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Men’s Bible Fellowship
Foundations in Evangelism: 9/11/10
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 6 PM
Contact: Ken Smith, 896-4138 (shared supper)
“What is a New Testament Church”
(How can we know His Church - Sola Scriptura)
First off, our Lord was not upset that people take license in their fellowships and gatherings. He told us that they that gather with Him are not against Him. So if the gathering of saints focuses on Love or Holiness or Power in His Name, all is OK... It may not be our personal cup of tea but our Lord cautions us not to condemn or throw rocks. He told us to allow the good seed and the bad to grow together lest we also pull up the good seed plants. That sorting was His job. Sometimes the vitamins we need do not all come in the same bottle.
But then there are some who are idealists and seem very interested in digging deeper in the mines of God’s Holy Truth for the freedom that is promised by our Lord. Actually we have three major divisions in the Christian community. Some focus on love, others holiness and yet others on power. The Early Church was a balance of all three. Each position has a great deal to offer the other two positions. It is like some really good well meaning folks have taken the Trinity of God apart and are not seeing the whole picture. Interested? Good: Goto: www.Trinity-Aloha.org and click onto: “Keys To The Kingdom.”
So, in Holy Scripture, concerning the New Testament Church of Jesus Christ we see.
In Rev.3:14-21 our Lord Jesus really outside the church trying to get in.
In Rev.12:7-18 the Church in great victory evicting lucifer from heaven with Michael and the Angels.
In Rev.17 & 18 the antichrist counterfeit church under heavy judgment
In Eph.4:1-16, Apostle Paul lays out the foundations for the living church of Jesus Christ.
In Rev.19:1-7, the Church of Jesus Christ has finally made herself ready for the wedding.
In Rev. 19:14, the Church in full victory following the King of Kings into the great battle.
In Eph. 5:25-33, the Church compared to a wife in a solid relationship with her very special husband.
So what does the word “Church” really mean?
The word translated "church" in the English Bible is ekklesia. This word is the Greek words kaleo (to call), with the prefix ek (out). Thus, the word means "the called out ones." However, the English word "church" does not come from ekklesia but from the word kuriakon, which means "dedicated to the Lord." This word was commonly used to refer to a holy place or temple. By the time of Jerome's translation of the New Testament from Greek to Latin, it was customary to use a derivative of kuriakon to translate ekklesia. Therefore, the word church is a poor translation of the word ekklesia since it implies a sacred building, or temple. A more accurate translation would be "assembly" because the term ekklesia was used to refer to a group of people who had been called out to a meeting. It was also used as a synonym for the word synagogue, which also means to "come together," i.e. a gathering. "Body of Christ" Since believers have been united with Christ through spiritual baptism, they are sometimes corporately referred to as the body of Christ. (Rom. l2:4‑5; 1 Cor. l2:11,13,l8,27; Col. l:l8; Eph. 5:30) The idea seems to be that the group of Christians in the world constitute the physical representation of Christ on earth. It is also a metaphor which demonstrates the interdependence of members in the church, while at the same time demonstrating their diversity from one another. (Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:14‑17)
So then, There is but one Church of Jesus Christ and all who trust Him for Salvation and obey Him belong to His Church.
Now it may seem improbable at this late date to infuse all of the so called “denomination” into one Holy Church of Jesus Christ... But then the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ would go unanswered in John 17?
So what shall we do?
Our Lord Jesus gave us the Keys to His Kingdom and He told us that if He was lifted up He would draw all men unto Him self. It seems to me that the only way to pull our Lord’s Church back into unity is to find out what is wrong with what we are doing and to return to the principles that He set out for us to follow in the beginning. It is the old familiar adage, that to do the same thing over and over and to expect a different result is a form of insanity. We have traditions in place that as beautiful as they once were are now unprofitable. So I will move into a few sacred cows now and get into trouble.
The Church of Acts had power through truth and unity... They did not have the luxury of agreeing to dis agree. You will note as you read the Book of Acts that it is noted by Luke over and over how they were of one mind and one spirit in their experience in the Power of the Holy Spirit..
The Early Church met in houses for fellowship and followed the pattern as laid out in the tabernacle of Moses and as started again on Pentecost by the early Christians. This promoted the training of leaders.
There were many ways of making disciples. 1st was individual mentoring. You see the early Elders with a young man in tow in training. 2nd were the Sat. evening house church fellowship gatherings. 3rd. there were the larger community gatherings to hear an apostle, prophet, evangelist or teachers. 4th there were the gathering of the Elders to keep the unity of the faith and the bond of peace in a local area. And 5th the Presiding Elder (moderators) would meet with other Presiding Elders to also keep the unity of the faith in the bond of peace.
The jurisdiction of the local churches in a local area were supported and directed by the servant elders in a consensus of unity of all the house churches. Unity was more important than action in the Early Church. They fully understood that the Holy Spirit would provide and confirm leadership for the Church of Jesus Christ and that the local church could only affirm what the Holy Spirit was doing. I am sure that Peter found that out later as concerning Matthias as it was St. Paul who filled the empty seat of Judas and was numbered in heaven with the 12, Rev.21:14. The local congregations were never given authority over the Elders by the Holy Spirit in the Early Church. We see the results of this kind of mediocrity in Rev.3:14-22 where our Lord is no longer in the church but outside knocking to get in.
These are just a few of the sacred cows that need to be butchered for the Church of Jesus Christ to come alive again. Tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament as a method of giving. It is an Old Testament principle. In the New Testament God is not asking for 10% He is asking for 100% as in Romans 12:1... If we enter into His Rest then we will cease from our own works and simple learn to follow the Holy Spirit.
The New Testament principle is like building a fire in a major rain storm when out in the woods. So think it through as to what you would do. And then make a spiritual application to bring us to Acts5:16 and then we will see the Church of Jesus Christ come alive once again in our generation.
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