Why Jesus Started Churches and Not a Church

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

Husbands, love your wives even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church. Hebrews 12:22, 23a

There is a very interesting play on words in this passage. There are two different words used, the word assembly which in the Greek is the word paneguris. meaning any kind of assembly, and the word church which in the Greek is ekklesia, meaning a called-out assembly.

I have made it very clear in previous chapters that the word church is the word ekklesia, and that is a called-out assembly. There is no church now other than the local church. Over and over again, in the Bible, it talks about the churches. Jesus did not start a church, He started churches. When He said, upon this rock I will build my church, in Matthew 16:18, He was referring to the church at Jerusalem.

There will be a day when all believers will be a church, but not now. All believers have not yet become a called-out assembly. There has never been a time in history when all Christians assembled, consequently there is no way that all believers could be called a church.

Mr. Scofield troubles me when he refers to two churches, but even more when he implies that the local church is not the true church! The true church is the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, or any local assembly of called-out believers. There will be a day when believers will become a church. That is when all believers a assembled at the rapture. The word rapture simply means a calling out or a snatching away. When the rapture takes place, all believe will be called out into the air and will become the church.

I want to make an issue about something. We often hear people use the term the rapture of the church. There will not be a rapture the church except when we are all raptured and form a church in the sky. Most often it is used referring to the false idea that all believe already form the church, and that the rapture will be the church that already exists. That is not scriptural.

Ephesians 5 speaks of a glorious church without spot and wrinkle holy and sanctified. No matter how great a church may be, there is no church that qualifies to be described in this fashion. First Baptist Church in Hammond is not a holy church without a spot or wrinkle. We have some good people, but none of them is perfect. We will not be without spot or wrinkle until we are raptured and receive our glorified body Then we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. When it talks about Jesus presenting to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle holy and sanctified, it is referring to the time when all believers are called up in the air and given a glorified body. Then we will no longer have sin in our bodies, and we will be just like Jesus. At that time we will be glorious church, without a spot or wrinkle, holy and sanctified.

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all ~e one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Hebrews 2:11 & 12

The Bible says there will come a time when all believers will become a church, and in our glorified bodies will come back to the earth. Jesus said, I will sing in the midst of the church. Won't it be wonderful to hear Jesus sing? I believe that in the millennium Jesus will take the Lord supper with us because in the millennium all believers will be assembled. We will assemble in the sky and become a church, but we will live all over the world, during the millennium. It will not be any problem for us to assemble because we will have glorified bodies.

I was flying over a little town in Idaho. I looked down and saw a little airport. They have a computer in that little airport, and in a matter of seconds they can get the schedule of anybody, on any flight, in the world. I looked down and saw all of the houses. Almost every house down there had a television set and the people could see a picture of something happening on the other side of the world. That is man's technology.

I wonder how it will be when we have our glorified bodies. If Jesus decides to call a church meeting or gathering, all He will need to do is say it, and we will all be there in a matter of seconds. We will come from China, Africa and all over the world in just a matter of a few seconds. All believers will not become a church until that time.

Let me explain the philosophy behind the fact that Jesus has local churches and not one great church of all believers. God wants there to be a wall between us in every single human relationship. There needs to be some kind of a wall between every single human relationship.

Jesus started the local New Testament churches, and each church is autonomous and indigenous. No church has the right to tell another church what to do. The devil's most effective idea is union and unity, and that sounds good. God does not want churches uniting. God is a separation of authority God. God is a state's rights God. One of the saddest things in America is that the Federal Government is taking over things that the states ought to be running. God does not want that.

1. There should be some kind of wall between individuals.

Part of that wall should be the person. Somebody said that every man is an island. In a sense, that is true. You are born alone, you live alone, and you die alone. Not many people will totally sympathize with any problems you have.

A husband and wife should have some type of wall between them.

A pastor and people should have some type of wall between them.

Friends should have some type of wall between them.

There ought to be a certain kind of reserve between us and a certain amount of a formality. I call it mystique, and it needs to be in every relationship.

Husbands and wives sometimes do not get along with each other because they know each other too well, and there is no mystique. They have already conquered all there is to conquer. She is no longer intriguing to him. She is no longer a little mysterious to him. There s nothing more in her mind, soul, or heart that he thinks he can pull from her.

