Jesus said, "I will build my church"! And He did build it! No one in the Christian world denies there is a true Church of which Jesus Christ is the Head somewhere on this earth right now! Many imagine that Church is to be found in the hearts and minds of multiple millions who may represent dozens of different "faiths." Others claim it is one great organized and political body. Others may feel it is a tiny sect. Many churches claim to be "number one," meaning they claim to be the true Church! But can you prove which church is the true Church? There is proof available! Beginning with this article, we are presenting seven major proofs which represent incontrovertible evidence of where God's true Church, of which Jesus Christ is the literal living Head, is working on this earth today! My FAVORITE argument, used against my mother in the days of my naval service, was: "Mom, surely all these other churches can't be wrong!"
Since that time I have heard many people use the same argument on me.
It never occurred to me until many years later, following baptism and induction into Christ's ministry, that an opposite statement would work equally as well to answer that cherished argument of so many: " Surely all these churches can't be right!"
That's right. I was wrong!
If anyone church professing to teach and preach a method of salvation to its parishioners is "right," then all others are automatically "wrong" since they are all so different!
In this confusing world of "churchianity," with dozens of differing beliefs, practices, tenets of doctrine and approaches to the Bible and Christian living, you need to face squarely the practical fact that the old argument that "surely all these churches can't be wrong" is totally inadequate and illogical as an excuse to reject the truth of God when it comes to you!
Great Deception to Arise Jesus warned of a great deception to arise soon after His death and resurrection, which was actually only a continuation of the great Babylonian Mystery conspiracy which had had its root beginnings in the lives of ancient apostates such as Semiramis and Nimrod. But Jesus said, "I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18), and promised He would be with that Church always — it would never die out! (Matt. 28:20.)
Jesus did begin that literal Church. Think. If I had never been born, and if my father had never lived — if there were no World Tomorrow broadcast, no Plain Truth magazine and no Ambassador College — can you know, and absolutely realize that somewhere, somehow, on this earth, at this precise moment, the Church we are now discussing — the Church which Jesus built — would be active, alive, performing the Work of God?
You need to come to know where that true Church is working.
It doesn't seem to enter the minds of most of the people of this world today, as they gullibly pursue the religion of their youth, that there really could be only one true religion — and that all others are false.
Think again! If you had a whole room full of crisp, new, counterfeit, one-hundred-dollar bills — such perfect counterfeits that perhaps only a very special investigator in the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. would be able to tell the difference — and you had, in your pocket, a dirty, crumpled one-dollar bill — which would you choose?
Would you take the counterfeit — regardless as to "how close" it might appear alongside the original — or would you take the real article?
Jesus warned: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ [saying that Jesus is the Christ — not that 'they' are Christ]; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4-5).
The Church Exists! Remember, before we begin these major proofs about the true Church of God — that God's Church does exist!
Almost never do you hear any of the large, "respectable" Protestant bodies claiming to be the one, the only true Church, to the exclusion of all others. This, they know, would offend their "sister organizations" in the rest of American and British Protestantism. So, rather than make such a claim outwardly, or in any evangelistic sense — they may privately "believe" this to be true — but keep it quiet among themselves. In this way, they can all reason in their own minds that perhaps every "Christian," regardless of his beliefs and practices, can somehow be a member of the "true Church."
But this reasoning is totally false!
God's true Church exists! Jesus said He would build it. He did build it — and regardless as to whether The World Tomorrow program had ever begun, that true Church would still exist today.
So now, sweeping your mind free from all preconceived opinions, prejudices, or "ideas" you may have had in the past — let's realize some concrete facts.
My father did not write the Bible. I did not write the Bible. Yet, in your Bible are the plain, impossible-to-misunderstand statements identifying the true Church of which Jesus Christ is the Head (Eph. 5:23; 4:15; 1:22-23; Col. 1:18; 2:19).
Let's read these many scriptures, and come to thoroughly and totally understand them — and let's prove whether this is the true Church of God.
