There Is But One Church And It Is Not A Denomination

  1. INTRODUCTION:
    1. DEFINITIONS?
      1. Denomination:
        1. The "WORLD BOOK DICTIONARY", defines the word as: "A name for a religious group or sect: Methodist and Baptist are two large Protestant denominations. The presence of many different denominations and sects in a society means that the culture is differentiated into many parts, with differing group interests and viewpoints."
        2. The "WEBSTER'S NEW COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY", tells us that a denomination is a name, designation, title or category; A class, or society of individuals called by the same name; A sect."
      2. Sect: "WEBSTER'S NEW COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY", tells us that a sect is: "A group having in common a leader or a distinctive doctrine; In religion it is a party dissenting from an established, or parent church, a denomination."
    2. A DENOMINATION IS THEREFORE:
      1. A sect, party, faction or division, that is unscriptural in either name, creed (or both).
      2. It is a group that wants to make more of their own name, philosophy, teaching and party than following that of Christ.
      3. The denomination is stating that a religious group of people have divided and that each of the groups, or parties, of the division needed to be separately named and denominated.
      4. A denomination embraces the combination of four terms: Sect, party, division, and faction. These basic terms are included in the works of the flesh in the American Standard Version:
        Gal 5:19-21 = "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are (these): fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
      5. A denomination is a body that claims to be a part of the church of Christ and yet wants to be recognized as separate with its own special private interpretation of doing what the Lord has said.
        2 Peter 1:20-21 = "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
      6. A denomination is therefore a group that:
        1. Has an organization headquarters (executive and legislative) that decrees or designates that which is to be done by its associated churches and ministers.
        2. Has a creed, discipline, or doctrine stating that which the group believes and teaches.
        3. Has any doctrine that stands in conflict to the Word of God.
        4. Has a distinctive name which denotes, or denominates, them as being separate from other followers of Christ.
        5. Has an attitude, or spirit, that is sectarian in any way.
        6. Has a foundation other than Christ.
          1 Cor 3:11 = "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
        7. Has a way of one becoming a member that is (more or less) different than what is given in the Word of God.
          Rev 22:18-19 = "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
          Rev 3:16 = "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
          Isa 35:8 = "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein."
          John 14:6 = "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
    3. THE LORD'S CHURCH IS NOT A DENOMINATION BECAUSE:
      1. It is not a denominated institution by man and in need of being so dominated as such.
      2. It is not all denominational either, as it has no connection with the established religious paries, factions, divisions, or sects man has made.
      3. It stands as a sole unit undenominational in its nature and existence.
      4. It stands in direct opposition to the teaching of man made institutions.
        Note: Consider these passages:
        Acts 20:17, 28-30 = "And from Miletus he (Paul, JHB) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. … Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
        2 Tim 4:1-4 = "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
        Matt 15:9 = "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
        Heb 13:9 = "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein."
        1 Tim 4:1-3 = "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
  2. DISCUSSION:
    1. THE LORD BUILT (ESTABLISHED) ONLY ONE CHURCH -- HIS:
      1. Christ said He would build it.
        Matt 16:16-19 = "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, 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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
      2. This church of Christ was established on the Pentecost following the death of Christ at which time Peter used the keys (preached Christ and his message) and opened the door of it:
        1. 3,000 responded. [Acts 2:41]
        2. From this time forward the Lord added daily unto the (HIS) church. [Acts 2:47]
      3. There has been from this beginning only ONE CHURCH and it bears only his name and respectfully obeys only HIS WORD.
        Eph 1:22-23 = "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
        Eph 4:4-6 = "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
        Col 1:18 = "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."
        Eph 5:23-30 = "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. [24] Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. [25] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."
    2. WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
      1. The Greek word translated church is from -- Ekklesia, pronounced (ek-klay-see'-ah); Meaning, "a calling out", that is (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both); translated by two words: assembly or church.
      2. Consider with me for a few minutes this striking contrast:
    3. DENOMINATIONALISM -- VERSES -- THE CHURCH:
      1. Concerning the number of churches:
        1. Denominationalism says:
          1. There are many bodies or churches.
          2. Today there are well over 300 different bodies, and these have sub-divided into hundreds more religious parties and sects.
            Note: For more information check the "HANDBOOK OF DENOMINATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES", by Frank S. Mead and revised by Samuel S. Hill, Tenth Edition, Copyright 1951.
          3. Each of these offering thanks to God in their prayers for the many choices of churches (or faiths) God has given.
        2. The Church:
          1. There is one body:
            1 Cor 12:20 = "But now are they many members, yet but one body."
            Col 1:18 = "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."
            Eph 4:4 = "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;"
          2. The large number of denominational bodies with different names make it impossible for us to say as did the apostle Paul in Rom. 16:16 = "The churches of Christ salute you".
          3. The denominations pray with thanks for the many, while Christ prayed for the one.
            John 17:20-21 = "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
            1 Cor 14:33 = "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
      2. Concerning the founder of the church:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. These were all founded by men.
