Listen:  99 Question 4

To answer this question, let’s look at the use of the word ‘church’ in the Bible.  The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  We see from this verse that there is one church, the Lord’s church.  Acts 2:47 says, “…the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”  We also see that you cannot join this church; the Lord adds you to it when you are saved.

In reference to the Lord Jesus, we read in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”  Christ is the one head of the one church, which is his body.   Colossians 1:18 tells us that Christ, “…is the head of the body, the church…”  We learn more about the body of Christ throughout Paul’s epistles.  Let’s read Romans 12:4-5, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”  How many churches or bodies are there?  Only one! Ephesians 4:4 tells us plainly, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.”

Let’s look, for a moment, at what the true church is not!  The church is never mentioned as a building in the scriptures.  In fact, we have four references in scriptures indicating the church was in someone’s home. Romans 16:5 says, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house…”   1 Corinthians 16:19 says, “…Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”  Colossians 4:15 speaks of, “…the church which is in his house.”  Then, we read in Paul’s letter to Philemon in Philemon 1:2, “…to the church in thy house.”

In any given city or town, we often find many churches.  While there are local testimonies of the church, we see from the Word that the local church is made up of all the believers in a particular city.  Let’s look at a few examples:  1 Corinthians 1:1-2 says, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth…”  We read in 1 Thessalonians 1:1, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  It’s interesting to note that Galatia is not a city, but a country, so we read in Galatians 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia.”  Here Paul acknowledges the local testimonies of the church in the different cities of Galatia.  I live in a small town called Franklinville, NC.  So, the church in Franklinville is comprised of every believer on the Lord Jesus Christ that lives in Franklinville.

The true church is the body of Christ, of which Christ is the head.  Any other use of the word is just a misuse of the word.  Although we get very used to people talking about their church, or even ministers speaking of their church, there is only one church and only one head of the church…Christ Himself.  (99.4)