Did you know there are over 30,000 various “Christian” “churches” in the world today? Did you know that—in the New Testament (NT)—there is only ONE church (Matt. 16:18; Rom. 12:4,5; 1 Cor. 12:12,13,20; et al.)? That leads to this eternally important question:
HOW DO I KNOW WHICH CHURCH IS THE CHURCH?
In the NT, we can read of the various characteristics of THE church that belongs to Christ:
- Its Teachings
- Its Practices
- Its Organization
- Its Government, etc.
To put a church to the test, simply compare/contrast traits of that church to the traits of Christ’s church (as found only in the NT): if any given church does not match up—in any capacity—with CHRIST’S church, which we read about in the New Testament, then that church is NOT Christ’s church, which He built and purchased with His blood (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28).
A great key is found in Acts 2:42:
“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching…”
“Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all SPEAK THE SAME THING and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you…” (1 Cor. 1:10).
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received FROM US” (2 Thess. 3:6).
“If anyone does not obey what WE say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed” (2 Thess. 3:14).
“If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are A COMMAND OF THE LORD” (1 Cor. 14:37).
In order to be THE church which THE Creator purchased with THE blood of THE Son of THE God, a church must “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching.” A “division” (i.e., “denomination”) is born when men stop “continu[ing] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42); and any church that is not “continu[ing] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching” is NOT Christ’s church, but is just another “self-made religion” (Col. 2:23)—and no self-made religion has ever gotten a single soul to heaven.
Study the New Testament and read about Christ’s only church: if YOUR church varies, in any capacity from THAT church, get out, and find one that operates strictly and solely according to the NT, with nothing added or subtracted—i.e., one that is “in Christ” (Gal. 2:6) and “of Christ” (Rom. 16:16).
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, DOES NOT HAVE GOD.
Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
2 J O H N 9