These days it seems many are down on the church. Many who witnessed churches of Christ grow in great numbers in the 1950’s and 60’s are today lamenting that few seem genuinely interested in spiritual things. The Lord’s church also faces vicious attacks from within; men and women from our own ranks who ought to know better seem to find great sport in mocking those who stand with conviction upon matters of faith. It has always been easier to grumble and complain against God and His people than to build with wisdom upon a solid foundation (see Numbers 11:1-35). Oh, for the wisdom and insight to be able to see what is truly right with the church of Jesus Christ!
The Lord’s church is still the only place where salvation can be found. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6). Scripture teaches that when a person is baptized two things happen: first, one’s sins are washed away (Acts 2:38), and second, that person is added to the church of Christ (Acts 2:47). Thus, it is not possible to be saved without being a member of the church of Christ. The church is the body of Christ (cf. Eph. 1:22-23), so it is impossible to be in Christ while being outside His body. As one preacher of a bygone generation used to say: “You can’t get to heaven in a church built by a man… the devil has a mortgage out on a church like that, and one day that mortgage will come due! ”
The Lord’s church is still the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 speaks of the church in lofty terms – it is both the pillar and bulwark of the truth. If God’s people do not hold up God’s truth in a world filled with darkness, who will? Our postmodern society has come to doubt whether absolute truth even exists; yet, Jesus taught that people can indeed know truth (Jn. 8:32). As we often sing, “Into our hands the gospel is given” (John 12:48; Jude 3). People in our own society are struggling with great and substantial issues of right and wrong, morality and immorality, good and evil. The God of heaven is the ultimate standard of morality and He expects His children to be lights, revealing His divine glory to the world (Matt. 5:16).
The Lord’s church is still growing in number. It’s never right to be pessimistic about the church of Christ — primarily because God is not pessimistic about His church (cf. Eph. 3:9-11). It is estimated that there are now more congregations of the church of Christ meeting in India and Africa than in all of the United States. Moreover, we constantly hear calls from missionaries in dozens of foreign fields literally begging for more workers and financial support because people are starving for the word of God. Certainly we ought to be involved in local evangelism here in our own nation, but the scope of the Great Commission does not end at the borders of the United States. Jesus said to go into all the world (Mark 16:15). How we need to see the church through God’s eyes!
The Lord’s church is still the apple of God’s eye. People need to hear about the eternal purpose of God (Eph. 3:9-11; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20). God planned salvation through His Son in the church of Christ before the foundation of the world! That astounding truth means that there is much more to the church of Christ than meets the eye. Revelation speaks of the church with the language of victory (cf. Rev. 7). The church of Christ has a special place in the plan of Almighty God – it is the apple of His eye (cf. Zech. 2:8-13; Titus 2:11-15). May God help us to truly love His church more! —JB