You can always tell when you are in the Lord’s church because it is able to do the work which God commanded it to accomplish. The church of Christ is a perfect institution. It is all-sufficient to accomplish the purpose for which God built it. Human institutions were never intended to do the work of the church nor can they and be acceptable with God.
When we say that the church is a perfect institution, we are obviously speaking of its divine nature. The human side of the church will never become perfect so long as it has imperfect men within it. The imperfect human institutions are also filled with imperfect men. Therefore, they cannot compare to the church which Christ purchased with his own blood.
The church was conceived in the mind of our perfect God. Paul wrote, “. . .to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11). The church was planned by none other than God Himself, who was its Divine Architect. Only a perfect institution, the church of Christ, could have spread the gospel throughout all of the known world within fifty years.
The church is perfect because it has a perfect blueprint. The Hebrew writer reminds us of God’s instructions to Moses in erecting the tabernacle; he said, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Heb. 8:5). Even as the tabernacle was to be built by the pattern revealed to Moses, even so was the church to be built according to the divine pattern. The pattern for the church is God-given and, therefore, perfect.
The church is perfect because it had a perfect builder. None other than God in the flesh built the church. The Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father, the Mighty God, built the church. To Peter, Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build MY church.”
Perfect Preparations were made through the course of history to bring the church into existence. Even as David made preparations for the building of the Temple by his son Solomon, so also God made preparations for the building of the church by His Son Jesus Christ. The prophets foretold the coming of the kingdom of God (Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44; etc.) Divine preparations were made. Finally, when the time arrived for the divine kingdom to be built, the message was sent out, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk. 1:14). God sent forth His Son to build the church “in the fulness of time” (Gal. 4:4), when all of the preparation necessary for the coming of the church had been completed.
Perfect provisions through God’s miraculous powers were needed to bring the church into existence. God did not leave the establishment of the church in the hands of unaided men. Many different miracles transpired to bring the church into existence: e.g. (The death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the work of John the Baptist, and the work of the prophets.) He sent a sound from heaven like the rushing of a mighty wind, cloven tongues like as of fire which rested upon the heads of each of the apostles, and other tongues. Then, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter revealed the divine conditions for entry into the church.
A Perfect Head was given to the church. The Scriptures explicitly teach that Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. Paul wrote, “. . .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 fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). Jesus is not the head of any human institution or does His law govern them. Therefore, the work of the church is not accomplished within human institutions. Jesus is the head of the perfect church, which is all sufficient to every good work.
A perfect law has been given to govern the church. Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to the Apostles to guide them in all truth in revealing His will to mankind (Jn. 14:26 cf; 16:13). The result was the perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25). The law of God which governs the church has been “once-for-all-times” delivered (Jude 3) and furnishes man completely unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Therefore, the church is perfect because it has a perfect law.
The law of God furnishes the church completely with everything it needs to offer acceptable worship to God, to organize itself in order to accomplish its God-given work, and to discharge its responsibilities in its given areas of work. When the church departs from the law of God and walks in its own imperfect wisdom, it ceases to reflect divine wisdom and begins to reflect inferior human wisdom.
The church has a perfect mission. The work which God has given the church to accomplish is: the preaching of the gospel both to its own members (for edification) or to others (evangelism), and benevolence. No human institution can accomplish this mission, but the church. Only the church of Christ can feed both the spiritual and physical needs the world so desperately needs. As Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4)
The work of God would be imperfect were it of such a nature that God has laid certain responsibilities upon the church and then not have given it the ability to perform those responsibilities. The church is perfect and is able to accomplish its God-given works of evangelization, edification, and benevolence without the need of any human institution. The church is all-sufficient to do the work which God gave it to do!