Traditionally, most individuals with religious beliefs are members of some religious organizations. Although most illustrate their association as a "church," there have been different efforts to distinguish between other types of established religious organizations, from small chapels to massive international denominations in the Christian custom. The phrase "church" is a rather generic description for different denominations such as Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Anglican. Numerous denominations claim to follow Jesus Christ, but they cannot be all correct because they have opposing practices and dogmas.
Conversely, cults are religious organizations that differ considerably from the true church. Mostly, a cult is started by leaders with strong influence and authority for believers. They consist of firm dogmas, making it hard for the members to leave. One common feature of all cults is they reject that salvation is only through Jesus. Several of them are precise concerning this, thus are classified as non-Christian cults. Others believe almost what believers do, but if well scrutinized, their doctrines differ with God's Word, hence referred to as Pseudo-Christian Cults.
How to Decipher between the True Church of Christ, Cults, and other Religion.
An excellent way to decode a counterfeit is to understand the original perfectly. Thus, to decipher between the True Church of Christ, cults, and other religions, you must understand God's Word to shun falling into cultic traps. That means you should not just quote scriptures but a spiritual revelation of what they mean; however, this is also what most cults do. For instance, Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons can easily allude to more bible verses than most believers. Thereby, you have to articulate in your own understanding and words what particular verses mean and connect them with the entire Bible. Normally, even among believers, there are slight differences and might argue if what God's Word teaches. Doctrines like refuting baptism commands, and a contrary perception about alcohol, do not typify a cult. Thus, believers who have different opinions should not be treated as anti-Christians.
God's Word is the real indicator in knowing the true Church. Paul in 2 Timothy 3:13-17 instructed Timothy to continue in the things that he learned from him and be assured of, knowing from whom he learned them because people will be more deceived in believing what is not true. Thus, believers must have faith in God's Word. Jude 1:3 says, Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Any religious organization with different beliefs from real faith can be termed as cults.
The true Church believes that there is only one true God, the universe's creator, eternal, and unchangeable. It also believes that God is three in one: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all equal in each divine character, performing in different offices. For instance, true Christians believe in the Headship of Jesus Christ. Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." For this reason, a church established and headed by another person is not a true church. Jesus will forever remain as the only head of the real church. Ephesians 1:22-23 confirms His headship, " And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Moreover, the True Church was founded in Jerusalem. Apostle Peter preached concerning salvation on the Day of Pentecost, and the people that joyfully received the Word were baptized, and more than three thousand people were saved.
God, the Holy Spirit, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and righteousness (John, 16:8). Moreover, He bestows believers with gifts for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the [e]edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; (Ephesians 4:12-13).
God created both male and female with living souls. Created in God's image, holiness, and righteousness, man, has the power to fulfill and obey God's law but the ability to reject it. Out of their choice, man fell from the righteous state, and as a result, all humanity attained the sinful nature, which is disposed to evil, curse, and God's judgment. For this reason, humankind is with no excuse for its sins and legally subject to damnation.
Salvation and Redemption
Salvation from the sinful nature is by grace through faith in Jesus. The true Church believes that Christ became their substitute for sin, therefore repent and accept Him as the only savior. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains this, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him".
Things to Come
The true church believes in the second coming of Jesus in which the dead in Him will arise, and together with the living believers will receive glorified bodies; both will be meet Christ in the air. Afterward, great suffering will follow and finalize with the Lord's appearance on earth to establish the New Jerusalem.
To sum up, faith is the greatest character that separates a true believer. True Christians believe in a God that they have not seen. No wonder the Bible defines faith as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, and without it, you cannot please God. Thus, people must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He died for their sins and rose again. Confessing your faith and being baptized for the forgiveness of sins is what qualifies you to be part of the true church, which is Christ's body.