Fred E. Dennis
The church is a divine institution. Jesus said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). He is the only one who has a right to speak of it as “my church.” When men say, “my church,” they are not thinking clearly. We have hundreds of religious organizations in the world started by men. There is no salvation in any human institution, be it religious, social, fraternal, or political.
The church is valuable because of what it cost. It cost God His Son, and it cost the Son His blood. The church was made possible by the blood of Christ, and we are bought with His precious blood. Paul told the Ephesian elders that the church was purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28).
We do value things in proportion to their cost, and so we should highly value the church. We have not been redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but by the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
The church is valuable because salvation is in it. There is no salvation for any of us outside of Christ. Neither is there salvation in any name other than that of Christ (Acts 4:12). The same thing that saves us makes us members of the church. We are added to the church by the Lord when we are saved from our sins (Acts 2:38, 46-47).
When we do the things that God commands us to do to be saved—believe in Jesus as God’s Son (John 8:24), repent of our sins (Luke 13:3), confess Christ before men (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37) and are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)—we are added to the church by Christ Himself. If we all do those things, they will make us all members of the same church. Doing something else will make us members of something else, but it will not save us.
Sometimes people say, “The church never saved anyone.” It’s true that the church does not save, but the saved are in the church and it is the church which Christ saves (Eph. 5:23, 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). The church is the body of Christ and He is the Saviour of the body.
The church is valuable because it wears only Christ’s name. No other institution or organization has the divine right to wear the name of Christ. He called it His church, and Paul called various congregations of that church, “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16).
What a grand privilege to be in the church that honors Christ as its Head and wears His name. The faithful wife loves to wear the name of her husband. The church is the bride of Christ and faithfully wears His name. A faithful wife would wear no name but her husband’s and a faithful Christian wears no name but Christ’s.
The church is the only kingdom that will stand forever. The kingdoms of men are here today, but in a few hundred years they are fallen. But the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed (Dan. 2:44) and that kingdom is the church of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19). “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28).
In the clash and destruction of empires today, the humble Christian can rest assured that the kingdom—or church—of Christ will stand forever. It cannot be moved. Therefore, we must be true and faithful in our service to the God of heaven. He has the power to sustain His own, and this He will do.
We are now in the kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is not some future earthly kingdom, but a present spiritual reality. It is the church, and we who are in the church are in the kingdom.
Before the kingdom was established, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10). That prayer was in order then, but is not now because the kingdom has been here for nearly 2,000 years. Paul wrote, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). All will agree that it would not have been possible to be translated into a kingdom in Paul’s day that did not exist. It did exist, and the saved were translated into it.
The apostle John said he was in the kingdom. “I John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). It would be pretty hard to be a brother in something that did not exist.
We are living in the last age. When Jesus comes again, it will not be to set up a kingdom, but to deliver the kingdom up to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24). Christ is now reigning and will come the next time without an offering for sin (Heb. 9:27-28).
Are you ready to meet the Lord when He comes again? Have you done what He commands in the New Testament in order to become a Christian? We plead with you to become one now. Don’t trust the notions of men or religious leaders. Read the New Testament for yourselves and learn the will of God.