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

Answer: Part 2. The origin (beginning) of the Church has, for many years, been a source of discussions and difference of opinions and has led, at least to some degree, religious division. And we all know that religious division (John 17:20-21) is sinful. At least I think we all know that.

Much of this religious division is the result of not understanding and or making a distinction between Old Testament and New Testament authority. This then leads to a misunderstanding of what authority the church is to work under.

Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that He would build His Church. Therefore it belongs to Him and not us to do with as “we” see fit.

In Acts 1:6, just prior to the ascension of Christ, the disciples ask Him if He was going to restore again the Kingdom (Church) to Israel. This shows that the Church was not at this time established.

We can and do know, from Old Testament prophecy and New Testament fulfillment, exactly when the Church was established: In Isaiah 2:2-3, Isaiah says that it would take place in Jerusalem in the last days. In Daniel 2:44, Daniel says, the last days will take place when Rome (fourth kingdom) ruled the world. In Joel 2:28, Joel says that it would happen with the advent of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-47 states that in Jerusalem, under the rule of the Roman Empire, the Holy Spirit came and the Church was established (see verse 47). Therefore there is no mystery about “when” the Church was established if we just believe what the Bible plainly says.

Now that we have seen the Church established let’s consider by “what” authority the local congregations (Romans 16:16) is to work under.

John clearly points to the fact that the Old Testament Law was given by Moses and the New Testament Law is by Christ (John 1:17). But, the point being made is that the New Testament Law completely furnishes us with what we need for salvation of our souls while the Old Law did not. Now, which one would you rather believe and obey?

We are then told in Hebrews 1:1-2 and Hebrews 2:1-4 that God speaks to us through His Son and if we neglect to hear Him we will not escape God’s wrath—eternal fire of Hell.

The New Testament plainly says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). It also says that it will completely furnish us with everything God desires of us in order to save our souls (2 Timothy 3:16). And, Jude 3 says the gospel was “once delivered,” therefore no need of additional revelation, and John said we are not allowed to add to it or take away from it (Revelation 22:18-19). I believe God is clear on which Law (authority) Christians and the Church are to live by. Folks, that’s plain enough for me, how about you?

Now, having shown, and there being no doubt, that the New Testament (gospel) has replaced the Old Testament in areas of authority in the Church and the Christian life, let us not think that the Old Testament is of no use, any longer, to us. It is!

In Hebrews 8:6-13 we are informed that God’s plan always included a new law for Christians and the Church. A law established upon better promises. A law in that God would no more remember our forgiven sins. He remembered the forgiven sins of Israel from year to year under the Law of Moses. But, has given us a law that is new, not old and decaying, and all of this by God’s decree.

Paul says in Ephesians 2:11-16 that God abolished the Old Law for the purpose of reconciling all Christians in one body—the Church, under the gospel.

Then, Paul undoubtedly says in Colossians 2:14-17 that Christians are not judged by the authority of the Old Law. We might ask why? The reason: that as long as the authority of the Old Law was in effect we were married to it, so it had to go so we could be married to Christ (Romans 7:1-6).

Now, for a passage of scripture for all who still believe that living according to Old Testament, at least in part, is OK and acceptable to God: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians5:4). I believe that is simple enough.

So, where does this leave the Old Testament of our Bible? Good question, one that deserves a Bible answer. So, let’s just see what the Bible says: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11 KJV). I have said for years that the Bible is its own best commentary. And it is!

True repentance begins in the heart, and ends in the reformation of life!

Watch for Part 3: The Mission 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.