Tri-County church of Christ, Watertown, NY, North Country

September 1, 2003, Vol.3, No.17.
Two new articles every two weeks. Bible Question? E-mail us.
THIS ISSUE: "Did the Church begin on the First Pentecost
after Jesus' Resurrection?" (see below)
and "
Introduction to Second Samuel"


Did the Church begin on the First Pentecost
after Jesus' Resurrection?

by Tom Rainwater

When did Jesus Build His Church?QUESTION: If the church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), then Jesus could not be its Founder. He could not have set it up Himself since He was not on the earth then but in Heaven. How could it be His if He had to use others to set it up?

ANSWER: Thanks for your question.

While Jesus was on the earth He said, "I will build my church." (Matthew 16:18). It's building was obviously future to that statement. Though Jesus taught on earth many principles essential to His will, the church did not begin until after His death, burial, and resurrection. His will or testament became binding only after His death (Hebrews 9:16-17).

Also notice that the church is spoken of as being present after the day of Pentecost. "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47b).

Understand that in order for Jesus to build His church, He had to purchase it with His own blood (Acts 20:28) by dying on the cross for our sins. "In Him we have redemption through His blood" (Ephesians 1:7). Without his crucifixion there would be no salvation nor body of the saved (Ephesians 5:23,25-27). His resurrection from the dead is the ultimate proof that He is the Son of God, and is the core of our faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-19). Without His resurrection, there would be no hope. His death, burial, and resurrection are central to the Gospel message. (See Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; John 3:14-16; Acts 2:22-36; 3:26; 10:39-43; 13:28-41; 17:31; 26:22-23; Romans 6:3-8; 1 Corinthians 2:2.) Belief in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection could not have been required of people until after such was accomplished. Can anyone today in this Gospel age refuse to believe in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection and still be saved?

It is strange that you believe Jesus cannot accomplish His will on earth while reigning in Heaven as Lord over all things (Acts 2:36; Ephesians 1:20-23). In Peter's sermon on that first Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection (Acts 2), he stated that Jesus had ascended to the right hand of the Father and "poured out this which you see and hear." (Acts 2:33). In other words, Jesus was responsible for what was happening on that particular Pentecost. The fact of Jesus' miraculous involvement provided Peter's audience with irrefutable proof of His resurrection from the dead and position at the right hand of the Father's throne.

Were others used by Christ in the building of His church? Yes, certainly others were involved as Jesus used them for His purpose. Notice that the household of God was "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." (Ephesians 2:19-20). When Jesus ascended into Heaven and sat at the Father's right hand, He sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4) to inspire the apostles (Acts 2:5-12) as He promised He would (John 16:5-13; Luke 24:44-49) so they could teach His will beginning in Jerusalem.

"Thus it is written, and thus it is necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46-47).

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8).

That particular Pentecost day was a "beginning" (cf. Acts 11:15). Everything that happened that day in Jerusalem did so because Jesus acted as Lord in Heaven directing the Holy Spirit to inspire His apostles to preach what He wanted preached: the saving message of the Gospel. Those who listened "gladly received His word" and "were baptized" and "added by the Lord to the church." (Acts 2:40-41,47). Simply, the church is composed of those who obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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