Dear Friend, (continued 3o3)
When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body, the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12).
Denominations are not all part of “one universal church,” they are different churches. That is why we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word “churches” does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation.
It is too small to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church. Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a denomination.
What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the church of God’s choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1Samuel 15:22; 1John 1:6,7; 5:3; 2John 1:9). We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.
Friend, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship falsely and still belong to God. Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol worship, the principle remains the same for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.
The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1John 4:6). If a man, or group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he has separated himself from God.
Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God sword.
With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain…