Is the Church Important?
It is a very common teaching today that Christ should be magnified but that the church is relatively unimportant. You can belong to the church of your choice, or you do not need to belong to any church. We shall answer this argument from the Bible.
We shall assume the truth of the following two propositions. The Bible, as it is, is sufficient for man as he is. The best commentary to the Bible is the Bible itself (II Timothy 3:16-17).
I held a meeting one time, and after the meeting a man came up to me and said, "Do you know what Moody said on baptism?" I said, "No, but I know what Paul said." Let me show you how the Bible is the best commentary on the Bible.
Jesus said that the church would be built on a rock. Certain commentaries would say that the rock was Peter. What saith the scriptures? I Corinthians 3:22 says that there is only one foundation and that foundation was Christ. I Corinthians 10:4 says that the rock was Christ. All the man-made commentaries in the world cannot change these basic truths (Hebrews 13:8).
The church is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). Can we mutilate the body of Christ? Can we exchange that body for another body (Ephesians 4:4)? No, the church is to be presented to Christ without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). Christ is the savior of the body (Ephesians 5:23). Christ purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28). Jesus said that the gospel was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15). Jesus said that He had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He became to those who obey him the author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
We are justified by faith (Romans 5:1). Faith comes by hearing the word (Romans 10:17). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus prayed that we might believe through the word, given to us by the apostles (John 17:20-21). In order that we might listen to the apostles, we have the written word (John 20:30-31). The faith was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
The Old Testament was our tutor to bring us to Christ, but now that Christ has come, we are no longer under the tutor (Galatians 3:24-25). When Jesus was on the Mount with the three apostles and Moses and Elijah appeared, Peter suggested that they have three places of worship: one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Christ. God himself spoke from heaven. Listen to my Son. When John laid down the pen of inspiration he said that nothing more was to be added (Revelation 22:18-19).
For all time the church is to be honored with Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21). Men have made many denominations. But Jesus said that they were to be rooted up (Matthew 15:13). The church, that divine institution, began at the right time, at the right place. The Lord had declared that the law of the Lord would come from Jerusalem. God's house would come from there (Isaiah 2:2-3).
The apostles were gathered. The Holy Spirit, who was to guide them into all truth, came. The gospel had become an established fact. Christ had been raised from the dead. He had gone back to heaven (Acts 1:8-11). Jesus had said that repentance and the remission of sins should be preached in His name beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47).
Peter explained the purpose of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Then he declared the fact of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This brought conviction. The divine record says that they were pricked in their hearts (Acts 2:37). They asked what they should do. The answer came, not only from the apostles, but from the Holy Spirit. "And Peter said unto them, 'Repent ye and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" To whom does this apply? Verse 39 answers that question: "For to you is the promise, and to your children and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him" (Emphasis mine - JCB). What happened? "They then who received his word were baptized, and there were added unto them in that day about 3,000 souls" (Acts 2:41).
What did this church do? "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers."
Yes, the church is important. Christ did not die for something unimportant.
J.C. Bailey, 1993, Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Published in The Old Paths Archive