One way of identifying the Church that is described in the Bible is to identify the following: Founder, Foundation Year, Place of Origin, Its Creed, Structural Organization, Congregational Worship, Belief in the Person and Work of Christ, Process of the New Birth.
Let me share you an approach I made when I taught a Sunday Bible class recently on this topic of Marks of the True Church. We could look at the Church in three different angles: (a) The Negative Marks, (b) The Internal Marks, and (c) The External Marks.
- Not a building, chapel, cathedral.
- Not a denomination or fellowship with loose doctrines. Please read Matt. 7:21-23; 1Tim.4:15-16; 2Tim. 3:16-17; 1Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19.
- Not likened to a tree or vine and say that the different religious denominations are the branches.
- To be in the true church be translated into the kingdom or be born into God’s family.
- To be in the true church one should be born again, undergo the spiritual birth.
- To be in the true church one should be a saved person. See Acts2:38 & 47.
- To be in the true church one should be a saint. See 1Cor. 1:2; 1Peter 2:9.
- To be in the true church one should be a redeemed person. See Acts 20:28.
- To be in the true church one should be in the body of Christ. Col 1:13, 18,24; Eph 1:22,23.
- To be in the true church one’s name should be enrolled in heaven. Heb. 12:22, 23.
- To be in the true church one should abide in Christ. John 15:1-5; 2John 1:9.
- To be in the true church one should obey God and Christ. Luke 6:46; John 14:15,23 ; John 15:14.
- Accept the Bible as guide in faith and morals.
- Correct genealogy: (a) Follow apostolic teachings, (b) Follow New Birth steps which are (1) Hear the story about the death, burial, resurrection of Christ for sins, (2) Believe in the person and merits of Christ, (3) Repent of sins, (4) Confession of faith in Christ, and (5) Being baptized into Christ.
- Correct Church Organization: (a)Congregational set up, (b) Elders or Bishops and Deacons are the congregational officers. Please see Phil. 1:1-2; 1Tim 3:1-11; Titus 1:1-6.
- Correct Congregational Worship: (a) Pray, (b) Study the Word in the Bible class and sermon, (c) Lord’s Supper Celebration, (d) Singing, (e) Contributing of Means to support church ministries.
The above is a simple outline to guide us in determining our relationship with Christ and the Church he built which is also His spiritual kingdom.