"Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?" (Song of Solomon 6:10).
In a world of religious confusion and chaos, it is often difficult to find absolute truth and genuine Christian love. Nevertheless, the Word of God promises a haven of safety from the erroneous teachings of the world and a beacon of light to shine in the darkness. Christ spoke concerning His Church, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid" (Matthew 5:14).
Who is She?
"My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her" (Song of Solomon 6:9)
In the midst of the great apostasy of the last days, God has a true Bride. She is "called, chosen, and faithful." The Church of God is the worldwide, divine institution of believers committed to accepting the whole Bible rightly divided as their rule of faith, practice, government, and discipline, as the Holy Ghost has revealed it in the Scripture. Established by Christ in 28 A.D. and arising from the Dark Ages in 1903, The Church of God is committed to fulfilling the four-fold purpose of Her divine creation.
To Keep and Guard the Truth
Amidst a world that does not believe in absolute truth, The Church of God has been given the responsibility to keep and guard the pure truth of the Word of God. "Beloved...ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). In his writing to Timothy, Paul reminded him that the Church which Christ established was to be "...the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth..." (1 Timothy 3:15).
In his letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul acknowledged that it was never the intention of God's plan for humanity to be "...tossed to and fro, ad carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive", but the Church is to "...[speak] the truth in love..." (Ephesians 4:14, 15).
Holiness is one of the Church's distinguishing marks. Those who are determined to serve the flesh have corrupted true holiness in the last days. God's Church will faithfully demonstrate the truth of true holiness to the world, both in spirit and in lifestyle. "Thus said the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain" (Zechariah 8:3).
To Evangelize the World with the Full Gospel
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19, 20).
The expression "full gospel" is in common use today. Many church organizations refer to themselves as "full gospel" churches; however, what most mean by this terminology is that they not only preach salvation, but also, a doctrine of Holy Spirit baptism. By definition, the word "full" means "complete or entire; to the utmost extent." In order to preach the full gospel, the Body of Christ must teach the "all things" which Christ commanded. Among these teachings are repentance and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, resulting in the born again experience, sanctification as the second definite work of grace, providing deliverance from the sinful Adamic nature, baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, biblical holiness without which no man shall see God, restitution, water baptism, the Lord's Supper and feet washing, the gathering of God's people into one fold, perfection of the saints, and all of the other Bible truths.
The world must receive the complete message and only the Church is commissioned to provide the full Word of God. God's Church cannot focus on a few popular teachings, but rather, she is responsible to teach and preach God's Word — complete, entire, to the utmost extent. Only then can it be said that the "full" gospel has been given to the world.
"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" (Matthew 24:14).
To Gather God's Sheep into One Body
"That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" (Ephesians 1:10).
To be "in Christ" is to be saved. Evangelism is the Church's primary commission; however, Christ never intended for His sheep to be divided among man-made institutions. The same Christ who brings salvation established His Church (Mark 3:13-19) and "purchased [Her] with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd" (John 10:16). This fold is provided for the protection and direction of Christians, for they are His sheep.
"The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be]" (Genesis 49:10). This passage is the first recorded prophetic word concerning the gathering together of all God's people. As the coming of the Lord draws nearer, the great inflow of all the other sheep into the fold will continue to increase rapidly. Prophecy states that "They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, [saying], Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant [that] shall not be forgotten" (Jeremiah 50:5).
To Provide Ministry for the Perfection of the Saints
"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:28).
The Church has been commissioned to continue the work which Jesus began. His analogy in the Gospel of Mark reveals this truth and responsibility. "[For the Son of man is] as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch" (Mark 13:34). He projects the same role in the Gospel of Luke. "He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:12, 13). To occupy is more than to fill up space. It also means to fulfill the duties of an office or position. For the Church to occupy until Christ comes, She must do the work which has been assigned to Her.
"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12).
Perfection has been the goal of The Church of God from the beginning. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Even the children of Israel were commanded to be perfect. "Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God" (Deut. 18:13). God requires no impossibilities. Perfection carries not only the attribute of holiness, but also, the connotation of maturity and completeness. In his letter to the Church at Ephesus, Paul admonished the Church to lay aside immaturity (Ephesians 4:15), and in the epistle to the Hebrews, the readers were instructed to "...go on unto perfection..." (Hebrews 6:1).
The Church has been given the responsibility to preach and teach until all Christians obtain Christian perfection. There can be no perfection outside of the Church, but only greater and increasing confusion, because there is no government to ensure unity of faith and doctrine outside of God's organized theocracy.
A Divine Call for the Divinely Established Church
There are many churches in the world today, all of them man-made except one. "My dove, my undefiled..." (Song of Solomon 6:9) is the one that Jesus came to build and purchase with His own blood. She is now on course to finish Her earthly work and prepare for the rapture, after which She will enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb.
With over twenty-one thousand members, worshipping in over five hundred seventy churches in forty seven nations of the world, The Church of God is committed to fulfilling the divine call which is set before Her. Although, human reasoning may deem the task too great, by the guidance of the Spirit, She will endure and fulfill the commission which He has given to Her.
The Church's greatest days are just ahead as God fills Her with divine glory. She is gradually moving from glory to glory until She reaches the "...the fulness of Christ..." (Ephesians 4:13). He will grant an anointing and power to take the whole Gospel to the whole world. As His sheepfold, She will serve as the nucleus for the gathering of all of God's sheep. As His building, She will grow into a holy temple and become the habitation of God through His Spirit. As the Bride of Christ, She will put on robes of pure white and be presented to the Lord without spot or wrinkle. She will be holy and without blemish.