The bible tells us that Jesus built (Matt 16:18) and paid for (Acts 20:28) only one church. God’s plan for man’s salvation calls for only one church, His church. There is but one body, which is the church, one Spirit, one calling, one hope, 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). Membership was so exclusive in this one body that it was spoken of as “the way” (Acts 9:2, 19:9,23, 24:14,22). It is also interesting to note that God never gave “the way” a formal name.
Individually, disciples of Christ were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26, 26:28, I Peter 4:16). Collectively they were known as “the church”. For example, they were called “the church of God” (Acts 20:28), “the church of Christ” (Rom. 16:16), “the church of the living God” (I Tim. 3:15), and “the church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23). Various congregations were spoken of as “the church” in a specific location (Rev. chapters 1,2,3). They were “the churches of Judea” (Gal. 1:22), “the church of the Laodiceans” (Col 4:16), “the churches of Asia” (I Cor. 16:19), “the church in the house of Philemon” (Phm. 1:2), and many others.
Let me say by authority of the holy scriptures, in New Testament times there was not a single denomination in existence, no not one. Every single congregation believed, practiced, and taught the exact same thing (I Cor 1:10) Penitent, baptized believers were “saints” that had been added by God to the church, that belonged to Him (Acts 2:47, I Cor. 1:1-3). There was no divisions or other allegiance.
Is it possible today for us to be nothing more or less than the church we find in the bible? Since God is unchanging (Heb. 6:17, 13:8, James 1:17), then His plans have not changed. I believe that it is not only possible, but essential that we seek His one and only church, if we are to have the hope of heaven.
The church was divinely planned by God even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:1-4, 3:8-11). The church is a divine institution, divinely equipped with all truth that pertains to life and godliness and every good work. (I Peter 1:3, II Tim. 3:16-17). The church has a divinely appointed head, Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22-23, Col. 1:18). The church has divinely inspired instructions for governing and our worship to God (John 16:13). The church has a divinely added membership (Acts 2:47) The New Testament church can and does exist today, because Jesus promised that it would (Matt. 16:18).
God’s plan was for unity and He condemned division of His church in any form or fashion (I Cor. 1:12-13) Since God’s plan calls for absolutely no division, then it stands to reason that the many divisions and denominations must be the schemes of men.
When the seed, ie, the Word of God (Luke 8:11) is planted today it will still produce the same thing that it produced in the New Testament, “the church”. If we make the New Testament our spiritual pattern and guide, believe what it teaches, do what it says, then we will indeed be the New Testament church of Jesus Christ. The church is a glorious and holy institution, sanctified and cleansed by the blood of Christ, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. It is made up of imperfect human beings always striving to do what is right in the sight of God (Eph. 5:27). Seek this church today and you will surely find it (Matt. 7:7).
We invite all who would, to come together with us to study God’s word and worship Him in spirit and in truth. We are the church of Christ, Kedron congregation on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, KY. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at 10 a.m., Worship at 11 a.m. each Sunday morning. Our speakers, are Richard Sitz, as well as many excellent guest speakers from Crittenden Drive church of Christ, and our song leader is Prentice White.