"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
- Luke 9:23
|The Church Of Christ Is Distinctive|
|Written by Jay Yeager|
|Wednesday, 11 February 2009 18:53|
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IS DISTINCTIVE
(By Jay Yeager)
“…I will build my church…” “…And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2:47). These two verses reveal a promise by Jesus to build His church and its fulfillment on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ. It is the distinctive nature of this church, the church which belongs to Jesus Christ that I wish to discuss.
Of course the word “distinctive” implies something that sets one apart from others. And anyone with the power of observation recognizes that there are multitudes of religious bodies seeking attention. What makes the church of Christ distinctive from all others?
I) The church of Christ is distinctive because of its origin. As was already stated, the church of Christ was founded by Jesus Christ in the city of Jerusalem in the year A.D 33. Now, no matter what else might be said of denominations, they were founded by someone other than Jesus Christ, at some other time than A.D 33, at some other place than the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, they are absolute strangers to the New Testament.
Friends, please consider carefully this point. I have no desire to antagonize or be unkind to any soul, but I would be frightened (and rightly so) if the religious organization that I gave my time, finances and loyalty to was human in origin and unknown on the pages of God’s book. Beloved, if that is the case; do you understand what that would mean? The Bible claims its own completeness (II Timothy 3:16-17; II peter 1:3; Jude 3; Revelation 22:18-19); therefore, anything added to the scriptures would be transgressing the doctrine of Christ, and that is forbidden (II John 9-11).
II) The church of Christ is distinctive because of its government. The majority of people have a denominational view of the church. Therefore, they think of it in terms of a democracy, each denomination having their own council, synod or conference unto which delegates are sent to pass laws. Then these delegates return to their respective places to inform the membership of whatever changes in doctrine or practice have taken place. Such is absolutely foreign to the New Testament church.
The church of Christ has a monarchial form of government with only one authority. Jesus Christ is the sole head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18). He has made the laws which are to govern the church (James 4:12). Therefore, in the church of Christ we do not vote on matters of doctrine or practice. We submit to the authority of Christ. Therein is one of the great distinctions between the church of the New Testament and those founded by men. We do not ask “what saith the members” but “what saith the Lord”.
III) The church of Christ is distinctive because of its worship. “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). The characteristics of true worship are set forth in these verses:
All three elements must be present for worship to be acceptable
Few have difficulty with the first two elements of true worship; however, the third element (in truth) makes the church of Christ distinctive from others. Now I think you know that “in truth” means it must come from God’s word (John 17:17). Further, since we are discussing Christian worship, not Patriarchal or Mosaic, the New Testament of Jesus Christ is the only basis for that truth (Colossians 3:17).
Christians assemble on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1-2) to offer the following acts of worship:
That constitutes worship according to truth.
Friends, before I close, please accept this as a heartfelt invitation to come and visit the church of Christ which meets at 680 Vale Road. A warm welcome awaits you as you come and see what makes the church of Christ distinctive!