The Identity of the Church (4)

The Lord called the church his “body.” So, to offer a comparison, Christ (like everybody else), had one physical body while here, and likewise established one representative body for his assembly. He was sacrificed once for us and for it. Yes, just once for all and for the one given body – the Kingdom of Heaven, the assembly or church of Christ.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus plainly stating:

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you 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.”

(Eph. 4:4-6)

As the New Testament describes the one body of Christ – all the rest, no matter how grand, no matter how marvelous the stories, or glorious the facades; no matter if I like the folks who meet there, or don’t, and “love” or “hate” the teaching, the friendliness, or lack thereof they display, the chorales and orchestrations, or the ideas on how to be successful or to be the very best I can. It doesn’t matter if they have been around for a few days or for centuries. It makes no difference how grand and venerable their “rites and sacraments.” They are counterfeits and frauds if they miss the mark. If it does not follow the pattern, you’re in the wrong place – and you will be lost if you remain there. They have no sanction, and no license from God the Father, Christ the Son, the chosen apostles and disciples, and God’s Word. They are cut off and are condemned as churches of men: without God.

We must not mistake any other organization for the church that Jesus established. To do so will prove fatal. Any organization, under any name, or with any other pattern and body of instruction, is not the true church. The Bible mentions one. Jesus died for one. He said that he knows nothing about the rest.

Yes, it is that tough. Yes, it is that simple. And yes, that is whether we like it or not.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
(Mat. 7:21-23)

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
(1 Pet. 5:8-11)