Bulletin for 02-05-2012
It’s a common enough question, but the answer is not necessarily so simple. First, if you have your own church, you are in direct competition with Jesus Christ, who also has his own church. We use that terminology very loosely to describe the church where we work or labor, but perhaps emphasizing Christ’s ownership would lead everyone to greater respect for his authority over the church.
Second, throughout the first century of the ministry of Jesus and the early existence of the church he built, it had no recognizable proper name. The apostles lived in a time during which no denominations existed, no pope had yet
been imagined or ordained, and the need for identifying nomenclature was absent. The New Testament describes churches without any sectarian signification. There were no Baptist or Methodist Churches, no St. Paul’s or St. Bartholomew’s. Even when the congregations were described as “churches of Christ” or “churches of God,” there was no denominational intent, but only an acknowledgement of divine possession. The churches in Revelation were identified only by location. Their namelessness was a short-lived triumph over the divisive impulses of men.
By Jeff Smith
The Church of Christ
By Joe R. Price
The expression "church of Christ" is a descriptive term of possession. The word church is a collective noun (like "flock" or "family"). The church is composed of saved people (Christians, the "called out" ones, Acts 2:41, 47). "Church of Christ" is used to signify the church that belongs to Christ ("I will build my church", Matt. 16:18). "Church of Christ" is not a denominational title.
We emphatically affirm that the church of Christ is not a denomination. While many promote the advantages of "the church of your choice," Jesus' urgent prayer to the Father was for the unity of His believers - not their division into religious sects (Jno. 17:20-21). Denominationalism is the essence of religious division. We plead for the unity of believers with the truth of Jesus as the basis for that unity (Eph. 4:3-6; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Others would promote the notion that Christ is important, but the church - not so much. Yes, Christ is preeminently important (Col. 1:18). We must also acknowledge the importance of His church; the church of Christ (Matt. 16:18). To diminish the church of Christ is to diminish Christ.
The importance of Christ's church is brought into focus by what the Bible says about the church of Christ:
1) It belongs to Jesus, not man (Matt. 16:18). Jesus built it; it is His. Men have constructed rivals to it, but without Christ's approval.
2) Jesus purchased His church with His blood (Acts 20:28). This is the value Jesus places on His church, the saved ones.
3) Jesus is the head of the church of Christ (Col. 1:18). Since it is His, He exercises supreme authority over it. That is how valuable the church is to Him. We must submit ourselves to His authority in all things (Matt. 28:18-20; Col. 3:17).
4) The church of Christ is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Who wants to believe for a moment that Christ's body (composed of the saved ones) is insignificant?
5) Jesus is the Savior of His body, the church of Christ (Eph. 5:23). He gave Himself to die on the cross so she could live (Eph. 5:25). That is how important the church is to Jesus!
How important is the church of Christ to you? (Acts 2:36-42, 47) (from The Spirit’s Sword)