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THERE IS ONE CHURCH

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.    We live in a world wherein hundreds and thousands of man-made doctrines exist.

 

B.      Because of these man-made doctrines, the simple truths of gospel of Christ…

1.      Are never heard by many

2.      Are perverted and twisted to satisfy man’s thinking

3.      Are rejected by the masses

 

C.     Sadly, some of the basic truths of the gospel are being rejected by members of the Lord’s church.

1.      Some completely disagree with the teachings.

2.      Some are ashamed of the teachings.

 

D.    There is a great need for basic, simple truths to be taught today.

1.      We will focus upon one of these truths in this lesson.

2.      Our title:  “There Is One church”

 

I.                   DEFINITIONS

 

A.    Church:

1.      The word church in the Greek language is ekklesia.

a)      Ek means out or out of

b)      Klesia means to be called

c)      Thus, the word church means “the called out ones.”

1)      God calls us by the gospel (II Thess. 2:14).

 

Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

2)      The gospel reveals the conditions of salvation; those who comply have answered the gospel’s call and have become members of the church.

a)      On the day of Pentecost, Peter and the apostles set forth the gospel call (Acts 2:22).

b)      The hearers were pricked in their hearts (Acts 2:37).

c)      They were given instructions as to what they needed to do (Acts 2:38).

d)     Those who gladly received their words were baptized (Acts 2:41).

e)      The Lord added those who heard and obeyed the call of the gospel to the church (Acts 2:47).

2.      The group of individuals who have been truly saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

a.      NOTE:  The church is a group of people.

b.      NOTE:  They have been truly saved by Jesus’ blood.

1)      A person can think he has been saved by Jesus’s blood and not be.

2)      Unless a person has complied with the terms God has revealed in the New Testament, he has not been saved by Jesus blood.

 

B.      One

1.      Definitions:

a.      A single unit

b.      Solely, alone, by itself

c.       A single entity with no others.

2.      Examples:

a.      Genesis 2:21

 

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept:  and took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.

 

b.      Genesis 11:1

 

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

 

3.      We stress the definition of one because it is so misunderstood when applied to the church.

 

II.                PLAIN TEACHING ABOUT THE ONE CHURCH

 

A.    There are many passages that teach us about the existence of just one church.

1.      Matthew 16:18

 

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

a.      Jesus said:  “…I will build my church…”

b.      The word “church” is singular.

2.      Acts 2:47

 

Praising God, and having favour with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

 

a.      The Lord added to “the church.”

b.      He added to only one church, not many churches.

3.      Ephesians 1:22

 

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.

 

a.      Jesus is the head of the church.

b.      He is the head of only one body, the church (See v. 23).

4.      Ephesians 5:25

 

Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

 

a.      Jesus loved the church, one church.

b.      He gave Himself for “it” not “them.”

 

B.      Argument:  Sometimes we read of “churches” in the New Testament.  The word “churches” means more than one.

 

Answer:

1.      The first time we read of the plural term “churches” is in Acts 9:31.

 

Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea, and Galilee and Samaria…

 

2.      In fact, the term “churches” occurs 37 times in 36 verses in the New Testament.

3.      When the word “churches’ is used, it refers to local congregations of the Lord’s church.

a.      These were autonomous groups of Christians in different locals throughout the Romans Empire.

b.      All of these Christians had obeyed the same gospel.  All adhered to the same gospel.  There were united in doctrine and practice (I Cor. 4:17).

 

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

 

1)      Paul established churches throughout the Roman Empire (Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae, the region of Galatia, Thessalonica).

2)      Every church was taught exactly the same thing by the apostle.

3)      NOTE:  These were not different denominations that were established in different towns.  Not one denomination existed at that time.

 

III.             PICTURES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

 

A.    The law contains shadows of things to come in the New Testament (Heb. 10:1a).

 

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image…

 

B.      Three things that point to the oneness of the church.

1.      God had only one nation in the OT that was His (Exo. 19:6).

 

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.  These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

 

Today, the church is the one nation that belongs to God (I Pet. 2:9).

 

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…

 

2.      God had only one tabernacle (temple) that was called the house of God (Exo. 25:8-9).

 

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I shewed thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

 

Today, the church is the house of God (I Tim. 3:15).

 

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

 

3.      God only had one priesthood in the OT.  They came from the Levites (Num. 3:6).

 

But bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.

 

Today, God only has one priesthood.  It is composed of Christians who compose the church (I Pet. 2:5).

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

 

IV.             PICTURES FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT

 

A.    Jesus is the bridegroom, and He only has one bride, the church (Eph. 5:21-33, esp. v. 25).

 

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

 

B.      Jesus is the head of the body, and He only has one body (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4; Col. 1:18).

 

There is one body….And he is the head of the body, the church…

 

Objection:  There is only one body, but the body has many members.  (NOTE:  It is claimed that the members are different denominational bodies).

 

Answer:  Denominations did not exist in the first century.  Thus, they were not the subject of Paul’s discussion.  Paul said the church at Corinth was the body of Christ.  Each one of the Christians who was a member of that congregation was a member of the body.  Members of the body are individual Christians, not different churches.

 

C.     Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and only has one flock (John 10:14).

 

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of min.

 

                        Objection:  In John 10:16, Jesus said that He had other sheep which were not of “this” `                                   fold.”

 

Answer:  Jesus was sent to the Jewish nation.  He was speaking to them when He mentioned He had “other sheep” which were not of this fold.  Those other sheep were the Gentiles who would ultimately be brought into the church.

 

-          Look at the entire wording of John 10:16.

 

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:  them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

 

-          Paul notes the fulfillment of this in Ephesians 3:6.

 

That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.

 

+    The Gentiles are of the same body.  The body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23).

+    Today, there is one fold, the church, that contains both Jews and Gentiles who

have been obedient to the gospel of Christ.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.    The New Testament plainly teaches that there is only one church.

 

B.      Salvation is found in that church (Acts 2:47).

 

C.     Which church is this?

1.      Jesus referred to it as “my” church (Matt. 16:18).

2.      Paul wrote:  “The churches of Christ salute you” (Rom. 16:16).