Christ's Church - Where?
by Ed Stevens
The moment one is saved his body becomes "a habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22; I Cor. 6:19). He is that moment spiritually joined or "added to the church"—Christ's "ecclesia", called-out assembly (Acts 2:47), "the church which is Christ's body" (Eph. 1:22, 23), in which "God hath set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him" (I Cor. 12:18). Thus each saved person is a part of Christ's church. When he is in a gathering where all in that gathering are saved, this group is a part of Christ's church. When saved persons gather in a large assembly of saved and unsaved people, a part of Christ's church has assembled in a mixed assembly. Such a mixed assembly in itself is not Christ's church, don't you see? Such mixed assemblies in various places, therefore, cannot rightly be called "Churches of Christ", nor "churches of God". Certainly, man-made so-called churches with saved and unsaved members cannot possibly be the Lord's true church.
As for the so-called "Roman Catholic Church", there is no such church to be found in any Bible translation This ponderous religious organization originally evolved from Roman pagan religion with its superstitious rites and priesthood. The pagan emperors used the title, "Pontifex Maximus", which means, "greatest PRIEST". When Roman emperor Constantine professed conversion to Christianity (A.D. 323), he retained this title and united Christian religion and State, with himself as head of both. Here was the foundation laid upon which has subsequently been built that power-grasping, self-exhalting hierarchy called "the ROMAN Catholic church", with its priests, its elevated bishops, and its pompous pope. It began AT ROME, not at Jerusalem where Christ's true church began, as a spiritual organism in equal brotherhood and Christ alone as Head. Matt. 23:8-12; Col, 1:18.
Violence and political aspirations are foreign to Bible teaching concerning Christ's church. It is motivated by "the LOVE of God shed abroad in our hearts". Rom. 5:5; John 13:35. Its "commonwealth",
or "citizenship" is "in heaven, from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ". Phil. 3:20, R.V. Behold Roman Catholic history in violent bloody suppression of "heretics" (opposers of her doctrines), and her political ambition for world-rule, affirming still that "the authority of the Pope and Bishops is NOT restricted to strictly religious matters"! ("The Register", Nov. 14, 1954.)
At the beginning, when none other than Christ's church was known to exist, the chief characteristic of that church was love, as was witnessed by the heathen: "Behold, how these Christians love each other!" Can that be said of divided Christendom today? Is Christ's declaration of John 13:35 in vogue today, generally: "Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another"?
How many millions of saved people spiritually "baptized in one Spirit into ONE BODY" (I Cor. 12: 13) since the time of Acts 2 when Christ's true church began, have been added to that body or church, only God knows! The bulk of Christ's church is in heaven, where Paul said he would go "to depart and to be with Christ" (Phil. 1:23). Every member of Christ's church still on earth has his name "written (enrolled) in heaven" (Luke 10:20) ; will never be "excommunicated" from His church (because no part of Christ's church, not any member of "His body" will be missing) ; and every member still on earth when Christ comes to meet His church "in the air" will be "caught up together with them (the resurrected saints) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." I Thes. 4:17. This may occur any moment now! Have you been "joined to the Lord" by accepting Him with contrite heart as YOUR personal Savior? "Behold, NOW is the acceptable time!" Please read I Cor. 15:1-5; II Cor. 5:14-21; 6:1, 2; John 5:24.
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