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 New Testament—especially in the book of Acts and the epistles of Paul (Romans – 2 Timothy)—we can read of the various characteristics of THE church that belongs to Christ:
- Its Teachings
- Its Practices
- Its Pattern of Worship
- Its Organization
- Its Government
To put a church to the test, simply compare/contrast the characteristics of any given church to the characteristics of Christ’s church (which can be found nowhere but the New Testament). Here is the kicker: if a church differs, in any capacity (e.g., teaching, practice, worship, organization, gov’t, etc.), with CHRIST’S church (according to the descriptions found 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).
The only way any church can be THE church which THE Creator purchased with THE blood of THE Son of THE God is if it “continue[s] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching.” A “denomination” (i.e., “division”) is born when men stop “continu[ing] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). Thus, 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 (cf. Matt. 23:15).
The only way a church can be THE church which THE Creator purchased with THE blood of THE Son of THE God is if it “continue[s] steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching.” …any church that is not [doing that] is just another “self-made religion” (Col. 2:23)…
Study the New Testament and read about Christ’s only church: if YOUR church varies, in any capacity from THAT church, I urge you to get out, and find one that operates strictly and solely according to the pattern found in the New Testament, 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