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A Timeless and Worldwide Church

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

As Christians we plead that we desire to be like the church of the first century, yet it can

be difficult to see the church outside of our 21st century eyes. Furthermore, we

recognize the worldwide nature of the church, yet as Christians living in America, it can

be difficult to see the church outside of an American context. However, God’s plan for

His church was not one that only exists in 21st century America. The church has a

much greater context and reach than our local congregations or even those we connect

with personally through mission trips. The church is a timeless and worldwide institution

created by God for the salvation of His people and His glorification (Ephesians 3:20-21).

As we consider the timeless nature of the church, we cannot neglect that even before

the foundation of the church recorded in Acts 2, the church existed in prophecy. God

declared His plan for the church long before the apostles were inspired to preach the

gospel message to those men and women who would become the first Christians on the

day of Pentecost. Daniel, through God’s mercy in interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream,

detailed the coming kingdom that would be set up by God, that would never be

destroyed, and that would stand forever (Daniel 2:44). Isaiah prophesied that in latter

days the Lord’s house would be established and that all nations would flow to it (Isaiah

2:2-3). Joel described events that would take place on the day when the church was

established (Joel 2:28-32).

Consideration of the church in prophecy not only highlights the timelessness of the

church, but also the worldwide nature of the church. The prophecies of Isaiah and Joel

clearly identified that the church would be for all, not some. Isaiah stated that “all

nations would flow to the Lord’s house,” (Isaiah 2:2) and Joel stated that “whoever calls

on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Joel 2:32). The words “all” and “whoever”

leave no one out. Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, even directly quotes from Joel 2

during his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16-21). Other New Testament

writings also emphasize that anyone can become a part of God’s kingdom if one

submits to His will, no matter one’s gender, ethnicity, location, or station in life

(Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). It is truly a blessing that we can be a part of the

church of Christ regardless of when or where we were born.

God provided everything that mankind would need for one not only to be a part of His

church, but also to serve Him, worship Him, and teach others about Him when He gave

mankind His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When Peter wrote that God gave us everything

that pertains to life and godliness, the blessing was not just for the first century

Christians to whom he was inspired to write (2 Peter 1:1-3). God’s design for the church

allows the church to exist and glorify His name throughout the world without the

necessity of a human head or human organization. I have been blessed with the

opportunity to gather with the Lord’s people, not only across the United States, but on

three continents across the world. These congregations of God’s people, and the others

like them, are able to obey His will because He provided His will in His Word and gave

the church the perfect Head, Jesus (Ephesians 1:22-23; Matthew 16:18).

Because God has given all of the world the same inspired Word, everyone can walk by

the same standard (Philippians 3:15-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, we can all be unified in speech, thought, and doctrine no matter our location, culture, or language (1

Corinthians 1:10). God’s plan from the beginning was for the church to be the true

melting pot that brought together people from different backgrounds into His perfect

family (Romans 1:16). While one may know this from reading the Scriptures, being able

to teach the Bible in South America, worship with the church in Singapore, hold a ladies’

day in Malaysia, or conduct a personal study on a front porch in Jamaica cements the

notion that the power of God’s Word is not stopped by any manmade differences. The

church prophesied and realized has been in existence for nearly 2000 years. The

church of Christ should be the same the world over. This is the power of the seed of the

kingdom (Luke 8:11).

The ability for mankind to read God’s Word, follow it, and teach it no matter one’s

gender, language, ethnicity, or position provides an opportunity for unity across the

world unlike any manmade institution. Christians, whether Malaysian, Filipino, Mexican,

French, or American, choose to submit to God through His Word and live lives

according to His standard. It does not matter that one Christian worships in English

while another worships in Tagalog. It does not matter that one Christian lives as a

faithful wife in a home without electricity while another lives as a faithful wife in a home

with every modern convenience. It does not matter that one Christian is a man and

another Christian is a woman. As Christians we are all one in Jesus, because He has

made us all heirs (Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Peter 3:7). Truly the church is comprised of all

nations under heaven from whoever will call on His name (Acts 2:21). Paul exhorted the

Christians in Ephesus to “walk worthy of the calling of which you were called. . .

endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” and directed their

minds that “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of

your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above

all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:1-6). As Christians, we can be united

across the city, the state, the county, and the world because these things are still true

today. It is certainly a blessing that God’s gift of salvation in the church is available to all

and that Christians can be united across the world.


Lisa Kennedy is a stay-at-home and homeschool mom who works part-time for Macmillian Publishing. She is married to Trent Kennedy and they have four children, Ella, Troy, Luke, and Annie. Currently, Trent works with the Four Seas Bible College in Singapore where Lisa serves as part-time women's faculty. Their family will be relocating to work with the Southwest School of Bible Studies and Southwest church of Christ over the summer of 2022. Lisa has been involved in foreign mission work in St. Lucia, Jamaica, Paraguay, Mexico, Malaysia, and Singapore.

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