The other day I received in the mail Ministry magazine, a publication of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It comes free to the office (how we begin to get it, I do not know). In the publication was an article titled, “Find the right church” (January 2011, pp. 13-16). The focus of the article was on helping “pastors” find the right church for them with respect to employment. The title, however, is more illustrative of a frame of mind.
From this I gave thought of how a great many people view the church. The church is an institution that one can take or leave, depending upon the whims of the person. Since they think in a denominational sort of way, this is not far from the truth of the matter. However, when one thinks in terms of a biblical position, those who leave the church or take it somewhere the Lord did not purpose for it to go, this is a catastrophic sentiment. Since the Lord established the church (Matthew 16:13-19), only He can determine anything about it. Those who have false ideas about the church need to consider all over again what the teachings of Scripture.
Such a teaching that we are part of a larger denominational entity is biblically false! The Lord’s church is strongly opposed to denominationalism for by its very nature denominationalism is fragmented into to contrary doctrines: contrary to Scripture and contrary to one another. There is more to the Lord’s church than just believing Jesus is Lord, that He died and was resurrected, and His second coming is pending.
The Lord’s church is a necessary institution because 1) Jesus established it (Matthew 16), 2) it was in the mind of God in eternity (Ephesians 3), 3) by it the manifold wisdom of God is declared to all creation (Ephesians 3), 4) through it the local members receive much edification (Acts 14:22), and 5) its benevolent spirit radiates the glory of God (Galatians 6:7-10).
It is a shame when men and women, professing to be Christian, do not know what the Lord said about His body, the institution of which they are, supposedly, members. The church is the blood-bought institution of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are saved are members of His body and members of no man-made institution. It is a challenge to each of us to faithfully live the life of Christ, to faithfully speak the words of Christ, and to cheerfully, lovingly, gently, but firmly share the message of Christ with others. Remember, only those who are members of His church will be saved because there are no saved people outside the Lord’s church!