Does the Church You Choose Matter?
Updated: Oct 24
Written by Wayne Robbins 10/16/23
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus declares that we must go through Him to get to our Heavenly Father. I believe the words of Jesus Christ and I have evidence (Heb 11:1) to support my faith. If you are not sure that Jesus Christ is the Son of God or unsure about the existence of God, I would love to study with you and present evidence in order for your faith to be rock solid. This lesson is for all those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and desire to be in the church that is pleasing to Him.
Some believe that as long as a church believes in Jesus, it must be okay. Jesus makes it clear; this is not the case. Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven…. I hope you go on to read Matthew 7:22,23. If you want to be with God the Creator forever after death, you will see from this lesson that the church you choose matters greatly. During the earthly ministry of Jesus He said these words, Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” The world is full of religious people and not all of them will receive eternal life.
God instituted worship; it is therefore very important that we seek His will. There is a correct way to worship God. John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (24) God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." According to Jesus, some people are not worshiping correctly. Their worship is empty and in vain. Matthew 15:7-9 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: (8) 'THESE PEOPLE DRAW NEAR TO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOR ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME. (9) AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.' " Man-made doctrine will never be pleasing in the sight of God. There are thousands of different religious groups who say that they believe in Jesus Christ. All of these groups are different in some way. These groups have their own teachings and doctrines that they have developed. A little bit of proper reasoning quickly leads us to some clear facts. We see the fact that in denominations man-made doctrines and commandments of men are being followed, instead of God's Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. This verse teaches that the man of God can be complete and equipped for every good work. We clearly see from this verse that there is no need for man-made doctrines and teachings of men. Creeds, catechisms, manuals of discipline, man's methods of worship, best-selling religious books, and a long list of other man-made writings and doctrines are clearly not needed. The Bible is the only writing that we need to be pleasing in the sight of God.
We should be part of a church that is following the Bible and only the Bible. Many religious groups will claim to be doing this. Once you observe their practices, in light of the Bible, you find something very different. I grew up being part of a very popular man-made denomination. What brought me out of this denomination was the many inconsistencies that I observed. I started reading my Bible and saw that the practice of this denomination was very different than what the scriptures revealed. I hope that everyone reading this article is willing to do the same thing. The church that you belong to does matter! We are not going to be judged by the doctrines or teachings of men. We will be judged by the teachings of Jesus Christ. John 12:48-50 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (49) For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. (50) And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."
Would you be willing to separate yourself from a church that is not following only the Bible? What if your friends and family are a part of that same church and will not leave? Matthew 10:37-39 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (39) He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
So to which church does God want us to belong? First, we must understand that God is not pleased with all the religious division that falls under the umbrella of “christianity”. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. God desires us to be united under Christ. Christ Himself prayed that we are all unified, John 17:20-21 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; (21) that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. We can put away the man-made teachings and doctrines and all obtain the type of unity that Christ prayed for. This unity is so important that I plan to work for it my entire life. Let's all put away our denominational doctrines, our different Church names and simply be Christ’s Church that we read about in the Bible.
This type of unity is not seen in our community today. Our small town has many separate denominations, which the Bible calls religious sects. In order for us to achieve the type of unity that Christ prayed for, we must all be part of the same church. Jesus said that He was going to build His church. Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. The scriptures make it very clear that Jesus accomplished what He said by building His church. Christ’s church has been in existence for almost 2,000 years and the gates of hell have not been able to close the doors. We should not seek to find a church that suits our personal likes and desires but instead seek the will of God and His righteousness (Matt 6:33).
We must be a part of a church that recognizes the supreme authority of Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Notice that Jesus Christ is the head of the body which is the church. If the church is the body then how many bodies / churches are there? Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body”. Christ is the head of the one church and we make up one united body. Ephesians 1:22-23 “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, (23) which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” If a religious body was started by men, then it is not the one true church. The church that you read about in the Bible started on the day of Pentecost after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know that this was accomplished because we read in Acts 2:47 “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Jesus Christ said that He was going to build a church and we see that He accomplished this by the fact that people were being added to it. We don't need to start a new church. We need to be the church that Jesus Christ started. Anytime that the church that Jesus Christ built is not seen in a certain area of the world, men can simply take the Bible, truly follow it, and Christ’s Church will be the result. Luke 8:11 … The seed is the word of God.
