Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 16, 1963
NUMBER 3, PAGE 1,12a

Christ's Church Is Sufficient

Jimmy Thomas

Churches of men must have some other institution to lean upon. But the church of Christ does not need these puny human crutches. The Lord has supplied it with everything necessary in order to accomplish its purpose. It is all sufficient.

To say that the church is sufficient is to say that it is enough. When the church is as Jesus built it, there is nothing lacking and there is nothing in excess.

Proof That Christ's Church Is Sufficient

1. All of God's works are complete. The universe is adequate; man can not improve upon it. Christ is a sufficient Saviour; we need no other. The Bible is the only divine guide book given; it is enough. Heaven is a sufficient home for the faithful; and hell is an adequate place for the wicked. Likewise, the church Jesus built is a sufficient organization.

2. The church was planned from the beginning. (Eph. 3:10, 11) Plenty of time elapsed before the actual establishment of the church for God to make sure that it would be sufficient. (Of course, I recognize that He did not need this time.) To claim that the church is not sufficient is to reflect on the wisdom of God.

3. We have a complete revelation. The scriptures furnish us "completely unto every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) God "hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness." (2 Pet. 1:3) The church of Christ is the only institution revealed in the New Testament for the accomplishment of these goods works. If God desired the church to build other organizations through which to function He would have revealed in the New Testament the kind and number He wanted.

4. Jesus Christ is the builder (Matt. 16:18), purchaser (Acts 20:28), head (Col. 1:18), and lawgiver (Jas. 4:12) of the church. Who can imagine Jesus building or purchasing an insufficient church9 Would He serve as head over an incomplete body? To say that the church is not enough is to impeach the authority and power of our lawgiver. (See: Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23)

5. We are complete in Christ. (Col. 2:10) Paul declares that we "were baptized into Christ." (Gal. 3:27) Also that we were "baptized into one body." (1 Cor. 12:13), "which is the church." (Col. 1:24) Therefore, to be in Christ is to be in the church. This means that we are complete in the church. We have all sufficiency, we have enough.

Things Wherein The Church Is Sufficient

1. It is sufficient in its structure. Christ is its head. (Col. 1:18) No other head is needed. The saved in any community constitute the church in that place. When these saved people function collectively in doing God's will, that is church action. It is not universal church action as the saved in another place also act collectively for the same purpose but independent of this group. This is simply action of a local congregation. All collective action of the saved recorded in the New Testament was in and through the local congregation. (Acts 11:22; Phil. 4:15) There is no inspired record of universal church action. Each local congregation, with its elders and deacons (Phil. 1:1; Acts 14:23; 1 Pet. 5:1-3), is sufficient to do all of the collective work God has required of his people. It needs no extra organizations.

2. Local congregations have all that is necessary as pertains to government. Each has Christ as its head. God's word governs them in all matters of faith. Overseers are to be appointed in each church. (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-9) They are limited in their oversight to the church wherein they have been made shepherds. (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2) The church at Thessalonica was commanded "to know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you." (1 Thess. 5:12) No congregation is to be subject to the elders of another congregation in any thing. Neither should a congregation be subject to any human organization whether it is a missionary society, college, publication or self-appointed board of preachers. God has provided each congregation with all that it needs to govern itself. This provision gives protection from outside interference.

3. Each church is sufficient to discipline its own members. Paul wrote " being gathered together ...deliver such a one unto Satan...." (1 Cor. 5:4,5; cf. Matt. 18:15-17; 2 mess. 3:6,14; Rom. 16:17) No disciplinary board or inquisition is needed to correct a disorderly brother. Each congregation has within its own framework all that is necessary for this purpose. One church can not discipline the members of another congregation.

4. Each congregation is adequate for self-edification. New converts are to be fed the sincere (spiritual) milk. (1 Pet. 2:2) Older members need solid food. (Heb. 5:12) Teachers, preachers and future bishops must be trained and developed. This work is to be done within the local congregation, not through a "National Sunday School Board" or "Brotherhood" college.

5. The church is the only organization needed to proclaim the gospel of Christ unto lost men. It is "the pillar and ground of the truth." (1 Tim. 3:15) The church at Thessalonica "sounded forth the word of the Lord." (1 Thess. 1:8) Paul received wages from several churches when he was in Corinth (2 Cor. 11:8) and at times the Philippian church sustained him while he preached Christ. (Phil 1:5; 4:14-18) They sent this support directly to Paul, never through some missionary society or sponsoring church. Such are not necessary in order for a church to fulfill its duty in preaching the word. Each congregation is sufficient to proclaim the gospel of Christ to the fullest of its ability. No church is responsible for more than it is able to do.

6. The church can adequately care for its needy. Benevolence is primarily an individual responsibility. (Matt. 25:34-45; 1 Tim. 5:4, 8,16; Jas. 1:27) Jesus did not commission the church to strive to provide for all the poor of the world or even of their own community. Yet, New Testament churches did care for certain needy saints. (Acts 4:32-35; 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 5:4-16) This they did without building and maintaining benevolent institutions such as hospitals, asylums for the aged and neglected children. When one church had more needy in its number than it was able to receive other churches made a contribution for these poor saints. (Acts 11:27-30; 2 Cor. 8, 9; Rom. 15:26)

7. The church of Christ is the only body to which the saved are added. (Acts 2:47) Jesus is the savior of the body — the church. (Eph. 5:23) All spiritual blessings are In Christ. (Eph. 1:3) As already shown, to be in Christ is to be in the church. No organization, other than the church, is needed for the salvation of men. It is enough. Denominations, secret orders, and similar human institutions are not only not necessary to salvation, they are detrimental to it.

Church related human institutions and brotherhood projects will surely lead many churches into apostasy. Brethren, let us keep the church the church, free to do its own work, unattached to any other congregation or organization. This Is God's way.

— 4016 Knud Drive, Columbia, Tennessee