            1. Catholic about 325, by the Bishops in the council of Nice.
            2. Lutheran, 1530, by Martin Luther.
            3. Episcopal, 1609, which was an off shoot of the church of England which had been started by Henry VIII in 1531.
            4. Methodists, 1739, by John Wesley.
            5. Presbyterian, 1536, by John Calvin and John Knox.
            6. Baptist, 1611, by Roger Williams and John Smith.
            7. ETC.
        2. The Church:
          1. Founded by Christ.
            Matt 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."
          2. The foundation on which it rests is Christ himself:
            1 Cor 3:11 = "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
            Eph 2:20 = "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;"
      3. Concerning the head or source of authority:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. Men – EX: The Pope, whose word is the authority.
          2. Councils, general assembles, conventions and ETC., which compose the decisions that are to be carried out.
        2. The Church: There is only one head and that is Christ.
          Matt 28:18 = "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
          Eph 1:22-23 = "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
          Col 1:18-20 = "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. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
      4. Concerning doctrine taught or believed:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. Human Creeds – Written by man
            Note: WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY, defines Creed as "I believe; A brief authoritative formula of religious belief".
          2. Examples:
            1. The Apostles' Creed.
            2. The Nicene Creed.
            3. Seven Articles of faith [Mormon]
            4. Church Disciplines
            5. Church Manuals
            6. Book of Faith
            7. Catechism.
            8. ETC.
        2. The Church: No creed but Christ and His Word.
          1. Expressed well by the Ethopian Eunuch:
            Acts 8:37 = "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
          2. That to be believed was expressed by Christ:
            Matt 28:19-20 = "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
          3. All that is needed is contained in the inspired Word of God:
            2 Tim 3:16-17 = "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
          4. We have the perfect law of liberty:
            James 1:25 = "But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."
          5. We have therefore all that we need and it is finished:
            2 Peter 1:3 = "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
            Heb 12:2 = "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God"
      5. Concerning the name to be worn:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. It is all right to wear men's names as Luther and Calvin.
          2. Names are needed to signify the organization as Presbyterian.
          3. Names to specify a particular teaching as Baptists.
          4. Names to specify what kind of Christian they are.
          5. ETC.
        2. The Church:
          1. Since Christ built it [Matt. 16:18]; it should bear His name.
          2. There is no other name than "Christian" -- meaning: "Christ like"
            1 Peter 4:16 = "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf."
            Acts 4:12 = "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
          3. The name worn should glorify Christ and not man.
      6. Concerning following men:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. There is nothing in a name.
          2. It is all right to follow men.
        2. The Church:
          1 Cor 1:10-13 = "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
      7. Concerning church membership:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. Membership in a specific church is not necessary.
          2. You can be saved out of the church.
        2. The Church: Membership in The Church is essential to salvation:
          1. Christ is the savior of the body the body and that body is The Church.
            Eph 5:23 = " 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."
          2. The blood of Christ is the purchasing agent and it purchased the Church.
            1 John 1:7 = "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
            Acts 20:28 = "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
            Eph 5:25-27 = "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
          3. Those that are saved will be those the Lord has added to the church.
            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."
      8. Concerning that which is taught:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. It is all right to teach another gospel.
          2. No two people are going to understand the Bible the same way.
        2. The Church:
          1. Any other gospel condemned.
            Gal 1:8-9 = "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."
          2. We are to study the Word to rightly divide it.
            2 Tim 2:15 = "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
          3. There is no private interpretation of Scripture.
            2 Peter 1:20 = "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation."
            1 Cor 14:33 = "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
            1 Cor 1:10 = "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
            (4) The Word of God was written that man may be on one mind and understand it the same or it would be useless as the judgment.
            Rom 15:4-6 = "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
            John 12:48-50 = "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak."
      9. Concerning following different rules:
        1. Denominationalism:
          1. Every different group has its own set of rules
          2. The rules vary according to the sect or group that is why they are denominations.
        2. The Church: Walk after the rules of Christ.
          Phil 3:16-17 = "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample."
          Eph 4:4-6 = "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
          John 14:6 = "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
  3. CONCLUSION:
    1. IT SHOULD BE VERY EVIDENT THAT THE LORD'S CHURCH IS NOT A DENOMINATION.
    2. MAN DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ALTER AND CHANGE GOD'S WORD TO SUIT HIMSELF AND START A MAN MADE RELIGION.
    3. STUDY THE WORD OF GOD TO KNOW AND OBEY IT.
      2 Tim 2:15 = "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
      Eph 4:14-15 = "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:"
    4. LET US EXAMINE AND TRY THE SPIRITS AND SEE IF THEY ARE OF GOD OR MAN.
      1 John 4:1 = "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
      Acts 17:11 = "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
    5. WE CALL UPON EACH OF YOU TO EXAMINE IN YOUR HEARTS THE VALIDITY OF GOD'S WORD AND OBEY IT ONLY -- TURNING FROM THE FALSE RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES OF MAN.

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