2The new testament church INTRODUCTIONWe begin now, as we move through our study of the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith, a section on the New Testament Church. This study will help to clear up the misunderstandings by people of what the New Testament Church is. It will clear up the purposeful deception, by those who would lord themselves over the people, of what the New Testament Church is. So, let’s take a look at The New Testament Church; The Church; The Body of Christ.
3The new testament church INTRODUCTIONJesus told us in Matthew 16:18, Matthew 16:18 (KJV) 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Jesus is telling us here, “I will build my church”
4The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?The church is built by Jesus and not by man! One thing that needs to be established right away is that the church is an institution and not an organization. Let’s define these terms so there is no confusion about it.
5The new testament church DEFINING TERMSINSTITU´TION, n. [Fr. from L. institutio.]1. The act of establishing.2. Establishment; that which is appointed, prescribed or founded by authority, and intended to be permanent.3. A system, plan or society established, either by law or by the authority of individuals for promoting any object, public or social.From Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American Language.
6The new testament church DEFINING TERMSORGANIZA´TION, n. The act or process of forming organs or instruments of action.2. The act of forming or arranging the parts of a compound or complex body in a suitable manner for use or service; the act of distributing into suitable divisions and appointing the proper officers, as an army or a government.The first organization of the general government. Pickering.3. Structure; form; suitable disposition of parts which are to act together in a compound body. Locke.From Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the American Language.
7The new testament church DEFINING TERMSAs we can see, an institution is formed by someone who has the authority to establish it. An organization, for our purposes, is the act of placing people in various positions of authority. With these definitions in place, let’s take a look at the Church as defined by Jesus.
8The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?The question, What is the Church?, turns out to be the central point of all the separation that goes on in the so-called Christian world today, in the past, and undoubtedly, into the future. Of course, once Jesus returns there will no longer be any question about the Church!
9The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Any Bible believing Christian who refers to the Church as an institution and not an organization, knows exactly what the Church is. Once again, the key here is to be a Bible believing Christian and not a denominational “bible believer.”
10The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?You may have heard that the Church is the Body of Christ. This is absolutely correct since Scripture establishes this fact.Colossians 1:18 (KJV)18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.Colossians 1:24 (KJV)24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
11The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Notice how there is an order to things here concerning the Church. Scripture tells us Jesus is the builder of the Church and is also the head of the Church. It does not speak of man within the Church being of higher importance than any other man.
12The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?We, meaning those of us who have believed on the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as our only means of salvation, are all equal in the Church. We occupy different areas of the Church, but no one part is above the importance of another. Christ is the head and we are the body. Let’s look at how Paul describes it.
13The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?1 Corinthians 12:12–14 (KJV)12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.14 For the body is not one member, but many.
14The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Paul is telling us that no matter who we are, where we came from, what our position in this world is, whatever our circumstances are, we are all baptized into one body. Now because so many churches would have you believe their way over what Scripture says, it bears repeating again that Paul is speaking about those people who have believed on Jesus as their only means of salvation.
15The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?1 Corinthians 12:15–17 (KJV)15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
16The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled into believing we all should be the same part of the Church. We cannot all be Pastors; we cannot all be Elders; we cannot all be musicians. If we were all Pastors, where would the flock be? If we were all Elders, where would the Pastors and the flock be? If we were all musicians, where would the singers be?
17The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?1 Corinthians 12:18–20 (KJV)18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
18The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?God has placed each and everyone of us into the body where it pleases Him to have us. God has placed each and everyone of us in the Church where it has pleased Him to place us. He knows exactly where we need to be in the Body! We are all a part of the many members that make up the body, yet we are still one body.
19The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Paul continues on in 1 Corinthians 12 describing how even those parts of the body that are less honorable still receive more abundant honor. The whole body has been tempered together as God sees fit. This is all done for a purpose.
20The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?1 Corinthians 12:25–26 (KJV)25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
21The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?We are all members of the Church, the body of Christ. As such Paul reminds us that God has so fitted us together that there be no schism in the body; but that all members should have the same care one for the another. When one of us suffers, we all suffer; when one of us is honored, we all rejoice with it.
22The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?1 Corinthians 12:27 (KJV)27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
23The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?As Paul told us in verse 12 which we just read, the body is one, and hath many members. He went on this verse to say, all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. We are in Him and He is in us and we are one. Does this sound familiar?
