WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY AT 7:00 P.M.

A STUDY OF THE BIBLE

 

A STUDY OF THE ARTICLES OF FAITH,

CHURCH COVENANT, AND CHURCH HISTORY

 

  Introduction

 

1.     Have You Recognized and Accepted Jesus Christ As Lord and Savior?

2.     Why Are You a Christian?

3.     What Drew You to the Church?

4.     Why Did You Elect to Become a Baptist?

5.     What is Your Understanding of Church Doctrine?

 

 These questions and more will be explored during our studies of what we believe as Missionary   Baptist.  I encourage everyone who comes to come with an open mind and express your   questions.  Our goal as developing Christians should be to study to find the answers to our   questions thereby discovering new questions.

 


 

WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY AT 7:00 P.M.

A STUDY OF THE BIBLE

 

A STUDY OF THE ARTICLES OF FAITH,

CHURCH COVENANT, AND CHURCH HISTORY

 

XIII The Gospel Church

 

A NEW TESTAMENT BAPTIST CHURCH IS A CONGREGATION OF BAPTIZED BELIEVERS, ASSOCIATED BY COVENANT IN THE FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP OF THE GOSPEL, OBSERVING THE ORDINANCES OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER AS GIVEN BY CHRIST; GOVERNED BY HIS LAWS AND EXERCISING THE GIFTS, RIGHTS, AND PRIVILEGES INVESTED IN THEM BY HIS WORD, AND THAT ITS ONLY SCRIPTURAL OFFICERS ARE BISHOPS OR PASTORS AND DEACONS.

 

I.      INTRODUCTION:

 

A.    How would you describe a Gospel Church?

A Baptist church is a local congregation composed of Baptist people and committed to Baptist principles. A Baptist association is a group of Baptist churches and individuals which fellowship and work together in Christian endeavors.

B.    Where did the concept of a Baptist Church come from?

The English Anabaptists were called Baptists as early as 1569.  The name Anabaptist continued to be applied to English and American Baptists up to the 19th century at least.  Into the 19th century the term Baptist was used as a general epithet for churches which denied the validity of infant baptism, including the Campbellites, Mennonites, Brethren and others which are not normally identified with modern day Baptists

C.    Where does the term Baptist come from?

 

1.     The term Baptist comes from the Greek word βαπτιστής (baptistés, "baptist," also used to describe John the Baptist), which is related to the verb βαπτίζω (baptízo, "to baptize, wash, dip, immerse"), and the Latin baptista, and is in direct connection to "the Baptizer," John the Baptist.

 

2.     The term Baptist as applied to the Baptist churches is a modification of the term Anabaptist (which means rebaptizer, though the Anabaptists ever disavowed that they practiced rebaptism and baptized those who were baptized in infancy because they considered infant baptism a nullity).

 

3.     What happened in 1517 which was necessary for the later development of the Baptist movement?

 

4.     What are the Old Lights and what are the New Lights?

 

5.     The terms Old Lights and New Lights (among others) are used in Christian circles to distinguish between two groups who were initially the same, but have come to a disagreement. These terms have been applied in a wide variety of ways, and the meaning must be determined from context. Typically, if a denomination is changing, and some refuse to change, and the denomination splits, those who did not change are referred to as the "Old Lights", and the ones who changed are referred to as the "New Lights".

 

6.     There is a wide variety of doctrine and practice among Baptists owing to divergent origins of the various Baptist movements as well as diverse influences on the Baptists over the years. Through the years, different Baptist groups have issued confessions of faith to express their peculiar doctrinal distinctions from other Christian denominations as well as other Baptists. Baptist groups also have been characterized by local church autonomy and a disavowal of authoritative creeds, acknowledging the Scriptures alone as the authoritative rule of faith and practice.

 

7.     Reactions to the awakening pushed many normally orthodox believers into strongly anti-Calvinistic positions. "New Lights" and "Old Lights" referred to pro- and anti-revivalists in most denominations. The "Old Lights" valued education while the "New Lights" tended to discount it. As a result, the "Old Lights" gravitated towards Universalism.

