Jesus' Church - The church of Christ
Updated: Apr 5, 2022
The words of Jesus echo through the ages, “on this rock I will build My church” (Matthew
16:18). We know many things about this church Jesus promised to build upon the foundation of His Own Deity. We know that it would be purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28), that it would wear His name (Romans 16:16), that it would be under His headship (Ephesians 1:22), and that while it would be greatly persecuted (Acts 8:1), it would ultimately be indestructible (Matthew 16:18). Many think of the church of Christ as just another institution with a brick and mortar location. In the minds of many it is a place we go to worship God and to socialize with others. The common theory of church membership is that, after you’ve tried out a few, you find one that feels like your “church home” and suddenly you’re a member of the club! However, the Bible provides a very different concept of the church.
The Scriptures do not present the church as an organization we join, but as an assembly to which we are added (Acts 2:47). The gospel of Jesus Christ calls people out of darkness and sin and invites us to be united with Jesus and with all others who are united with Him (1 Peter 2:9). This unified body is made up of people who have heard about Jesus’ death on the cross, His burial and His miraculous resurrection (Romans 10:17), believed that glorious message (John 8:24), repented of their life of sin (Luke 13:3), confessed the Deity of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:37), and submitted to baptism (Acts 2:38). The church, which was purchased with the blood of Christ, is made up of those who have been washed in Jesus’ blood (Revelation 1:5). If I were to introduce you to the church, I would simply direct you to Christians because we are the church of Christ!
Jesus often painted word pictures to aid us in understanding spiritual concepts. He presented Himself as the door to teach us that access to God is only through Him (John 10:5-7). He described Himself as the bread of life so that we would understand that He sustains us (John 6:48). He declared that He is the way, the truth and the life to eliminate any thoughts that there could be multiple paths to heaven (John 14:6). Jesus also once pictured Himself as a vine with many branches:
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I
in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If
anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is
withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and
they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this
My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My
disciples. (John 15:5-8)
The image of the vine with fruit laden branches extending in all directions is a beautiful picture of Jesus and His church! You see, the church is not composed of people who are connected to a religious organization that claims a connection to Christ. The Bible tells us that the church is made up of individual Christians who are connected to Christ! It is our connection to Him that keeps us from living dried up, fruitless, wasted lives. It is our connection to Him that enables us to be united with each other as a body. And it is only our connection to Jesus Christ that enables us to glorify God!
Many Scriptures provide us insight into God’s purpose for His church, but none so concisely as the Epistle to the Ephesians. Right off the bat, the Holy Spirit establishes that the salvation in Christ and His church was part of God’s eternal purpose (Ephesians 1:4). This letter alerts us to the fact that God focused His grace, love and mercy toward us because He desired to bring us into “heavenly places in Christ Jesus” with the express purpose of showing the greatness of His grace and kindness! It is the eternal purpose of God that His church bring Him glory (Ephesians 3:21). The purpose of the church then is not to satisfy the felt needs of its membership, promote social justice in the community, or facilitate social interaction! As the body of Christ, all efforts, plans and programs must be sifted through the filter of the lofty purpose of bringing glory to God. All religious bodies must be sifted in the same manner. God’s glory is not set on display simply by religious practices or talk (Matthew 7:22-23). Only those who do His will demonstrate His glory!
In the midst of the abundant confusion offered up by various religious groups about the church, God’s Word provides us a beautifully clear picture of a spiritual body, Christ’s church, which is characterized by fervent love (John 13:35), sincere worship (John 4:23-24), abundant generosity (2 Corinthians 8:3-5), and such a heartfelt devotion to Jehovah God that we strive to keep His commandments (John 15:14, 1 John 5:3). Have you been added to Jesus’ church?
Author, Carlie Bond and her husband of 22 years, Clay, have four beautiful children, Artie Rose, Annabelle, Trinity & Cole. For the past 21 years Carlie has been a helper to her husband in his efforts to preach the gospel to the lost and build up the Lord’s church. Carlie is active in the Lord’s work in a variety of ways and serves her family as a homeschooling mother and works as a Realtor. Carlie and her family currently live in Marble Falls, Texas where they labor with the Lake Country church of Christ and work with the Southwest School of Bible Studies in Austin, Texas.