THE MARKS OF A TRUE CHURCH
The Church can be traced from the O.T where God continuously declares the people/congregation of Israel as His people. In so many instances, God expresses “I’ll be your God and you’ll be my people,” (Exod.6:7; 19:5), The church is therefore the total people of God
spread through all the ages, visibly gathering for the worship of God.
Traditionally we speak of 4 marks of a true Church as proposed by reformers
- One: The Church is one, because it is grounded in one God (Eph. 4:1-6) All who belong to the church are one people. In the Church there should be no division.
The oneness of the church means the strength of the Church.
- The word of God: This is God’s supreme instrument for renewing his people after the image of Christ. (John 17:17, 2Tim.3:16ff). The word of God is central if a church is a true Church. To be a man or woman of God involves being a man or woman of the word of God. The word of has to be followed no matter what. If God’s word says there is no divorce, the Church must heed to this.
- Sacraments: A Sacrament is an outward and visible sign and inward and invisible grace. The reformers spoke of two biblically instituted sacraments. They are Baptism and Holy Communion. Baptism is a confession of faith in Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Pet 3:21). It is an experience of communion with Christ (Col.2:12). It is also a consecration to living for Christ (Rom.6:14-22). This means that careless
living is seen as a denial of baptism. Since baptism is understood to be an entry of the covenant in the New Testament replacing circumcision in the old covenant, every Christian despite age should be baptized, either through immersion or
Holy communion: This is instituted by Jesus Christ (1Cor. 11:23-25; Mt 26:26-
29). It is a reminder of the heart of faith that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. It is also communion with fellow Christians.
- Prayer: All communication with God is prayer. A true Church will be known by prayer. There are many things which may help us to feel that we are in God’s presence. For example, public worship, praying in tongues, listening to devotional music etc. Prayer is central to every true Church. Every believer can approach God. (Eph.3:12)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- How can you help a Christian who is looking for “ a good Church” in town?
- Read (John 17:6-11) what will you do as a Christian to bring about the oneness that Christ prayed for?
- Testify about a prayer request that God answered instantly?
- How is the word of God nurturing you as a Christian?
Rev. Hillary Jaffu
(Priest in charge Social Services & Invitiation)
0774546999( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org