WHAT CHURCH WOULD JESUS JOIN?
(From the Breath of Life Series by C. D. Brooks)
transcribed and edited by Derek Morris
Our subject tonight is: “What Church Would Jesus Join” if He came to live in the Valley? Now, I realize that that’s an audacious subject. There are more than three hundred denominations or churches calling themselves Christian in the United States, and when you includes sects and cults, there are more than five hundred, all of them calling themselves Christian. Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, it should dawn on our minds that there’s something wrong. There was only one Christ. Then why must there be five hundred groups, claiming to follow Him, all different? Now, there are some logical questions: Are they all right? The answer obviously is that most are part right and part wrong.
I want to explain something to you. If I had a bottle of poison, marked clearly, “Poison: this stuff will kill you,” and I offered it to you to drink, there’s no way you’d drink it, right? But suppose I took a little of it and poured it in a glass, then took the bottle and hid it. Then got some orange juice and filled up the glass. Then I hand you what appears to be a glass of orange juice. You might die.
Now, I want you to follow what I’m saying. The Devil is called a deceiver in the Bible, and a deceiver is one who perpetrates deception. Deception is the co-mingling of good and evil. While Jesus will only use the truth, the Devil will use truth and error. It is when he mixes it all up that he deceives people. Naked lies don’t deceive people. It’s when you take a lie and dress it up in truth’s clothes that folks are deceived.
But the Lord says, “You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and Mammon. You will either love one and hate the other, or serve one and despise the other.” As a matter of fact, Jesus said, “He that is not for Me is against Me.”
Now, I want to make some propositions. The first one is Jesus does have a church. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said to Peter, “Thou art Peter,” petros in the Greek, masculine singular, and it means a pebble or a rolling stone. Christ says, “Thou art petros, but upon this petra”–rock (a different form all together, and that needs to be made clear, because there are some who believe the church was built on Peter. Not so). “Thou art petros, [a pebble, a rolling stone] but upon this petra [solid rock of immense proportions]…” Upon this solid rock–what solid rock? The confession of Peter that “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
“Upon this solid rock, I will build My church,” Christ says. My church: singular possessive pronoun: My. Christ has a church. Would you say Amen? Christ said so, and the Bible says when He comes, He’s coming for a church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. He founded the church and He’s coming for His church. And a church is not a building. A church is an assembly of individuals called out of darkness into light. Called out of error into truth. Called out of disobedience into obedience. Called out of sin into salvation. That’s Christ’s church. Would you say Amen?
In Ephesians 4:5 the Bible says, “One Lord”–how many Lords? “One faith”–how many faiths? “One baptism.” In John 10:16–you ought to write that one down–Jesus said, “Other sheep have I that are not of this fold.” Now, a lot of people, when they hear the truth, say, “Well, you don’t have to really change or join anything. After all, Jesus said, ‘Other sheep have I that are not of this fold.’” But they don’t read on! The text says, “Other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring…And there shall be one fold,”–how many? “…and one shepherd.” One.
In Philippians 2:2 God said, “Fulfill ye My joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, and of one mind.” God is stressing oneness. One faith, one Lord, one fold. Then He said, “being of one accord and of one mind.” Christians who follow Christ ought to believe the same thing.
In Acts 2:1 the Bible speaks of that early church which Christ founded, and it says, “When Pentecost was fully come, they were all in one place, of one accord.” Would you say Amen? Yes, the Bible stresses unity, and I want to tell you something, and I hope you’ll never forget it. I realize as a logical being that there are five hundred groups, and they’re all different. And the reason they’re all different is they do in degrees accept and reject the Word of God. If all of those who call themselves Christian would throw out all that and would go straight to the Bible and the Bible only, we would all be the same denomination. We would all be in harmony. We would all be rejoicing in the same hope, just like God intended in the beginning. The reason we’re separated, is because we do not accept the Word of God in its entirety. The Bible could bring us together.
Not only does the Bible stress unity, but it also stresses one doctrine. 2 John 1:10. The Bible says, “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed, for he that biddeth him God speed is a partaker of his evil deed.” Now, friends, that’s strong language. If you even wish him well, you are joining him in carrying error. Would you say Amen?
Now, I have been very fair with you. I have told you concerning me that if you hear things here that you should go home and check it in your own Bible. I’ve told you to believe it, not because I say it, but because God says it in His Word. Isn’t that so? I don’t give you one text and then take off, which is the popular method of preaching. I read it to you, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. Now, God says, if anyone does otherwise, and says something contrary to what the Bible says, don’t receive him into your house, neither bid him God speed.
