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Seeking the Family of God

  1. Am I In Christ?
    7 Digging Deeper
  2. What is the Kingdom of God?
    3 Digging Deeper
  3. What is the Church?
    5 Digging Deeper
  4. Why Are There So Many Different Christian Religions?
    6 Digging Deeper
  5. How Can I Know the Will of God?
    4 Digging Deeper
  6. How Do I Pray?
    5 Digging Deeper
  7. What is Worship?
    6 Digging Deeper
  8. What is the Significance of the Lord’s Supper?
    5 Digging Deeper
  9. How Do I Become Like Christ?
    6 Digging Deeper
  10. What if there is no New Testament Church Near Me?
    5 Digging Deeper
Lesson 4, Digging Deeper 6
In Progress

Do you believe it is possible to discover the church Jesus established among all the religious organizations in the world? How would the apostles and early Christians respond to this same question?

The church Jesus built (Matthew 16:18) and of which he is the “head” and “savior” (Ephesians 5:23) exists wherever sinners respond in the same way they did on the birthday of the church in Acts, chapter two. As we are baptized one by one, God simultaneously adds us to the number of the saved. Believers are scattered throughout the world wherever the good news of Jesus has gone. No human knows the names and addresses of all the saved people in the world. Only God knows where all his people are because only he knows the heart and obedience of every person (1 Timothy 2:19).

Every person who follows Christ is in God’s universal church. When that person who has obeyed Jesus as they did on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, meets with another who has done the same, they recognize and fellowship each other as members of the body of Christ. They are the church of Christ in that location. They will gather for fellowship, teaching, ministry and worship in the name of Jesus.

In the two thousand years since Jesus and his apostles ministered and the New Testament was written, thousands of religious groups or denominations have been organized. Almost all of these claim to be Christians. Many have the name of Jesus or God in their church names. Their use of the name of Christ does not necessarily mean that they believe in the Jesus of the Scriptures or follow the teachings of the Scriptures. The way to discover who is and who is not a follower of Jesus as they were in the New Testament is to ask these two questions:

  1. “Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended, reigning and coming again as the apostles preached on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2?” If the answer is “Yes,” then they believe the original, authentic gospel message. If the answer is, “No,” then they are not believers in the Jesus of the Scriptures. They need to be taught about Jesus and learn of him just like the apostles taught in Acts 2 and throughout the book of Acts. No person knows Christ until they are taught about Christ. Do not neglect any honest, truth-seeking person. Instead, love them with the love of Jesus and teach them as Philip taught the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-39), and as Paul taught Lydia and her family and the jailor and his family (16:11-15, 25-34).
  2. “Have you responded to Jesus in faith, repentance and baptism as the people did on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2?” If they have done so, they are members of Christ’s church. Christ’s church wants to practice Christianity according to Christ’s teaching preserved for us in the Bible. Some may need further teaching and grounding in the word of God as Jesus said in Matthew 28:20. Study God’s word together more accurately (Acts 18:26) and invite them to worship the Lord with you. If they have not responded as they did on the day of Pentecost, teach them to trust and obey Jesus as taught in the book of Acts and assist them in being baptized when they are ready to submit to Jesus.

If you find a person or a group who responds with positive answers to the above two questions, they are members of the church of Jesus Christ. Like those in the first century churches, some members may not be pleasing to God because of their negative relationships with one another, their ungodly lives, their false teachings and corrupt worship practices or their lack of love and zeal for God. Kindly teach and love them and help them to follow Jesus. Hopefully, with God’s help, they will grow in “the grace and knowledge of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:18). If their worship is incomplete because they are not observing the Lord’s supper weekly in remembrance of Jesus, then try to teach them to follow the practice of the believers in New Testament times. If they teach and practice things not approved in the New Testament, then seek opportunities to lovingly discuss those matters with them.

Over time with love and patience, you can help these believers to become more like the worship and ministry of God’s ideal church in the New Testament. If you find that you cannot make any progress or correction in their teaching and practice, then look for a church that worships and serves God the way that you understand the New Testament to teach. If you cannot find such a church, then meet with others who are interested in serving and worshiping the Lord according to biblical teaching and examples. Your purpose is not to be sectarian or divisive but to be simply Christians following God’s will, together.

Throughout the centuries since Jesus, some movements have sought to restore themselves to following Jesus in all things and to be Christians like those in the New Testament. We are in contact with believers like this who are now meeting in many communities. If you need help locating such a group, please contact us at

The second part of the questions asks, “How would the apostles and other followers of Jesus of the first century find believers or teach the word to make new believers?”

The answer to this question is in the book of Acts which gives an overview of the church’s mission and expansion for the thirty years following Pentecost in Acts 2. Through their preaching and teaching, the apostles and others made disciples throughout the world. The apostle Paul on his missionary journeys entered into cities and began teaching people wherever he could. He taught privately and from house to house, spoke the truth to truth-seekers by a river side, taught in prison, spoke the truth to kings and governors, and presented the gospel to philosophers and city leaders in the marketplaces and in their meetings. Paul entered Jewish synagogues where the one true God was worshiped and the Scriptures read and believed. He taught that God fulfilled his promises and prophecies in the coming of Jesus the Messiah into the world. He met with these worshipers and continued to teach them as long they would listen. Many of them became believers.

On the occasions where the Jews would no longer listen, Paul separated from them and began to teach the Gentiles. The Jews and Gentiles who obeyed the gospel of Jesus constituted the church in that location. Paul continued teaching them the will of God and urging them to continue serving Jesus. In this way, Paul established churches wherever he found people who would listen. He helped these believers appoint elders to guide and shepherd the new congregation. He wrote letters to these new converts, sent helpers to continue teaching them and re-visited them in his subsequent travels.

Today, we share and teach the word of God to make disciples. When we share the same message and people give the same response as they did in Acts, then we make disciples like they did.