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Jesus promised, “I will build MY CHURCH” (Matt. 16:18). But what is a church? The word churchcomes from the Greek ecclesia, which is derived from a root meaning “to call out.” The Church Jesus said He would build is a group of “called-out ones.”
Today we have become confused. Instead of the ONE CHURCH, the one group of called-out ones who belong to Jesus Christ, we seeHUNDREDS of differing groups, with DIFFERENTbeliefs, DIFFERENT customs, DIFFERENT methods of church government, DIFFERENT goals,DIFFERENT places of worship, DIFFERENTdoctrines—MYRIADS OF INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFERENCES. Why?
“There is ONE body, and ONE Spirit, even as ye are called in ONE hope of your calling; ONELord, ONE faith [or doctrine], ONE baptism, ONEGod and Father of all …” (Eph. 4:4-6). But people do not know where to look for this one Church. Nearly every great error in thinking stems from false assumption. And because most ASSUME many things about what the Church should be, they are led into a labyrinth of false claims, obscure history and error.
Let’s not assume! Jesus Christ said nobody could come to Him unless God the Fathercalled him first (John 6:44). This coincides with the use of the word ecclesia for the Church—a group of called-out ones.
Christ never prophesied His Church would become a large, impressive, politically powerful church ruling over the nations in this age.
Far from becoming more respected in the community, far from having their business opportunities enhanced, gaining more friends or being raised in social status, Jesus promised those in His true Church would beHATED, PERSECUTED and perhaps even KILLEDbecause of it (John 15:18-19; 16:2).
It is no wonder then, that Christ calls His true Church a LITTLE flock! It is a little Church, a small group of sincere, converted called-out ones who have FORSAKEN this world in repentance. It is a small, rejected, despised body of believers who are doing the WORK of God.
Christ had a WORK to accomplish on Earth (John 9:4). Even though some may not have believed Christ, He warned them to look toTHE WORKS BEING ACCOMPLISHED for the proof they sought (John 10:37-38). The same is true in determining where God’s Church is today.
Believe it or not, you CANNOT “join” the Church of God! No one ever HAS—no one ever will! God must PUT you into it!
Upon hearing the true message about the Kingdom of God, many people wrestle with the question of what to do. The same was true when the Jews at Jerusalem heard Peter’s inspired sermon on the Day of Pentecost; they asked, “Men and brethren,WHAT SHALL WE DO?” (Acts 2:37).
Well then, why didn’t Peter seize the opportunity? Why didn’t he tell them, “GO JOIN A CHURCH”? Instead, he said, “REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit]” (v. 38). God will give that Spirit only to those who are willing to OBEY Him (Acts 5:32). When you receive God’s Spirit, YOU ARE AUTOMATICALLY PUT INTO THE BODY OF CHRIST, which is the CHURCH OF GOD—the group of called-out ones!
You can enter God’s true Church by REPENTINGof your disobedience to God’s law, by calling on God’s true servants to baptize you, and by claiming God’s promise of the gift of His Holy Spirit. That is the ONLY way!
Church attendance by itself does not meanCHURCH MEMBERSHIP in God’s sight. It is not anEND IN ITSELF and will not “save” you! It is—where God has made it possible—a MEANS to salvation. God does instruct His true servants not to forsake the assembling of themselves together (Heb. 10:25). But God forbids you ever to join in with the worship of counterfeit church bodies—no matter how close to the truth they seem (Eph. 5:11). Only the genuine worship of God in His Church is acceptable to Him.
God’s Church has “little strength” (Rev. 3:8). It is scattered. It is not noticed by the world. It is a “little flock.” Some have opportunities to meet, but many are unable to attend local congregations. They are the “strangers and pilgrims” on this Earth—looking for a better world to come.
But that Church has open doors set before it—of television, radio, the printing press and the Internet—to carry God’s warning and the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God to the WHOLE WORLD as a last witness.
Should you join a church? No! Because any church you can “join” is not the Church of God!
PROVE to yourself WHERE God’s Church is. Where the WORK of that Church is being done—where the ministers of God are faithfullyCRYING ALOUD and SHOWING PEOPLE THEIR SINS—and don’t settle for a counterfeit! Respond to God’s calling. Then, follow Peter’s admonition: REPENT, and be baptized in Christ’s name—into Christ’s one and only body. ▪
Jew, Muslim, Christian or pagan—whatever form the religion takes, it has created a foundation for cultures that have underpinned whole societies for generations. But it is the two great evangelizing religions—Christianity and Islam—that have wrought so much destruction over the centuries in their clashes against each other and, in most recent times, caused so much suffering for the Jew in particular. These three religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity—have had the most powerful influence on society over the past 2,000 years.
Sooner or later, any thinking person who believes in what Sir Winston Churchill termed “divine Providence” has to ask and seek to answer the question, “What is the true religion?”
So let’s consider that question. A good place to start would be to define the term religion.
As religion is a complex subject, we will base this brief article on the simplest of definitions. The Britannica Dictionary defines it, “Any system of faith and worship.” Though such a definition includes all three religions that accept one or both testaments of the book known as the Holy Bible, it also includes those that don’t. It is thus too broad for our purpose. We shall narrow that definition to embrace “A system of faith and worship that claims to believe in the one true Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”
As our audience is formed of those who do believe in one omnipotent God, it is to these three predominant religions that we look to prove the answer to the question, “What is true religion?”
