"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
WHO IS THE TRUE CHURCH OF GOD ?
There are at least 100 different denominations today all claiming to be God's true church. As they all conflict with each other in belief, can they all constitute God's true church? For thousands of years the question of who and what constitutes God's church has raged. How can we know for sure?
To comprehend this vital truth is to find freedom in Jesus Christ, but to misunderstand it is to be kept in bondage and captivity to Satan. It is of the utmost importance to all of God's followers that each one take the time to study for himself to understand who and what constitutes God's true church.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND
The only way to understand this is to obtain knowledge and wisdom; but from where? Can we depend alone upon the knowledge and wisdom from earthly sources? No, because we would become the enemies of God (see James 4:4). Can we then depend alone upon the knowledge and wisdom from other men? No, because if we depend on the words of other men -- be they pope or priest, minister or elder, guru or Shaman -- we will be cursed (see Jer. 17:5). Can we then depend alone on our own wisdom? No, because that is foolishness (see 1 Cor. 1:19-20, 3:19).
Then where do we obtain the knowledge and wisdom with which to understand who and what constitutes God's church? It must be from God Himself, and He mercifully promises to grant us all the knowledge and wisdom we need to understand His truth (see James 1:5; John 7:17, 14:26). The wisdom and knowledge which comes from God, as is found in His inspired word, must be our ONLY foundation and dependence in trying to understand the truth of this vital issue.
"To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20.
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15.
IS GOD’S TRUE CHURCH A DENOMINATION?
Multitudes have been taught that God's true church is a denomination that is devoted to the worship of God. There is an urgent desire to find some denomination to join; but which one? Choosing one of the 100 or so denominations, each declaring most positively that they are the one and only true church of God, can be a most difficult task! Some have even suggested that it doesn't make any difference which one because all churches lead to heaven. This comes about because people have been led to believe that they must be members of, or otherwise connected to, some denomination in order to worship God, be part of His true church, and have their salvation assured. But this is not what the Scriptures teach regarding God's true church!
Jesus, in speaking of Himself and God's true church, declared:
"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine....and I lay down my life for the sheep...and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." John 10:14-16.
Jesus stated that God only has "one fold" or one true church, not many! This Scriptural truth debunks the idea that all the denominations collectively make up God's church. The word "fold" translates the same as "flock" (see Strong's Concordance, #4167). So who or what makes up this identity of God's true church, His "one fold" or "one flock"? Since all denominations can't be one fold, is God's one flock any particular denomination?
"And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God." Ezekiel 34:31.
God's one true church, His one fold, His one flock of today is not a denomination -- no matter how exalted their name, or how loudly they profess -- because God's one true church is made up of people. We must understand this vital point of truth, that God's church is made up of people and not a denomination, in order to be free in Jesus and not continue to remain in bondage and captivity to men!
GOD’S TRUE CHURCH IS PEOPLE
This beautiful knowledge, that God's church is made up of people and not any denomination, is what sets you free in Jesus, and leads you to correctly understand other related issues regarding God's church. Whereas, the belief that God's true church is a denomina-tion, will leave you in bondage to men, and to misunderstand other related issues regarding God's church.
Some may still be having problems in seeing the difference between these two understandings, so let us briefly examine the following related scenarios from both perspectives which will help to show the difference between the two issues, and it should become clearer why one leads to freedom in Christ, while the other leads to bondage of men.
The Bible teaches that God is offering rest for all who are weary (see Isa. 28:12, 30:15; Jer. 6:16). With the understanding that God's church is made up of people, then we would individually find our rest only by going directly to Jesus (see Psa 37:7; Matt 11:28-30), and if we choose to leave Him, then we lose our rest and salvation. Whereas with the understanding that God's church is a denomination, then we would find our rest only by going directly to the denomination and if we choose to leave the denomination, then we believe that we have forsaken our rest and are lost.
The Bible teaches that God's church is the body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:23, 5:30). So in understanding that God's true church is made up of people, then we individually become part of Christ's body by joining Christ Himself and are baptized (see Gal. 3:27-29; Matt. 12:30; Rom. 12:5; Mark 16:16). And if we should choose to break away from Christ, then we would no longer be part of His body or church and are lost. Whereas with the understanding that God's church is a denomination, then we would become part of Christ's body by joining the denomination through baptism. And if we should choose to break away from, or should be cast out of, the denomination, then we would believe that we are no longer part of the body of Christ and are lost.
The Bible also teaches that God's people will obtain immortality or eternal life (see Rom 2:7). With the understanding that God's church is made up of people, then we would find eternal life only through Jesus (see 1 Tim. 1:16-17; 1 John 1:1-2; John 1:1-4, 14:6), and by disconnecting ourselves from Jesus, we have no chance for eternal life and salvation. Whereas with the understanding that God's church is a denomination, then we would find eternal life through the denomination, and by disconnecting ourselves from the denomination we believe we have no chance for eternal life or of salvation.
THIS ISSUE INVOLVES YOUR SALVATION!
As you can see, all these scenarios involve the issue of our salvation! The Bible does indeed teach that we must be saved (see 1 Tim. 2:3-4). Understanding that God's true church is made up of people, then we would individually find our salvation by connecting ourselves directly to Jesus Christ (see John 3:17; Isa. 45:22; Acts 2:21, 4:10-12, 15:11, 16:30-31; Rom. 5:9-10), and in separating ourselves from Christ, we are lost. Whereas with the understanding that God's church is a denomination, then we find our salvation by connecting ourselves to the denomination, and in separating ourselves from the denomination, we believe we are lost.
