Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “…on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The church Jesus established in the first century was intended to be a most unique organization on this earth. At that time, idolatry existed. It was the most popular belief and was accepted by the vast majority of mankind. There was also the Jewish faith that had been established by the Lord just under two thousand years before. This particular belief had been established for the Jewish people to bring forth the Christ as well as the Old Testament which was intended to show the world of the one true God. However, the new church Jesus was to be the Chief Cornerstone of, was to be something different and unique for the souls of men and women. (Webster’s Dictionary defines the word unique as “Existing as the only one or as the sole example, etc.”)
There are many facets of this new body that would make it unique. Unlike Judaism, into which most Jews were literally born, this new church would be entirely made up of volunteers, people who would choose to be part of it. These new adherents would be spiritually born into this new body, for this body would not be made for people of a specific nation or culture or race or gender or any other physical identity, as the prophet prophesied in Joel 2:32, “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is the body that was created in Acts 2. It is the only body that Jesus died for, and the only one He saved. We are added to it as taught in Acts 2:47. There has never been any other like it nor will there ever be another.
Because the church has been built by our Lord and continues to be governed by Him through His Scriptures, His church is not ours to manipulate to our image. To be sure, it can be left by those who refuse to submit to His will, but it cannot be changed by man. The letters to five of the seven churches in the Revelation letter teach that individual congregations can depart and separate from the Lord, but these unfaithful congregations cannot change the Lord’s church as a whole. It remains complete and safe under His care.
With all of this said, one of Satan’s challenges has been how to combat this unique spiritual organization. In Revelation 12, we see the picture of Satan fighting against the Lord’s people, those in this new body. It did not take very long for him to begin this fight. Within a few centuries, Satan was able to manipulate and deceive the hearts of men by forming another body, one that would attempt to deceive by claiming to be the church Jesus established. But of course, it was not the body Jesus built, though many claimed it to be. And, over the past two thousand years, one of Satan’s most effective tools against the Lord’s church and the gospel it preaches was the formation of hundreds, even thousands, of religious bodies all claiming to be the one Jesus established.
This has effectively caused much confusion among those who might seek the Lord and His will for their lives by giving people “alternatives” to the Lord’s one true church. However, none of these “alternatives” could do the work and will of the Lord, for they only “appeared” to be from Christ, when in reality they were of the evil one, for these other “alternative” churches could not provide the salvation that the one unique church Jesus established in Acts 2 could provide. The religious landscape of today is indeed one of confusion that Satan has deliberately created to deceive the hearts and minds of men and women.
Now let us return to the unique nature of the body Jesus established. The church Jesus created is indeed unique in the world. Unfortunately, it is easy for us as Christians, as members of this great body, to forget how unique the church of Christ is. The church Jesus established is not in competition with the world’s denominations. The Lord’s church is not one of many denominations. The Lord has separated His Christians out of and from the world. Nor is the Lord’s church a “Protestant Denomination.” It is not protesting anything. It is the “heavenly Jerusalem” as described in the verses at the close of this article. It is beyond man’s “categorizing.”
The Lord has placed Christians within His body. It is the one body established on Christ’s blood. It is the one body established on the writings of the New Testament apostles and prophets as taught in Ephesians 2:19-22. Accordingly, the gospel of Christ preached by the church is not an “alternative” to the various gospels of men. It is the one gospel as taught in Galatians 1:6-10 that can provide the one answer to man’s problems with sin and death. There is no other.
It is man’s arrogance that proclaims his churches are of equal value. It is man’s pride that proclaims his gospels can provide for man’s greatest needs. It is Satan behind these alternatives. And these churches and messages of man’s devising are not and can never be in competition to the Lord’s church and the one true gospel it preaches.
Our hope is to be part of His church. Our message is to be His gospel. Our salvation is from Christ and His crucifixion. There is no other alternative.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect…” (Hebrews 12:22-23).