THE CHURCH- ITS FORMATION AND PURPOSE
Our Father and Creator inform us that the Son would now be lead and guide us concerning our responsibilities in the Church. When it was the proper time, when His Son and Logos was baptized in the Jordan River, the Father spoke from heaven to all mankind saying: “This is my beloved Son in who I have well decided, listen to Him.” Meaning before you is Jesus Christ who will be the Savior and Ruler over the entire race of man. These words of the Father established the fundamental law of the Church founded by the Son. This means that the Son is the one whom all mankind is required to follow if they desire to gain everlasting life. Following Christ means to change our own lives to conform with His life. This is a life of struggling to be good and do good without seeking praise and glory.
When Christ established His Church, He said to Simon: “You are petros (Peter) and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it,” In this Church Christ shall rule as its Head and first spokesman, for the Father established this saying: “This is my beloved Son in whom I have well decided, listen to Him.” With these words, the Father established that he would be silent and that His Son would henceforth be the divine spokesman.
The Son sent his Disciples as Apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They established churches with ruling Bishops and Priests and Deacons to assist them. Christ did not glorify Himself as a great high priest, on the contrary, He was called by the Father to do the glorious work of our redemption and salvation, and in obeying the will of the Father, He denied himself and His own will.
The Church increased and expanded rapidly in Jerusalem and surrounding territories. This took place despite the fact that they suffered great persecution from the Jews who hated followers of the“crucified one.” Persecutions did not slow the Church’s growth, in fact it contributed to it!
The genuine members of the Church differed greatly from those who were not true Christians. The attributes of the true Christians are faith, holiness and righteousness. Faith involves being sure and confessing before men that Christ is the Son of the living God. Holiness consists in the entertaining of pious feelings and thoughts and in a pure disposition of the soul. Righteousness consists in behaving in accordance with the will and law of the heavenly Father. No man can have these three virtues who does not contain Holy Spirit. So a genuine Christian is one who contains Holy Spirit. If we take part in the Church and fail to confess Christ, which is our sacred duty, what can we expect. For Christ says: “Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, I too will confess him before my Father who is in heaven.” It is evident that we cannot please God without faith, and that we must confess Him to be the Son of the living God before men.
From the beginning there existed the original Church and many false churches whose purpose was to deceive and destroy men. This remains true to this day for the one Church exists and around us throughout the world are countless false churches. We are strongly warned with these words from Scripture: “See than no man misleads you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many; and many false Christs and false prophets shall arise, and shall give signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, were it possible even the elect.” Today the Papacy stands around the whole world declaring its heresies, posing as the true Church with the claim that the Pope holds the keys needed to get into heaven. With each Protestant sect, the blind lead the blind as they show others easy ways to be saved without prayer, fasting and almsgiving, without the holy mysteries or sacraments.
Those who desire to be saved and acquire everlasting life need to be certain of the way they are traveling. For false churches can save no one but rather they lead to perdition. Only the Orthodox Church can demonstrate that it remains the same Church that Christ founded. It is the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Ark of salvation. No other Church can make this claim their own. Only Orthodoxy can establish and show proof of their being the true Church.
Finally, everything we do in this world concerns living and our lives. But if we do not acquire eternal life in this world neither will we acquire it in the world to come, and death is the door to the other world. We will be without excuse as the Lord seeks those who desire what is good and true.