As we come to a close on this series of articles on giving honor to Jesus Christ, we have only seen a glimpse of what it takes to give honor to Christ. To give honor to Christ one must be a member of the church that Christ purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). Today, so many religious groups exist, but how did they come about? If you trace back the history of your religious group, where did it have its beginning? The church was first conceived in the mind of God. Notice Ephesians 3:10-11, the church was part of the eternal plan of God which he purposed in Christ Jesus. God planned only one church, and Jesus built only one church – body (Eph. 4:4; 1:21-22).
The Church that Jesus built has nothing whatsoever to do with a physical building. When the Bible speaks of the church, it is referring to the saved, those who have heard, believed and obeyed the gospel (Acts 2). In order to determine if a religious organization is man-made or God-made, we will examine the scripture to see what is said about when the church was established. From this we should be able to examine the religious body that we are associated with and see if it matches up. If it does, then you have found the New Testament church, but, if not, then you should ask yourself if God would have you continue in error or change to the pattern of the New Testament and His church.
There is Old Testament prophecy concerning the church: Isaiah 2:2-3; Dan. 2:44; Micah 4:1-3. John the Baptist also foretold of the coming of the Lord’s church (Matt. 3:2). Jesus himself began His ministry with this message about the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 4:17). In A.D. 32, Jesus said his kingdom would come in the life of some of those present at that time (Mark 9:1). In Luke 22:18, A.D. 33, before Pentecost the kingdom is spoken of as yet future. But, every time the church is mentioned after Pentecost, it is spoken of as being in existence (Acts 2:47; 5:11; 13:1-3; 20:28).
Prophecy of the time frame and Jerusalem is spoken concerning the establishment of the church. Jesus said there were some that were alive that would see the church come with power (Mark 9:1). In Luke 24:49, before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his apostles to “wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high.” In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes upon the twelve apostles (the power from on high) and they preach the gospel message of Jesus Christ. When the crowd of Jews realized they had slain their Messiah, (v. 37) “they were pricked in their hearts” and asked, “What shall we do?” Peter told them to “repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” In verse 41, they did this and were added together with the apostles. Verse 47 summarizes the occasion, “…the Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved.”
This is the occasion the church is established. If your religious group was not established then and was built by some man later, it is not the church. Give Christ the honor, be a part of the New Testament church by obedience to the gospel, and after submission to the Lord’s plan of salvation, He will add you unto His church.