In Romans 16:17 the Bible says, “Mark them that cause division among you and avoid them.” In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul says, “I want you to speak the same thing. Let there be no division.” Dear friends, I want you to notice tonight that Christ has a church with one doctrine based on the Bible, and not on tradition, on the commandments of God and not on the commandments of men. Do you agree with that? Christ has such a church among the five hundred. If He came to the Valley to live, He would join that church.
Now, you think I’m going to go through five hundred churches to find the right one? Not me. That list narrows down so fast it will make your head swim. Matthew 7:20 says, “By their fruits you shall know them.” Not by their name, or the size of the church; not by the eloquence of the preacher or the power of the organ, or the beauty of the stained glass, not by the wealth they possess, not by the prestige they enjoy among the nations, but by their fruits. Well, how do you judge fruits? The Bible tells us.
If I told you my father was in the audience you wouldn’t just turn to the first person you saw and say, “How are you, Mr. Morris,” would you? No, you wouldn’t do that. But if I gave you some clues as to where he was sitting, and what color necktie he had on, and the color of his hair, if I kept giving you clues like that, you could find him, couldn’t you? Well, thank the Lord, God has given some identifying marks concerning His church. That’s why I don’t have to read through five hundred to try to find it.
The Bible says in Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon…” Now, you’ve got to identify these people. “And the dragon…” Well, who’s the dragon? Verse 9 says, “And the great dragon, that old serpent, the Devil and Satan…” Would you say Amen? So the dragon is the Devil. It says, “The dragon was wroth”–that means angry. The dragon was angry with the woman. And the woman in prophecy represents the church. The church is the bride, and He is the bridegroom. And a good woman represents the true church, a clean pure virtuous woman. But the Bible speaks in Revelation 17 of a harlot, and that represents a church also, but the unfaithful apostate church. If that’s clear would you say Amen?
Now, the Bible says, “The dragon was wroth with the woman”–The Devil was angry with the church–”and went to make war with the remnant of her seed.”–and remnant means last. If you go to a place that sells cloth you can usually buy the pieces left over at the end of the bolt of cloth on sale, isn’t that right? They call it a remnant sale. That means the last that’s left on the bolt. You ladies know what I’m talking about. Incidentally, the remnant is going to be the same color, texture and design as the first piece that was taken off the bolt. Would you say Amen? God’s remnant church will believe the same things and teach the same things that Jesus taught when He set up His church.
So the dragon–the Devil, was wroth–angry, with the woman–the church, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed–the last that’s left. Well, who are they? “Which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Would you say Amen? God’s remnant church will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. It refers to all the writing of the prophets. The remnant church will not only keep all God’s commandments, but the remnant church will believe in all the rest of the writings of the prophets. That’s how you can find God’s remnant church. You’ve got to find one that says “No” to men who voted the Sabbath out and the first day of the week in. Let’s say Amen out there. And you’ve got to find one that does not throw away the parts of the Bible it does not agree with. God’s remnant church does not throw away the Old Testament or the New Testament, but believes that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. When you find a church that believes and teaches all of God’s commandments, for James 2:10 says if you keep the whole law and break one, you are guilty of how much? All. When you find a church that keeps all of God’s law, teaches that for doctrine and believes in all the rest of the Bible, refuses to accept tradition in its place, you will have found God’s remnant church.
Now, there are tests. Write this down please. Isaiah 8:20. It says, “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Would you say Amen? That goes for my church too. Truth must stand the test. The Bible says, test it, and test all the rest of them. You test them. You don’t have to listen to somebody convincing you and arguing with you. You simply read the Word of God and test them yourself.
The Bible tells us some more about God’s church. The first one is that it will keep the commandments of God, and not the commandments of men. All of them. Not just eight or nine, but ten. Would you say Amen?
There are other identifying marks of God’s remnant church. I want you to remember that God is not concerned with the edifice itself. It might be the biggest and richest in Christiandom, but that’s no proof it’s God’s remnant church. By the way, there are some people who are so impressionable, and so gullible. You’ve got people who are married to buildings. Or they’re married to organs, or they’re married to preachers. I told you the other night, and I’ll tell you again: I don’t want anyone following me. I’ve got enough responsibility already! I don’t want any disciples. That’s not what I’m here for. I would love by the grace of God to make a disciple for Jesus. Would you say Amen? Some are married to preachers. Those are sorry reasons to go to church. I asked a friend of mine once why he went to the church that he went to and he said, “Well, I don’t really know. I guess I go there because my wife goes there.” Isn’t that a sorry reason to go to a church? The Bible says, “Be ready always to give a reason for the hope that is with you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). Everything I preach comes from the Word of God, and I believe it. If you want to know why I don’t do certain things, ask me. I’ll tell you. If you want to know why I don’t drink alcohol, ask me. I’ll tell you. If you want to know why I keep the seventh-day Sabbath, ask me. I’ll read it to you, out of the Bible. And if a person can’t do that with his faith, he’d better re-examine his faith. Would you say Amen?
