“Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.” ~Ephesians 5:25
There is a widespread belief among Christians that the “church”, the “ekklesia”, the “called out” ones whom Christ loved, and died for, began on the Day of Pentecost, Sunday, AD 33.
As important as that date is in the story of redemption, and the calling out of God’s people, the Scripture does not say the church began on Sunday, AD 33.
The context of Acts 2 does record that the early disciples were endued with power from on high and received the fullness of the Spirit to effectively evangelize people from every nation and tongue. On that special Day of Pentecost, a sound came from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where one hundred and twenty disciples of Jesus were sitting.
The presence of the Holy Spirit was made manifest in what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each disciple, both men and women. Those who were filled in this unusual manner began to speak in a language they had not previously known in order to preach the gospel to God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:1-5).
Individuals from eleven different providences and nations, associated with the Roman Empire and thus Judaism, were bewildered because each person heard one of the disciples speaking in their own language. The people were utterly amazed (Acts 2:6-7). Here was a reversal of the Tower of Babel mentioned in Genesis 11.
The text of Acts 2:41, notes that no less than three thousand souls were added to the one hundred and twenty disciples of Jesus. Each day thereafter the Lord added to the Church such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).
What is not said in the narrative is that the Church began on that day, only that it was added to.
A better effort to try to discover the origin of the Church would be to remember the day the Lord God made coats of skins, and clothed Adam and Eve, in matchless and marvelous grace, thereby covering the visible evidence of the sinful state they had fallen into.
Though Ruined by the Fall, and placed under the Curse of Sin and Death, Adam and Eve heard the gospel of Divine Redemption, for the Lord said to Eve, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15).
Adam and Eve placed their faith in the promise of God, and it was accounted unto them for righteousness. Adam and Eve were Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb just as surely as the righteousness of God is imparted to ever one who has been Ruined by the fall, Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God, and Regenerated by the Holy Ghost.
Unless God has multiple called out people, and multiple ways of salvation, then those who name the name of Christ must look backwards to our spiritual heritage, and behold the faith of those who had hope, without the evidence of things being seen.
Hebrews 11 takes us back to Abel, and then forward to Enoch, Noah, and all who were called out by God to live righteously in a sin saturated world.
After the Flood, after the earth was repopulated, God continued to call out individuals to be added to those who are to be saved. We read of the faith of Abraham, and his wife Sarah. We are told about Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The faith of Moses is not forgotten, for He too is among the ekklesia, the called out of God for salvation and service.
“By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26).
Notice that it was Christ whom Moses esteemed.
Let it never be taught that God has two people, or two ways of salvation, with one way of salvation for Israel, and another way of salvation for the Church. It is Christ and Christ alone whom the called out of God believe in and bow before as King of kings and Lord of Lord. Christ alone is the Savior of the world of the elect from every tongue, tribe, and era in human history.
Jesus spoke about Father Abraham, a Gentile from Ur of the Chaldees but called out of God to be saved for sanctification and service. Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56).
Notice again that Jesus said Father Abraham rejoiced in Him, Abraham rejoiced in Christ?
How was that possible?
It was possible for Abraham to see the day of Christ by faith in the promises of God. “Abraham believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). Abraham believed in Jesus and was saved, and added to all those who had been called out before him, beginning with Adam and Eve. Study Galatians 3:6
It would not be wrong to teach the New Testament expression of the Church was made more manifest on the Day of Pentecost, Sunday, AD 33. But, always remember that Christ loved the Church and died for her.
We do not read in Scripture that Christ died for anyone or anything but the Church. Christ died for those whom the Father had given to Him, the ekklesia, the called-out ones from Adam and Eve to the last soul yet to be saved.
Anyone can know if Christ has died for their sins and they are part of the ekklesia, the called-out ones, by answering these questions.
“Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?”
When Simon Peter made this confession, Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).
“Would you be saved from the power and pollution of sin?” The promise of God is this.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).
“Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone, and turned from your own good works as the basis of salivation?”
God wants you to know that “a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16).
The moment you cast your eternal soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
The moment a person believes in Christ, at any point in human history, God adds them to the ekklesia, the called-out ones for whom Christ loved and died.