There are more than 300 religious sects and denominations in America. However, there is only one church that Jesus built, bled and died for, and will be coming back to claim. Jesus said to Peter, “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18) Observe that the Lord used singular terms, ‘church and it’ which signifies only one. Jesus promised to build one church, and if He built more than one, He did not keep his promise. Question is, which church is it?
THE TIME AND PLACE
The prophets of old predicted when the church would start. Isaiah 2:2 tells us that the church would start in the last days. Zechariah 1:16 tells us that the church would start in the city of Jerusalem. Luke instructs us that the church was started in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:1-5) Any church that did not start in Jerusalem is not the Lord’s church. Mark 9:1 tells us that the church would start in the lifetime of the apostles. This would exclude all founders which came subsequently.
CHRIST FOUNDED THE TRUE CHURCH
Christ founded it and built it. (Mt 16:18) He is the originator of it and its history begins and ends with Him. Only the church of Christ goes back to Christ. Psalm 127:1 informs us, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Paul emphatically states in I Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
THE RIGHT CHURCH HAS THE RIGHT NAME
Is there anything in a name? In the old testament the house of God was called by His name (Jer 7:10-12, 14,30). The names which were attributed to the church were: The church of God (Acts 20:28); The churches of Christ (Rom 16:16); The church of the firstborn (Heb 12:23). A church by any other name is not the right church to attend. “For there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
THE RIGHT CHURCH HAS THE RIGHT GOSPEL
The gospel of Christ was commissioned to be preached unto every nation and every person under the sun (Mt 28:18-20 f; Mk 16:15,16). This was accomplished in the lifetime of the apostles (Col 1:23). Every new testament convert was saved by the exact same gospel (Acts 2,8,9,10,16). Anyone who teaches another gospel shall be accursed (Gal 1:6-9). Anyone who doesn’t obey the exact same gospel shall be condemned (2 Thess 1:7-9). The gospel was defined as the Word of truth (Eph 1:13). The church of Christ is the foundation of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). Therefore, the right church is the one who preaches and teaches the gospel of our salvation! The same gospel which shall judge us all (Rom 2:16).
THE RIGHT CHURCH CONTINUES IN THE RIGHT DOCTRINE
The doctrine which the apostles taught is the one the right church teaches today (Acts 2:42). This is Christ’s doctrine (2 Jn 9). This is the Father’s doctrine (Jn 7:16,17). This is the doctrine which was conveyed by the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13). No one was allowed to add one word to or take one word away from this doctrine (1 Cor 4:6 f; Rev 22:18,19).
Conclusion: The right church was built by Jesus and is under his total authority (Col 1:18). The right church bears the Lord’s name (Rom 16:16). The right church teaches the gospel of Christ (Mk 16:15,16). The right church abides by the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9). If you have not been added to the right church, you have zero chance to gain eternal life (Acts 2:47).