The Church of Christ Lesson 2
1.) Jesus Christ built the Foundation.
Everyone should ask, "Who built (started) the religious institution I belong to?" In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said He would build "My Church." That is confusing to many people today because there are many different "churches," or denominations. The answer is simple. Compare your religious institution with the Bible; if it does not correlate, then reject it. Christ built only one Church. The Church belongs to Christ, and only Christ has a Church. People themselves do not have the right to create a Church, and these religious bodies will never meet the scriptural requirements of the Word of God. If Jesus is not the builder of the institution you belong to, then it is not the one of the Bible.
People are often mistaken about who founded their religious institution. Historians trace the foundation of the Catholic denomination to 325 A.D.; the Presbyterian to 1560 by John Knox; the Baptist denomination to 1609 by John Smyth; the non-denominational Christian "church" to the 19th century; the Methodist denomination to February 28, 1784, by John Wesley and Charles Wesley; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to April 6, 1830, by Joseph Smith; but the Church mentioned in the Bible was established on A.D. 33 according to Acts 2:38-47. Matthew 15:13 states, "But He answered and said, 'Every plant which My Heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted.'" This is a warning that if Jesus did not plant (build) any religious institution, it is destined to be uprooted (destroyed). Was the religious institution you attend founded by Christ? Or is it of human origin (beginning)?
No religious institution is stronger than its foundation. Again, let us look back to Matthew 16:18 in which Jesus says, "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." First, we must ask, "What is this rock that Christ would build His Church on?" and in order to do so, we must look at the context. In Matthew 16:16, "Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ the Son of the living God.'" Then in Matthew 16:17, "And Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Barjona,' because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven." In Verse 17, Jesus blesses Peter for the Confession he said in verse 16, and then in verse 18, Jesus promises to build His Church. The rock that Jesus would build His Church on, is Jesus and the fact that He is God's son. In 1 Corinthians 3:11, "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." There is no other foundation that a Church can be laid upon but Jesus and making the great confession of faith that Jesus is the Son of God. The Church was built on a divine, not human-made, foundation. No religion can outlast its foundation. Christ is eternal and immortal, which means He cannot die. He has already conquered death, so the Church's foundation is Christ. Therefore, the Church will last forever, unlike denominations and their foundations that are built upon men.
2.) The beginning and singularity of the Church are mentioned in the Bible.
To recognize the birth (time and place) of the Church, we must first look at the prophecies of its establishment. In Isaiah 2:2-3, "Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. And many peoples will come and say, 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.' For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." From this, we can see that "the House of the Lord" would be established "in the last days" and "all nations would be present" in "Jerusalem." First we must know what is "the house of the Lord." In 1 Timothy 3:15, "But in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." We can see here that "the house of God," is "the church." Isaiah 2:2-3 is a prophecy of the Church. Also in Zechariah 1:16, "Therefore thus says the LORD, 'I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,' declares the Lord of hosts, 'and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.'" We see here that the "house" of the Lord would be built in "Jerusalem."
Also in Luke 24:46-49, "And He said to them, 'Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'" Jesus promises to the apostles power from on high. In Mark 9:1, "And Jesus was saying to them, 'Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God (the Church--Revelation 1: 5-6; Matthew 16:18-19) after it has come.'" So before the death of some people, the kingdom (the Church) would come.
Now with this Old Testament background, we can now apply it to the New Testament to see the Church's establishment. In Acts 1:4, "Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, 'Which,' He said, 'you heard of from Me.'" We can see from this that the Apostle Peter was in Jerusalem.
In Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." We see here that all the nations were present. In Acts 1:12, "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away." We see here that they were in Jerusalem.
Now In Acts 2:4, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." We can see that the promised Holy Spirit has come. In Acts 2:5, "Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven." We see here that there were people from every nation from the Jewish religion present in Jerusalem. Acts 2:14, "But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: 'Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.'" We see here that Apostle Peter with the other apostles were all in Jerusalem. In Acts 2:37-38, "Now when they had heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" The people mentioned here were commanded to repent of their sins and be baptized in order that they might receive the remission of their sins. In Acts 2:47, "Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." We see the Church of the Lord's house was established. Those who were repenting and being baptized were added to this Church.
Therefore, we can now see that every aspect of these prophecies have been fulfilled, just as the divine wisdom declared. If these factors are not the beginning of any institution, it cannot be the Church mentioned in the Bible. In the Church of Christ Lesson 3 you will understand that this Church is the Church of Christ and the importance of its name.