And as you put it to the test of God’s Word, it may surprise you. We studied together about the great apostasy that took place within the Christian church, how the Emperor Constantine faked a conversion in the 4th century and Christianity became popular. The only trouble was, when all the pagans came in they brought all of their pagan customs with them. By 321 A.D. Constantine had passed the first Sunday law, enforcing rest on the venerable day of the Sun, for most of the pagans were sun-worshippers. It didn’t take long before in 336 A.D. at the Council of Laodicea, the church followed in the apostasy, claiming the right to change God’s holy day, and to transfer the sacredness from the seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week. They turned their back on the Word of God which says, “Thou blessest O Lord and it shall be blessed forever” (1 Chronicles 17:27). And while God said, “I am the Lord I change not,” the church said, “We will change it.” The influence of the pagans flowing into the church carried the day.
The church slipped farther and farther into apostasy, but there were some who stood true to God. God has always had a remnant. Would you say Amen? And the Devil tried his best to get rid of them. He even used the apostate church to kill them. But God said, My people will be preserved. And right down in the very end of time, He’s going to have a remnant who keep the commandments of God–not the commandments of a man–they keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Would you say Amen?
Remember what I said earlier. The remnant will be just like the first. If the first piece of cloth on the bolt is blue velour, the last piece will be blue velour. Would you say Amen? If someone comes and says “It’s a brown denim,” you know it’s not the remnant. It will believe and teach the same things that Jesus believed and taught.
Now, we’ve already read that it will keep the commandments of God and not the commandments of men. The Bible also says that God’s remnant church will not be the biggest and most popular place in town.
“Oh,” but you say, “Pastor, why not? After all, it teaches the truth of God’s word and the truth is so plain to see.” I’ve had people walk out of this place and say, “It’s so clear what the Bible says. Why do so many teach error?” I’ll tell you why God’s remnant church will not be the biggest, most popular place in town. The Bible says in Matthew 7:14, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat;” Why? Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads and f-e-w spells what? Few. Compared to the masses on earth, even of folk that profess religion, God’s remnant church will not be a giant, not because God isn’t willing to save a lot of folks; it’s because a lot of folks are not willing to be saved. They are not willing to give up the things they love. Too many love darkness rather than light. Too many love error rather than truth. God knew that. He told me, Look, when you go and preach straight, you’re not going to have millions of people joining the church. Oh yes, if you compromised you could fill up Yankee Stadium, but if you preach a straight message, there are only a few people who are going to do it. There are only a few who love Me enough to follow Me all the way. But praise God there are a few. Would you say Amen? God does have a remnant.
The crowd has never chosen to serve God. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 7:7: “The Lord did not set His love upon you nor choose you because ye were more in number than any other people; for ye were the fewest of all people.” Would you say Amen? No, the crowd has never chosen to serve God. In the day of Noah the crowd drowned. Eight people were saved. In Sodom and Gomorrah the crowd burned up. Only four came out, and one of those turned back. In the day of Christ only one hundred twenty, after the greatest preacher ever to speak God’s Word had preached for three years, only one hundred twenty. Folks just don’t want to do right. It’s hard to save people. The way folks fight against the truth you would think God was going to take them to heaven when He comes and put them on the chain gang, when all He wants to do is give us joy and happiness forever. Would you say Amen? And yet people fight it.
Somebody said to me at one meeting, “Pastor Morris, how about us having a debate.”
I said, “There’s nothing to debate. If we’ve got theories, we can debate those. But when it’s right there in God’s Word, what is there to debate? I read you a text, and you’re going to debate it. If you’ve got that much energy, go debate with those who are ruining the lives of our children with drugs and alcohol. If you’ve got such a burden to debate, go debate with those who are running these filthy adult book stores.”
Let me tell you something. If you go down to the center of Allentown and shout to the top of your voice, “I’m going to get drunk!” I guarantee you nobody will come over and say, “Oh, you shouldn’t do that.” If anything, they’ll come over and say, “Can we come too?” Or else they’ll laugh. You know what the Bible says? “Fools make a mock at sin” (Proverbs 14:9). They’ll laugh like you’ve said something smart. But the minute you say, “I’m going to serve the Lord,” here they come!
“Oh, you shouldn’t do that! You shouldn’t listen to that. You shouldn’t believe that!” You’re going to hell, nobody cares. The minute you hear the truth, you’ve got more counselors that you can listen to, and you know that’s right. “Fear not, big flock…” Is that what Jesus said? No. In Luke 12:32 Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock.”
