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 (Manna 85: TJC at 100 – Towards the Triumphant Church)
Complete the Construction of the True Church (Part 2)
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Aun Quek Chin—Singapore

Editor’s note: The first article in this series, published in Manna 84, discussed how to build the church on the solid foundation of truth, to ensure that she will overcome any storms that may come. In this concluding article, the author outlines the central role of the church in God’s salvation plan, and the need to attain perfection through the cleansing of God’s word and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.

Where does the concept of the true church and false churches come from? Is it from the Bible, or is it mere fabrication? If we care about our salvation, we need to carefully study this matter to identify the biblical truths of God’s church and how to enter it. Only then can we avoid being misled. 

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Mt 24:4–5)

Here Jesus warns that there will be many false christs. It follows that the churches they establish will be false, and if we put our faith in them, we will forfeit our salvation. Hence, it is critical we remain vigilant, to distinguish between false churches and the one true church belonging to Jesus.


Within Christendom, people hold different views about the relevance of the church. Some argue that the church plays a vital role, and that we should anchor our faith therein; others say that we should place our faith in God alone. What does Jesus say?

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. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mt 16:18–19)

Jesus makes three key points: firstly, He will personally build His church; secondly, He will build it on “this rock”; and thirdly, He will grant this church the authority to bind and to loosen. We can use these three principles to determine whether we have found the church belonging to the Lord.

I will build My church”

God established His church to proclaim the gospel message: 

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:14–15)

 Jesus’ proclamation forms the crux of the gospel. The purpose of His ministry was not to heal illnesses or deliver souls from demon possession. These were miracles He performed out of compassion, to confer physical peace and wellbeing; but physical healing was not the message Jesus preached. So what is the key gospel message? It is that the kingdom of God is at hand. This kingdom refers to the church of God. We have to enter the church of God and, in order to enter, we have to repent and believe in the gospel. This is the gospel message that Christians should still be preaching.

Today, there are many who proclaim a variation of the gospel, saying that we need only believe in the Lord to enter the kingdom of God. They cite Paul’s teaching: that we should confess with our lips and believe in our heart to be saved (Rom 10:10). They argue that it is not necessary to undergo baptism. But did Jesus not teach us how we should demonstrate our repentance and belief? 

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mk 16:15–16)

While instructing His disciples to preach the gospel, Jesus said that those who believe in the gospel and are baptized will be saved; but those who disbelieve will be condemned. In other words, repentance and belief go hand in hand with water baptism. The effect of the latter is to wash away sins (Acts 22:16), so that we can enter into God’s kingdom and be saved.

So now we arrive at a very important point: since baptism is critical for the forgiveness of sins and entry to the kingdom of God, who should perform the baptism? Once Jesus had accomplished His work of salvation on earth, He needed to pass on His gospel ministry and, more importantly, the work of forgiving sins. So He commanded His disciples:

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt 28:18–20)

It is clear from Jesus’ words that He established His church for a distinct purpose—to not only preach the gospel, but also to baptize and save those who believe. Therefore, the church established by the Lord is the only one qualified to perform baptism.

In this present time, many churches preach and implement the word of God partially and selectively. Yet the Bible is clear that the full gospel entails the following: 

·         Baptism should be performed in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

·         Foot washing should be performed to enable believers to have a part with the Lord (Jn 13:8).

·         Holy Communion should be undertaken to enable believers to partake of Jesus’ flesh and blood, so that they may receive eternal life (Mt 26:26–29; Jn 6:53–58).

·         The workers of God should lay hands on the believers, praying for them so that they may receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17; 19:6).

·         The church should observe the Sabbath on Saturday, the seventh day of the week, as this is one of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:8–11; Mk 2:27; Mt 5:19; 19:17).

These five teachings are those of the Lord Jesus and His apostles, and are hallmarks of God’s church. They have been carefully documented in the Bible for those who care to study its word objectively.

