Vol. 3, No. 10
TEXT: Ephesians 3:3-11
THESIS: To identify and exalt the church of the Bible; secondly, to distinguish the church of the Bible from imitations.
SONG: The Church's One Foundation
Only the church for which Jesus died deserves exaltation.
It is HIS CHURCH, Matt. 16:18; Rom. 16:16.
His church is the BODY, 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30.
Jesus is the HEAD of the church and the body, Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18.
Further, this church is the BRIDE OF CHRIST, 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Rev. 21:2; 22:17.
Churches of human origin do not deserve praise and exaltation that rightfully belongs to the Lord's church alone.
(a) A denominational church is neither correctly styled HIS CHURCH, the BODY OF CHRIST or the BRIDE OF CHRIST.
(b) Jesus Christ did not die for a denominational church, Matt. 15:13.
(c) Denominational churches are NOT DIVINE, but DIVISIVE, 1 Cor. 1:10-13.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN ORIGIN:
The church originated in the mind of God, Eph. 3:3-11 (10-11).
The church was not an after-thought.
The church of the Bible is, therefore, DIVINE IN ORIGIN.
Denominational churches were never in the mind of God.
Some of the most popular denominations are outgrowths of the human minds of Martin Luther, Henry the VIII, John Calvin, Robert Browne, John Smythe, John Wesley, Joseph Smith, William Miller, Mary Baker Eddy and Charles T. Russell.
Therefore, denominational churches ARE NOT divine in origin.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN ESTABLISHMENT.
Jesus built his church, Matt. 16:18.
Our Lord built the FOUNDATION of the church upon himself, 1 Cor. 3:11.
Jesus PURCHASED the church with his blood, Acts 20:28.
The Lord's church began in Jerusalem in about A.D. 33.
Old Testament prophecies named Jerusalem as the place in which the church was to be established, Isa. 2:2-3; Joel 2:28-3:2.
The apostle Peter said Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled on the Pentecost following the Ascension of Jesus, Acts 2:16-21.
Denominational churches were built by men, in the wrong cities, at the wrong times.
The foundations of denominational churches are men, not Christ.
Denominations were established in 606, 1520, 1534, 1536, 1550, 1607, 1739, 1830, 1859, 1866, 1872 through the present.
The most popular denominations were established in Italy, Germany, England, Switzerland, Holland and America.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN NAME.
The designations that identify the church of the Bible typically glorify deity.
Temple of God, 1 Cor. 3:16.
Bride of Christ, Rev. 22:17.
Body of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:27.
Kingdom of God's Son, Col. 1:13.
House of God, 1 Tim. 3:15.
The Church, Acts 2:47; Eph. 3:10.
Church of God, 1 Cor. 1:2.
Church of Christ, Rom. 16:16.
The designations that identify the members of the church either refer to holy things or a heavenly relationship.
Simply Members, 1 Cor. 12:27.
Disciples, Acts 6:1.
Believers, Acts 5:14.
Saints, Acts 9:13.
Priests, 1 Pet. 2:9.
Children, 1 John 3:1-2.
Christians, Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16 (the NEW NAME, Isa.62:2).
Denominational churches are not divine in name.
Denominational names do not appear in the Bible!
Denominational names often glorify men or human doctrine instead of God.
Whom or what do these names praise? Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Christian Church, Russelites, Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Episcopalians, Adventists, Christian Scientists, Congregational Churches, Church of the Brethren, Apostolic, etc.
Denominational names are DIVISIVE!
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN MEMBERSHIP.
Jesus adds the saved to his church, Acts 2:47.
Immersion for the remission of sins is the point at which one's sins are taken away (hence he is SAVED) and added to the church by Jesus Christ, Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 Cor. 12:13.
Immersion of an accountable person is preceded by HEARING and FAITH in the Word of God, Rom. 10:17; REPENTING, Acts 17:30; and CONFESSING before men that Jesus is the Christ, Rom. 10:9-10.
Denominational churches encourage people to JOIN them or VOTE their members in.
