In the name of Lord Jesus I speak, first and foremost I give thanks to God for assembling our brothers and sisters on this blessed day to worship Him. So may be the peace and joy of Lord Jesus be filled in us. Today I am going to share with you the topic on the One True Church. I think when we talk about this topic at times it can appear to be off putting and offense because there are so many churches in the world today and why do we talk about the one True church. I think first of all we need to understand why Lord Jesus established only one church. This idea is not a human invention. In fact, this is an important teaching in the scriptures. Now I want you first to turn to 1 Corinthians 1:2
1 Corinthians 1:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
This is an opening remark of Paul to church of Corinth. We know that he establish the church in Corinth. According to Acts 18, God appeared to him in a vision telling him that there are many people in this area who believe in Lord Jesus. But when Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, he said that the church belongs to God. So when we talk about the church we need to understand that the church does not belong to us, but that the the church belongs to God. Because I have not died for you neither have I shed my blood for you to wash away your sins. It is Christ who was crucified on the cross and shed his blood to redeem us from the bondage of sin. We can turn to Acts 20:28.
Acts 20:28 New King James Version (NKJV)
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God[a] which He purchased with His own blood.
Here it talks about the church of God. Here it tells us that the church is a group of people whom God has redeemed with His blood. So today if you have been purchased by the blood of God then you form part of the church of the Lord. So from here it is quite clear that the establishment of the church is not done by men. The establishment of the church is the work of God. So the important thing is that we must be bought by the blood of Christ. So today I am going to show you some examples in the scriptures for mutual exhortation and to confirm to you that there is only one church as far as the scripture is concerned. We can turn to Matthew 16:18.
Matthew 16:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
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.
Here Lord Jesus Christ told Peter a very important mystery concerning the kingdom of God that He is going to establish His church here we are told that God is going to establish His church that is one church. Who is going to establish the church? God Himself that is Lord Jesus Christ is going to establish this church. If you look at this verse carefully, here it states the purpose for the existence of church. Why must the church be built in the first place? Here we are told that when the church is established that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. So we find that the purpose for the existence of the church is very clear. We find that the entire world according to John is under the sway of Satan. So the establishment of the church is to oppose the gates of Hades. We find that the church that God establishes has the power to overcome sins and can set me free from the clutches of sin. That is why we find that the church of God is so important. So today when we talk about the church we must not just talk about the body of people. When we talk about the church we must first talk about the power that God has given to the church. In Luke 24:46-49, these are the words spoken by Lord Jesus right before his ascension.
Luke 24:46-49 New King James Version (NKJV)
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[a] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[b] until you are endued with power from on high.”
Verse 46 to 47 talk about the contents of the gospel. We know that this message, this gospel should be preach by the apostles. The feature of the gospel is about repentance and the remission of sin. If you look at the church today, this is the focus of the church so when we preach to others we want to set them free from the bondage of sin by the power of God and for that reason Lord Jesus Christ asked the disciples to wait in Jerusalem so that they will be endued with power from on high. So with the present of the Spirit in their life they can set people free from the bondage of sin. We find that this is the main task of the church. When you look at the church for the time being just forget about the name. Look at the contents of the message. Today we thank God because we preach according to what the scripture says.
Why does the church send the workers all over the world? To bring this message to the world and to set people free from sin. So from here we find that the church that God established is unique because we have the presence of the spirit. We have been given the truth. It is not that we are better than others, but rather by the grace of God we have come to know the church of God. So we find that if we do not have this firm conviction in the church the momentum to reach out to the unbelieving world can suffer as a result. Now we look at an example from the Old Testament scripture. Genesis 6 talks about the impending judgment of God on the sinful world in the times of Noah. Here the Lord asked Noah to prepare an ark because God was very much grieved by the sinful world then so he decided to wipe away the sins from the face of the earth. He prepared only one ark.
Now think about this, actually God could have get more individuals to build more arks. Let's say he called ten people to build ten arks. You know it's like increase in numbers in the building of ark adds more weight to the message of Noah. Noah was talking about the impending judgment of the Lord. So for him to go around telling people about the impending judgment then it can be a laughing stock. Everyone can be laughing at him. If there are ten arks being built at the same time then we find that it would draw the attention of the people. They would think about the message of Noah more carefully, but we see that God only built one ark. So in the mind of God there is only one ark that saves. Now how do we know that the ark represents the church? We turn to 1 Peter 3:20-21.
