Defending the Church

In the previous study we discussed how our salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. We also showed from the scriptures that we access Christ by being baptized into him. In this study we want to look at Christ's church and how it relates to our salvation in Christ. People often say it doesn't matter where you go to church or you don't have to be in the church to be saved. Let's see what the Bible says about this.

First, the Bible teaches there is only one church. In Mt. 16:18 Jesus said, I will build my church. There is no question that Christ spoke here of building one church, his church. But this passage is not the only evidence that the Lord has only one church. In Eph. 4:4 Paul said "...there is only one body". Other passages echo this idea. For example, see Rom. 12:4 and 1 Cor. 12:13. Next, notice in passages like Col. 1:18, 24 the Bible says the body is the church. Since the Bible says there is one body, and the body is the church, we can conclude the Bible says there is one church.

But isn't one church just as good as another? Go back to Eph. 4:4-6. Not only does this passage say there is one body/church. It says there is one Lord. If one church is just as good as another, is one Lord just as good as another? If one church is just as good as another, is one God just as good as another? I'm only interested in one church, the Lord's church!

Some try to maintain that the different denominations are all part of the one body, the Lord's church. This is contrary to how the Lord set up His church. Did the Lord design His church to be divided into all these different denominations? In I Cor. 1:10 Paul commanded that we not have division, that we be of the same mind and judgment. This flies in the face of the idea God is pleased with there being different denominations, so this idea cannot be true. Furthermore, each denomination has their own terms of entrance and way of joining. But there's only one way to enter the Lord's church.

In Acts 2:47 the Bible says, "...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." The Lord added to His church those who were being saved. People today have the idea that you're saved then you "join" the church of your choice. The Bible says the Lord adds you to His church when you are saved. Being in the Lord's church means we are in the group that has been bought/cleansed by His blood. See Acts 20:28 with Eph. 5:25-27.

What does a person do to be saved? Remember from our previous study that salvation is in Christ. Also remember that we get into Christ by being baptized. See Acts 4:12, Gal. 3:27, etc. Now note that we get into the church by being baptized. In I Cor. 12:13 The Bible says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." It is by the authority of the Spirit that we are baptized into His body, the church. Add to this the fact that Eph. 2:16 teaches we are reconciled to God by Christ in His body, the church. So get this clear picture. Salvation is in Christ. Acts 4:12 Reconciliation to God through Christ is in His church. Eph. 2:16 Those who are saved are added to His church. Acts 2:47 We get in Christ, are added to His church, are saved, when we are baptized. Gal. 3:27/1 Pet. 3:21/1 Cor. 12:13 It all fits together. The truth always does.

The issue of Christ's church is an important doctrinal point. It's important to believe, know and be able to defend the truth. Do you know the truth? Do you believe it? Can you defend it?

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In this study we will look at just a couple of thoughts about how to study. First, In 1 Pet. 2:2 the Bible teaches us to start out with milk of the word when we are babes in Christ. Some Bible students want to start out in Revelation. Babies should not start life eating spicy meat! We must be patient students, taking in basics until we grow to digest deeper truths in God's word. More difficult and compelling truths will come in time. At first, be a patient student.

Next, don't be afraid to seek help. In Acts 8:30-31 the Eunuch wanted to understand what he read. But he needed guidance. It is not wrong to seek guidance from a trusted Christian to help you understand God's word. You don't have to take everything they say as gospel. But you can use their aid to help you grow in your understanding, constantly checking what they tell you against God's word.

Think about these simple ideas. In future studies we'll have more thoughts about how to study God's word.
Question For This Study What was the name of the apostle Peter's father? Yes the Bible really does say. It's kind of hidden, but it's there.
Answer To Last Question

Luke's gospel is the one written in order. Check out Luke 1:3 says he set forth his recounting of Christ's life in order. This means in chronological order.