LIBERTY OR BONDAGE
I earnestly pray that you can clearly discern the stark difference between these two ideologies and the pathway which it leads you to follow. One leads to complete liberty and freedom in Christ, the other leads to complete bondage and captivity to men! The one is the gospel truth of the Bible which centers in Jesus, the other is the heinous falsehood of Catholicism which centers in Satan! I sincerely hope that you can clearly understand that if you believe that God's true church is a denomination, that you are in bondage to the men who control that church. And, more importantly, that Christ has been robbed from you as your Saviour because the denomination has taken His place -- it has become the object of your worship and source of your salvation!
This sad scenario, of the denominational church being made into the object of worship instead of Christ, is exactly what the Jewish people were led into.
The Jewish people accused Stephen of speakingq·"blasphemous words against this holy place" or against their temple (see Acts 6:13). And what were Stephen's words?
"But Solomon built him (God) an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hands made all these things?" Acts 7:47-50.
Stephen was basically telling all the Jewish church members that in this New Covenant period, God does not dwell in literal buildings, but desires to dwell in the individual hearts of His people through Jesus Christ. In other words, Stephen was telling them that any who desired to worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth, that no one needed to belong to the denominational church or to visit any temple in order to worship God. In fact, one person directly asked Christ this very question on denominationalism, and please read carefully His answer:
"The woman (of Samaria) saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain (the temple at Mount Gerizim); and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for (the message of) salvation is of (was committed to) the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:19-24.
Thus God's true church is not made up of this denomination or that denomination, but is made up of individuals who worship God in spirit and truth. You do not need to find any denomination in order to worship God, but you can worship Him in your very homes -- just like the disciples and followers of Christ chose to do (see Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2).
NO LONGER UNDER OLD COVENANT SYSTEM
The Bible truth is that we are no longer under the Old Covenant system where God's presence dwelt in the literal temple building where the people had to resort in order to worship God. But we are the people of the New Covenant system, where God's presence can dwell in our body temple -- in our heart or mind -- where He desires to write His law!
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Heb. 8:10.
“...for ye are the temple of the living 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.” 2 Cor. 6:16.
Praise God for this true understanding! Now individuals no longer have to remain in bondage to a corrupt priesthood or to an apostate church, but they can find true freedom in Jesus Christ!
When any denomination or religious group puts forth the claim that they are the true church of God, and therefore your salvation is jeopardized if you willingly separate from them, or are cast out, disfellowshipped, or excommunicated from them, then you can know that they have cast Christ out of their church and have taken His place among their people! But how is this true?
The Bible teaches that only “in” and “through” Jesus Christ that:
we find “the truth” (John 14:6);
we become part of the New Covenant (2 Cor. 3:13-18);
we find “redemption” (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7);
we are “justified” (Acts 13:39);
we become righteous (Jer. 23:6; 2 Cor. 5:21);
we have “peace” with God (Rom. 5:1; Phil. 4:7; Col. 1:20);
we have “access” to the Father (Eph. 2:18);
God shows us “His kindness” (Eph. 2:7);
we receive “grace” (2 Tim. 2:1; Eph. 2:7);
we receive the “Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5-6);
we become “wise” (1 Cor. 4:10);
we become “alive” and “live” (Rom. 6:11; Phil. 1:21; 1 John 4:9; John 14:6);
God works in us (Heb. 13:21);
we are “sanctified” (1 Cor. 1:2);
we are made perfect (Col. 1:28);
we can do all things (Phil. 4:13);
we gain the victory (1Cor 15:57);
we triumph over sin (2 Cor 2:14);
we can remain faithful (Eph 1:1);
we can be “preserved” in sanctification(Jude 1:1);
we become a child and “heir of God” (Gal. 4:7);
we can “joy” and “glory” in God (Rom. 5:11; 15:17);
we receive “spiritual blessings” (Eph. 1:3);
we become “rich” (2 Cor. 8:9);
we can sit “in heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6);
we can escape from the “wrath” of God (Rom. 5:9);
we will be resurrected if we should die before Christ returns (John 11:25);
we find our “salvation” and “shall be saved” (2 Tim. 2:10; John 10:9, 3:17);
we find “eternal life” (2 Tim. 1:1; Rom. 6:23; 1 John 5:11-12).
That is why OUR ONLY HOPE IS FOUNDED SOLELY IN AND THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST (1 Thess. 1:3), because anything and everything which is good in us comes only through Him (Philemon 6)!
JESUS CHRIST OUR ROCK
The above should unquestion-ably and conclusively prove why the foundation of God's true church can only be based upon Jesus Christ--the eternal and solid Rock (see 1 Cor. 10:4, 3:11; Psalms 62:2, 18:2, 92:15, 2 Sam. 22:32)!
No denomination, religious group, clergy, priesthood, man or group of men, can offer you any of these above items in truth. The only Being who can indeed offer you all of these items in truth, is only Jesus; not Peter, or Pope, or Buddha, or Krishna, or Mohammed, or Maitreya, or any other being--but only Jesus Christ! Only in and through Christ can we gain all things, be assured salvation and become part of His true church. But outside of Christ, we have, and are, nothing!
Yet this Biblical understanding of who and what constitutes God's true church leads us to ask the following vitally important questions: “What must we do to individually become part of God's true church on earth, and how can we remain a part of it? And is fellowship with other true believers important?”
For the Bible answers to these vitally important questions, please visit the web site at: www.TrueChurchofGod.info.