When did Jesus' church begin? The New Testament often mentions Jesus' church, but when and where did it begin?
Many passages predict the beginning of the church. Daniel 2 predicts a kingdom that God would set up during the Roman Empire. John the Baptist taught that this kingdom was "at hand" (Matthew 3:1,2). Later in Matthew 16:18, Jesus promised, "I will build my church." Notice that all these passages look forward to the beginning of the church. Even during Jesus' lifetime, the church did not exist, but He predicted He would build it.
If we now look toward the end of the New Testament, we will find the church definitely in existence. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul instructed men how to behave themselves "in the church." In Colossians 1:13 he said that he and other Christians were in the kingdom.
The book of Acts records the history of the early church. Acts 20:28 says that Jesus purchased the church with His blood. Moving toward the beginning of the book, we find the church in existence in Acts 8:1 and 5:11. But the book of Acts begins with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Notice that the church did not exist during Jesus' lifetime, but it did exist soon afterward. Clearly it must have begun shortly after Jesus' death.
Why not read for yourself the record of the beginning of the church? You will find it in Acts chapter 2. On a Jewish feast day called Pentecost, Peter preached the first gospel sermon. He told people to "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins" (v38), and three thousand obeyed. The in Acts 2:47 (KJV) we read: "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." The church had begun! It began in Jerusalem on Pentecost.
You can be a member of that same church in the same way people became members in Acts 2. Simply obey the same simple gospel plan of salvation and let Jesus add you to His church.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 6/27/2005
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