“He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything.” – Colossians 1:18
Hi, everyone! And thanks for being so supportive (and so forgiving(!) when I do not write as often…I cannot go back there, to writing block days. Good fellowship and study I will surely miss with you, if those days return). As always, I appreciate you! Much love.
Oh, and thanks to those who catch my, sometimes many, errors in citation of Scripture. I often go back and have to change a 15 where I meant a 5, and so forth. I also notice, at times, that when I type a word or phrase then read back over it, it was not the word that was in my head to write. If I think blue, I might type heart, or something completely unrelated. Me and my injured-like brain. I will do better at reviewing. At least you are checking and reading the Scripture references! Don’t stop. 🙂
As we continue our quest to restore New Testament Christianity, let’s take a look at chapter 2 of the book of Acts.
When one of my dearest friends on this earth asked me over 15 years ago who founded the Baptist church that I was a member of and when was it started, I was taken aback. It was something I’d never thought of and something to which I did not have the answer. It definitely got me to thinking, it became one of many studies and discussions on the topic that we would have, and it led me to a place that I am ever so thankful to be. Thank you, my dear friend.
So, I ask the same of you today. When did the church that you belong to begin, and who founded it?
Notice Matthew 16:13-16:
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ He asked them, ‘who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!’”
Jesus then continued:
“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
Jesus clearly said that He would build His church, so it was not already built at that time. In addition to that, in Mark 9:1, the Lord said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” So, His church – the kingdom – would be established within the lifetime of the disciples that He was speaking with and not anytime thereafter.
Notice, also, in Mark 9:1 that Jesus said His kingdom would come with power. Recall in Acts 1 that Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them (Acts 1:8). That brings us to Acts chapter 2.
“When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. […] Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech.” – Acts 2:1-2, 4
All the Jews assembled there from many places – “Parthians, Medes, Elamites; those who live in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs” – could hear them speak in their own language. People thought the disciples were drunk (Acts 2:13).
Then Peter preached to them the gospel of Jesus Christ, informing them that Christ had been crucified, buried, and resurrected (Acts 2:13-36). The message convicted them (Heb. 4:12) that were present and they asked how they could make things right (Acts 2:37).
The response? “‘Repent,’ Peter said to them, ‘and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).
“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” – Acts 2:41-42
They were “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). So the 3,000 that were baptized were added to the initial 120 disciples that we saw in Acts 1 waiting in the upper room for the Spirit (Acts 1:13, 15). And we see in verse 47 that the Lord was adding them to His church.
Friends, I submit to you today that the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ began on the day of Pentecost in the first century. And if we do what they did to be added to that church in Acts chapter 2 – repent and be baptized – then, we, too, will be added to the Lord’s church – the same one.
I’m a member of the church that Jesus built and purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). You can be, too! If you aren’t, check to see if the church that you belong to is in the chart¹² below, who founded it, and when it was started. If yours isn’t listed, find the answer to the question.
Which church do you want to be a member of? The one that Jesus built and that we can read about in the New Testament, or one founded by a man much later?
Let’s restore New Testament Christianity.
“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” – John 3:5-7
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¹ Data from Traditions of Men versus The Word of God by Alvin Jennings.
² Note that some dates provided are approximations. For instance, John Wesley was an Episcopalian but started having separate religious meetings in 1729. He was officially put out of the church of England in 1784. Also, the Roman Catholic church became so during a split in 1054 from the eastern division of Catholics. Lastly, William Miller is known to have founded the Adventist sect, however the Seventh Day Adventist split from the group.
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