|Vol. 14 No. 7 July 2012||
Anyone who reads the newspaper or views television knows that things in our world seem to be a mess. The Bible says, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We know that many live in darkness outside of Christ (John 3:19). There is turmoil on every hand: war, crime, immorality – you name it! There was a group of people that lived in the same conditions at one time. They were called Gentiles. They were without God, without Christ and had no hope (Ephesians 2:11-12), but all that changed with the death of Christ. The writer of Ephesians said, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13).
There is hope! There is hope for the world! More importantly, there is hope for you! Christ is the answer. Read the following: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:1). Christ is our hope. He is the answer. Paul later wrote that he knew in whom he had believed and was persuaded that Christ was able to keep that which he had committed (2 Timothy 1:12).
Will you put your hope in Christ? Will you follow Him? Got problems? Marriage going bad? Children rebellious? Not enough money to pay your bills? Search the Scriptures (John 5:39). Christ is our hope. He is the answer.
What does the Bible teach about the church of Christ? For the purpose of this article, we will address the importance of the Lord Jesus Christ and His relationship to His church. We will do so by asking and answering six questions from the New Testament.
First, who built the church? Jesus said, “I will build My church” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV). He also referred to the church as the “kingdom” (Matthew 16:19). Metaphorically, Jesus promised to found or establish His church or kingdom. He promised to do so within the lifetimes of some of those who heard His promise (Matthew 16:28). Moreover, they would see the kingdom “present with power” (Mark 9:1). Death itself could not prevent Jesus from fulfilling His promise. Christ resurrected to establish His church, which was present with miraculous power on the day of Pentecost, in the city of Jerusalem (Acts 2:1ff).
Second, who adds people to the church? Luke wrote, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). On the day of Pentecost, in the city of Jerusalem, the apostle Peter preached the Gospel of Christ. Peter quoted Joel as saying that “whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). After learning of their condemnation, the Jews asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Peter answered, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). He continued to preach, “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40). The word “church” (ekklesia) literally means the “called out.” People are “called out” of the world of darkness and into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13). Luke documented, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41). To what were those souls who obeyed the Gospel of Christ added? They were added to “the church” (Acts 2:47).
Third, members of the church are named after whom? Luke wrote, “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). Members of the church are divinely called Christians after the founder Himself.
Fourth, who purchased the church? In reference to Christ, Luke wrote, “the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The church is of divine origin.
Fifth, who is the Head of the church? Paul wrote that “Christ is head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). In another passage, Paul wrote, “He is the head of the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18).
Sixth, who loves the church so much that he died for her? Paul wrote that “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). He also noted that the Lord “nourishes and cherishes” the church (Ephesians 5:29). How do we feel about the church of Christ?
We hope these questions have reminded you of the intimate relationship between Jesus and His church. The Lord wants to add you to His church, which He established, governs and cherishes.