Very little commentary is needed to explain the purpose and function of the Church. Paul in nearly every letter pinned down the purpose and practice to those who would belong to the Church. For the Jews, this concept was new because it was all-inclusive approach that was foreign to them.
The Church Established
Matthew 16:18 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.
Peter was the one that God chose to build His church (see the Chart 8 Study)
The Church by definition: The word Church comes from the word Ecclesia – A group of people gathered together for a common or singular purpose. The Church has existed from the beginning of time but its purpose of function has been hidden. As part of the introduction and understanding of the Church through Paul, God reveals this mystery.
The Mystery of the Church
Note this beautiful comparison between marriage, the pattern of the Tabernacle and the Church
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
The Body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:12 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.
So the Church, as a group of people gathered together, looked to Paul for information of how the New Testament Church was to be organized and administered in faith and in practice. With this organization came the placing of Pastors after God’s own heart, Deacons to help with the daily administration, Teachers and Evangelists to help show and demonstrate the furtherance of the gospel. Mankind would come to God through Jesus Christ, by faith without works through this organization. Neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free made any difference; only trust and faith in the finished work of Jesus would matter.
satan however; would put his corruption into it the same as he had since the beginning:
Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Another gospel is simply a person, a group, a church or organization that would attempt to tell you that the clear and simple salvation of Jesus Christ is:
- What Christ did was not good enough
- Requires works retain salvation
- Requires no blood, only death
- Heaven can be attained by good works
- Heaven can be attained by suffering
- Heaven can be attained by joining a church
- Heaven can be attained by getting baptized
Basically anything that differs from the presentation that God gave of Jesus Christ through Paul to the world in the area of eternal life… is another gospel.
Note: Paul mentions on several occasions that he would not have any to be ignorant of the things of this world and the things of faith. He identified that we are aware of satans devices and that we are not to underestimate them girding on the whole armour of God. However… we also see that in the last days so many willing to be ignorant, every learning yet never understanding by heaping to themselves teachers having itching ears. This is why it is important to read and study the King James Bible. There are many, many other gospels that are in the world today… and they are quite convincing. Those who are ignorant… will be deceived; even Jesus said that if it were possible, they would decieve the very elect.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
The misconception today in our modern churches is that we identify known church denominations revealing their deception… but be not deceived… the “other gospel” is being spread though many different avenues corrupting the very fabric of all that is around us.
Divination, Sports figures, music and more that present a different or warped view of eternity or the afterlife.
The Church in practice
The New Testament Church doctrine is the backbone of Modern Christianity. This faith based system allows for both individual salvation and corporate function.
Salvation today is different than any other time in history or future. This division continues to reinforce God’s plan and purpose.
God has always made a way to receive His grace and it is always through obedience. In the old testament if you wanted to get to God you came through Israel; in the new testament through Jesus Christ… being that we are working within the Church age… let’s review salvation.
We have the Bible to guide us to the Truth:
1John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Heaven is a real place:
Colossians 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Hell is a real place:
Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The Gospel is the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Just acknowledging God is not enough:
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
We have earned our sin just like earning a wage:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God.
Good Works cannot get you to Heaven:
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Jesus Christ has given us a Gift we need only to accept:
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us
Jesus Christ wants Everyone to be Saved!
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
There is only one way to Heaven:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Getting Saved is EASY!
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
Baptism over the time of Christ has changed in its purpose yet the end result is always the same. Baptism is an outward identification of an inward change. Whether it was the baptism of John or baptism in the church age both were to show others that you have set your life aside for Jesus Christ. Because we are studying the age of the Church we will focus on the purpose of baptism during the Church.
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament Church that by outward demonstration by emersion under water provides a picture of the death, burial and ressurection of Jesus Christ. It does NOT effect your eternal security, but IS an appropriate ordenance; if for no other reason is that is was a command of the church in the furtherance of the gospel.
The Lord’s supper is the second ordance that Jesus set into place. It is meant to place people in rememberance of what Jesus did for our sins.
1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
This ordenance, much like baptism, is not to be taken lightly; in fact it is very serious. Note verse 29, that’s a pretty serious warning; yet churches across this country have the Lord’s supper (communion) every service to where there is no reflection and no rememberance… only a religios act.
Paul, as mentioned before, said he would have us not be ignorant; but he goes on to say that after the facts have been presented if they still won’t believe or practice correctly:
1 Corinthians 14:38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.