Some nineteen hundred and eighty-eight years ago Jesus asked his disciples, "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" His disciples offered the names of some servants of God from the past. Then Jesus asked them, "But whom say ye that I am?"
Simon Peter spoke up and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Then Jesus answered, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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."
We find this account in Matthew 16:13-18 from the King James Version of the Bible.
In this passage Jesus makes two very interesting statements.
One is he will build his church on the fact he was the Son of the Living God. The other is the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Nothing can overcome or change the church Christ built. Not man, not Satan and not even time. It also means that the gates of hell, nor anything else, will not keep out the church's attacks. Not only will the church withstand all attacks against it, sin, the work of Satan, will not be able to withstand the church's attacks against sin itself and Satan himself.
In Acts 2:47 we read: "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Between his conversation with his disciples promising his church and Peter's sermon after his death, Christ fulfilled his promise and built his church.
If what the Bible says is true neither time or anything else can overcome the church Christ built, that exact church exists at this very moment. How do we find that church? We find the actual church Christ built by examining the Bible and using it, and it only, as our blueprint.
The first thing we can do to find the church that Christ built is to reject all the churches that do not match what the Bible says about Christ's church.
We can reject any church started after 33AD because it is not Christ's church. (Acts 2:47) Churches that started 100, 200, 400, 800 or more years ago are not Christ's church. They started too late.
We can reject any church based on the creeds or teaching of men such as Wesley, Calvin, Smith, Luther or anyone else, because it cannot be Christ's church because Christ's church is based on Christ and Christ alone.
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."(Matthew 15:9 KJV)
"But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Mark 7:7 KJV)
"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:11 KJV)
"Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?" (Colossians 2:22 KJV)
We can reject any church that is controlled by a central governing body or religious council because Christ is the head of Christ's church.
"And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, "(Ephesians 1:22 KJV)
"For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. " (Ephesians 5:23 KJV)
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. " (Colossians 1:18 KJV)
We can reject any church that teaches contrary to the Bible because it is not Christ's church.
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9 KJV)
"But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ."(Matthew 23:8-10 KJV)
We can reject any church that does not fully answer the question, "What must I do to be saved?"
Biblical salvation as preached by Christ's church is a series of steps linked together.
Step one, Romans 10:17, is hearing...
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
We hear the word of God from verses found in the Bible, verses such as John 3:16, Mark 16:16 and others.
Step two, John 8:24, is believing what we hear...
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
Step three and step four, Acts 2:38, is turning from (changing the way you think about) your sins AND being baptized for the remission of sins.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (washing away) of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
That was Peter's answer to the question posed to the Apostles in Acts 2:37 by those who were convicted of crucifying Christ "Men and brethren, what shall we do?
"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Step five, Romans 8:1, is walking after the Spirit (seeking God's will)...
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
John 3:16 is a powerful core verse of the Bible and is no less significant than any other. It is not a stand alone verse. It is an anchor holding God's plan of salvation; the gospel of Christ.
My friend, our little study has shown it is not enough simply believe in Christ for everlasting life. One must believe in Christ, repent of one's sins, confess him, be buried with him in baptism for the remission of sins and walk after the Spirit.
Are you in Christ?
"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? ( Romans 6:3)
Have you put on Christ?
"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:27)
Are your sins washed away? Here's what Ananias said to Saul the former persecutor of the Christ's church...
"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)
Here are the plain words of Jesus...
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. " (John 3:5)
You are encouraged to become part of the 1988 year old Christ based, Bible based church. The original New testament church awaits you and invites you to leave man's doctrines and organizations behind.
It's a simple plea. Come back to the Bible and make it your guide.
To find a 1988 year old church near you click here "Church Of Christ World Wide Directory"
If we can be of further help to you in your search for truth feel free to contact us any time.
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For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 816-7190