A. How do you identify your lost item?
If your child become lost.
If your car become lost.
You are looking for a house; how do you go about to find it?
B. When you are looking for the church that Jesus built; how do you go about looking for it? Some people talk about "the church of your choice". They think of the church like ice cream that comes in various forms and flavours.
A. How many churches did Jesus build? Matt 16:18; Acts 2:47
B. If Jesus only built one church, why are there so many different churches? 1 Tim 4: 1; 2 Tim 4: 3-4 “ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
C. What the word “church” means?
In Scripture, "church" never means a "denomination".
The Greek word for "church is ekklesia. It simply means the "called out" people — called out of darkness into God's light. (1Pe 2:9; John 1:4).
D. Are all churches the same? Gal 1:6-9; 2 John 9-11
E. Reasons why some think all churches are the same:
Ignorance – Lack of knowledge.
Previous knowledge - They have been wrongly taught by false teachers.
Denial - Refusal to believe that there are differences.
Prejudice – I don’t like the Church of Christ.
Emotional – Various causes: a. Deep attachment – They have been here for many years. b. Rejection - You mean my parents and friends are wrong too.
F. Reasons for denominations - Because men have disobeyed God’s command not to add to or take away from His word through the years. Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18,19; Col. 3:17
G. Does it matter which ‘church’ you belong to?
Men say it doesn’t – Choose the church of your choice.
Jesus says it does. a. Because it is His body. Eph 1: 22, 23 b. Because He died for it. Eph 5: 25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” c. Because He bought it with His own blood. Acts 20: 28 d. Because He says there is only ONE. Eph 4: 4 e. Because the church is His bride. Rev 21: 9 “Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.”
H. Proofs that Jesus built only one church.
Christ mentioned only ONE. Matt 16: 18
Christ has only ONE body, which is the church. Eph 1:22, 23
The Holy Spirit mentioned only ONE bride. Rev 21: 9; 22: 17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.”
Jesus mentioned only ONE shepherd and ONE fold. John 10: 16
I. We can identify the Lord’s Church:
Founder – Jesus Christ. Matt 16: 18
Times and places of establishment – Jerusalem; AD 30. Acts 2: 47
Names – Church of Christ (Rom 16: 16); Church of God (Acts 20: 28); Church of the Firstborn (Heb 12: 23).
Head – Jesus Christ. Col 1: 18
Organization – Elders and Deacons. Phil 1: 1
Worship – According to the New Testament pattern. John 4: 24
Teachings on Salvation – Mark 16: 16; Acts 2: 38
The Creed – No human creed. The bible is the only Authority. 2 Tim 3: 16, 17
J. The Church that Jesus built is Unique.
Isaiah prophesied about some 750 years before it was established – (Isaiah 2:2-3) “2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”
Micah prophesied about in about 710 B.C. (Micah 4:1-2)
Daniel foretold about some 600 years before its establishment. (Daniel 2:31-45)
Zechariah prophesied in 520 B.C. said it would be established in Jerusalem. (Zechariah 1:16) “Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”
Jesus Christ promised its establishment. (Matthew 16: 18-19)
K. If Jesus were on earth today, which church would He attend?
L. Is God pleased with this division in the religious world?
Absolutely not! Jn. 17:20,21; 1Cor. 1:10-13
Warning given by Jesus -Mt. 15:8-14 – Every church that God has not planted will be rooted up! Hence, it is eternally important to be a member of the one true church.
M. Follow the PATTERN - God has given us a way to identify that church and to distinguish it from all of the denominations established by men through the years. Rom 6: 17
Noah and the building of the ark. Gen 6: 14-16
Moses and the building of the Tabernacle. Ex. 25:9,40 - God gave Moses the pattern.
Choose the church of Jesus’ choice.
Choose the church that Jesus built and died for.
Jesus has given us the pattern for us to recognize His church.
Be a member of the church that teaches correctly the way of salvation.
Only the church that Jesus built will save you.
The saved are in the church – You cannot be saved if you are a member of a church which the Lord did not build.