THE CHURCH . HOW MANY? #2
My readers, I believe the scriptures presented in last week's article reveal six things. One. God's purpose from the beginning, was to make known his wisdom unto the world, by one church. Two. God through the Old Testament prophets foretold the coming of only one church. Three. God through John the Baptist and Jesus promised only one church. Four. Jesus during his three year, personal ministry, made many statements about the church to come; but not even once spoke about the churches to come. Five. he said I will build my church; but never said, I will build my churches. Six. just as sure as he said there shall be one shepherd, he also said there shall be one fold or one church (Jo. 10:13-16). My dear fellow believers in Jesus, would you dare say: We now have more than one shepherd?
All right, after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the afore promised church was established. Yes, from Genesis through Act, Chapter One, God's writers wrote: The church is coming. However, from Acts 2, through Rev. 22, they wrote: It has come.
I believe there are many scriptures found in the Book of Acts and those that follow it, which teach: God in the beginning of this age had only one church.
According to Acts 2:47 and Col. 1:13, the saved in those days did not join the church of their choice. Neither did God add them to the church of their choice. No, these scriptures say God added them to the church of his dear Son.
There are scriptures in these books of the New Testament such as Eph. 1:22-23 and Eph. 5:23 which say God made Christ the head of only one church. There are also other scriptures which say that Paul as an enemy of Jesus, only persecuted and made havoc of one church (Acts 8:3,1 Cor. 15:9). Also, in Col. 1:24, we hear Paul say that he as a friend of Jesus suffered for only one church.
The Apostle Paul, In Eph. 5:25 did not say husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the churches and gave himself up for them. No. He said husbands love your wives as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it. Then too, this same apostle who said Christ died for only one church, in Eph. 2:11-16, said he died so that all people might be reconciled unto God in one body or one church.
The Apostle John in Rev. 1:9 did not say unto all of God's people in seven cities in Asia, I, John am your brother in the kingdoms of Jesus Christ. No, this is not what he said. He said: I, John am your brother in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
As we read Rom. 12:4-5, we hear Paul say: We being many, are many churches. No, oh no, that is not what we read in that scripture. It says: "As we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we, being many members, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another." So, in the early days of the church, all of God's people were just one body or one church.
Does Paul, I Cor. 12:13, say some are baptized into one church and some into another church? No. In this scripture, he wrote "For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body."
Now finally, just as sure as Paul, Eph. 4:4-5 declared there is one God, he also proclaimed there is one body or one church. Yes, in verse six, he wrote: "There is one God." But in verse four, he also wrote: "There is one body." My friend, I know that you and I believe there is one God; but why, I ask, do we believe this? Is it not because the Bible says so? All right, what shall we do? Shall we refuse to believe there is one body or church? If so, well we must admit we do not believe everything the Bible says. Yes, this we must admit. Because there is no way we can prove Paul, in Eph. 4:4-6, said there is one God; but did not say there is one church.
My readers, from the scriptures which we have considered, what have we found in both last week's article and this one?
I believe we have found that there was only one church in God's plan from times eternal (Eph. 3:10-11) and that God through the Old Testament prophets promised only one church (Isa. 2:1-3, Micah 4:1-2, Dan. 2:44, Dan. 7:13-14, Zech. 6:12- 13); that God through John the Baptist and Jesus only promised one church (Mat. 3:1-2, Jo. 3:29, Mat. 4:17, Mark 1:15, Mat. 10:7); that Jesus during his personal ministry stated many facts about the church to come (Luke 22:29, Luke 12:32), but had nothing to say about the churches to come; that Jesus said people of that time would see one church come with power (Mark 9:1); that Jesus did not say I will build my churches, but said I will build my church (Mat. 16:18); that Jesus said there shall be one church, that after the beginning of the church age, God added all the saved people to one church (Acts 2:47, Col. 1:13); that God made Christ the head of one church (Eph. 1:20- 23, Eph. 5:23); that the apostles and all of God's people in seven cities of Asia were members of one and the same church (Rev. 1:9); that all people who were baptized were baptized into one body or church (I Cor. 12-13); that God's people, as many members, are one body or church (Rom. 12:4-5); that Paul who in Eph. 4:4-5 said there is one God, also said there is one church.
Yes, all those scriptures say that God through the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist and Jesus, said there shall be one church. Then from Acts, Chapter Two through Revelation, Chapter Twenty-two, God through his inspired apostles and prophets said: There is one church.
However, from the beginning of the Old Testament through Acts, Chapter One, there is not to be found one scripture which either says or even implies there shall be churches. Likewise, from Acts, Chapter Two through Revelation, Chapter Twenty- two, there is not to be found one scripture which either says or implies there is more than one church.
So who am I to say, there is more than one???
By: Tommy Hodge
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