Judaism, Islam and Christianity in its three major forms—Roman Catholicism, Orthodox and Protestant—all purport to believe in one true God. To the Jew that is YHVH, as revealed in the Torah. To the Islamic believer it is Allah, as revealed in the Koran and the writings of Mohammed. To the Roman Catholic, the Godhead is triune—consisting of the God of the Torah, or Old Testament, Jesus Christ of the New Testament and a personified Holy Spirit—plus Mary, queen of heaven. To the Protestant, the Godhead is the trinity, without the attachment to Mary.
Why is it that these three religions, all claiming to believe in the God of the Abraham of the Torah (the Old Testament), two of them claiming Abraham as their ancestor, so thoroughly disagree on a singular definition of the God that Abraham worshipped?
The Old Testament definitions of God are clear, precise and impossible for the open mind to misunderstand. He is the beginning of all things (Genesis 1:1). There are no other gods apart from the one true God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 45:5; Joel 2:27). He is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:7-8). He prophesies the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10; 48:3-5). He never changes (Malachi 3:6). He prophesied the coming of the Messiah, the city of His birth, the exact duration of His earthly ministry and His return to set up God’s government over all (Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6-7).
In respect of the true historical figure of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, those familiar at the time with the prophecies of His coming to the Earth to fulfill His short 3½-year ministry would have known the prophesied timing and location of His birth in Bethlehem. That is clearly why scholars of those ancient prophecies came to Bethlehem to search Him out in the early autumn of 4 B.C. They had computed the time of the event from the prophetic accounts in the Old Testament (Matthew 2:1-6).
The only provable historic accounts of the Messiah’s prophesied birth are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. The subsequent eyewitness accounts of His ministry, the history of the early Church plus that of the first apostles ordained by Jesus Christ are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible.
Where is that church today?
Christ established only ONE church under and by His divine authority, based on ONE divinely inspired body of doctrine (Ephesians 4:5). He is the personification of the Word of God (John 1:1). That means, by definition, that the one true Church that He established will be not only extant today, but it will possess the same, unchangeable doctrine He gave it at the beginning. It will be founded not upon only one testament of the Bible, but two, for as one of the foundational apostles of the Church, the Apostle Paul, declared, the true Church is founded upon the apostles and the prophets! (Ephesians 2:20).
That church will exhibit faith not in a triune god but in a Godhead comprised of Father and Son (John 14:6-14). It will not worship at the throne of the queen of heaven. It will have no history of slaughter through crusading to extend its empire (Matthew 10:14). It will be a small flock, comprised of the weak and the base of society (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). It will be an embattled church (John 15:20), persecuted but vibrantly energetic in fulfilling its mission by the power of the Holy Spirit, the very power of Almighty God! (Acts 1:8). It will be a church given to fulfilling a mission of prophecy! (Revelation 10:11).
Where is that one true Church today? It mustbe in existence, for Jesus Christ its Head declared of it that the gates of the grave would never shut it down—it would never die!
Like it or not, religion, the church and Jesus Christ are vital topics of discussion once again. Even a mass-circulation newsmagazine has asked the question, “Jesus—Will He Ever Return?” Yet again religion dominates international relations, particularly in the hottest spot of international tension, the Middle East. It is at the very core of the pope’s cry for a great evangelizing of Europe. Religion is at the very heart of the war in Afghanistan. Religion is the spur for Islamist terror. It is at the very foundation of the Jewish state.
Your Bible prophesies the coming clash between two powers, a great northern power and a southern power, each driven by religious zealotry to seek universal domination. Religion is about to affect your life profoundly, regardless of whether or not you are a believer. Believe it or not, your Bible prophesies of a global power that will soon dictate whether or not, and how often, you will eat! (Revelation 13:11-18).
There is only one true Church which can explain to you the relevance of today’s tumultuous world events to your life, where this is all leading, what you can do to cope with the impact, and the guaranteed outcome.
You need to read two basic booklets, which are entirely politically incorrect, mincing no words and pulling no punches in revealing the plain truth about the one true God, the reality of God’s Word, and where to find the one true Church. Believe it or not, the church Jesus Christ founded so long ago does exist in its original purity of doctrine amid and despite all the religious and anti-religious confusion that floods society today.
The book of Revelation is all about world news! What God gave in the Bible’s most important book of prophecy is a description of world events that carry this world to the time of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming!
The Apostle John recorded the prophecy, but he didn’t understand most of it. It is for this time right now, and it is mostly about the chaotic present. The terrible events besieging our world were all prophesied in Revelation. We can see it as never before: The events it describes are beginning to unfold before our eyes!
Revelation gives us a time sequence of major events. It supplies the story flow. Every gigantic step in world events is described in that book, where we can read and study it.
God gives His Church a great responsibility, and He expects a lot from us. He charges us to deliver a message of hope and good news. But that message also includes a strong warning about the worst suffering ever to strike this Earth, just before Christ’s Second Coming. God commands that we do all we can to broadcast this message to the whole world.
A lot of insight about the Church’s commission can be found in the earliest chapters of the book of Revelation.