Does one start
A local congregation
Of God's one true
Every now and then a person may come to a point in their life where they
wonder: "With so many Churches around how do I know I'm in the right one?"
Unfortunately, through no fault of their own, they lack the necessary judgment to
answer their question.
In John 7:24 we find Jesus Christ teaching how to exercise judgment. His
instructions are to: "Judge NOT according to the appearance, but judge righteous
judgment." He warned against being fooled by appearance, saying that people are to
"judge righteous judgment." This means: practice comparing whatever may appear
to be of God with the Scriptures. A practice that is just as important today as it was
when He taught it nearly 2,000 years ago.
And one area of modern day Christianity where this practice is vital is concerning
the Church itself. Because, while many different churches appear to be of God, the
Bible teaches there can only be one true Church: "There is ONE body [church] , and
ONE Spirit...ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God..." Eph. 4:4
So let's use the Bible in answering a key question concerning God's one true church.
And as we do, please take the time to ask yourself:
"Does my Church practice what the Bible says it's supposed to?" Question: How does one start a local congregation of
God's one true Church?
In the Bible we find Church congregations multiplying like an atomic chain reaction.
That is to say; Christ's first Church started several Churches, and each in turn started
several, and they in turn several, and so on, and so on. This "explosion" continued to
propagate forward up to the present time, fulfilling Christ's promise that His Church
will always be around (Matthew 16:18). We're going to briefly trace this reproduction
process in greater detail beginning with the first Church Christ Himself started.
When Christ ascended into heaven, his Church (at Jerusalem) consisted of about
120 members. On the day of Pentecost the Bible says: "...the same day there were
added unto them [the church] about THREE THOUSAND souls." (Acts 2:41)
Church membership continued to grow in size, eventually scattering to start
other Churches. One of them was located in a town called Antioch. The Bible says:
"Now they which were SCATTERED...travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus,
and ANTIOCH, ...." Acts 11:19
From Antioch, missionaries were eventually sent out:
"Now there were in the CHURCH THAT WAS AT ANTIOCH certain prophets and
teachers; as Barnabas, ...and Saul. As they [the Church] ministered to the Lord,
and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, SEPARATE ME BARNABAS AND SAUL FOR THE
WORK WHEREUNTO I HAVE CALLED THEM" (Acts 13:1-2).
This "WORK" God called them to do was to start Church congregations through-
out the region. "So they, being SENT FORTH by the Holy Ghost, departed unto
Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus" (Acts 13:4). In Cyprus they came
to a town called Salamis, where the Bible says: "And when they were at Salamis,
THEY PREACHED THE WORD OF GOD..." (Acts 13:5)
The Bible continues on to show them traveling from town to town, city to city,
preaching the Word of God. And as they did, people were getting saved, gathered
into local congregations, and formed CHURCHES. By the end of their first
missionary journey, the Bible records Paul and Barnabas as having begun Churches
in Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:48-49), Iconium (Acts 14:1), Lystra (Acts 14:6-7), and
Derbe (Acts 14:20-23).
It is important to note that during all their "Church planting," they were under
the Authority of the Church that SENT THEM; the Church at Antioch. In fact, when
their first missionary journey was over, they reported back to Antioch. The Bible
"...sailed to Antioch, FROM WHENCE THEY HAD BEEN RECOMMENDED TO THE
GRACE OF GOD FOR THE WORK WHICH THEY FULFILLED. And when they were
come, and had gathered the church together, THEY REHEARSED [reported] ALL
THAT GOD HAD DONE WITH THEM, and how he had opened the door of faith
unto the Gentiles." (Acts 14:26-27)
Thus Christ's first Church began (among others) the Church at Antioch, which in
turn began the four Churches previously mentioned, which in turn (no doubt) went
on to start others. This initial pattern of "Churches starting Churches" has since
become God's only accepted way of starting local congregations. In the Bible we
find: no missions board, no diocese, no legislative courts, no centralized aristocracy,
no synod or any other centralized organization deciding when and where a Church
is built. God's way is for a given congregation to multiply itself by "parenting"
other Churches. To this very day every true Church congregation
of God should be able to look back and say:
"we were started directly and exclusively out of another
Church congregation of like faith and practice."
Any Church unable to make that claim, no matter how "Christian" it may seem, is
not fulfilling the Biblical pattern of Churches starting Churches and should be
So please ask yourself this:
§ Was my Church congregation started by another Church? Can I name that
§ Was it started by some central committee, headquartered somewhere,
deciding to build a church in my neighborhood? (we see no such thing
occurring in the Bible.)
§ Was my minister called and sent out of another Church congregation by God
(like Paul and Barnabas) to start my Church? Who told him to come and start
it? Was it "headquarters"?
If you died today, are you 100% sure you
would go to Heaven? The Bible says you can!
"These things have I written...that ye may
know that ye have eternal life," I John 5:13.
A. You must realize where you stand with God.
1. Your sins separate you and God. "your iniquities
have separated between you and your God,"
2. That includes everyone. "For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God;" Rom. 3:23.
B. You must realize that Heaven can't be earned.
1. Not by doing enough good things. "Not by
works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to his mercy he saved us..."
2. Not by being baptized, joining a church, or
obeying the Ten Commandments. "For by
grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast."
C. You must be willing to change your direction.
"the wages of sin is death;" Romans 6:23.
1. Self righteousness will cause you to miss Heaven.
Rom. 10:2-3; Luke 13:2; Matt. 5:20; Rom. 3:28
2. Faith in yourself, your baptism, your church will
cause you to miss Heaven, John 1:12; John 3:3.
3. You must repent. "Repent ye therefore, and be
converted," Acts 3:19. "The Lord is...not
willing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance." II Pet. 3:9
* Repentance means to change your mind about sin.
D. You must receive Jesus Christ by faith as your
personal Saviour. "being justified by faith,"
Eternal life was paid for with the shed blood
of Christ. Accept it as a free gift. "For
whosoever shall call upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
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