I Will Build My Church
This, my friends, is the statement of the Saviour in Matthew 16:18. In this article we intend to ask, and with the Scriptures answer, certain questions.
God is a God of order, plan and design. In the working of nature, we see this amply demonstrated. "Let everything produce after its kind" was and is a fundamental law. By miracle He created the first oak tree but from that time forward the acorn produces the oak and the oak produces the acorn. The maple produces after its kind, and so with all nature. Man was given dominion (Genesis 1:26). He may produce different varieties within a class, but he cannot set aside God's law of reproduction.
David said, "The heavens declare the glory of God." So perfect is His system that man as he studies can foretell to the very minute when there will be an eclipse.
The God who thus controls the universe also has a fixed purpose in regard to the church. We ask the question and propose to answer it from the New Testament: What is God's purpose in regard to the church?
We shall begin our study in Ephesians 2:11-21. We find under the old law that there was a partition between the Jew and the Gentile. The Israelites were God's chosen people. The Gentiles were strangers, separate from Christ, without God and having no hope. In Christ Jesus we have been made near by His blood. Christ broke down the partition (law of commandments) on the cross, and in one body He proposed to reconcile both (Jew and Gentile) to God. In Ephesians 1:22, 23 we learn that the body of Christ is the church. So God's law is that all men are to be reconciled to Him in the body (church) of Christ. Denominations do not exist in the divine plan of God.
"Mark them that are causing divisions" (Romans 16:17). Christ died for the purpose of reconciling the world in one body (church). Man has set up human institutions. Are you a member of the body of Christ or of a man-made body? Christ purchased the church with His blood. He did not purchase a denomination. Jesus gave himself for the church (Ephesians 5:25). Christ is the head of the church as the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23). The church is one body (not many bodies as some teach). There is no scripture that intimates that these various denominations are part of the body of Christ. Quite the reverse is true. These denominational churches are independent bodies (not a part of the body). They are additions to God' plan. Read God's condemnation in II John 9.
The apostles tell us further, the two shall become one flesh, and he said he speaks of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31, 32). Are you trusting in God's law or do you think that God is going to sanction and endorse spiritual adultery by adding or joining many bodies to Christ? God forbid.
It is God's purpose that through the church the manifold wisdom of God is to be made known. Man regards this command (Ephesians 3:10, 11) with indifference. Are you trusting in God or man? Is it not time that all human dross were removed from our religion and we proclaimed only the wisdom of God? Peter says (I Peter 4:11), "If any man speaketh, speaking as the oracles of God...." When men speak only as the oracles of God, then all human institutions will cease to be and human societies will no longer encumber the work of Christ. The church will shine in all its beauty as the bride of Christ.
The next Scripture we wish to consider bears out much of what we have already adduced. "Unto him be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ unto all generations forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21). Are we obeying God's law or are we following man? Are you hoping God will set aside His law and accept your disobedience? Read Hebrews 10:28, 29; Hebrews 2:1- 4.
One more passage as to God's purpose in the church. It is the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15). Pilate asked the question, "What is truth?" but didn't wait for an answer. Jesus said in His prayer to His Father, "Thy word is truth." The church, therefore, is the pillar and ground of the Word of God.
How did Christ build his church? What is the foundation? It was to be a rock. The foundation is Christ (I Corinthians 3:11). The rock is Christ (I Corinthians 3:10). On Pentecost this fact is proclaimed (Acts 2:36). We are added as living stones (I Peter 2:5). Those who believe, repent, and are baptized are added to the body of Christ (see Acts 2:38, 41, 47). Acts 18:8 tells us that the Corinthians heard, believed, and were baptized. They thus are named the church of God (I Corinthians 1:2). We are baptized into one body (I Corinthians 1:13). He cleansed and sanctified (set apart) the church by the washing of water with the word (Ephesians 5:26).
Where are the records? The church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven (Hebrews 12:23). Are your name and mine written there?
Is my name written there
On the page white and fair?
In the book of thy kingdom
Is my name written there?
J. C. Bailey, 1936, Ogema, Saskatchewan
This article was published in the first issue of The Gospel Herald, March 1936.
Published in The Old Paths Archive