by Richard Mansel
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28, NKJV). The church Jesus built is his body and his glory (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 3:20-21). This church, “purchased with his own blood,” bears his name because he owns it. Christ died for the church, it is his body and his children reside in this body.
If Harry purchases a field, it belongs to Harry and no one else. We call it Harry’s land because it belongs exclusively to him. Likewise, Christ has a Church and to choose our own name for it is to step beyond our boundaries.
Christ desires that his church remain pure since she is his bride and bears his name (Ephesians 5:22-32; Romans 16:16). He “sanctifies and washes” her and ensures that she has no spots or wrinkles (Ephesians 5:26-27). He fiercely protects her (Ephesians 5:29; cf. Matthew 16:18) and does not allow anyone to defame and corrupt her. We submit to his will and not our own. His church will operate as he desires, or face consequences (Colossians 3:17).
We must enter this kingdom according to God’s will or we are never going to be in it. Millions consider themselves Christians when they have disobeyed God’s will on salvation. They will be lost despite their protestations. Expecting to have our sins remitted in direct opposition to what Christ commanded is futile. Accordingly, these individuals have eliminated any chances of being in the Lord’s church as long as they persist in their error. Churches that facilitate their error cannot ever be the Church of our Lord. Sadly, almost all of them fall within this category.
We are added to the kingdom when we submit to God in baptism (Acts 2:47). We are in his church. Being in his church and bearing his name is a privilege. He commands us to “walk worthy” of this calling (Ephesians 4:1). We cannot enter and begin telling him what to do. We are here at his privilege (John 15:1-8). Biblical authority is therefore more than just a passing idea. It is an absolute requirement if Christ will truly be the unchallenged head of the church. Jesus built the church, adds it members, and shed his blood for her. Clearly, he has the motivation and the authority to be very clear in his requirements for his church that bears his name.
When we enter this kingdom, we must yield to his will in everything. He chose and predestined those who would submit to him in his kingdom (Ephesians 1:4-5). We have redemption through his blood, by his grace (Ephesians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:8-9). We walk according to his will if we are in his church (Ephesians 1:19; Ephesians 2:3). Therefore, he has the right to demand allegiance and faithfulness. As members of this kingdom, we do not have the right to demand he change his will. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). He says and we do. End of story.
We must start looking at things from Christ’s perspective. When we use man’s logic and ideas and project them onto God, we get into trouble. The question under consideration uses men’s reasoning. Accordingly, an answer utilizing men’s “wisdom” will not yield a satisfactory answer. We must try to see it as God does if we have any hope of a resolution.
by Richard Mansel