Question: You often make reference to the one true Church that is talked about in the Bible; please comment on that Church.

Answer: Part 7 — The identity (personality, character, disposition, distinctiveness, make up, nature, spirit, etc.) of the Church has for many years, been a source of discussions and difference of opinions and has led, to a very large degree, to religious division. And we all know that religious division is sinful (John 17:20-21).

Yet, in the Bible, the identity of the Church, is spelled out very clear and is extremely important to the salvation of our souls.

The one true Church of Christ talked about in the Bible is singular and is distinct and separate from every other institution or organization here on earth—it is “God’s” Kingdom not mans! It is not of mankind in any manner and it is the only establishment that is divinely appointed to teach the gospel of Christ (Ephesians 3:10). Thus it is of the utmost importance to the salvation of our souls (Romans 1:16).

Consequently the acceptance, by any other organization or institution, of man made names, ways of worship, teaching of the gospel, maintaining purity, bringing about of worldliness, creeds, practices, etc. is to God’s displeasure.

In this lesson we will study, from the Bible, seven points that will show us how to identify the one true church: the identity of the church; a scriptural name; scriptural worship; scriptural teaching; the purity of the church; the church and worldliness and the discipline of the church.

Here is a line of reasoning to keep in mind as we study this subject: if I was “looking” for my uncle Jack who was dressed in a blue shirt and grey pants, and I found aunt Jackie, dressed in a blue evening dress, would she be my uncle Jack? You would think me a little off my rocker to try to pass aunt Jackie off as uncle Jack, wouldn’t you? Then why not “look” for the church that is described in the New Testament the same way?

The identity of the church: when Moses received, from God, instructions on how God wanted to be worshipped by the Israelites He told Moses to “Build according to the pattern” (Exodus 25:9). Christians are told the same thing in Hebrews 8:5. God said the church is “measured” by the divine standard not mans (Revelation 11:1). Paul said; “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Timothy 2:5). Note: we must do our best lawfully!

A scriptural name: if the Church of Christ here on earth is built according to the pattern it will wear the name that we find called out in the Bible. Why would we want any other name anyway?

In Romans 16:16 Paul called the local congregations “churches of Christ.” He also pointed out that the Church is the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2), therefore it should wear the name of Christ. Would you dare to address Mr. Smith’s wife as Mrs. Johnson? Then why call the bride of Christ by a bogus name? The simple truth of the matter is: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17).

Scriptural worship: the very first church of Christ (Acts 2:42) is said to have “continued steadfastly” in apostolic teaching. Shouldn’t we?

People often contend that scriptural worship is to take place on the Sabbath. Yet the Bible said that the Sabbath Law given to the Israelites (Deuteronomy 5:15) was to end (Hosea 2:11), and in the New Testament we find our Sabbath of the new law to be the rest or fellowship we have with God and Christ as faithful Christians (Hebrews 3:11-4:11). The New Law leads us to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24) on the Lord’s Day, not on the Sabbath. This means that Christians will assemble (Hebrews 10:25) and sing, pray, teach, partake of the Lord’s Supper and make a contribution.

Scriptural teaching: is not a time for story telling, making a show of yourself or trying to impress the audience with how well you can speak before a crowd. It is a time to glorify God and say the things He wants us to say which is exactly what the Holy Spirit did (John 16:13). It is teaching that is book, chapter and verse out of the Bible (1 Peter 4:11). The gospel is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16) why would we want to teach anything else?

The purity of the Church: the sacrifice of and provisions of Christ ensured that the Church would be pure as His Bride (Ephesians 5:25-27). Therefore we as individual Christians must maintain that purity daily by walking in the light of the gospel, thus being cleansed by the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7). Why do we want to live by any other teaching than the pure gospel of Christ? No other teaching offers salvation of the soul!

The Church and worldliness: at all cost the church must be kept clear of things of the world. If and when the purity of the church is contaminated by things of the world, brought in by its members, then accepted and practiced by the congregation, it loses its identity and is no longer the Lord’s church.

Paul was very clear on the fact that the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of the world do not mix (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The discipline of the church: something that is almost unheard of anymore, and when it is, most of the time, it is done in an unscriptural manner. Yet the Bible is very clear, that at times, it must be done (1 Corinthians 5:6). This is one means of keeping the church pure. Souls are at stake! Just keep in mind that discipline means, correcting a problem. Problems most often are solved by teaching, leading, being an example, etc. If all this fails then withdrawal of fellowship must take place (1 Corinthians 5:13).

Watch for Part 8: The Worship of the Church. Do you have a Bible question or comment you would like to have answered? Please call Marshall Stubblefield at (423) 272-2404.