24The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?John 17:20–21 (KJV)20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
25The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?We are the ones of which Jesus spoke, “for them also which shall believe on me” We are members of His body who believe on Jesus! We are one with Jesus, one with God!
26The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Paul understood there are those who are not content with being part of the body like Jesus would have us. There are those who have a great desire to be the head and try to lead the body. Scripture has told us Jesus is the head and not us. These people have fooled the sheep into believing they have been given eminence over us in the Body of Christ. They cause the sheep to believe it is impossible for us to believe on Jesus without going through them.
27The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Scripture calls them wolves in sheep’s clothing and warns us to stay away from them. While pointing this out will undoubtedly upset some folks who are settled in their religious views, we must retain the correct perspective. Who are you going to believe? God or man?
28The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Let’s not forget what we just read in 1 Corinthians 12:18,1 Corinthians 12:18 (KJV)18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.We are placed in the Body of Christ as it pleases God, not as it pleases man.The word “him” at the end of this verse is referring back to God.
29The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?No one part of the body has pre-eminence over another part of the body. No one part of the body can say it does not need another part of the body. We saw in 1 Corinthians 12:25 that there should be no schism in the body; but that we should have the same care one for another. If Jesus prayed as He did in John 17 about the unity of the Father, Himself, and those who believe on him, then any schism would come from our enemy, Satan.
30The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?Satan is constantly trying to tear apart what God joins together because of his hatred of God. Satan does not care about us one way or the other. He only sees us as a way to try and get back at God for judging his iniquity and sin. If Satan can try and create a schism in the body, he will do so.
31The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?We as members of the Body of Christ are to have the same care that Jesus had for us towards one another. We are all of His Body. One of the greatest tools to destroy one’s enemy is to divide the enemy; create a schism. The best way to do this is to introduce a hierarchy in a group of people. A hierarchy creates the illusion that one person actually has greater authority than another person.
32The new testament church WHAT IS THE CHURCH?This is exactly what has happened in every denominational church group, or cult. Every denomination has a ladder of leadership that is there for the sole purpose of exercising authority over those not in leadership. Sound familiar?
33The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHJesus left his disciples with a command. It is this command that is the responsibility of the Church. Remember, the Church is an institution, that is, it is made up of individual believers on equal footing. Each and everyone of us who professes to have believed on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as the complete atonement of our sin, share this responsibility. What is this command?
34The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHMatthew 28:18–20 (KJV)18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
35The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHWe see this in Mark, and also in what we see here at the end of the Book of Luke.Luke 24:46–47 (KJV)46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
36The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHAnd again when Jesus addressed His disciples in Acts.Acts 1:6–8 (KJV)6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
37The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHThe responsibility of the New Testament Church is first and foremost the preaching of the Gospel to the lost. If those who hear the Gospel believe on Jesus, then we are to baptize them and teach them to go and do the same. This is not a job relegated to just a Pastor or an Elder, but to every member of the Body of Christ. We understand this because of what Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 18:20, which we just read.
38The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHConsider the story of Philip and the Eunuch in Acts 8: We won’t read the whole passage at this time, but I do want to highlight a couple of points. When the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot, Philip RAN to the eunuch. Philip began at the place in Scripture where the Eunuch was reading and preached Jesus. The Eunuch believed on Jesus and Philip baptized him.
39The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHPhilip understood what was to be done. He understood he is a member of the Body of Christ. He ran to the Eunuch. Notice he didn’t stop and go obtain permission from any man to do what Jesus had commanded us all to do. There was no pope involved, or any reverend, or master, or any other man made, Nicolatian, involved.
40The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHWe who have believed on Jesus as our one and only source of salvation are members of the Body of Christ. We are members of the New Testament Church. The New Testament Church is the Body of Christ. If you have not believed on Jesus as your one and only source of salvation, then any church membership is only an exercise in futility. You are not saved because you are a Catholic, a Methodist, a Mormon, a Jehovah Witness, or any other cultic organization.
41The new testament church THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHURCHWhen you believe on Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection as your only payment for sin, you are at that very moment saved; saved from the wrath of God. As Scripture tells us we have salvation in no other name but the name of Jesus. Repent of your membership in any organization, be saved and become a member of the institution created by our Lord Jesus Christ himself. Will you be saved and be a member of the Body of Christ, the only true New Testament Church? Once again, the choice is yours!