|The True Church|
"On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18).
The true church of Jesus Christ is made up of the redeemed from all generations. All those who have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ are members of the true church.
The Holy Spirit is present within the true church. God's word is preached, believed, and put into practice. The essential doctrines of the Christian faith are upheld. The sacraments are administered.
The true church is not the same thing as the visible church. The visible church is made up of believers (those who have a saving faith), and unbelievers (those who have a professed faith, but in actuality do not know the Lord). Jesus said that this would be the case: "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:22-23)
Jesus warned that false teachers would arise within the visible church: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15). "The Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). This has never been more evident than it is today. Cults that claim to profess Christ but deny his deity, or deny the deity of the Holy Spirit, are on the rise; the airways are filled with teachers and televangelists who deny or reinterpret the essentials of the faith; and false prophets within the visible church persuade people to focus their attention on counterfeit "signs and wonders" instead of focusing on Jesus Christ.
The true Church is one body. It has many parts, but is indwelt by one Spirit. Within the true Church, Christ above all else will be exalted.
"With Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God" (Revelation 5:9-10).
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