I will build My church on this rock”

The Lord Jesus established His church to proclaim and implement His teachings. If we heed the word of our Lord, and preach the word according to His teaching, then we will truly belong to the church established by the Lord. But if we do not completely carry out the word of the Lord, then we do not belong to the church of the Lord.

Why are we so sure and confident of this? Jesus said, “And on this rock, I will build My church”—the “rock” being Himself. How is the church established on Jesus? Does it only require a community of believers to proclaim their faith in Jesus? On the surface, this sounds logical, but what does Jesus say?

But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” (Lk 6:46–49)

Many believe in Jesus and call Him “Lord,” but does it mean they are all established upon the rock? Jesus says no. If we believe in Him, we ought to obey His words completely, which Jesus likens to building our house upon the rock. But if we only selectively obey His words, this is like building on the sand. On the day of judgement, our house will collapse. The Lord will ask, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things I command?” To be the true church established by God, the church must preach the complete gospel proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles.

Keys to the kingdom of heaven”

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. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:18–19)

The Lord Jesus has given the keys of the heavenly kingdom to the church, which means the church has the authority to open the doors to the heavenly kingdom. Those who believe in the complete gospel, as preached by the true church, will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven and escape the clutches of Hades.

What are the keys to the kingdom of heaven?

On one level, it is the word of God, entrusted to the apostles. This word has the authority to open the gates of heaven. The apostles passed this word of God, the complete truth, to the saints, and they, in turn, have passed it to subsequent generations. This word carries the power to save, but it also brings judgment, closing the door of heaven. Therefore, the church preaching this complete truth has been given the power and authority to judge, so that those who believe can enter the kingdom of heaven, and those who go against the truth will be denied entry.

On another level, the keys to the kingdom of heaven refers to water baptism. Jesus explains, saying, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

This authority to “loose on earth” is the power of the church to perform water baptism. When the church conducts baptism, men’s sins are washed away, and they enter salvation and freedom from the bond of sin. The church also has the authority to “bind on earth,” meaning that she has the mandate to pass judgment, such as removing a person from office or carrying out excommunication.

We need to realize that the church will not pass judgment on a whim; her duty is to judge according to God’s word. The criteria she uses is whether a person has transgressed the word of God. This being the case, the church has both the responsibility and authority to pass judgment. No distinction is made between a regular believer, a worker or an ordained minister—everyone is treated in an equal manner. In this way, the church affirms what is right and wrong according to God’s standard in the Bible, and the congregation knows the boundaries of appropriate behavior.

Is the church or the Lord Jesus overly strict? We know that the Lord died for us and established the church through His blood to bring salvation to humankind. From this, we understand the great love of Jesus. He established the church on the rock, which is Himself, and has given her His authority to pass judgment, so that those who believe can be saved, and those who go against the truth shall be condemned. It follows, then, that if we believe in Jesus, we should also respect His church.


Aside from preaching and safeguarding the gospel of salvation, the believers must also strive to be adorned and prepared to meet the Lord Jesus.

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. (Rev 19:7)

We rejoice because we are betrothed to the Lord, and we know that one day He will come to receive us. So have we prepared ourselves, and are we suitably adorned?

Indeed, as we encourage or correct one another, as the need arises, are we not preparing the church for the Lord’s second coming? 

[T]hat He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:26–27)

The Bible speaks of cleansing the church by the word of God, so that she can be holy and glorious. By Paul’s definition, a glorious church is one that is without blemish or wrinkle. To be without blemish means being untainted by the outside world. To be without wrinkle means not losing strength and vigour. As time progresses, the church may grow old and weary, so we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to renew our strength and use God’s word to cleanse us. We should heed Paul’s message to be renewed in our spirit day by day (2 Cor 4:16), for this principle applies not only to our physical bodies, but also to the church as a whole.

The true church has long been established, but her construction is an ongoing process. As members, we need to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit to pursue holiness, so that we can remove our blemishes and wrinkles. In doing so, we can uphold our faith to the end, and present ourselves to the Lord as a glorious church—a beautifully adorned bride.

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Author: Aun Quek Chin
Publisher: True Jesus Church