Jon Gary Williams
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The Church - Lesson 20

The Church in 25 Lessons

Jon Gary Williams

Lesson 20 - The Church's Divine Identity

The Lord's church is distinct and separate from all other religious institutions. It stands 

apart in: worship, doctrine, work and organization. The adoption of human names, creeds, practices and systems denominationalize the church and bring the displeasure of God. It is our obligation to preserve the distinct character of the church and keep it separate from man-
made influences. What about the identity of the church of Jesus Christ?

I. Is there a pattern for the church?
A. "Make all things according to the pattern" (Heb. 8:5)

B. Christians are laborers together with God. (I Cor. 3:9)

C. Christians are to follow God's pattern revealed through the teachings of Christ and 
the apostles. (Matt. 28:18-20; Php. 4:9) (cf. II Pet. 1:3)

D. Christians are to follow the example of the early church. (I Thess. 1:6-9)

E. God will refuse to recognize that which is built by man. (Matt. 7:21-23; 15:13) (cf. 
Ps. 127:1) 

II. Measuring the church by human standards
A. Men try to justify the existence of human (sectarian) religions in various ways:
B. Such reasoning is not well-founded - for the following reasons.
  1. They dishonor God, for they reduce his ways to the level of human ways. (Is. 55:8,9)
  2. They are a discredit to God's word. There is no justification for teaching a part 
of God's truth and disregarding the rest. (II Tim. 3:16)
  3. They deceive the unlearned. (Rom. 16:18; Col. 2:8) (cf. Is. 30:10) 

III. Measuring the church by the divine standard
A. God's word is the standard for the church. (Jn. 12:48-49)

B. To fail to build on the foundation of God's word is disastrous. (Matt. 7:24-27)

C. To determine if the church to which you belong is founded on the pattern of God's 
word, ask the following:

  1. Can its name be found in the Bible? (Acts 4:12; Rom. 16:16
  2. Are its members called something in addition to "Christian"? (Acts 11:26)
  3. Can its worship, teaching, work and organization be found in the Bible? 

IV. Losing the divine recognition
A. The church is God's family and is to be made up of those who are different from the 
world. (I Pet. 2:5-9)

B. To be approved by the Lord the church must maintain its peculiarity and singularity. (
Tit. 2:11-14)

C. Members of the church, as good soldiers, must not become entangled in the sinful 
affairs of the world. (II Tim. 2:4)

D. If the church corrupts God's plan in any respect it loses its identity. (Rev. 2:4,5)