Author: Fred Pruitt

That Jesus gathered material while on earth, while in a fleshly body, and built His Church, cannot be disputed, for we read in Matthew 16:16-18, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against IT.” Many look at this Scripture without the Spirit to guide and give understanding, and conclude that Jesus meant to build His Church on Peter, but this is decidedly a wrong interpretation of the Scripture. Jesus was referring to the solid rock-like truth that He had spoken, which was: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” and was given him by the Father in heaven, and all those that believe in the heart (Romans 10:9-10) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, become Stones in the building, His Church, Christ being the Rock, the Chief cornerstone.

We find by the above Scriptures that His Church was to be so firm, so strong, and filled with such power that the gates of hell cannot prevail against her onward march. We find that His Church was not many, but ONE, spoken of in the singular term: IT. The prophet Isaiah foreseeing things that would come to pass, spoke of the beginning of the Church in this manner, “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, behold I lay in Zion [a metaphor for the Church] for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isa. 28:16). The prophet here was speaking of Jesus as the precious tried stone and said He was a sure foundation. And Paul, speaking of this foundation, said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 3:11.)

Peter, in speaking to babes in Christ, said, “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. Ye also, as lively stones [saved men], are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded” (I Pet. 2:4-6). This living stone spoken of by Peter is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, for truly He was rejected of men, despised, abused, slain, placed in the tomb, and counted by men as an end of Him; but not so-the gates of hell did not prevail. There was mighty power with Him. The great stone at the mouth of the tomb could not keep its place, the governor’s seal was not respected, the brave soldiers that were set at watch did shake and become as dead men, and Christ the Son of God came forth a living conqueror, and has become Head over all things to the church which is His body.

Paul, in writing of and to saved souls, said, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22). Paul is speaking here of the spiritual structure of the Church that Jesus built, and shows that He has reconciled us unto God in one body by the cross (verse 16). For all truly saved souls (those who believe from the heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God) compose the spiritual body of the Lord Jesus Christ. He, Christ, is our great High Priest (Heb. 4:14) with all power both in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18), and has become Head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22).

Moses was a type of Christ insomuch he was the head of the literal children of Israel. They are referred to in the 3rd chapter of Hebrews and the 2nd verse as “Moses being faithful in all of his house,” but the scripture goes on to say that Jesus was worthy of more glory than Moses, and that Moses was faithful in all of his house as a servant which testified of things which were to be spoken afterwards. The Word says, “But Christ as a son over his own house: whose house are we [saved souls], if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

The material that Jesus gathered to build His house, or Church, was God-fearing men and women that received Christ and fully accepted His gospel. The apostles whom He chose were foundation stones, with Christ Himself as the chief corner stone. For three and a half years He was gathering souls together and building His spiritual house which Peter speaks of in I Peter 2:5 as being and are built up a spiritual house, by whom spiritual sacrifices are offered up which are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. On the day of Pentecost they were all together in one place and constituted His spiritual house or Church He had built. In sending upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost with the cleansing fire of the Spirit, the Church of God was set in order with the various gifts of the Spirit functioning in and through each member or “lively stone” in the building. When this was done, the Church was a complete unit, built and occupied. The Spirit of God began to add to it such as were being saved (Acts 2:47), and the number increased.

I see the Church of God today as a city set on a hill that cannot be hid, covered or destroyed. We could think of the Church today as likened to a man having fifteen sheep, which was his complete flock of sheep. In the spring there are ten lambs born, and then his complete flock of sheep would be twenty-five head. It could be likened to a city whose population is ten thousand souls. This city has all the officers it needs and is a complete city within itself. In ten years it grows to be a city of 100,000, and is still a complete city as it has all the officers it needs. Jesus built His church, and on the day of Pentecost he occupied it by the Holy Ghost and set it in order, and there is no power on earth which can destroy it.

“Hell never can destroy the Church, built by the Savior’s hands;
Upon the Rock, the solid Rock, Christ Jesus, still she stands.

Despite of persecution’s flood, and gates of hell, forsooth;
She’s still the Kingdom of the Lord, the Pillar of the truth.”

We have been considering who built the Church and on whom it was built and of what and whom it is composed, and now we shall proceed to find out the proper name of this church that Jesus built. We shall first turn to John 17:11 and read what Jesus says to do: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world [speaking of His disciples] and I come to THEE. HOLY FATHER, KEEP THROUGH THINE OWN NAME those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” We find by these scriptures that it was the desire of Jesus that His followers should be dept in His Father’s name and His name is God. There, the name would be “The Church of God.” The word church in the scriptures does not refer to a building as men apply it today, but it has reference to an assembly of saved men and women which constitute “the Church of God” in that locality. In a broader sense, the Church of God would mean all saved people throughout the world.

We find that men have built structures that they call “churches,” and are holding them together the best they can under other names; but on examination, we find that they are built on sandy foundations and have become cisterns without living water. They have failed to honor the petition of the Son, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name,” therefore the storms and floods have left their houses desolate or real spiritual life and the habitation of God is with those that are married to Christ and bring forth fruit unto God (Rom. 7:4). They honor the Son and call themselves by the Father’s name. They are not tied nor bound by rules and regulations of men, but are free by belief in Christ, the Son of God (Rom. 8:2), are lively stones in the building of God that Jesus built )I Peter 2:5).

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” (Isa. (:6-7).

In the third chapter of Ephesians, verses 14 and 15, we read what Paul said concerning the name of God’s people: “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Some of the family of God, people of God, or Church of God have gone on to heaven and the other part are yet alive in the earth, and Paul, speaking of the Father, said, “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” which would be the family of God, or the Church of God.

Men do not join “the Church of God” as they do man-made churches, but they are born into it by a spiritual birth just as children are born into our family by fleshly birth; and we bear the Father’s name as our children bear ours. We will not dishonor the Father by taking some other name, but are satisfied and happy to abide free in Him (Psa. 87:5-6). “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7).

Paul, in writing to, or of saved people, repeatedly called them “The Church of God.” In Acts 20:28 he said to the overseers to “Feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.” In I Cor. 1:1-2 he addresses the Church of God which is at Corinth, directing his letter to the local assembly of the Church. In I Cor. 10:32 he says to give no offence to the church of God. In I Cor. 15:9, “I am…not meet to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God.” In I Tim. 3:5, speaking of a bishop or elder, he says, “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” These are just a few of the places in Scripture where saved men and women are called or referred to as “The Church of God.”

© Church of God Evening Light