FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

"The New Testament Church"

LESSON TWO.

 

WHAT IS THE CHURCH CALLED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?

 

Many people today want to diminish the importance of the name of the New Testament church. One very important point in this lesson will be that to truly honor the Savior, we must honor the designation of His church.

1 Corinthians 3:11 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

 

1) Jesus said, “I will build My church”.

Matthew 16:18 “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.”

First, we need to notice that the Lord said, “I will”, which indicates at the time He said this, He had not yet built the church.

Second, He claims that the church was a possession, “My church”. I have an old truck that I drive around. When people see my truck at the store, they say, “I saw your truck at the store”. They realize that my truck belongs to me and as such it is my possession.

So beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to realize that the church is a possession of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He has not sub-leased it to any man or other shared owner!

 

2) The church of God, “Purchased with His own blood”.

Acts 20:28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

The Apostle Paul on his return swing at the end of his third preaching journey would stop at the Isle of Miletus. He called for the elders of the church at Ephesus and when they had come, he began to give them some final instructions concerning their role as shepherds of the church.

One of the most important of these instructions is found in this verse, which is the charge to these elders to shepherd the church; also referred to as the flock that the Holy Spirit had made them overseers.

Now the designation is given, “the church of God”. Is this in conflict with the Savior's statement that the church was His? No! Realize that Paul knew that God had given Jesus to be “head over all things to the church” – Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18.

He also knew the unity of the God-Head and that the church was God's eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 3:10-11 “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,”

Thus, the designation of, “The church of God which He purchased with His own blood”, is simply the recognition that the church is God's plan purchased with the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord. So, even when the designation “church of God” is used, it is usually followed with an explanation similar to this, note:

1 Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

 

3) The Body of Christ.

Ephesians 1:22-23 “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.”

Ephesians 4:12 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,”

Colossians 1:18 “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

 

We have already asserted that the scriptures designate that the church is a possession of Christ. In a far more intimate illustration of the church, Paul through the Spirit reveals that the church is not only a possession but the very body of Christ. In addition, it also illustrates that the body goes where the head instructs and is not independent of the head.

 

4) The House of God.

1 Timothy 3:15 “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

 

Two things stick out in this designation that is very important to recognize:

I. Since God is in heaven (His dwelling place), we need to see that Paul is referring to the fact that this house is a spiritual house, a temple made without hands (Hebrews 9:11). The local assembly with its elders and deacons is a house of God in which God through the Spirit dwells by compliance to the word.
II. It is a place where the living God dwells and thus it is a living temple. It is built out of living spiritual stones – men and women!

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”

 

5) The church of the Firstborn.

Hebrews 12:22-23 “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,”

 

In contrast to Mount Sinai , where Moses received the Law for the children of Israel , the Hebrew writer states that these Christians have come to a superior Mount. The term “general assembly” is better translated as the “universal gathering” and the church of the firstborn is that assembly that gathers in the name of and are a possession of the firstborn, which is Christ (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15; 18).

 

Summary) Importance of the Name.

Without a doubt the name of the church designates the vital respect for the fact that God through Christ Jesus purposed the church from the beginning (Ephesians 3:10-11); that God gave Christ all authority over the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and that He purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

To designate this glorious entity by any other name is to diminish the authority of Christ given Him by God and to be a harlot to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:23-24 “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

Let us, as the bride of Christ, wear the name of our true Husband! Let us honor the head of the body as Paul did, note:

 

Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.”