Sometimes people scoff at the idea of the New Testament pattern for the church. They will say it is neither possible nor desirable for the church of today to be the same church as was begun in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. On the contrary, the church of today must be the church of the first century.
The church today must be the church of the first century, because the church was and is the design of God. The church was in God’s eternal purpose (Eph. 3:9-11). The Old Testament prophets, Including Isaiah (Isa. 2:1-3), Daniel (Dan. 2:26-44), and Micah (Mic. 4:1-2) prophesied concerning it. Among the things Daniel stated about that church, or kingdom, was that it would stand forever.
The church of today must be the church of the first century, because the things that were taught concerning it from the very beginning were to be taught in the future. Paul sent Timothy to Corinth to bring to their remembrance the same things he taught everywhere in every church (1 Cor. 4:17). Writing to Timothy, Paul told him to teach the things Paul had taught him, so they could teach it to others (2 Tim. 2:2). Peter declared that God has given us all things that pertain to live and godliness. The church is one of those things that pertain to life and godliness in as much as, God adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:47). Paul affirms that Christ is the Savior of the body (Eph. 5:23). Where is there any recall of any of the instructions taught by the apostle in the New Testament? There isn’t! And where is there authority on the part of man to change the church? Again, there is none.
The church of today must be the church of the first century, because the miraculous gifts of the Spirit ended when that which was perfect (the completed Word) was come (1 Cor. 13: 1-13). If the Word of God is perfect, and that Word describes the message, the worship, the organization, and the work of the church, which it does, then the church must remain the same as it was in the First Century.
The church of today must be the church of the first century, because Jesus Christ built the church (Matt. 16:18), He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28), and He is the head over all things to it (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). If man changes the church in any regard, then he has usurped the headship of Christ. Man cannot usurp the authority of God, or he will pay for that in the judgment.
The church of today must be the church of the first century, because any one who takes away from the Word of God will have his name taken away from the book of life. Anyone who adds to it will have added unto him, the plagues written in the book (Rev. 22:18-19). One cannot change the church of the first century in any regard without either removing something that was a God given attribute of it, or that was not commanded of God. In other words, any change made by man is either an addition or a subtraction, and such will result in him losing his soul.
When man changes the church Jesus built, it is no longer the church Jesus built, and there is no salvation in any institution of man. We must not for our souls’ sakes change the church of the first century.