I think it is unwise for people to go around the house half naked. do not believe in a lack of reserve. I am not saying you should wear a tie to dinner in your own home, but I am saying that there should be some walls. I have often said that when Sarah called Abraham Lord, he was not running around the house in his shorts and undershirt. America used to have propriety. Many years ago, the head of the house sat at the table like a king.

In any human relationship each person ought to have an identity. You do not have to be together all the time to be best friends. In fact, if you are together all the time, you will not remain best friends for very long. Many boys were with their girlfriends too much, and then wonder why they broke up. They may have been meant for each other, but they did not get married because they broke down the entire wall between them and there was no mystique left.

In a marriage, each person is still an individual. The wife is still an individual. Someday he may die and she will be left. If they were one, she would die at the same time. He is going to like her better if he lets her retain her identity. Men should not smother their wives. As individuals go their separate ways, they are gathering things which they can share with one another in conversation. She is having things happen to her that he does not know about, and he is doing the same. When they come together, they can talk to each other and share those experiences with one another.

I am not talking about having secrets. I am talking about remaining as separate individuals by retaining some wall of separation. Almost every time I talk to a couple who have had a third party coming into their marriage, it is because the person who's been associated with the third party says that they could talk to each other. The reason some people philander is because they have nothing to talk about at home. The reason they have nothing to talk about at home is because their lives are so attached that they know everything there is to know about each other. Keep a little wall there. I do not care what the human relationship is, there needs to be a little wall between it.

I have seen college kids standing around in the hallways at Hyles-Anderson College groping for something to say. They have already said everything to each other that can be said.

Friendships are the same way. No two people should always be together. If they are, they will eventually lose the mystique in their relationship. It is the mystique, the conquering, the freshness, and the discovering of something new that causes people to enjoy each other's company. Being together most or all of the time takes all of that away.

There is such a break down in our country in the relationship between parents and their children. There ought to be a mild form of worship in a child for their parents, especially for the dad because he is God's deputy in the home. It is good to take boys to ball games, or fishing, but that is not the most important thing about being a dad. We have the idea that we are supposed to be a child's brother or buddy. There is nothing wrong having fun together, but there should remain a certain amount of restraint. A little wall ought to be there.

Do not give all your time to any one person in any relationship. Do not choose one person with whom you spend all of your time.

Jesus started churches, instead of the church, in order to have a wall of some kind between us.

2. There should be a wall of dignity between families.

A couple should not spend too much time with one other couple. When you break down the wall between you, a bigger wall will be built in its place. Dr. Evans, the president of Hyles-Anderson College, and I are good friends, but he has a life to live and I have a life to live. Our paths cross a few times a week. That does not mean that we do not love each other as much as we would if we were together twenty-four hours a day. We probably love each other more than if we were together twenty-four hours a day. Why? Because there are always new things to learn about each other.

A woman who shares with others the intimacy between herself and her husband is being foolish. That is breaking down the wall. Your personal life should be kept personal. The same thing is true about a man laughingly sharing some intimacy between him and his wife to other men. That is betraying something that is holy and sacred. There ought to be walls in the relationships between families.

Nobody should be able to walk inside your house without knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell. Our youngest daughter, Cindy, does not just come to our house and walk in. That is our house. We live there, and we need to keep some walls built. Couples should not buddy with the same couple over and over and over and over again. You should not bare all and you should not be together too much.

Do you know why people smother a friend? Insecurity. They feel threatened if another friend comes between them.

Brother Colsten, who is on our church staff is my friend, but Brother Colsten has other friends and I want that for him. Some men spend so much time together that they have no room for other friends. The same is true for women. Often this leads to putting up gigantic walls in their relationship, as they become too close and begin to lose the delight of the friendship. In every human relationship there should be some kind of a wall of dignity, identity and mystique. Without that, there is a danger of the relationship eventually breaking down.

3. There should be a wall between churches.

God believes in a delegation of power.