I didn’t want to be a preacher. The Lord called me, and I made Him a promise. I said, “Lord, you show me the truth in Your Word, and I’ll preach that.” I wouldn’t compromise the truth to baptize every person in this valley. We’re not interested in numbers. What we need is men and women who hear God’s word, are convicted by His Spirit, and are willing to show their love by living in harmony with God’s will.
Another identifying mark of God’s remnant church is that it will be a worldwide movement, preaching God’s message to all the world. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” It shall be preached where? Into all the world. As a witness to whom? All people. God’s remnant church will be a worldwide church.
God’s remnant church will also teach health principles. Now, I’m going into that a little better later on this week. But I want to tell you, it does matter to God how you treat your body. If you think God’s true church is going to teach that it’s okay to abuse your body however you want, you’d better think again. If it did, it wouldn’t be the remnant. I’m so glad God has a church that stands for something. There are some things a Christian should not drink. I’m going to read it to you later on. Don’t worry. It will come from the Bible. There are some things a Christian should not defile his body with. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own.” Paul says, “We ought to glorify God in our body.” Would you say Amen?
There are some things a Christian shouldn’t eat. It’s not God’s fault that some people eat things dogs wouldn’t eat. Snakes, snails, lizards, chocolate covered ants. God’s remnant church believes this text: 1 Corinthians 10:31. The Bible says, “Whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Who can drink alcohol to the glory of God? Now, friends, don’t despair. There is victory through Christ. Would you say Amen?
God’s remnant church will also be foremost in preaching the second coming of Christ. Paul called it in Titus 2:13 “the blessed hope.” A church that does not proclaim with urgency the second coming of Jesus, a church that makes people feel that they can just sit back and relax, a church that makes people feel that all they have to do is go through the ceremonies and pay the dues is not God’s remnant church.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, God has a church. The Bible calls it the remnant. That church keeps God’s commandments, and believes in the writings of the prophets–all of them. And there are some things they don’t wear, some things they don’t drink, some things they don’t eat. They’re different. Or as the Bible calls it, they are a peculiar people, different, distinct. And you don’t have to stand on your head in this wicked world to be peculiar. All you’ve got to do is walk straight, love the Lord, and want to obey all His will, and you stand out as distinct. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect. But we’re heading in the right direction. Would you say Amen? As I heard a man say to me, “I’m not what I ought to be; I’m not even what I want to be, but I praise God that I’m not what I used to be.”
That’s the way it is with God’s people. In the commentary by Jameson Faucet and Brown p.593 (and these men were not members of my church) they said, “In every apostate or world-conforming church there are those of God’s invisible and true church who if they would be saved, must come out.” Did you hear that? The Lord said in John 10:16, “I’ve got sheep that are not of this fold.” I’ve got sheep out there. Them also must I bring.
So in Revelation 18:2: “He cried mightily with a strong voice…Babylon is fallen. Verse 4: “And I heard another voice saying, ‘Come out of her, My people.’” Come out of where? Out of Babylon. And what is Babylon? It is that church which apostatized from the truth of God’s Word and all those who hold on to her teachings. “And I heard a voice saying, ‘Come out of her My people.’” God says I have My people out there. They have not yet come into the fold, but when I call them, all of My true people will come out “that ye be not partakers of her sins.” What is sin? The transgression of God’s commandments. Come out of her. Separate yourself. Would you say Amen? And if you come out, you will receive not of her plagues.
2 Corinthians 6:14 and 17 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness and what communion hath light with darkness.” Verse 17, “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” That’s God’s gathering call in these last days. He’s calling people to come into His fold. And how do you know His fold? They believe all the Bible, and they keep God’s commandments rather than the commandments of men. The Bible says, you’ve got to come out. Matthew 15:9: “For in vain do they worship Me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
In Revelation 14, right after it talks about those who receive the mark of the beast and are damned, it tells us about God’s remnant people who are going through. “Here is the patience of the saints. Here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.”
I want to be among that group, don’t you? If you do, say Amen. Are you willing to come out and take your stand with God’s people tonight? Are you willing to say, “Jesus, I’m willing to do whatever you ask me to do.” If that is you, I want you to stand with me as we pray.
If Jesus came to this valley, He would look for a church that kept all the commandments of God, for the Bible says, when He was here on earth He kept His Father’s commandments. John 15:10. Not just nine, ten. The Bible says in Luke 4:16, Jesus had a custom of going to church on the Sabbath day. Jesus would join with the remnant of God’s people. And though the Devil is mad and seeks to destroy them, Jesus would stand with that group. For the record is, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.