One does not find the true church on his own any more than one can find Christ and the Father on His own. A person is led to God and to the church, and he is added to it upon repentance, baptism, giving himself wholly to God, and receiving the Holy Spirit. We see not only that God's true church cannot be found without revelation, but also that it cannot be joined. What this reality begins to reveal to us is God's sovereignty over His creation and His purpose. Therefore, as Jesus clearly states, He built and continues to build His church.
Seekers badly misunderstand, thinking salvation is open to anybody at any time. However, Paul puts a damper on this notion, writing in Romans 9:16, "So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy."
Is it possible that people cannot find it partly because they do not know what to look for? Yes! This is true partly because of what God's church is. The Bible variously describes it as part of a Kingdom that issues citizenships (Colossians 1:13; Philippians 3:20); a building of which its members are materials (Ephesians 2:20-22); as the body of Jesus Christ of which its members are vital, living parts (Ephesians 1:22-23); and as a Family into which God's children are summoned (Ephesians 3:15). There is no more important and exclusive institution on earth. No volunteers are accepted. Each person becomes a part of it by God's design and His design only. He is sovereign!
John W. Ritenbaugh
Is There a True Church?