Manmade churches devise human rules of membership; human rules of church membership lack the power to save.
Denominations are comprised of souls who REFUSE TO BE BAPTIZED, Acts 10:48; TEACH FAITH ONLY, Jam. 2:20, 24, 26; and generally REFUSE TO OBEY, Heb. 5:8-9.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN ORGANIZATION.
The New Testament prescribes a certain organizational pattern for the church.
Each congregation is autonomous or independent (the Bible does not describe any unity binding congregations beside the Word of God).
A plurality of elders are ordained in each congregation, Acts 14:23.
Deacons are also appointed to serve, 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
Preachers are charged to preach the Gospel, 2 Tim. 4:1-2.
Jesus Christ rules the church from heaven, Mark 16:19; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; the Lord's church has no earthly headquarters.
Denominations do not follow the divine pattern for church organization.
Denominations often belong to synods, conferences or some other humanly devised federation.
Denominational leaders are appointed according to human design instead of biblical instruction and given religious titles foreign to the Bible.
Denominations are usually ruled from earthly headquarters.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN WORSHIP.
The New Testament church must worship according to the New Testament.
Worship must be in spirit and truth, John 4:24.
The Lord's church sings, Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.
The church observes communion weekly, Acts 20:7.
Worship includes praying, Acts 2:42.
The church also practices giving, 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:7.
Worship also includes preaching, Acts 20:7.
Denominations do not restrict worship to divine instruction.
They do more than sing.
The communion is observed infrequently and on other days than the Lord's Day.
Denominations encourage "tithing" instead of giving according to one's prosperity and as one purposes in his heart.
Churches made by men fail to fully preach the Gospel given by God.
Denominational prayers are sometimes no more than recitations of hand-me-down creeds or are repetitious, Matt. 6:7.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN DOCTRINE.
The church must follow DIVINE LAW only.
The Gospel alone has the power to save souls, Rom. 1:16.
Only the Truth can sanctify, John 17:17.
The Words of Christ alone can lead to eternal life.
Denominations do not follow Divine Law only.
These churches are guided by manmade creeds, catechisms, missals, disciplines, manuals, by-laws, doctrines and confessions, Matt. 15:9.
They are additions to or subtractions from the Bible, Rev. 22:18-19.
THE CHURCH FOR WHICH JESUS DIED IS DIVINE IN MISSION.
Only the Lord's church has a Divine Mission.
The New Testament church alone is charged with evangelizing the world, 1 Thess. 1:8; Mark 16:15-16.
Only the Lord's church can edify itself, 1 Cor. 14:12.
The church is also obligated to practice benevolence toward its members and others, too, Gal. 6:10.
Denominations do not have a Divine Mission.
The churches of men have not been charged to preach anything to anyone!
Denominations are ill equipped to edify anyone.
While denominations do not have a DIVINE MISSION to practice benevolence, all men should treat others as they wish to be treated.
Everything about the church for which Jesus died is DIVINE because it exists by divine implementation.
The New Testament church was in the mind of God from eternity.
It was, further, built by Jesus the Christ.
The church was also established in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.
The church for which Jesus died is guided solely by God's Word.
The basis of unity in the Lord's church is adoption of God's Word alone.
Every other church is at best only a futile imitation of the church of the Bible.
Denominations were never in the mind of God.
They were also built by mere men.
Again, manmade churches do not exist as a fulfillment of prophecy.
Then, too, denominations are guided by the words of men.
The adoption of human creeds and divisive party names undermines any possibility of biblical unity.
The church of the Bible is the REAL THING!
Obedience to the Gospel will make one a REAL CHRISTIAN!
Why would any clear thinking person settle for anything less than membership in the DIVINE INSTITUTION for which Jesus died?
Have you BELIEVED, REPENTED, CONFESSED CHRIST and BEEN IMMERSED FOR THE REMISSION OF YOUR SINS?
If an erring child of God, are you willing to repent of your sins, as publicly or privately as the sins were committed?