 

8.     There was a break down in theological consensus. The New Lights (the revivalists) versus the Old Lights (traditional orthodox). Those who wanted to adapt the faith to changing times and circumstances versus those who wanted to hang on the old order.

 

9.     The revival began with Jonathan Edwards, a leading theologian and philosopher of The Enlightenment; he was a Congregationalist minister based in Northampton, in western Massachusetts. Edwards emerged from Puritan and Calvinist roots, but emphasized the importance and power of immediate, personal religious experience. Edwards was said to be 'solemn, with a distinct and careful enunciation, and a slow cadence.'  Nevertheless, his sermons were powerful and attracted a large following. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," is his most famous sermon.  The Methodist preacher George Whitefield, visiting from England, continued the movement started by Jonathan Edwards, traveling across the colonies and preaching in a more dramatic and emotional style, accepting everyone into his audiences.

 

10.  Whitefield started as an associate of John Wesley in England. He was ordained as an Anglican minister. However, he was not assigned a pulpit and began preaching in parks and fields in England on his own. In short, he preached to people who normally did not attend Church. Like Edwards, he had developed a style of preaching that elicited emotional responses from his audiences. However, Whitefield had charisma, and his voice (which according to many accounts, could be heard over vast distances), small stature, and cross-eyed appearance (which some people took as a mark of divine favor) all served to help make him the first American celebrity.

 

11.  Baptist churches do not have a central governing authority (See Autonomy in BAPTIST Acrostic Below). Therefore, beliefs are not totally consistent from one Baptist church to another, especially beliefs that may be considered minor. However, on major theological issues, Baptist distinctive beliefs are held in common among almost all Baptist churches. Most Baptist churches are members of regional Associations of Baptist Churches, and as such, will subscribe to a centrally agreed Basis of Faith.

 

12.  Baptists share many orthodox Christian beliefs with other Christian denominations. These would include beliefs about one God; the virgin birth; miracles; atonement through the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus; the Trinity; the need for salvation (through belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God, his death and resurrection, and confession of Christ as Lord); grace; the Kingdom of God; last things (Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth, the dead will be raised, and Christ will judge everyone in righteousness); and evangelism and missions. Some historically significant Baptist doctrinal documents include the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1742 Philadelphia Baptist Confession, the 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession of Faith, the Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Faith and Message, and written church covenants which some individual Baptist churches adopt as a statement of their faith and beliefs.

 

13.  Baptists generally believe in the literal Second Coming of Christ. Beliefs among Baptists regarding the "end times" include amillennialism, dispensationalism, and historic premillennialism, with views such as postmillennialism and preterism receiving some support.

D.    Views of Baptist Origins

 

1.     Outgrowth of English Separatism -- In this view, the Baptist faith originated from within the Separatist movement, a movement which arose in Europe with the goal of breaking away from the Church of England (which previously had broken away from the Catholic Church, yet retained many of the trappings; those within the Church of England who wished to remain a part of the Church and yet purify it became known as "Puritans;" they were, in a sense, cousins to Separatists).  The influence of Anabaptists upon early Baptists is considered minimal, according to this viewpoint.  The earliest Baptist church is traced back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as pastor.  The group's embracing of "believer's baptism" became the defining moment which led to the establishment of this first Baptist church.   Shortly thereafter, Smyth left the group, and layman Thomas Helwys took over the leadership, leading the church back to England in 1611.  This view of Baptist origins has the most historical support and is the most widely accepted view of Baptist origins.   Representative writers include William H. Whitsitt, Robert G. Torbet, Winthrop S. Hudson, William G. McLoughlin and Robert A. Baker.

