THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
Webster Fails To Complete
The Meaning of Church
Webster's interpretation of church is as follows: "The collective body of Christians; a particular body of Christians; the clergy."
Mr. Webster is right when it comes to the material that is necessary to build a church. However, he failed to give the explanation of what was necessary for this body of people to be the Bible church or a divine body called The Church of God, a referred to in the Bible. The part that Mr. Webster was unable to explain is the mystery of "church". Ephesians 5:32, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." This Mystery Paul compared with man and wife. They too becoming one by a process of joining in obedience to the Word of God, as he referred to in Ephesians 5:30 and 31, "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."
Jesus said in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, "I will build my church..." This is evidence at that time there was no church, but Christ already had the material that is referred to by Webster but still could not call it a church, for he declared that it was yet to be built. He states in Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
It is also clearly pointed out in the sixteenth chapter that it was necessary for this church to be built according to the revelation of the Word of God, or in other words, the body to be formed in the likeness of Christ. In the words of Jesus written by Luke in the sixth chapter and the 48th verse it was necessary to find the true rock before laying the foundation.
This rock referred to by the builder of the house is none other than Christ or the Word of God for Christ was the Word of God for Christ was the Word made flesh and all of the divine principles of God are in His Words. They are transformed into Christ and Christ transformed them into His other body, His helpmate, bearing the name The Church of God. Now, in the light of these Scriptures, it was necessary for these Christians to go through the process of the Word and first be made one by a covenant in the fulfillment of "what", therefore, God joins together, let not man put asunder. This refers not only to matrimony but is a covenant in agreement with the Word of God which joins us together as members in His Church. This is what Webster missed.
In Hebrews 13:8, we find this statement: "Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today and forever." The thing that made Jesus the same every day was this fact -- that he was the Word of God made flesh and could never change. We think of Jesus today as always being the same wherever He may be -- in Earth or in Heaven -- His revelation and principle are in line with the Word of God. His Church is built upon the same revelation and the same principle giving this body of Christians a right to be called the divine Body of Christ, THE CHURCH OF GOD. Then, why would it be strange for one to preach The Church, yesterday, today, and forever if it is built according to the divine pattern of Christ. However, at this particular time Paul declared, "The church groweth into a holy temple, or to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."
Let us go back, now, to the thought of the rock, God's Word of Christ. In the form of Christ it is called a stone and also the chief cornerstone. When a man lays down the foundation of this house on a rock, it is to be according to the blueprint, the Bible, and the material for this foundation on the rock, Ephesians 2:20-22, "Which is wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly place. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and ever name that is named, not only in t his world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head, over all things to the church."
If the Church which Christ built according to the Word of God required apostles and prophets for the material to make the foundation -- and we know that he declared that he set first apostles and secondarily prophets in it, then we know that body of people which does not have this set-up does not so much as have the foundation of the Church. Let our minds think in this channel: suppose that there had never been a falling away; suppose that there had never been a dark age; suppose that The Church had contributed to this day in the order that Christ formed it. According to the New Testament would The Church be the same today as it was then? I will answer that question. It would, in our day, be like the Early Church -- living apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. There would be no change whatsoever in the order of it in our day.
Church can be referred to as government and government is Church. This government goes hand-in-hand with the Word of God. This government was brought by Jesus, prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The prince of peace." This government is God's government, the only kind of government that will work with the Word of God. Its principle is called, 'theocratic'. It is not legislative, but judicial only. This government does not make laws. It only executes the laws that are made by God and are recorded in His Holy Word. It is not a government by the people, for the people, neither does it consist of majority rule. Its authority is placed in His anointed or ruler over His House. This has been its system ever since God placed man on the face of the earth -- even making man the head of the workman and Christ the head of the Church and in His absence in the flesh, He appointed a ruler over His House as stated in Matthew 24:45, "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?" Matthew 24:46 states, "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing." One might note in these two verses of Scripture, first, that this is the way that He left His House when He ascended on high and second, that this is the way to be when He returns to receive His House, the ruler being the highest tribunal of authority.
In conclusion of the whole matter, I will quote Ephesians 1:22-23, "And hath put all things under his feet and gave him to be the head over all things to the church. Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
Reading Ephesians 3:20-21, "Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all the world without end. Amen."
Article Written By: The Late Grady R. Kent, St. John II, Chief Bishop of The Church of God, 1957-1964. This sermon was taken from The Vision Speaks, Volume 2 : Number 4 : May 1959.
All grammatical and typographical errors have been corrected except for direct quotations from the Author. Thought content of said article has not been changed.