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CHURCH TRUTHS QUESTION 8
How to identify a Local New Testament Church?
The title Christian is not a group, but a personal title. The three times it is used in the Bible it has individuals, and not churches in view. In Acts 11:26, the Christians at Antioch are said to be assembled together. It refers there to each individual. They were first called Christians at the church in Antioch which was the location where they were thus assembled. All local churches in the Bible were known by their locations, not by some sectarian names.
A New Testament local church was composed of two or more Christians who were gathered by the Spirit of God to the Person and name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Always at some particular location. The first mention of the church in the Bible is in Matthew 18:17, and in Matthew 18:20 we read, For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. All through the Old Testament history of God’s people there was always a ‘name’ and a ‘place.’ Read Deuteronomy 12:5, Deuteronomy 12:11 and Deuteronomy 12:21. When they went into the land in Joshua 18: they located the taberbacle at Shiloh first, that was the ‘place and His ‘name.’ It was later in the Temple built by Solomon at Jerusalem.. It was the place the Lord put His name where the people were to gather. Jeremiah 7:12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
In the New Testament there is a ‘name’ and a ‘place.’ Matthew 18:20 ‘Where’ (a place) unto my ‘name.’ That place in the Bible is always a city or house. A group of Christians then were never known by any sectarian ‘name’ but only by the name Christian, and they were gathered to the Name and Person of the Lord Jesus in a certain ‘place’ The same ‘name’ that Christians are called by, and gathered to, is the only name under heaven whereby men must be saved. (Acts 4:12) What about you? Have you repented of your sins and trusted Christ for forgiveness? Do you know if your sins are forgiven? Apart from salvation you are not good enough to go to heaven. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated January 23rd, 2014 by Sandra Felix