 

2.     Influence of Anabaptists -- This view holds that although Baptists originated from English Separatism, their emergence owes much to the earlier Anabaptists.  According to this view, some early Baptists were influenced by some Anabaptists.  The Dutch Mennonites (Anabaptists), for example, shared some similarities with General Baptists (believer's baptism, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and Arminian views of salvation, predestination and original sin).  However, other than this, there were significant differences between Anabaptists and Baptists (Anabaptists tended towards extreme pacifism, communal sharing of earthly goods, and an unorthodox optimistic view of human nature).  Therefore, few Baptists hold to this theory of Baptist origins.  Representative writers include A. C. Underwood and William R. Estep.  Among some contemporary Baptist scholars who emphasize the faith of the community over soul liberty, the Anabaptist influence theory is making a comeback.

 

3.     Continuation of Biblical Teachings -- Some Baptists "seek to go back beyond the Anabaptist movement to trace the continuity of Baptist forms of faith through the centuries" (Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, page 56).  While advocates of this view do not claim a succession of organized Baptist churches (see below), they believe that Baptist faith and practice have existed since the time of Christ.  This view has a few advocates, including a number of early Baptist historians, many of whom were concerned with presenting the validity of their faith (denomination) over and above that of other denominations.  Some representative writers of an earlier era include Thomas Crosby (one of the earliest Baptist historians, he wrote in the early 1700s), A.H. Newman and David Benedict.

 

4.     Succession of Baptist Churches -- This viewpoint goes beyond mere "continuation of biblical teachings" and declares that Baptist churches actually existed in an unbroken chain since the time of Christ and John the Baptist.  Commonly referred to as "Landmarkism" or the "Trail of Blood" theory (J.M.Carroll wrote a book of supposed Baptist history by this name), this view declares that those churches which stood outside the influence of the Roman Catholic Church at various times in church history were, in actuality although not in name, Baptist churches.  Refusing to embrace infant baptism, these churches rejected the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church as a Christian entity.  However, many of the historical churches which Landmarkists label as Baptist churches were actually heretical in regards to doctrine.  Nonetheless, the "Landmarkist" view, despite little actual historical support, remains popular among certain Baptists.  The reason for its moderate popularity (and, indeed, strong popularity among some rural Baptists in the southern and western United States) stems to some degree from a long-standing dislike of Catholics by many Baptists.  Representative writers of this viewpoint include J.M Carroll, G.H. Orchard and J.M. Cramp.  It should also be noted that much of the Baptist history material thus far posted on the Internet is Landmarkist in nature, indicating that Landmarkers remain a vocal lot.

 

A NEW TESTAMENT BAPTIST CHURCH IS A CONGREGATION OF BAPTIZED BELIEVERS, ASSOCIATED BY COVENANT IN THE FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP OF THE GOSPEL, OBSERVING THE ORDINANCES OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER AS GIVEN BY CHRIST; GOVERNED BY HIS LAWS AND EXERCISING THE GIFTS, RIGHTS, AND PRIVILEGES INVESTED IN THEM BY HIS WORD, AND THAT ITS ONLY SCRIPTURAL OFFICERS ARE BISHOPS OR PASTORS AND DEACONS.

 

II. A NEW TESTAMENT BAPTIST CHURCH IS A CONGREGATION OF BAPTIZED BELIEVERS

 

A.    Every place you read of the church, the definition will always include references to the invisible universal church. The Bible is the only exception to this rule.

 

1.     This is so sad, as the word "ekklesia" always means an assembly, and all the people together cannot be assembled – at least not in this world.

2.     In the world to come, all the church is together, but they are also assembled.

 

B.    Men give three definitions of the word church.

 

1.     Local visible – Baptists. These are the first churches.

 

2.     Visible universal – Catholics. These churches followed after because they rejected the truth of the Bible.

 

3.     Invisible, universal – Protestants Reformers. These churches did not like the definition of the word "church" used by so called radicals to the right – which are Baptists (although they were called many different names), and they did not like the Catholic (universal) church, so they dubbed their universal church "invisible" instead of "visible".

 

C.    The first thing that needs to be done is to let the Bible define the word "church". The word church is taken from the Greek word "ekklesia".

