What Does The Phrase 'Church of Christ' Mean To You?
Marty Kessler | February 4th, 2008

(My apologies for not printing out more of the references noted below. Space simply would not permit it.)

Is it simply a moniker for just one more of the ever-growing number of denominations (divisions) of ‘Christendom’? Is this what it means to our Lord?

What did His apostle Paul mean by the phrase when he wrote, ‘All the churches of Christ greet you’ (Romans 16:16)?

The phrase means ownership. The church belongs to the Lord. He and His Father planned it before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). He actively prepared the way for His church with the old Mosaic, or Jewish covenant (Galatians 3:23-24) and purchased this ‘called out assembly’ with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

But the church does not simply belong to Christ; the church emanates from Him. It is His gospel that ‘calls’ us (2nd Thessalonians 2:13-14) and it is the death of Jesus into which we are buried in baptism (Romans 6:3-4). Being baptized into Christ we become a part of His body, the church (Colossians 1:18), which in turn becomes a temple of God’s Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 3:16). Without Jesus there is no church.

The church belongs to and emanates from Jesus. To call oneself by the name ’Christ’ is tantamount to making a claim that you belong to Him and that your life and your practice emanates from Him.

Following Jesus will make you unique in this world. You won’t fit in. The apostle John even warned us not to marvel at the fact that the world will hate us (1st John 3:11-13). He used Cain as an example of this kind of hatred explaining that Cain hated his brother Abel simply because Abel’s deeds were righteous and Cain’s were evil.

And so, those who are part of Christ’s church should not be surprised if the world is not clamoring to fellowship with us. If it were, Jesus would not have sent us to the world.

John also said that the world was passing away along with its lusts (1st John 2:17) but that those who do the will of God will live forever. Why would we want to adopt the ways of a world that is passing away?

Why are so many of our brethren seeking to appeal to the world by changing the God-given pattern for worship we find in the New Testament?

We are taught to hold to the traditions given to us by Jesus’ apostles (1st Corinthians 11:2, 2nd Thessalonians 2:15)? Do we need more than these? Do we now really need to add to these God-given traditions our own ‘praise teams’, musical instruments, and entertainment oriented orchestrations some are calling worship? How can anyone say that these practices are ‘of Him’ if there is no indication in His New Covenant that we should do them?

I believe that when such things are embraced, those who embrace them move in a direction away from being what can rightly be called a church that is of Christ.
Marty Kessler