Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Church and Kingdom

Though many fail to see it, the date the Lord’s church was established is significant. It is significant because all of truth is significant. It seems the height of arrogance for man to take God’s revelation, and seek to place value on the constituent parts. While some of God’s word is “milk” and some is “meat”, nothing of God’s revelation should be considered unimportant.

This can be clearly seen by Paul’s treatment of those who taught error on the subject of circumcision. Some taught that the Gentile had to be circumcised (a Jewish covenant) as a part of their Christian profession. While some might think that different opinions regarding an elective medical procedure are unimportant, Paul recognized the danger of teaching such error. He called those who advocated such “mutilators”, and said they were guilty of preaching “another gospel” (cf. Gal. 1). As such, they stood condemned before God.

Church and Kingdom

A very simple way to determine when the church was established is to recognize that the church and the kingdom are the same thing. If we recognize the two terms signify the same “institution”, then we can look to an abundance of information regarding the date of its establishment.

The idea of government is not found in the term church. The greek word for church, ekklesia, indicates the people of God, called out of the world.

This group of people must have a government, and since Christ is their king, they are referred to as a kingdom. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).

Further, Jesus’ instructions to his disciples to eat and drink at his table (Lord’s Supper) in “my kingdom” (cf. Luke 22:29-30); is shown to be fulfilled in the church. The apostle Paul gave instructions to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11 regarding proper behavior when partaking of the Lord’s Supper in the church assembly. Unless there are two tables, the church and the kingdom are the same.

The church is the kingdom. The kingdom is the church. This is evident when looking at the time of establishment of this institution.

Jesus said during his ministry, in Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus said, again during his ministry, in Mark 9:1, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

So, the kingdom/church had not yet been established during Christ’s earthly ministry. In fact, Jesus, after his death, and on the occasion of his ascension, still noted that the kingdom had not yet been established. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”, (Acts 1:8).

Just 10 days later, on the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ promise was fulfilled, and the kingdom was established. Acts 2:1-4 records the power being bestowed upon the disciples in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Mark 9:1.
It is at this point that the church is first mentioned as being in existence. We are told that on that day 3,000 souls were added to the saved. In verse 47, the historian notes, “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

So, we can see that the church and the kingdom were established at the same time. This lends further proof to the assertion that the two are one and the same.

Finally, from Pentecost on, the kingdom is stated as being in existence. John was in the kingdom (cf. Revelation 1:9). Paul stated, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13).

The scripture reveals clearly that the church was established on the day of Pentecost following Christ’s resurrection.