Jesus established His church while he was upon the earth. He called His church the Church of Jesus Christ. The members of His church were called Saints (Ephesians 2:19-20). He received His instructions from His Father in Heaven. He then personally instructed and directed the leaders of His church. His church was directed by God and not by men. The Savior taught his followers that He would build His church on the "rock" of revelation (Matthew 16:16-18).
Jesus continued to guide His church after He ascended into heaven. He sent the Holy Ghost to the members of His church to comfort them and to reveal information to them (Luke 1:12; John 14:26). He visited Saul in a vision (Acts 9:3-6). He taught Peter that the gospel was for the world and not just the Jews. The New Testament shows many ways that Jesus revealed His will for guidance to His Church and enlightenment of its members. The book of Revelation is a record of many glorious truths that were revealed to John.
Jesus received authority to organize His church from His Father (Hebrews 5:4-6). Then He ordained His Apostles and gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to direct the work of the ministry. Jesus organized His church very carefully. He compared the church to a properly constructed building. He said that He was the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) and that the Apostles and prophets were the foundation. Seventies were called to assist the Twelve Apostles and to do missionary work. Other people were called to the work of the ministry.
The Church of Jesus Christ had two basic principles: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance. After converts had faith that Jesus was the Son of God and the Savior of the world and repented of their sins, they received two ordinances - baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-6).
Jesus taught that both the living and the dead needed the gospel ordinances in order to enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:5) and that the living could perform the ordinances for those who had died (1 Peter 3:18-20; 4:6; 1 Corinthians 15:29).
The New Testament shows that the church organization was intended to continue as Christ had established it. When Judas died, Matthias was chosen to be the twelfth Apostle, thus continuing the pattern of the church being led by twelve Apostles.
Evil people have always tried to destroy the work of God. Even while the Apostles were living, false ideas and beliefs crept into the church. Some people openly rebelled at the teachings. Church members were persecuted, tortured and killed for their beliefs. The Apostles were killed one by one or otherwise taken away. The authority and priesthood keys given to the Apostles were taken from the earth because of wickedness, and the church organized by Jesus Christ ceased to exist on the earth. Pagan beliefs replaced the teachings of Christ, and the predicted Great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) came into being. God had foreseen the Apostasy and made preparations to restore His gospel to the earth again at a later day (Revelation 14:6).
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