Monday, November 26, 2018
Jesus asked what others were saying about him. Different replies were offered. Peter answer was, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Jesus response was, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18). Have you ever noticed that the church has never worn the name of the one who said, “my church”? Paul told the Ephesians elders, “the church of God which he purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28). True, Jesus is God or Deity, but that is not his name.
The closest inspiration comes to showing it was Jesus’ church are two statements. In the first one the Corinthians were told, “Now you are the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27). The Hebrew writer announced, “the church of the firstborn.” (Hebrews 12:23). “Christ” and “firstborn” describe Jesus title and relationship but neither are his name.
If I built a house wouldn’t people say, “That’s Ray Hawk’s house?” Some might say, “That’s the preacher’s house” or “That’s Mary Nell and her husband’s house”? I am a husband. I am a preacher. But, do those titles properly identify the house as “my house”? Even the Bible identifies a house by the owner’s name in Acts 12:12.
The Hebrew writer states, “His own house, whose house are we” (Hebrews 3:6). Jesus’ title was “Messiah” or “Christ.” Both terms mean “Anointed one.” Most English versions do not translate the Greek word “Christos.” They simply spelled out the first six letters and dropped the Greek “os.” This has caused some to believe Jesus’ personal name is “Jesus Christ.” If translations had been consistent, each would display the phrase as “Jesus the Anointed One.” Matthew informs us that his name is “Jesus” (Matthew 1:25).
Whose name do we confess? We sing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know,” but most never display a street sign with “Church of Jesus” lettered on it! Scripture does not give us a singular or plural name that must be displayed to properly identify the church. Scripture uses multiple expressions to refer to it.
Church of the living God
Church of the Firstborn
Church of Ephesus
Churches of the Gentiles
Churches of Christ
Churches of the saints
Churches of Asia
Churches of Macedonia
Churches of Judaea
Church of the Laodiceans (Col.4:16)
Church of the Thessalonians
Church of Galatia
Churches of God
Church of God
You may have noticed that “Church of Jesus” and a lot of other descriptive names used by different groups are missing. Some insist that the expression “Church of God” and “Churches of God” are used more than any other as identifying names. The terms used most are “church” and “churches.” None were referred to as THE proper name. In the first century, the assembly of Jesus did not buy “church” property, build cathedrals, pave parking lots, erect street signs, nor list with the Yellow Pages. Despite the lack of those modern expedients, traveling disciples found and met with fellow saints (Acts 20:7). Today, we have all those things, plus GPS and we still get lost!
“Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Inspiration doesn’t identify Jesus’ assembly with his personal name, but with his titles. Is there a pearl hidden in that lesson that is waiting to be discovered?