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THE IDENTITY OF THE CHURCH

part a

TEXT:† Eph. 3:10-11

INTRODUCTION:

A.††††† THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH IS A PART OF GODíS ďETERNAL PURPOSE

††††††††† 1.†††††† It was built by Jesus Christ ( Mat. 16:18).

††††††††† 2.†††††† We must be a part of it to be saved( Eph. 5:23 ).†

††††††††† 3.†††††† The word "church" comes from a Greek word that literally means "the called out"

†††††††††††††††††† ( 1 Pet. 2:9-10;† Col. 1:12-13 ).†

††††††††† 4.†††††† It is evident that one cannot be saved out of the church.†

††††††††† 5.†††††† We need to make sure that what we are in is indeed the church that Jesus built

†††††††††††††††††† (Eph. 1:22-23;† 4:4-5 ).†

††††††††† 6.†††††† How can we distinguish it from all the denominations of the world which claim to be

†††††††††††††††††† the Lordís church?

B.††††† HOW DO WE IDENTIFY THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH.

††††††††† 1.†††††† If we are looking for a man or an automobile, we want all the identifying marks

†††††††††††††††††† ( age, color, size, make, model, etc. ).†

††††††††† 2.†††††† If we are looking for the church we read about in the Bible, we need to know its

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† identification marks.†

††††††††† 3.†††††† The church as God planned it and as Christ built it is described in the New

†††††††††††††††††† Testament.

C.††††† WE WANT TO STUDY THE IDENTITY OF THE CHURCH.

I.†††† THE WORD "CHURCH" IS USED TO REFER TO THE SAVED IN

††††††† TWO SENSES:

A.††††† THE UNIVERSAL( Mat. 16:18;† Eph. 1:22-23;† Acts 20:28 ).

B.††††† THE LOCAL( 1 Cor. 1:1-2;† Gal. 1:1-2;† Rom. 16:16 ).

II.†††† IDENTIFYING THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH:

A.††††† WHO IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH?( Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18 ).†

††††††††† 1.†††††† Who has all authority?( Mat. 28:18 ).†

††††††††† 2.†††††† What about the Pope?† The head of the church of England is the King or Queen of

†††††††††††††††††† England.† The Mormons have their president, otherís have their councils,

†††††††††††††††††† conferences, and conventions which legislate and enforce laws.†

††††††††† 3.†††††† This makes the church its own head.† The church has NO authority and makes no

†††††††††††††††††† laws.† When it does, it has rejected Christís authority.† The Lordís church looks to

†††††††††††††††††† Jesus for guidance, he is its ONLY head.

B.††††† WHO IS THE FOUNDATION( 1 Cor. 3:11;† Mat. 16:13-20 ).†

††††††††† 1.†††††† What about the Catholic claim that Peter was the foundation?†

††††††††† 2.†††††† Around whom was the Mormon faith built?†

††††††††† 3.†††††† What is the guiding principle of the Jehovahís Witnesses?

C.††††† WHO STARTED THE CHURCH?( Mat. 16:18; 15:13; Psa. 127:1 ).†

††††††††† 1.†††††† Who started the Mormon Church?† Joseph Smith.† Who started the Methodist?† John

†††††††††††††††††† Wesley.† Lutheran?† Martin Luther.† Mrs.† Mary Baker Glover Patterson Eddy started

†††††††††††††††††† the Church of Christ Scientists.

††††††††† 2.†††††† These and many other denominations are eliminated because they have and claim the

†††††††††††††††††† wrong founder.

D.††††† WHERE AND WHEN DID THE CHURCH BEGIN?( Acts 2 ).

††††††††† 1.†††††† Those who were baptized were added to the church (Acts 2:47 kjv).† We find also

†††††††††††††††††† that they were gathered in Jerusalem( Acts 2:1-5 ).†

††††††††† 2.†††††† We can know that any church that started at a later date( 33 A.D. )or in another place

†††††††††††††††††† is not the church of the Lord.†

††††††††† 3.†††††† For example, the Lutheran Church began October 31, 1517, in Germany.† The

†††††††††††††††††† Methodist began in 1729 in England. From the Bible we know when and where the

†††††††††††††††††† church began.

E.††††† WHAT WAS IT CALLED?(Heb. 12:22-23; 12:28; Gal. 1:13; Rom. 16:16).

F.††††† WHO ARE THE MEMBERS AND WHAT ARE THEY CALLED?

††††††††† 1.† All the saved are members( Eph. 5:23-27; 1 Cor. 12:13 ).

††††††††† 2.† Called "Christians"( Acts 11:26;† 1 Pet. 4:15-16 ).

G.††††† WHEN REFERRING TO THE CHURCH IN THE UNIVERSAL SENSE, THE

††††††††† WORD "CHURCH" IS ALWAYS SINGULAR.† THERE IS NO ORGANIZATION

††††††††† FOR THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH.

CONCLUSION:† ARE YOU A MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH?

A.††††† DOES THE CHURCH YOUíRE A MEMBER OF FIT THE DESCRIPTION?

B.††††† HOW DOES ONE GET INTO THE CHURCH OF THE LORD? (1 Cor. 12:13)