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Scripture and the True Church

Wheresoever God’s Word hath supreme authority, where Christ Jesus is affirmed, preached, and received to be the only Savior of the world, where his sacraments are truly ministered, and, finally, where his Word ruleth … there is the true kirk of Christ Jesus.

—John Knox
A letter to his brethren in Scotland, dated December 1, 1557 in Select Practical Writings of John Knox.

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Sheep Live in Flocks

I believe that every Christian ought to be joined to some visible church; that is his plain duty, according to the Scriptures. God’s people are not dogs, else they might go about one by one; but they are sheep, and therefore they should be in flocks. If I meet a man, all by himself, snapping at everybody,—I may be called uncharitable, but, I should hardly think that he was a sheep, I should be afraid that he was a dog. But when I see a man who consorts with his fellow-men, feeds with them, takes delight in their company, and with them draws near to the Great Shepherd of souls, I say to myself, “I think he must be one of the sheep, for that is the way in which that animal always acts.” So, beloved, you should go in flocks or companies; that is to say, you should be joined to some Christian church.

—Charles H. Spurgeon
“The Head And The Body,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle (Banner of Truth Trust, 1876), sermon 2653.

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The Need for Living Biblical Churches

One of the greatest needs of our times is for living, biblical churches. No other institution can adequately replace them. Every Christian ought to give much thought and prayer to this subject., and then order his life in such a way as to further the work of God’s true churches. This is not a time for an apathetic, easy-going attitude toward churches. The needs are great. The pressures of ungodliness are heavy. Those who demean God’s churches are legion. Let us, then, rise up and go forth with boldness to declare ourselves servants of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by following His will in His local church wherever His providence directs us.

—Daniel E. Wray
The Importance of the Local Church (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), 15.

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Mark of a Church of God

Wherever we find the word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ; there, it is not to be doubted, is a Church of God.

— John Calvin
Institutes, III.iii.18.

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Love the Church as Christ Loves the Church

There is nothing in which Christ was more eminent than in his love; no rancour of spirit, no boiling up of envy, but all love. The apostle propounds it to husbands: Eph. 5:25, ‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church.’ Now how did Christ love his church? With a great love, so as to die for his church. The love of Christ was sincere, not for by-ends; he loved saints as saints, because of his interest in them. So should we love those in whom we see most of the image of God. It was not a blaze, but a constant abiding love; whom he loves he loves unto the end; so must we love the saints. It is true Jesus loved some above others: ‘John was the beloved disciple,’ John 21:20. There was ἐκλέκτων ἐκλεκτότεροι, the flower of the disciples, whom he loved most, but he loved them all. We should love not in word, but in deed and in truth. Oh! be filled with love to God and love to the saints, who have his image stamped upon them. You that are believers have cause to love one another. Have we not all the same Father? Are we not children begotten of the same holy seed, the word? Do we not all suck at the same breasts of the promises? Do we not all sit at the same table, at the Lord’s supper? Are we not all clothed with the same robe of Christ’s righteousness? and do we not all expect the same glory?

—Thomas Manton
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 16:490–491.