Is there something in a name? Who would start a business and not attach to it their own name? Who would bear children that carried another surname other than their own? Even so, the Lord said, “I will build my church” and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 1 6: 18). The New Testament scriptures show that Jesus did what he promised to do. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). The Lord has never been the least bit interested in adding the ones he saves to any thing but the church he which he built.
But how can we know which church is the right church? One essential characteristic is the name. It must have a scriptural name. The church is referred to in the scriptures as: church (es) of God, 12 times (Acts 28:28; 1 Cor. 1:2; 10:32; 11:16; 11:22; 15:9; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:13; l Thess.2: 14, 2Thess.1: 14; 1 Tim. 3:15); churches of Christ, 1 time (Romans 16: 16); the church (s), 74 times; my church, 1 time (Matthew 16: 18); church of the first born 1 time. (Heb 12:23) The collective noun church is used, 110 times in the New Testament. Many times it is used to identify the locality in which a congregation exists: the church of Ephesus, Rev. 2: 1; churches of Galatia, 1 Cor. 16:1; Gal. 1:2; churches of Macedonia, 2 Cor. 8:1; churches of Judea, Gal. 1:22, etc. The above churches were churches of Christ in those places.
Calling the church the church of God is just as scriptural as calling it the church of Christ. However, make no mistake about it, the God ahead of this church was none other than Jesus Christ himself. Jesus built it, died for it, and is the head thereof. (Mt 16:18 ff; Acts 20:28; Col 1:18) A church can have a scriptural in name and wrong in about everything else. Just because a church is called the church of Christ does not make it correct. It may have the wrong gospel, wrong doctrine, wrong organization, wrong work and wrong worship. Many churches have the right name, but have corrupted the scriptural plan for worship by adding a mechanical instrument of music and societies, which rival the church in its work. Such activities which cannot prove its right to exist by the scriptures automatically stands condemned the one who built it, Jesus Christ.
The church Belongs To Christ Because:
(1) He Built It. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psa. 127:1), and “I say also unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18).
(2) He Is the Foundation of It. “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he build thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:10, 11). Paul spoke the wisdom of God, the gospel, when he laid the foundation for the church in Corinth (I Cor. 1:17; 2:2, 7; 9:16; 15:1-4).
(3) He Is the Head of It. Paul says, “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 fullness of him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22, 23). “And he is the head of the body) the church” (Col. 1:18). “…. Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23). The headship of Christ is proven by the fact that “the church is subject unto Christ” (Eph. 5:24).
(4) It Is Called His House. Of Christ the apostle says, “Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory that Moses, inasmuch as he who has built the house hath more honor than the house. For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after, But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:2-6). We, the saved, constitute the house of Christ, the church of Christ. House and church are used interchangeably (I Tim. 3:15).
(5) It Is His Body. Church and body are also used interchangeably. “….gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body” (Eph. 1:22,23). “And he is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18). “….for his body’s sake, which is the church” (Col. 1: 24). Inasmuch as Christ is one (1 Cor. 1:13; 8; 6), we conclude he has only one body (Eph. 4:4). Therefore, all Christians are members of the body, the church of Christ. (1 Cor 12:27)
Conclusion: Someone may object to the church being called the church of Christ because Romans 16: 16 says churches of Christ. But you cannot have the plural (churches) without first having a singular (church).
Yes, there is something in a name! How can the church of my blessed Lord be the Lutheran church? The Methodist church? The Baptist church? The Catholic church? etc. Such are not found in the New Testament! To be in the Lutheran church means you are a Lutheran; membership in the Methodist church means you are a Methodist; membership in the Baptist church gives emphasis to the fact you are a Baptist, etc. However, the Lord added the saved to his church, which he built, which he died for, which is called by His name, the church of Christ (Acts 2:47).