I was on the airplane one day, and beside me sat a very nice man. We started chatting and he told me that he was in the insurance business. At the time he lived in Chicago, but had moved there nine months earlier from Salt Lake City. I discovered that he was a Mormon and that his great grandfather had been the fourth president of the Mormon church. I asked him many questions about his church, and he told me some very interesting things. The Mormon church has no paid pastor or staff on the local level. Although the people tithe, all of the money goes to the main church in Salt Lake City, Utah, and they tell the local congregations what to do. The people have nothing to say about who owns the buildings. The Temple in Salt Lake City owns the building and makes all of the decisions. That means that one man could become a "heretic" and destroy the whole Mormon church.

There is freedom in delegation. If you have ten churches and one goes bad, you still have nine that are good. If you have one universal church and it goes bad, everything goes bad with it. That is what happened to the Roman Catholic church.

That is why Jesus started many churches and not just one church. There is to be a wall between them so that no church has authority over any other church. The same is true about denominations. The same is true about nations. There ought to be a wall.

If two churches spend too much time together, they will get to know each other's weaknesses. If two people get to know each other too well, they will get to know each other's weaknesses.

I want to make some general statements.

1. When the wall is broken down, a bigger wall is built. Most people who do not speak to each other were at one time closest friends.

2. A little wall between people, families, couples, and churches keeps our differences from surfacing. Those differences cause other walls to be built that are even bigger than the little wall we have kept between us. If there is no wall of identity between churches, couples, families, individuals, denominations, and nations all competition is gone.

The reason why Hyles-Anderson College is thriving is because it is different. You cannot find another college like it anywhere. We have tried not to attach ourselves too closely to any other group or college. The distinctiveness is what draws people to us. We have our own identity. We do not dip our sails. We do not lower our convictions. We do not change our rules in order to get students. If we decided to break down our walls and become like everybody else, we would not have enough identity to draw students.

Parents send their daughters to Hyles-Anderson College because of what we believe, and because they know that we will protect them and not allow them to run around the area without knowing exactly where they are. It is our distinctiveness that draws people, and life is that way. We cannot all be the same. A church cannot be like any other church.

There is no church like First Baptist Church. We are located in the old run-down section of town. Yet people drive many miles to get here because they know they will receive something they cannot find anywhere else. Every church ought to be unique. Every church ought to have its own identity.

3. There is one place where there is no more wall because it was broken down when Jesus died on the cross. You can know God just as well as you want to know Him because you will never know everything about Him. He is always fresh and new. You do not have to be separated from God for God to learn something new He can talk to about. That wall has been broken down.

Our daughter, Becky, has lupus. She feels miserable most of the time. I called her one day and I said, "Puddin,' how do you feel?"

She said, "I feel fine."

I said, "Do not lie to me, tell me how you really feel."

She said, "Terrible."

I said, "Does anybody know you feel terrible?"

She said, "No. My boss does not even know I have had any trouble at all."

I said, "Why?"

She said, "Because I want him to think I can work as much as I have always worked. I tell my family sometimes that I do not feel well, but I do not tell them exactly how I feel, because I do not want them to think that I am complaining all the time."

I said, "For the next few minutes I am going to be quiet, and I want you to cry on my shoulder. Tell me every pain you have had since I talked to you yesterday."

There is a Heavenly Father to Whom we can bare everything in our hearts and hives.

There ought to be an identity between people, between couples, between families, and between churches. Jesus starting local churches because the very nature of God is for us not to be bundled, but to be separated. That way we will love each other more.

I was teaching our preacher boys one day on how to get potential out of those who work for them. I taught them that a pastor should allow every member of his staff to excel him in one area. Because if they can excel him in one area, it will give him more respect for each person. I may know more about the ministry of First Baptist Church as a whole, but I want each person on my staff to be an expert in one area. Otherwise, I would not respect them as much. I want to see to it that each one of them has an area where he is my superior. I know pastors who have trouble with their assistant pastors because they want to keep binoculars on them all the time.

The same thing is true about a wife. There ought to be an area where she excels. Mrs. Hyles is an artist, and I am not. She is a singer, and I do not sing very well. She excels me in those areas.

Life can be so wonderful if we will allow every person in our lives to be an individual. Christianity can be so wonderful when churches are individual churches, each with its own identity. That is why Jesus started churches. This philosophy should spill over into every area of our lives.


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