 

1.     Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., "the Lord’s house"), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship. In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew _kahal_ of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the "Church of England," the "Church of Scotland," etc.

 

2.     The word "Ekklesia" appears 116 times in the New Testament, 113 times it is translated "church" or "churches" and three times it is translated assembly:

a.      Acts 19:32, 39, and 41.

b.     All of these times concern the riot in the city of Ephesus over the supposed plot by Paul and the disciples to destroy the economy created by the manufacture of idols to the goddess Diana.

 

3.     The word "ekklesia" is translated into the plural "churches" 36 times, and into the singular "churches" 77 times.

a.      It becomes very clear by studying these various words that the word "church" always speaks about a particular church, or the church as an institution, never to a group of churches.

b.     The word churches are always used when reference is made to more than one church.

 

4.     Jesus used the word "ekklesia" 22 times; the singular form 10 times and the plural form 12 times, making it very clear that Jesus thought of the church he organized during his own personal ministry as a local, visible church. When Jesus spoke of more than one church, he always used the plural.

 

                        Singular                                                                      Plural

Matthew 16:18 – singular                                          Revelation 1:11 – plural

Matthew 18:17 – singular                                          Revelation 1:20 – plural

Matthew 18:17 – singular                                          Revelation 1:20 – plural

Revelation 2:1 – singular                                           Revelation 2:7 – plural

Revelation 2:8 – singular                                           Revelation 2:11 – plural

Revelation 2:12 – singular                                         Revelation 2:17 – plural

Revelation 2:18 – singular                                         Revelation 2:23 – plural

Revelation 3:1 – singular                                           Revelation 2:29 – plural

Revelation 3:7 – singular                                           Revelation 3:6 – plural

Revelation 3:14 – singular                                         Revelation 3:13 – plural

Revelation 3:22 – plural

Revelation 22:16 – plural

 

D.    See Acts 19:37 – "For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess."

 

1.     The words "robbers of churches" is not the word "ekklesia" at all.

 

2.     It is the Greek word "hierosulos", Strong’s number G2417, which means "Robbers of churches".

 

3.     This Greek word is only used one time in the entire Bible.

 

E.     The word church used in the institutional sense.

 

1.     Ephesians 5:23, 25, 27, and 29.

a.      In these verses the church (in an institutional sense) is clearly seen being compared to the husband and wife (also in an institutional sense).

b.     There is no such thing as one huge, visible, or invisible husband or wife.

c.      All of these husbands and wives are local, and visible.

d.     There is also no such thing as one huge, visible, or invisible church.

e.      All these churches are local, visible, and singular.

f.      There is no doubt in my mind that in eternity, God has a special place for all his churches, just like he has a special place for Israel.

g.     In eternity all the church will be gathered together as one – but they will still be local and they will still be visible, just as Israel will be local and visible.

 

2.     Hebrews 12:23.

a.      This verse refers to the two separate, distinct and complete groups in heaven.

b.     One is the general assembly – Israel.

c.      The other is the church of the firstborn – the local churches of this earth put together in heaven.

 

F.     The church in a house - A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an ecclesia.

 

1.     Romans 16:5 – "Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ."

 

2.     Colossians 4:15 – "Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house."

 

G.    I also must say that every time a form of the word "assemble" is used in the Bible, it is not the Greek "ekklesia".

 

1.     There are twelve times a form of the word assemble is found in the New Testament, and is not ekklesia.

 

2.     I believe it is important to study the form of the word "assembly" to clearly understand there is a difference between people gathering together and gathering together in church capacity.

a.      Matthew 26:3 - Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, This is a legal assembly, not a church, that is gathered together.

b.     Matthew 26:57 – And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. Here these hypocrites are gathered together to commence a illegal trial for the purpose of convicting Christ of being God.

c.      Matthew 28:12 – And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, This assembly is also not a church, but a gathering together of people to determine a course of action.

d.     Mark 14:53 – And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. These chief priests and elders and scribers were gathered together to consider how to kill Christ.