Proof No. 1 — God Is the Ruler Almost no religious organization on this earth really believes that God is the absolute Ruler. Many sects and denominations of organized "churchianity" try to straddle the fence between belief in a Creator and belief in evolution. Others, while claiming to believe in God as the Creator, believe in Him more as a "First Cause," or a vague, unreal ethereal "force" which may have had something or other to do with the creation of matter — but which did not actually bring life, as we know it today, into existence.
But God's true Church knows Him to be the Creator. "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Gen. 17:1), God said to Abraham.
God revealed Himself as the Creator, and the Ruler of His creation, to Adam. God revealed Himself as the Ruler of all the universe, the great, divine One who interferes in the course of petty, human nations of ancient kings. The ancient nations of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Syria and Phoenicia knew of the "God of the Hebrews" as a great Ruler who directly interfered in the affairs of human kingdoms, on behalf of His people.
When God expelled Adam from the Garden of Eden — God was in charge — He was the Ruler. God had to intervene in the course of the whole world at the time of the Flood — interrupting the course of humankind and the earth itself with the most truly gargantuan, awesome, monstrous, unimaginable and fantastic miracle — the great, worldwide Flood of the time of Noah.
God came down to this earth, shortly after the Flood, to interfere in the course of human affairs — scattering the people and confusing the tongues at the Tower of Babel. In spite of petty, human plans, of noble and lofty aspirations, of the grandiose plotting or the ferret like chicanery of carnal man — God, who is the RULER, interfered!
God intervened in the personal life of Abraham — saved Joseph from death, and met Moses "face to face" in the wilderness.
He divided the Red Sea, led His people into the Promised Land - and revealed Himself to them as their Lord, their Master, their Boss — their Ruler!
Nebuchadnezzar Learned God Rules Notice. "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever," wrote Daniel, on the occasion of the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar's dream being revealed to him, "for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him" (Dan. 2:20-22).
Later, Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar: "But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days" (verse 28).
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the greatest nation of that time, had to learn that "the God of heaven hath given thee [Nebuchadnezzar] a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory" (verse 37).
Later, when Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up in his pompous, human vanity, refused to acknowledge God, Daniel revealed to him that he would be driven from among men, to live like a beast, "to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men" (Dan. 4:17).
Still later, Daniel repeated this tremendous revelation to Nebuchadnezzar, saying: "... And they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (verse 25).
The God of the Old Testament, who is the Jesus Christ of the New (Heb. 1; John 1; I Cor. 10:4; Col. 1:16-17), revealed Himself as the RULER to humankind.
Amazing, isn't it? Ancient "ignorant" Nebuchadnezzar — the man who was the king over the supposed "ancient" Babylonian Empire — knew far more about the true nature of God than most "learned" theologians of today. He knew God was the RULER!
If there is one reader of this magazine who has not yet read and thoroughly studied the booklet Does God Exist?, then you need to read it immediately — and not let one more week go by before you thoroughly study, research and come to understand the great and awesome fact that our God — the God who looks into, supervises, leads, guides and directs this Church, is the Creator of heaven and earth, the Ruler of the entirety of the universe!
Most "Christians" Don't Know God as Ruler Many of the false churches of this world, even though professing to believe in a God who is in at least some way "authoritative," believe God has gone way off somewhere - either unable to intervene in their personal lives, or else totally disinterested and unconcerned with this present world, and people in it. The average churchgoing professor of modern "churchianity" sees God as a type of "divinized father-figure" into whose arms he may creep in times of duress and peril. He visualizes the "grandfather-like figure" painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, or a figment of his own imagination.
What if an individual came to you and said that your name was not your name? Would you be shocked? What if a researcher, in nattily attired businesslike respectability, complete with portfolio — arrived at your door, came into your living room, and proceeded to unfold from his portfolio the remarkable, fantastic story that you are not really who you think you are — but someone else. Wouldn't it be incredible?
Think of it. What if your name had been confused at the hospital when you were born? What if you had been "mixed up" with someone else's baby? What if — all these years — you had gone through life thinking yourself to be the offspring of one family — but actually the offspring of another?
This would certainly be one of the most overwhelming and remarkable shocks to ever come to a person in human experience — wouldn't it?
