One of the great obviously logical conclusions for humanity is that when we are together we are stronger than when we are separate. While that fact needs little explanation Christians often seem to forget that diversity of opinion or approach is not always ideal. Some have the idea that the “One-Body” concept of the church is short sighted or narcissistic or simply arrogant. The truth is that God’s view of the Church is that we are “one” (singular) body, not many small units which comprise a whole. We are expected to be a healthy family which is unified under the cross of Jesus for His glory. We are not a debating body defined by socially or democratically selected doctrines and processes.
When Jesus speaks of the Church He does so in a very deliberately “singular” fashion. Our Lord said, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). He promised to build “A” church — it was to be “His” church. In Mark 9:1, Christ said this kingdom (church) would come with power. After His resurrection, Jesus told His apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the power (Acts 1:4-8). The power would come on the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ and His church was established on that day, according to Acts 2. Jesus is both the founder and the foundation of the church one reads about in the New Testament. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Any church established by any person other than Christ, in any place other than Jerusalem, at any time other than the first Pentecost after the Lord’s resurrection, is not the New Testament church. The church of Christ is over 1900 years old!
This Church lives in the world today. It exists everywhere people leave human opinions about religious life and commit their lives to living out the examples and teachings of the New Testament. The church can be easily identified in today’s world. Simply read what is written about what that group is supposed exercise in their worship to God. See what character they are supposed to reflect in this world. See what commitments are expected to be observed and test the fruit of the church in consideration of the fruits of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. See what Church leans on the Holy Word of God as opposed to their own personal opinion. Once you find people who live out their lives according to the Bible only, then you find people who are Christians only. Faith is to be lived according to God’s expectations. It is intended to be undiluted, un-added to, without human improvement or contravention. If you find the church of the Bible, you have the Church of The Lord!
The restoration plea was never a call to do anything more than to abandon worldly ideas, and to commit one’s life to God and God alone. We should seek to walk, talk, and conduct ourselves like Jesus did in this world. If someone tells you that all worship, as long as it is well intended, is acceptable to God then remember that God sets the standards for His people and their worship. (Numbers 26:61) What we might consider insignificant details God may consider very significant, even crucial. We still live in a condition of inviting others to the restoration. For those committed to the Gospel, that should never be an issue. To those who are tied to many other things beside the Gospel, this may sound impossible. The change toward Christ is always worth the effort and sacrifice. The reward is that God’s people, the Church, become stronger and more credible to the world with every conversion.
Godspeed on your journey!