Monday, May 9, 2016
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus promised to build “my church.” His “Great Commission” was not, “Go into all the world and establish my church,” but “preach the good news” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47-48). Peter started the process on the day of Pentecost by preaching Jesus, not “join Jesus’ ‘my church’” (Acts 2:14-36). When someone in his audience asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), it wasn’t about joining anything. The entire dialogue was about Jesus as man’s Savior! When “about three thousand” in Peter’s audience “gladly received his word,” neither he nor the other apostles suggested they join a church at some later time. Why this absence of information? Why doesn’t the Great Commission include, “Go and join ‘my church’”?
In the illustration above the larger circle represents Jesus’ “my church” (Matthew 16:18). Notice in Acts 8:26-35, that Philip preached “Jesus”! When the eunuch saw water, he didn’t ask, “Which church will this baptism make me a member of?” When Philip left him, the eunuch was inside that circle or “the body of Christ.” How? He was “added” to it by God, just as the three thousand and others had been (Acts 2:41, 47). The small red circles in this specific illustration represent two or more in a precise locality who have been added to the saved. In the eunuch’s case, when Philip left, he was “in the added,” or “the saved,” or “in Christ,” or “in the body of Christ,” but he was not yet “assembled” at that time with others who had also been added to the saved. If, when he arrived back home, he found other “added ones” and met with them, then he and they would make a red dot in their locale, such as the apostles, prophets, and saved in “the church at Jerusalem” did (2 Corinthians 8:1). Did he need to be baptized again to “join” that red circle if several of the saved were found in his home town? Is that what Paul did in order to “join” with those who made up the “added ones” in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26)? Did Barnabas inform the church that Saul was willing to submit to the Jerusalem red dot’s baptism in order to join their red dot (Acts 9:27)? No, God had already added him to the Lord’s saved body while he was in Damascus. One could do that without being in an assembly, without an assembly voting on him, or without submitting to a baptism to enter that specific assembly. The only one present for Paul’s baptism was Ananias. The only one present for the eunuch’s was Philip. Man doesn’t add to the saved, God does! When the “about three thousand” on Pentecost “gladly received” Peter’s preaching and were immersed, God add them to Jesus’ membership, not man. When God added, they were members of the saved body of Christ. That body is the “my church” of Matthew 16:18!
Paul wrote to the confused Corinthian red dot because several in that assembly thought being in the body of Christ, and being a red dot in their city, was insufficient. So they created their own favorite dots, which were white (illustrated above)! How do I know they
were “white” when scripture doesn’t? When one is “added” to “the saved” by God Almighty, the “added” one is covered with the blood of Jesus. What color is that blood? Whether one saint or 3,000 assemble together, the color will be blood red because God “added” every one of them. When added by God, one is saved! God doesn’t make mistakes. However, some of the Corinthians decided to create their dots in addition to what God had already set in place, therefore their creations were NOT essential to one’s salvation. That’s why Paul wrote to correct their confusion! If being “of Paul” was necessary or essential to be saved or to obey God, wouldn’t the white dot be red? Does the blood of Paul save? If not, why did those which God had added to the saved (the one in red above), decide that it was insufficient and a white circle was also needed in addition to it? What would the white circle improve that the red circle was lacking? Was the red circle invisible and the white one wasn’t? If the red one could not be found because it was invisible, how did anyone find it before they got around to creating the white ones? Since the red dot (church of God in Corinth) was assembling, singing, teaching, disciplining, giving, edifying, encouraging, correcting, partaking, baptizing, training, and praying before the church “of Paul” was created, what “void” were the white dots (churches) filling? Was the “of Paul” or white circle “of Paul” created because it was closer to being like the red circle than any of the other white circles? Was the white circle “the body of Christ”? If so, wouldn’t that make two bodies of Christ, one red and the other white? Yet, didn’t Paul say “one body,” not two (Ephesians 4:4)? If the white dots were “the body of Christ,” wouldn’t membership in them also be just as essential to their salvation as membership in the red dot? If the white dots or churches were essential, did that make the Corinthians only half saved since none of them were in a white dot or church prior to their creation?
When one “gladly receives” the good news about Jesus and follows the example of the “about three thousand,” what does God add him to (Acts 2:41, 47 ASV)? If God adds the saved to the red circle, who adds you to the white one? If one has membership in the red circle, he is a Christian. If one becomes a member of a white circle, what is he? If all spiritual blessings are in the red circle because it is the body of Christ, what could possibly be in the white ones? No wonder Paul wrote to the Corinthians to clear up their confusion!