ARE YOU a true Christian? How do you know for sure?
Did you know that Jesus Christ Himself said that some people who think they are Christians and assume they are “saved” will not enter the kingdom of heaven? (Matthew 7:21). He said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
Could you be one of the many who calls Jesus “Lord,” but isn’t a true Christian?
ONE OF the fundamental reasons Jesus Christ came to Earth was to establish His New Testament Church.“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” He said (Matthew 16:18).
However, the reason for the Church is a mystery to most people. Few consider the deeply inspiring truth the Bible reveals about it: Why Christ founded the Church, what its purpose is, its place in God’s larger plan for humanity, how it is organized and governed.
If people “go to church,” they do so in the church they grew up in, or join a church of their choice. Yet Scripture shows the Church that Jesus Christ founded is a body of His disciples whom God the Father spiritually begets with His Holy Spirit, making them part of one unified spiritual Family—a spiritual organization into which God Himself sets each member (Ephesians 4:3-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 18).
These truths are explained “The Mystery of the Church,” the largest chapter of Herbert W. Armstrong’s most important book, Mystery of the Ages. Read this for crystal-clear understanding on this, one of the most important mysteries that has puzzled humanity. We would be glad to send you a free copy (be sure to give us the address where you want it sent).
THE BIBLE reveals that Jesus Christ not only established His Church, but He has actively led it ever since—He is its living Head (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23).
This raises a critical question: Why are there so many different churches teaching different doctrines? Could they all have been established by Christ? Can they all be led by Christ?
God is not the author of confusion; He does things “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40; the word “churches” in verse 33 merely refers to various congregations of Christ’s Church). Teachings that contradict one another cannot all be true, and could not be inspired by Christ!
God inspired the Apostle Paul to write, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). This and many similar scriptures show that true Christians are unified with Jesus Christ and with each other in one body.
There are thousands of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. They do not “all speak the same thing”—they teach doctrines that directly contradict each other. Some have strongly opposed each other even to the point of violence. Yet the average Christian assumes that all the sincere Christians in these churches are followers of Christ.
JESUS CHRIST specifically warned that false churches would exist. “Take heed that no man deceive you,” He told His true disciples. “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).
Many churches and religious leaders today claim to be Christian. They declare His name, yet they are deceiving many.
How can you avoid this deception?
How can you recognize whether a church is actually led by Jesus Christ—if it is, in fact, the very Church that Christ Himself founded and actively leads?
To answer these crucial questions, you must know the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible. These doctrines will identify God’s true Church—and any false ones. Study your Bible closely, accept without bias what it teaches, and find an organization that does so as well.
This process is not necessarily as difficult as you might think. For example, the Bible clearly commands observance of a seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11; Hebrews 4:4-10). Yet most Christian-professing churches instead worship on the first day of the week. Some will admit the truth that this tradition was established not by the Bible, but by the Roman Catholic Church. This is a plain subject you can prove from your own Bible and from history. (Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath? can guide your study. Read it online, or e-mail us to request your free copy—just be sure to include your mailing address in the e-mail.)
Prove this truth from your own Bible. Then you will know that any church that doesn’t worship on the same day that Jesus Christ kept cannot be the Church He founded and that He leads today!
There are other simple doctrinal tests you can study in order to discern which Christians truly follow Christ, and which only claim to. Many of these Bible-based proofs can be found in our article “Where Is God’s Church Today?” E-mail us to request a free copy of this article from our January-February 2019 Royal Vision.
PERHAPS YOU have proved many of the Bible’s teachings regarding the Sabbath, the holy days, the nature of God, God’s law and other basic biblical doctrines. Although they are in the tiny minority, there are still multiple churches teaching many or most of these doctrines. Is Christ leading these churches? Are their members all true Christians?
The Bible contains the answer. The Apostle Paul asked, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Corinthians 1:13). Christ simply does not lead multiple different organizations that teach different doctrines. He is the Head of one body, which is “fitly joined together and compacted” (Ephesians 4:15-16).
The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ established and leads only one true Church. Christ promised that His Church would never die, so that Church must still exist on Earth today. He directly guides its doctrines, its government and its work today.
This is what differentiates the Philadelphia Church of God from other churches and other “Church of God” groups. We maintain the biblical truths taught by Jesus Christ and restored in the modern era by Herbert W. Armstrong. (For proof of that statement, read our booklet A Pivotal Sign of the End Time.)