1 Peter 3:20-21 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited[a] in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So when we read Genesis we know that Noah and his family were saved. They were saved because they entered into the ark according to the commands of the Lord. Here we are told that they were saved through water. We know that when we read Genesis it was through the ark that they were saved. How is it that Peter says that they are saved through water? When you read verse 21, Peter links it to baptism. We know that when we are baptized in water, the bible tells us that we are baptized into Christ into the body of Christ which is the church. Because through baptism our sins are washed away according to Acts 2:38.
In the times of Noah, it was through the water that sin was washed away as well that's why Peter says that they were saved through water. They first entered the ark and then the flood came and the water covered the entire ark. All the people in the world died. When you look at these two events the point of connection is the water. So when we are baptized we are baptized into Christ one body. Therefore we can come to the conclusion that the ark represents the church. Since there is only one ark surely there is only one church. We know that this is not the work of men but this is the work of God. Another example is in Exodus 19:4-5
Exodus 19:4-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
Here God recounted to the people how He saved them. He said to them that they are a special people in the eyes of God. We know that they were slaves before in Egypt so now in Sinai God told them that they are a special group of people. There is a great transformation. Actually in the New Testament the writer talks about this in Acts 7:38
Acts 7:38 New King James Version (NKJV)
38 “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us.
Here the word congregation in the original text is church. So the church in the wilderness is mentioned here. How is it that there is a church in the wilderness? Now if you read 1 Corinthians 10:1-2.
1 Corinthians 10:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,
Here we find that according to Paul, crossing the Red Sea is likened to a form of baptism. We know that Moses at that time is a hero to them, a savior to them. So according to Paul when they crossed the Red Sea they were baptized into Moses. That's why when we read Acts 7 we are told that there is a church in the desert. They were baptized and separated themselves from Egypt. Also for that reason God said that the nations of Israel a body of people who are very special to Him.
He has chosen them so in order to become a part of this body of Christ we must be baptized into Christ. We know that in baptism the Spirit must be there to forgive sin so that we can be joined into the body of Christ. So we see that this has been the plan of the Lord that's why we believe that there is only one church. This church must have the present of the Spirit, and must be given the power to forgive sin.
Another point in Ephesians 4:4, here we are told that there is only one Spirit.
Ephesians 4:4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
We know that God is the Spirit. His presence fills the entire universe and yet Paul here made it clear that there is only one Spirit. He also states that there is only one body. We know that this body refers to the church so meaning that there is only one church. If you look at the analogy here given by Paul, if he is talking about a human being. If I ask you a very simple question, where is your spirit? Obviously your spirit is in your body.
Likewise the spirit of God can only be found in His body - the church. Since Paul made it so clear that there is only one body and one Spirit, therefore you need to go to a church that has the presence of the spirit of God in her. Only then we can be sure that this is the church of God, this is the one church of God. In 1 Corinthians 12:13, this verse talks about water baptism and it also talks about the one Spirit and one body.
1 Corinthians 12:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[a] one Spirit.
It tells us here how can we be part of this one body of Christ the church. We know that in performing water baptism there is always a human baptist. This baptist is to administer baptism on those who would like to be part of the church. I think for those who read the NKJV bible, it is quite clear that in water baptism it is the Spirit who baptizes those who believe into the body of Christ - the one body. It is the Spirit who baptizes those who believe in Lord Jesus into the body of Christ.
Let's say now that I am performing baptism, I say, "In the name of Lord Jesus I baptize you for the forgiveness of sin." So I immerse you into the water with your head facing downward so according to Paul it is actually the Spirit who is baptizing you. So with the presence of the Spirit, you are baptized into this one church this one body of Christ. This is a mystery of God, so you know when we talk about the church these are the features that we need to look into. If you know that the church does not belong to men. I always believe in this that if I died today the church will continue to grow maybe the church can grow faster. Why? Because the church does not belong to me, but the church belongs to God. So we need to look for this one church that has the presence of the Spirit.