Jesus told Peter that He would give him the keys to the kingdom, Matthew 16. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter preached a sermon and gave instructions on how to get into Christ’s church. Acts 2:37-38 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (38) Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:41 “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Once they believed the Gospel of Christ, repented, and were baptized in water for the remission of sin, they were added to the church that Jesus Christ built. We should all want to be a part of Jesus Christ’s church and in fact we can. Jesus made it clear that baptism was essential for salvation. Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Most religious groups who claim to be Christians actually deny that water baptism is essential for salvation? The Apostle Peter was inspired by the Holy Spirit and he said that baptism is part of God’s salvation plan. 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Baptism being essential for salvation will be covered thoroughly in another article.
The Bible contains many clear verses that teach that water baptism is essential for man's salvation. Why do so many religious groups, who claim to be Christians, deny this clear teaching? 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. (19) For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. The context of this verse is the Lord's supper. They were coming together and partaking of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7) . This is one of the identifying marks of the church that Jesus built. As you read and study scripture you see all of the identifying marks of Christ's church. We know who is approved in the sight of God by observing who is following the teachings of Christ and who is not. Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. … (20) Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
The members of Christ’s church did not “join a church” but instead they were added by God upon a proper baptism Acts 2:47. It was during their baptism that they made contact with the blood of Christ. Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,. You can identify Christ’s church by observing this body of believers gathering together on the first day of the week and partaking of the Lord's supper. You can identify Christ’s church by the name that they are called by. A study of the scriptures clearly shows that a name does matter. Acts 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." In Acts chapter 20, we find that Jesus is the one who purchased the church with His own blood. Jesus Christ built the church, purchased the church with His blood, and He is the head of the church. Why would we want to call the church by any other name than one that brings glory to the Son of God?
Can you find the name of your church in the Bible? Was Christ’s church ever called by your group's name in the Bible? In the first century, what was the church that Jesus built actually called? In the Book of Romans, Paul says this, Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.” The word “of” in this phrase indicates ownership. Jesus said He would build His church and the Bible reveals that the church belongs to Him. It makes sense that Paul referred to Christ’s church collectively as “churches of Christ”. If collectively they are “churches of Christ” then a local congregation is a “church of Christ”. Our desire should be to Glorify God by being a part of His Son’s Church. There are many characteristics of the one true church found in the Bible. We have looked at a few of them such as baptism, the Lord's supper, and the name that the church should be called by. I hope that you are truly seeking to be a part of the church that Jesus Christ built. Start by taking your Bible and studying it as God commanded in 2 Tim 2:15. Then seek out a body of believers who love God with all their heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:36-40) and are following only the Bible. You will quickly be able to eliminate many religious groups because you will see they are not following the scriptures. Once you find Christ’s church, dedicate your life to serving God every day. John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
In the days of Noah, salvation could only be found by those inside the ark. When Jesus Christ comes back, salvation will only be found by those who are in the one true church that Jesus Christ built. The Bible warns us again and again about false teachers and false religion. There are specific warnings about those who would claim to be “of Christ” but yet lead people astray (Mat 24:24). Please, do not take lightly which church you attend. Study the scriptures thoroughly and be a part of the church that was built by Jesus Christ. Without doubt, the church that you choose does matter. The one true church is made up of those who have truly obeyed the Gospel of Christ and those who know and have a proper relationship with God. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, (8) in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (9) These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (10) when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.
There is much more that can be said about the church that Jesus Christ built. If you have questions as to why Christ’s Church worships the way we do, please reach out. We are doing our best to follow the scriptures in all that we do. We understand that we are under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ and all we do in our worship must be justified by the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals that the Old Testament is there for our learning and the New Covenant reveals instructions for the christian’s worship today. It is also the New Testament that provides the information we need to know in order to receive eternal life through Christ Jesus.
Have you obeyed the Gospel? Romans 6:3-6 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (5) For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, (6) knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. If you would like to set up a time to study the Bible together, please reach out to me by email.
Your servant in Christ