The Church of the Lord is a people group long incubated and born at Pentecost, after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The Church grew through the power of the Holy Ghost released mightily upon a people that believed and obeyed the last instruction given by the Lord and they waited until they were endued from above. The growth was unprecedented, like there was no movement compared to it in history. With undeniable miracles and demonstration of the power of the Holy Ghost, the church could not be hidden. In honour and respect, the church soon spread to all nations and languages physically, as it was reflected on the very day the church was publicly presented and announced to the world.
Long in history there has been a people group known as the people of the Lord, designated by God Himself as His people, Deut. 7:6-8. The relationship of God with this people since they were appointed was mobile, interactive with personal presence of God at every of their meeting. It was interesting to note that Abraham the father of faith never had an enclosed kind of interaction with God throughout his walk with Him. Abraham himself was very mobile, journeying to the promised land and this was handed over to his descendants all through.
The First Tabernacle
Moses was instructed by God to construct a mobile tabernacle through their journey in the wilderness until the conquest of the promised land. Sometimes referred to as Tent of the Presence, Tent of meeting or Tabernacle. This was also mobile because they were also mobile. The Ark of covenant moves with them to command the presence of God wherever they are going.
The First Temple
David initiated the intention to build a modern temple for the Lord in their days but the Lord did not approve him to do that but gave the mandate to his son. Solomon did this job and built the Temple over seven years, a magnificent and sophisticated structure with different compartment (1 King 6:37-38, 2 Chron 2:1,5-6). The Lord blessed the building and gave a lot of conditions for His presence to abide in the temple. (2 Chron7:15-22)
But one thing kept occurring, that God does not live in temple made with hands. (1 Kings 8:27, Acts 7:48, 17:24)
The Temple of Solomon made a massive impact in the worship life of the Jews until the days of Jesus. The Temple has categorisation for different classes of people that worshipped with the Jews. The nation was a mix of multitude of people of different nationalities. In the course of the ministry of Jesus. He had an encounter with a Samaritan woman, who confronted him with a question about worship in a particular recognized and acceptable location. Remember, in the days of Joshua (Joshua 22:10-34), there was a conflict between the tribe of Israel that settled earlier on the other side of Jordan. When it was heard by the rest of the tribes that they were building another altar to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. this was settled amicably after understanding the reason why the altar was built that it was not for sacrifice but a remembrance. In John 4:21-24, the encounter that the Samaritan woman heard was on this premise that there is only one location for worship as they were told. But Jesus’ response brought a different dimension and orientation to the worship of Yahweh.
John 4:20-24 NKJV
“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The tradition of monopolizing the location of worship was punctured by our Lord in this chat with the woman. A new trajectory was instituted by this encounter, which will soon manifest in the church that was born after His resurrection.
Churches in the house
The birth of the New Testament Church and its growth soon followed this trend, where churches existed in the houses of believers and soon the gospel spread to the gentiles much more through the ministry of Apostle Paul and there was no compulsion of coming to worship in Jerusalem as the only place of Jehovah’s worship. The Spirit of Christ further substantiated this when He personally wrote letter to the 7 churches in Asia minor as an attestation that they were part of the body of Christ through Apostle John the beloved in the book of revelation. The recognition of churches in the houses of brethren by Paul in his letters (1 Cor 16:19, Col 4:15, Philemon 2, Rom 16:5) and the Asia location by Jesus (Revelation 1:11) is a major justification that Church is not about the walls but about people. We should be healed from the customized mentality that we must gather within a church wall before we can worship. Jesus says where two or three are, there He is in their midst.
The Body of Christ
Soon the early church suffered divisional attack, which Paul responded to in his letters.
Romans 12:3-7 NKJV
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,  so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;  or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;”
The stack truth is that the membership of the body of Christ is not by name of groups or movement, it is by individual.
1 Corinthians 12:12-28 NKJV
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free-and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.  For in fact the body is not one member but many.  If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?  But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.  And if they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.  And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”  No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.  And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,  but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,  that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.  And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”
It was on this note that Paul spoke against this division spirit of the enemy by addressing the issue of him, Apollo and Peter. And he asked the question is Christ divided?
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 NKJV
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.  Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
This argument will leave us to answer so many questions on the attachment we have to individual names, personalities, movement and group in our service of Christ and worship of God. A lot of us do not truly have allegiance to Christ anymore but to our set men, our founders, Pastors and our groups. To the extent that people no longer speak to defend the faith but we fight to defend our church or the name of our denomination. Jude said we should contend for the faith and not our denominations or groups.
Jude 1:3 NKJV
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
The things that bind us
Ephesians 4:1-6 NKJV
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, …………endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
It is imperative for us to sound loud and clear what actually puts us together as a body. What brought us together in the first place is not divided and cannot be divided. And there is no single person that can claim exclusive ownership of this truth.
- Jesus Christ is the son of God
- He was born to save the world
- He died to pay the debt for the sin of humanity
- He was raised for our justification
- He ascended to present us to the Father and interceding for us
- His Spirit lives with us to prepare us for His coming.
- He is coming again to judge the quick and the dead
- He has made provision for forgiveness of sins once and for all
- It is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment
- Hell is real and heaven is sure.
Any group, movement or denomination that did not believe in the above or argue against it, is simply not of the body of Christ.
1 John 2:22 NKJV
“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.”
1 John 4:3 NKJV
“and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
2 John 1:7 NKJV
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.”
If truly there is no controversy about the above, then why are we divided in the line of denominations?
(Please read volume 2)
JESUS SAVES! JESUS SAVES!! JESUS SAVES!!!
The Revd Bamidele Oni