THE IDENTITY OF THE CHURCH

part b

TEXT:† Eph. 3:10-11

INTRODUCTION:

A.††††† THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH IS A PART OF GODíS ďETERNAL PURPOSE

††††††††† 1.†††††† It was built by Jesus Christ ( Mat. 16:18).

††††††††† 2.†††††† We must be a part of it to be saved( Eph. 5:23 ).†

††††††††† 3.†††††† We need to make sure that what we are in is indeed the church that Jesus built

†††††††††††††††††† (Eph. 1:22-23;† 4:4-5 ).†

B.††††† THE WORD "CHURCH" IS USED TO REFER TO THE SAVED IN TWO SENSES:

††††††††† 1.†††††† The Universal ( Mat. 16:18;† Eph. 1:22-23;† Acts 20:28 ).

††††††††† 2.†††††† The Local ( 1 Cor. 1:1-2;† Gal. 1:1-2;† Rom. 16:16 ).

C. HOW DO WE DETERMINE THE IDENTITY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH.

††††††††† 1.†††††† The foundation of any local church is the gospel of Jesus (1 Cor. 2:2;† 3:10-11).

††††††††† 2.†††††† vs. 10.† As Godís fellow-workers we must be careful how we build thereon.

††††††††† 3.†††††† There was a pattern given for the Old Testament tabernacle (Heb. 8:5).

††††††††† 4.†††††† There is also a pattern for the local church (2 Tim. 1:13-14).

D†††††† LETíS STUDY THE PATTERN OF THE LOCAL CHURCH.

I.††††† WHAT MAKES A LOCAL CHURCH?

A.††††† AGREEMENT TO WORK TOGETHER.

††††††††† 1.†††††† Unity of spirit required (Eph. 4:1-3).

††††††††† 2.†††††† Doctrinal unity is demanded (1 Cor. 1:10).

††††††††† 3.†††††† Agreement is implied (Acts 9:26-28).

†††††††††††††††††† a.†††††† Paul assayed to join himself.

†††††††††††††††††† b.†††††† They were in the position to receive or reject him.

B.††††† COMMON OVERSIGHT (Col. 3:17;† Acts 14:23;† 20:28;† Heb. 13:17).

C.††††† A POOLING OF RESOURCES (Rom. 12:3-8;† Eph. 4:16).

II.†††† THE ORGANIZATION OF THE LOCAL CHURCH:

A.††††† ALL ORGANIZATION OF THE LORDíS CHURCH IS ON A LOCAL BASIS.† EACH

††††††††† LOCAL CHURCH IS INDEPENDENT AND AUTONOMOUS AS RELATED TO MEN

††††††††† AND OTHER CHURCHES.

B.††††† EACH CHURCH IS TO HAVE ITS OWN OFFICERS ( Phil. 1:1;† Acts 14:23;† 20:28 ).

C.††††† THE QUALIFICATIONS OF BISHOPS (also called elders, pastors, etc. ) ARE FOUND

††††††††† IN 1 Tim. 3:1-14 and Titus 1:5-9.†

The qualifications are as much a part of the pattern as the existence of the office.

III.††† THE WORK OF THE CHURCH:

A.††††† GOD PROVIDED THE LOCAL CHURCH AS THE ONLY UNIT OF ORGANIZED

††††††††† AND SUPERVISED ACTION OR WORK.††††††

B.††††† INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS WORKING TOGETHER DO NOT NECESSARILY

††††††††† CONSTITUTE THE CHURCH WORKING ( 1 Tim. 5:16 ).

C.††††† HOWEVER, THE CHURCH DOES NOTHING EXCEPT THRU INDIVIDUALS WHO

††††††††† ARE MEMBERS OF IT.

D.††††† WHAT IS THE WORK OF THE LOCAL CHURCH:

††††††††† 1.†††††† Providing for public worship by specifying the time, providing the place, and

†††††††††††††††††† making certain all that is needed is cared for( Heb. 10:25 ).

††††††††† 2.†††††† Teaching the lost( 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Thes. 1:8; Acts 11:26 ).

††††††††† 3.†††††† Teaching the saints( Eph. 4:11-16 ).

††††††††† 4.†††††† Relieving needy saints( 1 Cor. 16:1-2 ).

E.††††† GOD DID NOT PROVID FOR THE OVERSIGHT OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH SO IT COULD WORK AS A UNIT.† He did not provide for the bishops of one church to oversee the work of other congregations,† or for a treasury for the universal church;† therefore, there would be no way to finance a "brotherhood" work.† When many churches start sending their money to the elders of one church or to delegates representing many churches to do a brotherhood work, the pattern for the church as set forth in the New Testament has been violated.† There is no authorization for the centralization of the church.

IV.†† THE PUBLIC WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH.

A.††††† THE LOCAL CHURCH MUST PROVIDE FOR THESE ACTS OF WORSHIP. ††††† 2.

††††††††† 1.†††††† Singing ( Eph. 5:19 ).

††††††††† 2.†††††† Preaching and teaching ( Acts 2:42;† 5:42; 11:26 ).

††††††††† 3.†††††† Praying ( Acts 2:42;† 1 Tim. 2:1-2 ).

††††††††† 4.†††††† Giving as we have been prospered on the first day of the week ( 1 Cor. 16:1-2 ).

††††††††† 5.†††††† The Lordís supper on the first day of the week ( 1 Cor. 11:23-30 ).

B.††††† TO CHANGE THE NT PATTERN OF WORSHIP IS TO DESTROY THE IDENTITY

††††††††† OF THE CHURCH JUST THE SAME AS IF WE WERE TO CHANGE ANY OTHER

††††††††† OF ITS GOD GIVEN CHARACTERISTICS.

C.††††† IF WE CHANGE THE WORSHIP, GOD WILL NOT ACCEPT IT ( Mat. 15:8-9

CONCLUSION:

A.††††† GOD HAS GIVEN US A PATTERN (Heb. 8:5:† 2 Tim. 1:13-14).

B.††††† 1 Cor. 3:10.† WE MUST TAKE HEED HOW WE BUILD.