Identifying the Lord’s Church Today – Jess Whitlock

Jess Whitlock

Jesus Christ said: “…I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). He also said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). We know that Jesus built His church just as He promised. The church of Christ is not a man made denomination. The apostle Peter wrote:

All flesh is as grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower faileth; but the Word of the Lord abideth forever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you (1 Pet. 1:24-25).

Paul wrote to the church of Christ at Corinth:

Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you: but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10).

The apostle Paul dealt a death blow to all manmade denominations on earth in this context. Some were saying: “…I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:12-13). Today for any man to have a church named after him, which offers salvation consider this carefully. That man must have been crucified as a sinless sacrifice for the sins of the world. In the Hebrew letter we learn: “Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15). Later, “He, when He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Heb. 10:12). No person that has ever lived upon the earth meets those qualifications, save Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16).

The builder of the church we read about in the New Testament was Jesus the Christ! Jesus promised to build His church (Matt. 16:18). On the first Pentecost after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus established His church (Acts 2). Notice please that when the Scriptures mention the church/kingdom prior to Acts 2 it is spoken of in the future tense. Whenever we read of the church/kingdom following Acts 2 it will always be mentioned in the present tense.

Boniface III of Roman Catholicism sinned. Martin Luther of Lutheranism sinned. John Calvin of Presbyterianism sinned. John Smythe of the Baptist church sinned. John Wesley of Methodism sinned. Joseph Smith of Mormonism sinned. William Miller of Adventism sinned. Charles Russell of Jehovah’s Witness cult sinned. Select the founder of any man made denomination on the face of the earth today, and rest assured that person sinned.

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23, emph. JLW). Also, note that not one man of the multiplied hundreds that have started churches of their own have the God given authority to command men to be baptized into their name for the remission of sins. Jesus Christ said:

All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:18-19).

He also taught: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16). We learn in Ephesians 4:4, that there is only one body. Now let your fingers do the walkin’ and let the Bible do the talkin’: “For He (Jesus Christ, JLW) is the head of the body, the church; Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” (Col. 1:18). The church of my Lord is not a man made denomination.

Divine prophecy and inspired history affirm that the “churches of Christ” (Rom. 16:16) began in the city of Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), c. 33 A.D. Daniel prophesied of this coming kingdom: “And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed…” (Dan. 2:44). In the image of the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar there are four kingdoms: the Babylonian empire, the Medo-Persian empire, the Grecian empire, and the Roman empire. The fourth empire, i.e., the Roman empire, was the time God had set to establish the kingdom that Jesus promised to build (Matt. 16:18-19). It happened on that notable Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Let’s do another comparison of the church we read about in the New Testament with some of the major denominational organizations of our day and time.

The place and time of its beginning. God’s prophet, Isaiah prophesied that in “the last days” God’s house would begin in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-3; cf. Mic. 4:1-2). The event of Acts 2 occurred circa A.D. 33.

The Catholic church began in 606 A.D. in Rome. The Lutheran church began in 1520 A.D. in Germany. The Presbyterian church began in 1536 A.D. in Switzerland. The First Baptist church began in 1536 A.D. in Holland. The Methodist church began in 1739 A.D. in England. The Mormon church began in 1830 A.D. in Palmyra, New York. The Adventist church began in 1845 A.D. in Albany, NY. The Seventh-Day Adventist church began in 1860 A.D. in Battle Creek, Michigan. The cult of the Jehovah’s Witnesses began in 1931 A.D. in Columbus, Ohio. An honest investigation of any church/cult of your acquaintance can easily rule out any church not built by Jesus Christ. Was it founded by some man/group other than Christ? Was it established on some date other than circa A.D. 33? Was it started in some place other than Jerusalem? If the answer is “yes” to any one of those questions then, it is not the church of the Bible.

Hal Lindsey wrote a book and produced a movie with the same title: The Late, Great Planet Earth. I read the book and saw the movie. Both were premillennial fiction that considered the church of the New Testament as an afterthought of God’s original plan. Supposedly, God the Father sent God the Son to set up His kingdom. The Jews rejected Christ as the Messiah, so they had to come up with a back-up plan, or plan B. According to Mr. Lindsey and thousands of false teachers, Christ will come again and prepare for a reign of Christ on earth for a literal thousand years. There is a Greek word for that doctrine, that word is “baloney”.

That premillennial fiction stands diametrically opposed to the teaching of God’s Word.

to make all men see what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages hath been hid in God Who created all things; to the intent that now unto the principalities and the power in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:9-11).

The Godhead was not “caught off guard,” as premillennialism teaches; but the plan for the church belonging to Christ was part of the eternal purpose (Eph. 3:11), which was known from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). The church of my Lord was much more than a mere afterthought. Christ said: “Come ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34. emph. JLW). Actually, it was the forethought and divine plan of the Godhead that will last until the time Christ returns. Paul writes: “Then cometh the end, when He shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father…” (1 Cor. 15:24).

Which Church Shall I Join?

All up and down this troubled land confusion reigns today,

As honest folks on every hand in doubt are heard to say;

I do not know which church to join, there are so very many.’

To whom we offer this advice, you never should join any!

You cannot join the church of Christ; no man can vote you in;

The Lord Himself will add you when He saves you from your sin.

Then take no chance, brother, this race but once you’ll run,

A church you would join must be of men, and not the proper one.

Beware a church you cannot find within the sacred pages;

Be safe, dear sinner, rest your soul on the Rock of Ages!

Be added to His blood-bought church and drink salvation’s cup;

For every plant God planted not, it shall be rooted up!

No mourner’s bench on Pentecost the inspired Peter fitted,

But said, ‘Repent and be baptized that your sins may be remitted!’

Jesus Christ “answered and said, every plant which My heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up.” (Matt. 15:13). The apostle Paul wrote: “…the churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16).

   Send article as PDF   

Author: Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *