When our Lord
came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he questioned his disciples
as to what people were saying about his identity. Having received
the answer, he then asked his disciples "who
do you say that I am?" It was Peter who answered that
he was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. After Jesus blessed
Peter for making the statement about his Sonship to God, Jesus said,
"upon this rock I will build my church
and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
Among the things that stand out in this sentence are:
tells us that Jesus was the builder of the church.
build" indicates that the church was still in the
future. This is about six months before Jesus died.
church" certainly identifies to whom the church belongs.
Jesus paid the purchase price of his own blood for the church
(Acts 20:28). He is its chief executive, its exalted ruler (Eph.
- The word
"church", singular, tells
us how many churches Jesus built.
As we move
forward to the second chapter of Acts, it is the day of Pentecost.
Jesus had been crucified about 53 days earlier. Peter and the other
disciples stood up and preached to the people about the crucified
Jesus. Peter said, "Repent and let every
one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"
(Acts 2:38). The people were cut to the heart with the message of
Jesus and responded immediately: "Then
those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about
three thousand souls were added to them" (Acts 2:41).
Then, the narrative concludes by saying "...And
the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved"
It is of great
significance that here, for the first time in all the scriptures,
it is said that people were ushered into the church. The reason
is obvious; on that day, the first Pentecost following the resurrection,
the church of our Lord came into existence.
the church, from this time forward was intended by our Lord to be
the realm of those who are saved. The same conditions on which salvation
is obtained are the same conditions by which one is added to the
church (Acts 2:38-47). One does not obtain salvation without being
added to the church. One is not added to the church without first
being saved. In Col.1:13,14 Paul said, "He
has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into
the kingdom of the Son of his love. In whom we have redemption through
his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Paul clearly tells
us in Eph.1:22-23 that the church is Christ's body, "...to
the church, which is his body." Since forgiveness of
sins is only in the body of Christ; and since the body of Christ
is the church, it follows that forgiveness of sins is only in the
One might ask,
"which church?" We might counter by asking "Which
Lord should we acknowledge" To which Saviour shall we confess
our allegiance?" If the answer to these questions is that there
is but one Lord, and there is therefore no choice to be exercised,
we answer that this is exactly so. The same passage of scripture
which teaches us that there is but one Lord, teaches us clearly
that there is one New Testament church. The passage is Eph. 4:4-6:
"There is ONE BODY, and one spirit, just
as you were 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."
What is the
"ONE BODY?" We learned in
Eph. 1:22-23 that the church is the body of Christ. There is but
one Lord and there is but one body. since the one body is the church,
it follows that there is but one New Testament Church. It is just
as reasonable to speak of the plurality of Jesus Christ as to speak
of a multiplicity of churches . The church is the body of baptized
believers over which Christ rules and reigns as head, who is attempting
to live in obedience to his will.
view that one "gets saved" and then joins the church of
his choice is a concept that is neither taught or even hinted at
in all of the scriptures.
Sunday morning Troy Wheeler was baptized into Christ. Be sure to
remember him in your prayers as he begins his new life in Christ.
We would like to thank Delbert &
Frances for inviting all of us into their home last evening for
their Mexican Fiesta. It was a lot of fun. With lots
of good food and fellowship.