Think again. Multiple millions of professing Christians have heard, pronounced, sung, talked of, or even used in profanity the name "God." And yet these same millions have never even known that God!
They have not known who He is, what He is, what He is doing — have not known His qualities, His attributes, His character, or His great plan. You had not really known the Ruler of this universe until you came to know Him through His only Church!
Professing Christians have not known His intent and purpose in their lives — His great plan and purpose in this earth and the universe — have not known of His unlimited power, and His ability to intervene in the course of human affairs.
They have not known how He appears — how He speaks — have not known His expressed will! They have not, in short, known God!
God Is Known to the Elect It is only the members of the true Church of God who truly KNOW God. Almighty God inspired Isaiah to describe those individuals who make in "their own images" a "god" according to the figment of their own imaginations.
Speaking of the devices of the carpenter, or the goldsmith, God says, "he falleth down unto it, and • worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand" (Isa. 44:17-18).
God says man is a worm (Isa. 41:14), and says: "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?" (Isa. 40:17-18.)
Can we come to understand?
Unless a person has truly been called (I Cor. 1:26) of God, has repented, and been begotten of Him — he has not known Him.
We, of the true Church of God, know God to be the Creator, the Designer, Author, Architect, Beginner, of the whole universe. We know Him to be the RULER over all!
God Rules His Church Knowing, as Job said, "My redeemer liveth " (Job 19:25), I know, and you know God has set His own government in His true Church. "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-12).
Remember, Christ is the Head of. the Church (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18), and it is He who ordains His true ministers, appointing them to the offices and responsibilities of His choosing.
God's true Church will never follow the practice of the false churches of this world who "will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts [selfish preferences, favoritisms, and personal choices] shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (II Tim. 4:3-4).
God says, through the pen of the Apostle Paul: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues" (I Cor. 12:28).
Never forget that "God set the members everyone of them in the body, as it hath pleased him" (verse 18).
The Purpose of Authority The only use and purpose in authority is simply because there must be government, rule, order — even when it is not always "acceptable" to the majority.
The reason God gives His true ministers authority — the reason God rules through His true ministers — is that He knew that rule, that authority would not always be agreed with!
The Apostle Paul said: "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed.... For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves [think themselves to be of greater capacity and responsibility than they actually are]: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you" (II Cor. 10:8, 12, 13).
Notice it. The Apostle Paul said he had authority given him directly of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ, for the express purpose of the upbuilding, the edification of the true Church of God! He called it a definite rule — position of government.
Was it then Paul's personal rule? Was it Paul, acting on his own, without real authority directly from Jesus Christ?
Decidedly not! He said: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). Christ lived in the Apostle Paul!
It was Christ ruling through the Apostle Paul — not Paul doing something "on his own."
There is no clearer proof, no more concrete demonstration of the fact of the rulers hip of God in and through His human servants in His Church than the letters of the Apostle Paul to the young Evangelist Timothy, and to Titus.
These epistles are called the "Pastoral Epistles." Had the Holy Spirit not inspired them to be written, the direct qualifications (I Tim. 3) for deacons and elders would not have been contained directly in the Bible. These letters, by the very fact of their existence, prove God rules in His true Church!
What if You Can't "Find It in the Bible"? Many decisions Christ's ministers must make cannot be found directly quoted in the Bible. Did the Apostle Paul ever order his congregations, or those serving directly under him, to do certain things, follow certain orders or admonitions, for which he had no direct scripture in the Old Testament?
Certainly! Read I Corinthians 7, where Paul plainly said he had no direct commandment from Christ, but that he, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave his judgment in the matter. Remember, the "letters" of the Apostle Paul were regarded by lay members of that time as just exactly that. They were "letters" — personal, friendly, warm, oftentimes filled with rebukes and admonitions but letters, nevertheless.
We now know that they were inspired of the Holy Spirit. However, many of the lay members of that time did not look upon these letters as being directly inspired of God's Holy Spirit!
If they had, they would have obeyed more implicitly. The Apostle Paul had written many additional letters which are not a part of the Bible. His first letter to the church at Thessalonica was totally misunderstood by many. Had they stood in fear, trembling in awe of this letter as if it were directly from the Holy Spirit of God — they would have feared to misinterpret, or misunderstand!
