In Part I of “Identifying the True Church of God” I gave you four points that would guide you in identifying and finding the Church that Jesus Christ said He would build in Mt.16:18. I explained that it would be built upon Himself, the Rock, not upon Peter, who was just one of the foundational stones, as shown in Eph.2:20.
As you may know, the great “universal” church falsely claims it was founded on Peter, the first pope. I pointed out that this “Peter” was not the Apostle Peter, but rather a deceiver by the name of Simon Magus, who had appropriated or stolen the identity of Peter. Thus began Satan’s false system of churchianity, claiming to be the true Christian Church! Let’s summarize the first four features of God’s True Church:
God’s people, (from the Gr. “Ecclesia”, meaning “called out ones”.) would have a special love (Gr. Agapeo) for each other.
They would preach the true Gospel - the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
It would be a scattered Church.
It would be scattered physically, but unified spiritually.
Now, let’s continue with other points that will help you identify the true Church of God:
The True Church of God will bear the Name of God.
Jn.17:11 “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You, Holy Father, keep through Your Name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.”
Also in the messages to the churches: Rev.3:8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My Word, and have not denied My Name.”
No, God’s people have not rejected the Holy Name of God and taken some other name that men have devised to describe their form or method of worship, the name of some man, i.e. (Lutheran, Wesleyan Methodist. Calvinism.) Or the name of some country i.e.: “church of England”, Greek Orthodox., African Methodist Episcopal, and on and on it goes. There are hundreds and hundreds of denominations with all their varying names, but they have denied the very Name of God which He gave to guide us in our search for His True Church.
But, did you know that He gives the correct Name in His Word TWELVE TIMES as the “Church of God”? Here are Scriptures that prove this fact:
- Acts 20:28;
- I Corinthians 1:2;
- I Corinthians 10:32;
- I Corinthians 11:16;
- I Corinthians 11:22;
- I Corinthians 15:9;
- II Corinthians 1:1;
- Galatians 1:13;
- I Thessalonians 2:14;
- II Thesssalonians 1:4;
- I Timothy 3:5;
- I Timothy 3:15
“That thou may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
I will caution you that some call their church, “Church of God”, but are certainly not of the truth. Some practice very weird worship services and teach strange doctrines. So be wary.
God’s True Church will be keeping His Commandments.
Mt.19:16 “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ’Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17. So He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Now this is a very plain statement! But many deceivers - false ministers of Satan the devil - will try to deny the very Words of Jesus Christ! Satan knows that if he can get you to break any one of these Holy Commandments, you incur the death penalty and he would like to see you burned up in Gehenna (hell) fire! The Apostle James is very explicit about this: James.2:10 “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.”
I Jn. 2:3 “Now by this we know that we know him, if we keep His commandments, 4. He who says, “I know Him” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” I Jn 5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not grievous.” Chap 3:4 “Whoever commiteth sin trangresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law"
Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is God’s definition of sin - the transgression or breaking of His Laws! And to God, they are all one and the same, as far as breaking them is concerned; The penalty is death for all eternity! (Rom.6:23)
The very last Book in the New Testament, probably written as late as 96 AD by John, still attests to the fact that Christians are to keep God’s Law as a part of the true faith. Rev. 12:17 “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, (church) and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Chap. 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Chap.22:14 “Blessed are those who do His Commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”
So don’t ever think that the death of Jesus Christ did away with the keeping of God’s Law. His shed Blood paid the death penalty for our breaking those precious Commandments! Don’t believe these deceivers that try to tell you that Christ came to do away with or destroy the Law: Notice Mt.5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Actually, Christ came to magnify or exalt the Law - to make it spiritually binding - not just obligatory in the letter. Isa.42:21 “The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable.”
Notice how it applies to us as Christians, as we continue in Mt.5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old (Old Testament.), ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28. But I say unto you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So one of the most important identifying signs of God’s true Church is Commandment keeping. And this includes our next point:
God’s True Church will be observing the true Seventh Day Sabbath and God’s Annual Holy Days.
Gen.2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
The Sabbath was to be an identifying sign throughout all generations, between God and His people. Exodus 31:13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.”
Ezekiel 20:12 “Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between them and me, that they Might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13. “Yet the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out my fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them.16 “Because they despised my judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 20. And hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God. 21. Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, ’which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; but they profaned my Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out my fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness.”
God continually stressed the keeping of His Holy Sabbath to this rebellious nation, but in the following three chapters, it shows this was a continuing sin for them. And don’t ever think that this just applies to the House of Israel, only. We’ll read other Scriptures that prove the seventh Day Sabbath is meant for everyone to observe.
Notice what God promises to ALL PEOPLE who will keep His Sabbaths Holy:
Isa.56:1, 2-4--6, 7, Yes, Sabbath keeping, along with obedience to all the Commandments of God, is a prerequisite to salvation! Jesus Christ Himself tells us the Sabbath was made for man (mankind). Mk.2:27 “And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” And He should know, for He was the One who made it!
Jn.1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 3. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (Including the Sabbath).
When God speaks of His Sabbaths (plural), He now includes His annual holy days as well. They stand or fall together. Some Sabbath keeping groups do not recognize this very important fact, but it is plain that God included the weekly Sabbath day with His annual High Days or Feast Days. Lev.23:2 “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say to them: The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. 3. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings."
Then He goes on to give these annual Holy Days that depict and reveal His awesome Plan for the salvation for all of mankind! In fact, if we, as God’s true Church did not keep these Annual Sabbaths, we would not, we could not, comprehend what our Great Creator is all about! This is why this seventh point is so all encompassing and important as an identifying sign of where God’s true Church can be found in today’s modern world!
Jesus Christ did not lie when He said I will “build My Church”! We have given sufficient evidence as to the identifying signs of the True Church of God. Jesus Christ did build it and it has endured throughout these past two millenniums until our time. It has endured, despite deprivations, hardships, being hated and persecuted by the great false, lying religious system that has palmed itself off as the Church that Christ established. That abominable harlot, with her deceived daughter churches has made life “hellish” on this earth for many of God’s true believers because of their blindness to the Truth. But a time of judgment is coming!! Because of what God’s true followers in the Old Testament and His New Testament Church has had to suffer.
Notice Heb.11:35 ”Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonments. 37. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented - 38. Of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.”
But notice the great reward that awaits these faithful witnesses of the Old Testament saints, along with the New Testament. saints: Vers.39 “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promises, 40. God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Yes ladies and gentlemen - made perfect - made immortal - (Matthew 5:48) to rise to meet Jesus Christ in the air and to descend with Him to the Mount of Olives to usher in the glorious Kingdom of God.
But the false leader of the corrupt religious system, who will claim to be the representative of Christ and even claim to be God in the flesh, (IIThes.2:4), will also receive his reward.
Notice Satan’s fate, Rev.19:20 “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. “We need to thank God every day that we know where the True Church of God is. It has been identified, and you can be a part of it!