It seems that everyone calls themselves a Christian. The disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch according to Acts 11:26. A disciple according to Vines Expository dictionary of New Testament words : “a learner, in contrast with a teacher. A disciple was not only a pupil, but an adherent; hence they are spoken of as imitators of their teacher.” Jesus said in John 8:31-32 that if they CONTINUED in His word they were His DISCIPLES and they would KNOW the truth and the TRUTH would make them free. We know from John 17:17 that the TRUTH is God’s word. Christ is saying that for one to be a disciple they must CONTINUE that is learn and continue to obey and observe His words. Those words will judge one day. (John 12:48)
Jesus rebuked and condemned the Pharisees for drawing nigh (close) to Him with their LIPS but their HEART was far from Him, and He says their WORSHIP was VAIN. (Matt. 15:8-9)This is NO different today. Many will claim to be followers of Christ with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. In their worship and practice, there is NO biblical authority. This principal is seen clearly in 1 Pet. 4:11, where Peter says if any man SPEAK let him speak as the oracles of God. What Christians teach and practice should be found and based on the New Testament.
We see individuals calling themselves by different names, names that are foreign to the Bible. Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal , Roman Catholic, just to name a few. Where in the scriptures do ANY Christians call themselves these names? Paul rebukes the Corinthians for “being of” Paul, or Cephas, or Apollos. None of these men were crucified for anyone. Those that follow Christ are identified with their Lord, simply being Christians.
Denominations promote division that Paul condemns in 1 Cor. 1:10. Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21 that those that believed on Him would be ONE, as He and the Father are one. Jesus said in Matt. 16:18 that He would build HIS church. This shows ownership. He ONLY built ONE church. Paul says in Eph. 1:22-23 that Jesus is the head of the CHURCH which is His BODY. Paul tells us in Eph. 4:4 that there is ONE body. So, we can clearly see that the BODY IS the Church and the CHURCH is the BODY. There is only ONE body therefore there is ONE church. In Eph. 5:23 Paul says that Jesus is the Savior of the Body.
There are hundreds of denominations ALL teaching something a little different. Could they ALL be pleasing to God? According to 1 Cor. 4:17 Paul was able to teach the same thing in EVERY church. They were ALL a part of the Lord’s church. (Rom. 16:16)
Many will say “well…it doesn’t really matter what church you go to.” But can we HONESTLY say something like that in light of Acts 20:28? There the passage says that God purchased the church with His own blood. Would Christ have shed His blood on the cross for something that doesn’t matter? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Christ only built ONE church. He will only SAVE ONE church. He only shed His blood for ONE church. Let’s just speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. (1 Pet. 4:11) God has given us all things that pertain to Life and Godliness. (2 Pet. 1:3) All that we need to know is contained in the Scripture. They are PERFECT and COMPLETE inspired of God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) And the Bible says that the SAVED (Christians) are added to the church. (Acts 2:47) They ARE the members in particular (1 Cor. 12:27) We should ALWAYS make sure that what we believe and practice is right, and pleasing to God. We do that by comparing it and “testing it” with the word of God. (1 Thess. 5:21)