Is the church of Jesus Christ established in AD 30 hopelessly buried in the dust of antiquity? Many church-goers think so. However, Jesus promised that he would build his church and that “the powers of death” would “not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). If the Lord has kept his promise, then the church built in the first century still exists in 2015.
How do modern people find the original church, though? The answer is simple. When a gardener plants an apple seed, an apple tree grows. When a farmer plants corn and wheat in his fields, then he harvests those very crops in the fall. Explaining the parable of the sower, Jesus says that “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). Whenever people hear the word, “hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience” (v. 15), the borders of the Lord’s kingdom expand.
Why, then, does the original church seem so hard to find? The reason is that false teachers corrupt the seed. Referring to those who pervert the truth to further their own purposes, Paul says, “For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God” (2 Cor. 2:17, NASB). The pure doctrine of Christ is tainted by additions, subtractions, and substitutions. Those who respect the authority of human tradition (preserved in manuals, disciplines, catechisms, etc.) naturally cherish and practice religious beliefs contrary to the truth.
Pure seed produces good fruit. When the true seed is planted, the true church grows.