The Lord’s Church

Text: Matthew 16:18

This is the first in a series of lessons about different churches. There are many different churches in the religious world. We need to know why they are different and why that is important. In this lesson, we will look at the church that Jesus established – the one shown to us in the New Testament.

Is One Church as Good as Another?

  • Many in the religious world claim that one church is as good as another – “join the church of your choice”; but is the claim true?
  • Biblically speaking, no – not all churches are what they claim to be (Revelation 3:1); some have departed from Christ (Revelation 2:4)
  • Practically speaking, no – even those who claim that one church is as good as another don’t believe it; they choose what church to attend because they believe it is better than the others (due to worship style, ministries, preacher, classes, etc.)
  • If we understand that one church is not as good as another, we should want to find the right church and also avoid the wrong church

The Lord Established One Church

  • Jesus has one church – in all of the following passages, church is singular, not plural
  • He promised to build one church (Matthew 16:18-19)
  • He purchased one church (Acts 20:28)
  • He is the head over one church (Ephesians 1:22-23)
  • He is the Savior of one church (Ephesians 5:23)
  • This church was established on the day of Pentecost following Jesus’ death (Acts 2:47) – fulfillment of what Jesus said would happen (Mark 9:1; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4)
  • This church is made up of individuals, not churches (Acts 2:47; John 15:1-6)

Identifying the Lord’s Church

  • God adds individuals who are saved to the universal church (Acts 2:47) – they then join a local church (Acts 9:26)
  • How can we know what local church to join? – look for the identifying marks revealed in the New Testament
  • Proper name (Romans 16:16; cf. Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:23) – of Christ, not of anyone or anything else (1 Corinthians 1:13)
  • Proper worship (John 4:24) – singing (Ephesians 5:19), preaching (Acts 20:7), praying (Acts 2:42); on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7) and giving (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • Proper message (1 Timothy 3:15) – the gospel (Romans 1:16); without additions, subtractions, or changes (2 John 9; Acts 20:27; Galatians 1:6-9)
  • Proper work – evangelism (1 Thessalonians 1:8); edification (Ephesians 4:16), and limited benevolence (Acts 4:32-35; 11:29-30)
  • Proper organization – elders and deacons (Philippians 1:1); plurality of elders (Acts 14:23); local oversight (1 Peter 5:2); these men cannot be just anyone, but they must meet certain qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)
  • Many churches have no interest in conforming to the New Testament pattern (2 Timothy 1:13; Colossians 3:17)

Conclusion

  • If we want to be saved, we must be part of the church that the Lord established (Ephesians 5:23) – no salvation elsewhere (Acts 4:12); all other churches will be uprooted (Matthew 15:13)
  • If you have not been added by God to the Lord’s church, you need to be (Acts 2:37-38, 41, 47)
  • If you have been added to the church but have fallen away, you need to repent (Acts 8:22)

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