A Great Church
Written by Jay Yeager
Friday, 20 September 2013 20:39

A Great Church

(By Jay Yeager)


     No thinking person would want to be a part of something that was less than a great church. Having said that, the method by which so many measure a church is strange indeed. For instance, some say a church is great because of its size, or the works that they do. Others, because of the programs for the youth, married couples, and seniors. Still others, by the friendliness or even because of the singing. While there is nothing wrong with those things per se, that is not the criteria for determining the value of a church.


     Many religious bodies could measure themselves by those markers and conclude that they are a great church. However, by measuring those same religious bodies according to the word of God, one would be forced to conclude that they have no value at all! Surely, no one would deliberately choose to be a part of that which has no spiritual value.


     So the question for you and I in this lesson is what makes a church great? The church is a great because it was always in God’s plan. “Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the mystery which from  the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:8-11).


     Those verses make it plain that the church was according to the eternal purpose of God. The church was not an accident, not a substitute as some claim. The church was always in God’s plan for the redemption of man, further, that Jesus was central to that plan. Now this question, if the church was in God’s eternal plan, and it was, how great is the church? Its greatness is beyond measure, priceless if you please, for there is nothing in this world that we could use as a basis of comparison. It is one of a kind!


     The church is great because of its builder. Of course it could not come into being until Jesus built it. “And I say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Death was coming and Jesus knew it. His body would be buried in a borrowed tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60), and his soul went into Hades, as was foretold. However, his body would not see corruption (no decay), neither would his soul be left in Hades (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:27; 31). Jesus made it clear, I will rise on the third day (John 2:19; Matthew 16:21), I will build my church!


     No one else could build it. The purchase price of the church was beyond anything this world could offer. Blood was required but, not just any blood. It would take the blood of the Son of God (Acts 20:28). Beloved, Jesus became a man that he might shed his blood on the cross. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).


     The church is great because of its singularity. As already stated, but it bears repeating, nothing on earth can compare to the church built by Jesus Christ himself. The church of Christ stands alone. I know there are a lot of counterfeits out there, voices that use the word “church” fast and loose. I believe that God, in anticipation of all the claims we hear today, used a word that would belie those claims. A single word that exalts the church of Christ and sets it apart from any and all others. God chose the word “one”. 


     Rest assured, God who is omniscient, all-knowing (Hebrews 4:13; Job 24:1; Jeremiah 17:9-10), who knows the thoughts of man (Psalms 94:11), who can tell you the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), certainly knows numbers. Therefore, when God uses the word “one” he has effectively eliminated all others. Not two, fifty, or five hundred. That should forever settle the matter in the minds of honest people. That it has not, is glaringly obvious. Listen please, when God says a thing that settles it. What if there are those who disagree? Then “…let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Romans 3:4).


     How does God use the word “one”? Here is the answer: God uses the word “one” in language that is unmistakable. “There is one body…” (Ephesians 4:4). Friends, there are seven ones given in Ephesians 4:4-6. One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God the Father. Do you find it significant that in this list of things absolutely necessary for religious unity to exist, that God chooses “One Body” to be mentioned first? 


     Well, says one, what is the one body? The one body is the church that was in God’s eternal purpose, the church over which Jesus reigns as head. “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). “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).


     What is the body? The body is the church. What is the church? The church is the body. How many bodies are there? One! How many churches are there? One! I would hate to think we could not understand that, or that bias would keep us from accepting it. Listen please, any person who genuinely wants to go to heaven will seek to find the church that Jesus built and refuse to settle for anything built by someone else.


     The church is great because the saved are in the church. Beloved, by raising and answering three simple questions we can see without doubt that since the church was established in Acts chapter two, that all of the saved are in the church, and not one saved person is outside of the church!

  1. What did Jesus promise to save? “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). Jesus never promised to save anyone outside of the church.
  2. Where is reconciliation unto God? “But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the Law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain (two) one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both (Jew and Gentile) unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereof” (Ephesians 2:13-16). Christ died on the cross, “…the just for the unjust…” (I Peter 3:18) to make it possible for those separated from God by their sins (Isaiah 59:1-2) to be reconciled (brought back).  The place of that reconciliation is the church!
  1. What are the saved added to? “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Members of the church of Christ are ever so thankful. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15).


     The church is great because that is where God is glorified. “Unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ through-out all, ages, world without end, Amen” (Ephesians 3:21). In this lesson we have noticed some things that make the church of Christ great.

  1. Great because it is according to the eternal purpose of God (Ephesians 3:10-11).
  2. Great because Jesus Christ built it (Matthew 16:18).
  3. Great because of its singularity (Ephesians 4:4).
  4. Great because all the saved are in it (Ephesians 5:23).
  5. Great because God is glorified by it (Ephesians 3:21).


     I would be amiss not to address so many religious bodies who claim to be the church. There is an ugly truth here; namely, each began with a rejection of that which Jesus built. In short, it was not good enough for them; it did not meet their needs or wants. Therefore, they started (built) their own. Their own name, their own organization, their own doctrine, their own practice. They call themselves a church and claimed that Jesus is the head of it.


     Despite their claims, every single denomination is a complete stranger to the word of God. That means this; they are not a part of the doctrine of Christ. Now, do you know what God says about that? LISTEN TO HIM! “Whosoever (that means me, you, or anyone else) transgresseth, (goes beyond) the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receiveth him not in your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 9-11).


     Folks, each of us have a choice. We can be a part of that which is an absolute stranger to the book, or we can be a part of that great church, according to the eternal purpose of God, built by Christ, singular (one of a kind), where all the saved are. The church where God is glorified. Do you want to be a part of the body revealed by inspiration, or one unknown and unmentioned?

     If you would be a member of the church of Christ, here is how to be saved:

  1. You must hear the word (Romans 10:17).
  2. You must believed the gospel of Christ (Mark 16:15-16).
  3. You must repent of your past sins (Acts 17:30).
  4. You must confess Christ before men (Romans 10:10).
  5. You must be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38).
  6. You must remain faithful until death (Revelation 2:10).

If you will do that, heaven will be your home (Titus 2:1).