Articles and Sermons
We invite you to consider these articles and sermons in light of God's word, that you be considered "noble-minded" by Him.
This is the first of a series of articles entitled "I Am A Member Of The Church Of Christ Because...", based on the excellent book, "Why I Am A Member Of The Church Of Christ" by Leroy Brownlow.
Every religious body in the world was founded by someone. Therefore, each religious body was established either according to the promise of scripture or not. This is important because if a religious body was established unscripturally, it can never be scriptural.
A. Christ Jesus said that He would build the church.
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
This is the scriptural promise. No church can be scriptural unless it was founded by Christ. If it was established by Henry VIII, John Calvin, John Wesley or any other human, it is a man-made church and not scriptural, not recognised by Christ.
B. Jesus then gave Peter the authority to state the terms of admission into the church
Matthew 16:19 (NKJV) And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
This means that Peter was the one who told people how to become a part of the church (cf Acts 2:38, 10:48). Notice that he didn’t get to make the rules, but rather “...whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven...” (NASB). Peter had delegated authority to announce the rules that had been made in heaven, because Peter wasn’t the builder of the church, Christ was.
C. The church was not established by John the Baptist
Many people assume that the church was built by John the Baptist, but the fact that Jesus promised to build His church is evidence that John didn’t.
In fact, John was dead at the time that Jesus made the promise of Matthew 16.
Matthew 14:10 (NKJV) So he [Herod] sent and had John beheaded in prison.
In Matthew 16, Jesus promises that He will build His church in the future tense, ie long after John was dead. John was a great prophet and served the Lord by acting as the Messiah’s herald (cf Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1, Luke 1:17), but building the church wasn’t his work.
Furthermore, John was never a member of the church.
Matthew 11:11 (NKJV) "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
How could John be one of the greatest men born, but someone who is least in the kingdom of heaven be greater than him? Jesus goes on in the passage to explain that John was proclaiming the coming kingdom (cf Matthew 3:1-2), and so wasn’t part of it. Since he was never a part of the church, which is a greater covenant than the Law of Moses, it can be said that the least in the church is greater than the greatest in Israel. In the same way, it can be said that the least in high school is greater than the greatest in primary school.
D. Other plants will be rooted up
While Jesus promised that the gates of Hades will not overcome His church, He also promised that every religious body not established by God will be destroyed.
Matthew 15:13 (NKJV) But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
Membership of a church cannot save you if that church is destroyed. There is only one church that Jesus promised would last forever: the church that He built. If you want to be saved, you need to be a part of that church: the church of Christ.