Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 14, 1954
NUMBER 23, PAGE 1,3b

The Church That Jesus Built

J. D. Tant

There have been two families on earth with a divine origin. God was the maker and founder of one at the beginning, when he made Adam and Eve, and called their name Adam. (Gen. 5:2.) This was God's family upon the earth. From this family all nations came. Had these people lived up to the law of God, there would have been no necessity of the confounding of languages and scattering the people over the earth as was done at the tower of Babel when they tried to reach heaven, by their own works. (Gen. 11:5-10.)

When this family had fulfilled the work God ordained it should do, we are introduced to another person, Jesus, the Son of God, who came, lived, died, and lived again in order to save his people from their sins.

While Jesus was here, perfecting his work, on one occasion Peter confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. Christ pronounced a blessing upon him and said, "Upon this rock (Peter's confession that he was the Son of God) I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16:18.) Paul called attention to this church and said it was purchased by the blood of Christ. (Acts 20:28.) He also refers to it as a bride, and to Christians as being married to Christ. (Rom. 7:1-4.) Further he tells us that the church is the body of Christ (Col. 1:18), and that Christ is the Savior of the body. (Eph. 5:23.)

Seeing the importance that the word of God attaches to the church of Christ, it is sad to see how much the religious world undervalues it, claiming a connection with the church has nothing to do with the salvation of man.

Often it is said that a man can be saved just as well in one church as in another. Why not argue that when the flood came a man could have kept out of the water just as well in some other ark as in the one Noah built? When God told the bitten Israelites to look at the snake Moses hung up in the wilderness, would it have done just as well for Sam Jones or Bill Smith each to have made snakes and hung them up for the people to look at ?

The question is often asked, "Don't you think there are just as good people in one church as in another?" Most assuredly that is true. But it is also true that God never promised to save any man on account of his goodness. There are just as good people outside the Masonic lodge as belong to it, but no outsider is ever buried with Masonic honors.

There are as good people in France and England as we have in America, yet they have not the protection of our government, because they are not American citizens. So it is in becoming a child of God or a member of the church of Christ. Jesus said in John 3:5, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Inasmuch as the church of Christ is a spiritual institution, entered by spiritual law, not moral law, it matters not how good a man is, he has no spiritual connection with Christ, the head of the church, unless he obeys from the heart said spiritual law, as taught in Romans 6:17, and is made free by the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus, as taught in Romans 8:2. This is the kind of a good life many lead here, working all the time in what they call "their" church instead of the church of Christ, doing, as they claim, many things in the name of Christ, but things which Christ has never commanded. I am sure such will come under the head of "their works of righteousness" at the last day instead of the righteous ness of God as taught in Romans 10:3. They will be found having built on the sand. Since the Bible teaches that Jesus has a church, purchased with his own blood, we conclude that it is not only a divine institution, but that it is separated from all human churches. Salvation is promised only through the name of the founder. (Acts 4:12.) This salvation included only those who build on the rock. (Matt. 7:24.) As those who build on the rock, or in the church, are said to be members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones (Eph. 5:30), it should then be a question of great importance that we know more of this church and of the spiritual law that makes us members of it, and of the power by which we are kept alive after we get into this church.

First. When the prophet foretold the laying of the corner stone in Zion, he said this should be laid after the stone was "tried." This trying or testing of the stone took place in the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Son of God. (Isa. 28:14-16.)

Second. Jesus told the apostles they should commence the work at Jerusalem after the Holy Spirit had come upon them. (Luke 24:4-9.)

Third. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles on the first day of Pentecost after the death of Christ, giving them not only spiritual life, but a spiritual law, by which, and through which men and women become members of the church of Christ. But what is this spiritual law, and how is it that men and women become members of the body of Christ?

Peter taught that it is by "hearing." (Acts 15:7.) Paul taught that men must "believe" the gospel. (Acts 16:31.)

The Jewish Christians rejoiced when God granted unto the Gentiles "repentance" unto life. (Acts 11:18.)

Philip taught that men must "confess" the Son of God. (Acts 8:38.)

The Holy Spirit through Peter taught that men must "be baptized" for the remission of sins. (Acts 2:38.)

All the people who gladly received the above teachings were baptized, and the Lord added them to the church. (Acts 2:47.) This was the church which continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and the prayers.

If the seed of a peach tree was planted in A.D. 33, it grew and produced peaches. If the same kind of seed is planted today, will it not grow and produce peaches as it did then? If not, why not? So that man who would argue that we cannot tell whether they are peaches or not unless we can produce an account of each tree that has borne the same kind of fruit from now back to the apostles would be illogical. In like fashion we have the same gospel the apostles had, which is the word of God, the seed of the kingdom. If it produced nothing but Christians then, members of the church of Christ, it will produce nothing more or less today.

As Jesus taught that all plants or churches not planted by His Father should be rooted up, we should be careful lest it may turn out we are working in some human church and will be rooted up at the last day.