When the believing, penitent non-Christian
allows him or herself to be lowered into the watery grave of baptism, a
parallel to Christ’s redemptive work is taking place.Baptism is into Christ’s death because that
is where He shed His blood on our behalf. The atoning activity of Christ was
achieved in His death, burial, and resurrection. Consequently, the alien sinner
taps into that redemptive power in the act of water immersion. Consider:
ØThe “newness of life” follows—not
precedes—baptism (vs. 6).
ØThe “old man of sin,” the “body of
sin,” is eliminated in the waters of baptism.
ØBeing immersed in water— “buried in
baptism” (vs. 4)—is equivalent to
“you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered” (vs. 17).
ØOnly then, i.e., in the act of
emulating Jesus’ atonement in the waters of baptism, is one “set free from sin”
Notice that seven significant
achievements occur at the point of water immersion: (1) baptized into Christ;
(2) baptized into Christ’s death; (3) newness of life; (4) united in His death;
(5) old man/body of sin crucified/done away; (6) no longer slaves of sin; and
(7) freed from sin.
My prayer is that you will carefully
consider what the scriptures teach regarding the Lord’s church.Jesus Christ is the head of the church.His legislation is found only within the
sacred pages of the Holy Bible.The
faith has been “once for all delivered” (Jude
3) and we will be judged based upon that inspired word.If all mankind would determine to go back to
the Bible and the Bible alone for their rule of faith and practice, then
apostasy (both in and out of the church) would end.