In Mt 16:18, Jesus said that He would build His church, but when was it built, when did it begin?
The Old Testament predicted a kingdom that God would set up. In Daniel 2, we read of it beginning during the Roman Empire.
John the Baptist said, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Mt 3:2]
All of these passages are looking forward to the church coming, and as we read the Gospels, we know that the church did not exist during the lifetime of Jesus.
When we turn our attention to the end of the New Testament, we see that the church was certainly in existence. Revelation chapter 2 includes letters from the risen Savior to “the church”. James 5:14 speaks of elders in the church. Paul wrote letters teaching men how they “ought to behave” in the church. [1Tim 3:15] He also wrote in Col 1:13 that he and other Christians were removed from darkness and placed in the kingdom of God’s son.
Acts – A book about the early church
In the book of Acts, which is a record of the history of the early church, we find near the end that the church, which was “purchased with His own blood”, is in place. As we move through the book toward the beginning, we can find the existence of the church in Acts 18:22; 15:22; 14:23; 8:1; 5:11.
The beginning of the book of Acts has the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, but a careful reading of the Gospels shows that the church did not exist during the lifetime of Jesus. So, the church must have begun sometime between His ascension and the early events in Acts shortly after.
Let us turn to Acts chapter 2. Peter stands up during a Jewish feast day called Pentecost and preached about Jesus, the one who had recently died. In this sermon he told those listening to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” [v38]. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” [v41].
Then in vs 47, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The church had begun!! Just as promised, the Lord has built His church.
Do you want to be added to the church? You can, by simply doing what every member of the church has done since that first day; Repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
What would prevent you from being baptized just like the Eunich asked in Acts 8:36? Nothing, if you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. [v37]