One Church or Bride of Christ
We read in Songs of Solomon that the Lord's dove, his undefiled is but
one: Song 6:8 "There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines,
and virgins without number. 9 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is
the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.
The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the
concubines, and they praised her."
There is an
erroneous view among religious people today, that there are many that
can claim the name of the Lord's church even though they differ in
doctrine, practice, and belief. They say that the Lord's church is
denominated into different groups espousing different views. In the book
of Isaiah this day was prophesied: Is. 4:1 "And in that day seven women
shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear
our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our
bride is but one, yet we have seven women (false churches) taking hold
of one man (Christ) and saying "We will eat our own bread…" that is be
fed from the doctrines we have prepared (doctrines of men). Furthermore,
they said, "we will wear our own apparel…" Thus we will be clothed with
our own self-righteous works and hold to our own doctrine of salvation
from sin. Finally, they said, "only let us be called by thy name, to
take away our reproach." They wanted the name of Christ to take away the
reproach of their adulterous doctrines and practices. They did not want
his gospel, or his teachings, or his worship service, or his doctrine of
practical godliness to rule their lives, they just wanted to
authenticate their own ways by the use of his name.
the bride of Christ is referred to as "the church" indicating she is one
of a kind.
We can know whether a body of believers is a part of the Lord's church
by observing her doctrines, practices, and the lives of her members. If
the doctrine or practice of an assembly does not agree with what the
scriptures say, then they can make no claim to being the church of the
Lord Jesus Christ. No where in the scriptures can we find Sunday
schools, Sunday school superintendents, women preachers, organizations
above the local church, tithing, salaried ministry, youth groups,
singing with instrumental music accompaniment, choirs, church
auxiliaries, bible colleges or seminaries or seminars, or foreign
mission boards. Such practices are akin to wearing one's own apparel.
The doctrines of gospel regeneration or working one's way to heaven are
foreign to the scriptures and would be akin to eating one's own bread.
The Lord's one true bride would not have any of these things.
church is satisfied with the doctrines of the scriptures and the manner
of worship prescribed for her in the New Testament and the ordinances
given to her by her Lord. She is also satisfied with the government
given to her by her Husband and strives to live according to thus saith
Matt. 13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man,
seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great
price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." In the description
of the Bride of Christ in the 21st chapter of Revelation, the Holy City
is said to have twelve gates and these gates are compared to pearls:
"And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one
pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent
glass." Thou these gates were compared to twelve pearls, yet they are
described in such a way as to indicate they are truly, but one pearl.
Thou there are many local congregations, yet the Lord's bride is but one
and her price was great. Jesus came to pay the redemption price for his
bride as we read in Matt. 1:21, "And she shall bring forth a son, and
thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their
sins." In order to pay this redemption price, Jesus gave all that he
had, that is his life to redeem her from her sins: Eph. 5:25 "Husbands,
love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself
for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of
water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious
church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it
should be holy and without blemish." There has never been such a great
price ever paid for anything that would even compare to the price that
According to the scriptures, 1 Cor. 6:19 "What? know ye not that your
body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of
God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are
God's." God's elect people collectively make up that one pearl of great
price and Jesus paid the terrific price to secure her for his own.
Eph. 4:4 "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in
one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God
and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
When we speak of faith we need to
be plain as to which faith we are talking about. There is the faith of
the individual which is the fruit of the Spirit and comes as a result of
the work of the Spirit in the new birth. There is the faith of Christ or
of God which is God's faithfulness to execute his covenant promises.
There is the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
This faith which
was once delivered unto the saints is the "one faith" in Eph. 4:4. This
faith is the system of doctrine, practice and government given to the
New Testament church. Most of the time in the New Testament it is
referred to as "the faith."
Numerous times in the New
Testament "the faith" is spoken of:
1. Acts 6:7 "And the word of God increased; and the number of the
disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the
priests were obedient to the faith."
2. Acts 13:8 "But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by
interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the
3. Acts 14:22 "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them
to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation
enter into the kingdom of God."
4. Acts 16:5 "And so were the churches established in the faith, and
increased in number daily."
5. Acts 24:24 "And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife
Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning
the faith in Christ."
6. Rom 1:5 "By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for
obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:"
7. Rom 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to
8. 1 Cor 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be
9. 2 Cor 13:5 "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove
your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is
in you, except ye be reprobates?"
10. Gal 1:23 "But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in
times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed."
11. Gal 3:23 "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up
unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed."
12. Eph 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the
stature of the fulness of Christ:"
13. Phil 1:27 "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel
of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may
hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind
striving together for the faith of the gospel;"
14. Col 1:23 "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be
not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and
which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I
Paul am made a minister;"
15. Col 2:7 "Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as
ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."
16. 1 Tim 1:2 "Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and
peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."
17. 1 Tim 3:9 "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."
18. 1 Tim 3:13 "For they that have used the office of a deacon well
purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith
which is in Christ Jesus."
19. 1 Tim 4:1 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter
times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits,
and doctrines of devils;"
20. 1 Tim 5:8 "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for
those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an
21. 1 Tim 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which
while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced
themselves through with many sorrows."
22. 1 Tim 6:21 "Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.
Grace be with thee. Amen."
23. 2 Tim 2:18 "Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the
resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."
24. 2 Tim 3:8 "Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these
also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the
25. 2 Tim 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I
have kept the faith:"
26. Titus 1:13 "This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply,
that they may be sound in the faith;"
27. Titus 3:15 "All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love
us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen."
28. 1 Pet 5:9 "Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same
afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
29. Jude 1:3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of
the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and
exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints."
While volumes could be written on
the subject of "the faith," it is not our purpose to do so at this time.
We read in II Tim. 3:16 that the scriptures are a thorough furnisher
unto all good works. Therefore, we conclude that what constitutes the
faith is thoroughly furnished to us in the scriptures. Thus, those
things added to the New Testament faith, which are not given to us in
the New Testament, are not part of the faith that was once given to the
Sunday schools, singing with instrumental music accompaniment, preachers
schools or seminars, tithing, salaried ministry, women preachers and
deacons, raising money for foreign missions, mission boards, flowery
titles to the ministry, church auxiliaries, and church organizations
above the local church are not part of "the faith once given to the
Eph. 4:11-13 tells us that the gospel ministry was given to bring us
unto the unity of the faith. "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: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and
of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure
of the stature of the fulness of Christ." If some preach one thing and
others preach another, and some practice one thing and others practice
another, then we are not unified. Therefore, we cannot possibly be in
the unity of the faith unless we are according to thus saith the Lord in
all that we teach and practice.