God Rules Through Human Instruments But notice how Paul encouraged the members in his care to obey the rule of Almighty God — through His human instruments: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12).
"And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake" (I Thess. 5:12-13).
The Apostle Paul referred back to verbal commands he had given to the church at Thessalonica, and the Holy Spirit inspired him to write: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (II Thess. 3:10).
He continued: "For we hear that there are some which walk -among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.... And if any man obey not our word [notice this was a direct command from Paul, in the form of a personal letter, directed to one specific church] by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" (verses 11-14).
There are many other scriptures proving beyond a shadow of a doubt the rule, authority and the government which Almighty God Himself, and Jesus Christ, who is the direct Head of this Church, exercise through their chosen and called human instruments.
Yes, God does literally rule in His true Church!
And how thankful — how joyously thankful, grateful, and happy we should be that He does!
It is the only way for preserving unity, for keeping God's true Church together, for keeping it protected from the wolves without, or from the roots of bitterness which creep up from within.
Our God is the Ruler of the whole universe. He is Ruler on earth, interfering and intervening in the course of human governments and affairs whenever necessary. He rules — governs, guides and leads in His true Church.
Members of God's true Church not only recognize these prime factors, not only have they proved these major points, directly from the inspired Word of God, but they know God as their direct, personal Ruler.
They have come to know it is God who has set definite offices, authority and government in the home.
Each member of God's true Church recognizes that God's rule comes directly from God the Father, through Jesus Christ, to His apostle, and right on down through all the evangelists and other ministers in God's true Church to each lay member.
But, further, and even beyond recognizing the rule and the authority of God in the Church — each member thoroughly realizes and understands that God rules in his own private heart, his own private moments, his very thoughts, impulses, and his whole being.
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Cor. 6:20). God says: "Ye are bought with a price" (I Cor. 7:23) — that you are owned, body, soul and spirit. That is, you are owned in your fleshly body, your very life (soul), and your spirit (attitude, will, volition).
If you have truly repented and given yourself to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2), then you are literally OWNED — just like a slave of God. You will be saying, just as Jesus Christ did, "Nevertheless not my will be done, but thine." You will be saying, "Correct me" just as Jeremiah did. You will be saying, "Search me and try me, O God," as David did.
You will realize — and realize it thoroughly — that your God is your personal, private, direct Ruler - your Boss, your Lord, your Master, who tells you what to do for your good and well-being.
The true Christian knows he has been literally conquered of God. He has surrendered to a conqueror — to a Ruler!
Does Christ Rule You? Instead of the insipid, effeminate, tremulous, spineless and utterly crass "way of the world" of "receiving" Christ, appropriating Christ, taking Christ to be "yours" — the true Christian has accepted the fact that Christ died for his sins — and along with it, the fact that Christ's death paid for the repentant sinner in full.
The true Christian knows Christ purchased HIM. He doesn't "take Christ" to be his very own — as a private, selfish, inward something which is not true Christianity — but he gives himself — UTTERLY, to Christ.
Have you done this?
Are you so totally bought, so purchased, so completely conquered, so absolutely given to Christ that you are His literal slave? Do you look on your Savior as your personal Ruler? Does He rule you? Does He order you around? Does He direct your energies, actions, thoughts? Does He demand certain things of you?
Do you always like His demands? Do you always agree with Christ?
You would be a perfect Christian if you did — but most are not perfect! That is why Christ rules in His Church, and in our individual lives.
Notice again the scripture we read in Ephesians the fourth chapter: "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists... For the perfecting of the saints [because we are not yet perfect], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: TILL we all come in the unity of the faith..." (verses 11-13).
Yes, until we are all willing to obey implicitly, immediately, perfectly.
God rules in the universe. He rules in nations. He rules His Church. He governs in the home and family, and He rules in our own personal lives.
That's what makes us so different from any false and counterfeit church in this world. That's what makes us the very Church of God.
God is our Ruler!
(To be Continued)