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."
Some have thought that the rock upon which Jesus promised to build His church was Peter. The rock Jesus promised to build His church on was not Peter, but the truth confessed by Peter — Jesus is the Christ the Son of God!
The church was established on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus.
Since the church began on Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, it could not have begun, as some men teach, in the days of Adam, Abel, Abraham, John the Baptist or on the day Jesus ordained the apostles.
"Some people think it is not important to know when the church was established. In this they are mistaken, for if one is incorrect as to the beginning of the church, he is likely to be wrong as to the conditions of salvation. Every Bible truth is important to those who love the Bible" (Sound Doctrine, Vol.2, pg.18).
Acts 2:47 "Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Will the church save? No, the church is the saved! Will only members of the church be saved? Those who are saved are the church. If you are accountable to God and not a member of the church, it is because you are not saved.
The word church is from the Greek word, ekklesia. "The word 'ekklesia' is applied to God's people in the New Testament because it accurately describes them. They have been 'called out' of sin into holiness of living, called out of darkness into light, called out of the world into the kingdom of God. They are not called out of the world in a physical sense, but in a moral and spiritual sense" (Sound Doctrine, Vol.2, Pg.8).
Some Other Figures And Terms Used By The Scriptures To Describe The Church Are:
1) The house of God 1 Tim. 3:15
2) The body of Christ Eph. 1:23
3) The temple of God Eph. 2:21
4) The kingdom of God Matt. 16:18,19
a) Same purchase price Rev. 5:9,10; Rev. 1:5,6; Acts 20:28
b) Same head Mt. 2:2; Jn. 12:12-15; Mt. 27:11; Rev. 19:11-16
Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18
c) Same terms of entrance Jn. 3:3,5 (Rm. 6:1-4; Acts 22:16;
Tit. 3:5); 1 Cor. 12:13; Acts 2:38,47
d) Same memorial feast Lk. 22:14-20,29,30; 1 Cor. 11:22-29
e) Both spiritual in nature Jn. 18:36; Lk. 17:20,21; Rm. 14:17; 1 Tim. 3:15
It is the saved in given localities that is referred to by "churches of Christ" (Romans 16:16); it is not denominations.
Further proof that the Bible is not speaking of denominations when it speaks of churches can be seen in that:
1) The same doctrine was preached in all of the churches (1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Cor. 7:17; 1 Cor. 16:1).
2) There was no organization larger than the "local" church.
3) God desires unity and condemns division (Jn. 17:20,21; Eph. 4:1-3,4; 1 Cor. 1:10-14)
"Is One Church As Good As Another? There are a great many man-made churches in the world, and possibly one of these is as good as another; but surely no one who reverences the Lord thinks that men can build a church as good as the one the Lord made" (Sound Doctrine, Vol.2, pg.42).
Jesus Christ came to build His church. The church was established on the day of Pentecost after His resurrection; it is made up of the saved — those who have confessed Jesus as Lord and Christ and who have been baptized in His name. The Lord built and purchased one church. The Lord's church is not a denomination and is not made up of denominations. We must strive to be saved to be a member of the Lord's church. We must then work and worship with other saved people in our area.