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"





Part III.

Churches today are as diverse in action and practice as they are in doctrinal teaching. Many modern day churches have the look of sporting facilities, cafeterias, and corporate headquarters. All engaging in activity as varied as to be better recognized as earthly human organizations than the church that the Lord purchased with His own blood.

So, what did the New Testament church do?

In this study, we want to look at the activities the church under Apostolic direction and teaching engaged in and to learn that this is what God intended for His church, bought with the blood of Christ, to practice (then and always).

3. The Church Spread the Gospel.

a. It Has Been God's Purpose from the Beginning to Save the World through the preaching of the Gospel.

There can be little doubt that all men need the Gospel!

Romans 3:9-10 “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;”

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”


The Gospel is God's power to save!

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”


It has always been God's purpose to save the world through the preaching of the Gospel!

1 Corinthians 1:21 “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”


This unified method for man to know the salvation of God through Christ Jesus our Lord, allows all men to come to God equally and on the same terms. Any other method would make God a respecter of persons (which scripture reveals; He is not! – Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; etc…).


Since the manifold wisdom of God is made known by the church (Ephesians 3:10), it stands to reason that the completion of making known the Gospel to all men would be a primary work of the church. This is verified by the Apostle Paul as he recorded the work of the church, note:

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


The term “edifying”, comes from the Greek word, “okodomeo ” which means to plant or establish. It is the same word that the Lord used when He said, “I will build my church” Matthew 16:18 . Thus one of these three very important functions of the church is to expand the borders of the kingdom, which is done by spreading the Gospel.

The remainder of this lesson will be spent in establishing how this is done.

b. Known for Faith in God through the Word.

In one of the earliest letters to be penned, the Apostle Paul would write to a young church that had just been established in the Gospel. Hearing of their condition from Silas and Timothy as they reported to him in Corinth (Acts 18:5), he would write back to them to establish them.

In the opening of this letter, he would recognize that this church was engaged in spreading the word, note:

1 Thessalonians 1:8 “For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything.”


How exactly had this congregation of saints ‘in' Christ sounded forth the word?

First, we have to remember that virtually all the trade routes for Greece (north – Macedonia ; south – Achaia), went through this city. In this, the city of Thessalonica was very similar to Ephesus . As Ephesus was the capital of Asia Minor and a sea port, people from all the provinces would travel through there. This enabled Paul to teach the Gospel to all of Asia from this location in two years time (Acts 19:10).

Second, since the position of the Thessalonians was such a strategic location for the spread of the Gospel, the word planted has rapidly run through both provinces of Greece . Paul's use of the term “sounded forth” does not mean that this church has literally gone and evangelized Macedonia and Achaia; it means that reports are spreading. This was due both to the travelers using the trade routes and those from the city proper traveling to other locations (those of this body of Christ, and reports from those who are opposed to the birth of this faith in this location).

Third, although many of the reports of the church of Thessalonica and the Gospel they follow had gone out by those who may have opposed them; universally the reports of both supporters and opposition included the report of their faith in God through His word!


In this we learn that the first way the church of the New Testament spread the Gospel of Christ was to be known as having faith toward God from the word of the Lord.


c. The Local Congregations Were the Only Organization which this Work was Done!

The Apostle Paul recognized that the church in Philippi had joint participation in the work of the Gospel, which would include its spread, note:

Philippians 1:3-5 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,”


This joint participation was shared in that they sent support directly to preachers in the field, who were preaching the Gospel (here, it is Paul as he labors in Thessalonica and Corinth ), note:

2 Corinthians 11:8-9 “I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.”

Philippians 4:15-17 “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia , no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.”


However, the support of preachers in the field did not excuse individual Christian activity in such local work. The fact of the matter is that the greatest work the local church has in this work of spreading the Gospel falls squarely on the members of the local body.

In establishing that one of the primary works of the church was to establish or expand its borders (Ephesians 4:12), we have to understand that it is the individual membership responsible for the completion of all the work given the church!

Ephesians 4:16 “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”


Each church was responsible for edifying itself. This would include all activities necessary for the promotion of the Gospel.

Training of men for the roles of teachers of the Gospel; as we learn from Paul as he wrote to Timothy who was preaching in the church of Ephesus , note:

2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Educating Christians for proper Christian living in order to promote the Gospel and not to disqualify ourselves as ministers of truth.

Titus 2:1-10 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.”


d. Some Other Ways the Local Church Actively Spread the Gospel.

In the early church as the Apostles were the primary sources of information concerning the Gospel (that which you and I have in written form), they used central locations and went from house to house preaching Jesus as the Christ. This stands as a pattern for the local churches armed with the Gospel truth as a tool for us to proclaim Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 5:42 "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ."

Acts 20:20 “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,”


Additionally, men went out to evangelize on their own.

Acts 8:5 “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.”

Acts 11:19 -20 “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia , Cyprus , and Antioch , preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus.”


e. The Church as the Only Organization Designed to Accomplish this Work, Excludes any other organization!

Conspicuously absent in all that we have discussed thus far is any arrangement or organization that takes the place of the local church in accomplishing this work. Men have as much right to write a chapter and add it to the Holy Scriptures as they have to unseat the wisdom of God in achieving the work of the church!

God planned the church from eternity to manifest His wisdom – Ephesians 3:8-11.
The church is to be known by all as having faith in God through the word – 1 Thessalonians 1:8.
The congregation is to hold fast the word of life – Philippians 2:12-16.
The local congregation has fellowship with the evangelist in the furtherance of the Gospel – Philippians 1:5.
In this, fruit abounds to the account of the local congregation – Philippians 4:17.
The local church is to evangelize and edify its own location via the local membership – Ephesians 4:16.
The local church is to train their men for this purpose – 2 Timothy 2:2.
The local church is to be busy in teaching and preaching the Gospel from central locations as well as from house to house – Acts 5:42.
The local church is to adorn themselves in the doctrine of Christ as not disqualify their efforts to preach it – Titus 2:1-10.
Any substitute order or additional order for such work arranged by the wisdom and will of man, would be a rejection of God's way!