e.      John 20:19 – Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. The early church is gathered together. The word "assembled" is much better than the word "church", which does not make sense in the sentence.

f.      Acts 1:4 – And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. Jesus is here gathered together with his church, which is an assembly, and gives them instructions.

g.     Acts 4:31 – And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. This church was gathered together, and God blessed their assembly and the prayer they collectively prayed for strength.

h.     Acts 11:26 – And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. These people did not "church" themselves together, but gathered together in an orderly assembly for the purpose of worshipping God.

i.       Acts 15:25 – It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, James states in this letter that the church being assembled together have considered the issue at hand and gives the following advice.

j.       Hebrews 10:25 – Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. This passage is clearly speaking of assembling (gathering together) in church capacity.

k.      Hebrews 12:23 – To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

l.       James 2:2 – For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; James did not use the word "church", but the Greek "sunagoge", which is also translated "synagogue".

 

H.    All of the New Testament is written to churches, individuals

 

1.     When Christ inspired the apostles to write the 27 books of the New Testament, none of the letters were written to a convention headquarters.

a.      At least seven of the books were written to local churches, eight to groups of people, of whom the bigger part was churches, four were addressed to an unknown people, and eight were written to individuals.

b.     It must be that the invisible or visible universal church, all boards, associations, and conventions, have no word from God at all.

c.      We ought to be careful what we put our stamp of approval on.

 

2.     Every person should read to whom the various books of the Bible is written.

a.      This is a good spiritual exercise in discerning whom God gives instructions to.

b.     If an individual wants to receive instruction from God he must put himself in the place where instructions are given.

 

I.      I Corinthians 1:1-13 – "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"

 

1.     Verse 1 - The writer is Paul.

 

2.     Verse 2 - The local church at Corinth is the recipient.

 

3.     Verse 4 - Paul thanked God for that particular local church.

 

4.     Verse 10-13 - Paul rebukes and instructs these baptized believers as a church, a local particular group of baptized believers in Corinth.

 

J. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:

 

1.     Matt. 18:17 – "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

a.      This passage is speaking about church discipline.

b.     If the church is universal, visible or invisible, this command is impossible.

c.      Many believe there are two churches – the big universal church and the small local church.

 

2.     Acts 5:11 – "And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things."

 

3.     Acts 8:1 – "And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles."

 

4.     I Corinthians 4:17 – "For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church."

 

5.     I Corinthians 14:23 – "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?"

 

6.     III John 9 – "I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not."

 

7.     I Tim. 3:5 – "(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

 

K.    There is no such thing as a universal invisible church nor is there a universal visible church on earth.

 

III. ASSOCIATED BY COVENANT IN THE FAITH AND FELLOWSHIP OF THE GOSPEL

 

A. Acts 2:41-42 – "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

 

1.     Verse 41 - Only those who gladly received Peter's message about Jesus where baptized and added to the 120 members already in existence.

 

2.     In order for the three thousand souls to be added to the church, the church had to already be in existence.

 

3.     Verse 42 - Those who were joined to them continued with them in all things they already had.

 

B. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:

 

1.   II Corinthians 8:5 – "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."

a.      It is plain to see these believers were saved and scripturally baptized, as they are in the church at Corinth.

b.     They are obeying the will of God in giving themselves to the Lord, and to Paul.

c.      It is also apparent they have already given themselves to one another, as they are all in the same church.

 

2.     Acts 2:47 – "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Reading from verse 41 of this chapter, it is plain to see these new believers are in fellowship with one another because of Jesus Christ.

3.     I Corinthians 5:12-13 – "For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person."

a.      This passage is speaking about church discipline.

b.     God judges those outside the church, while the church judges those inside its membership.

c.      The most severe punishment any church can give is to exclude a believer from its fellowship, which is also removing the umbrella of God’s protection from them.

 

IV. OBSERVING THE ORDINANCES OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER AS GIVEN BY CHRIST

 

A. More will be said about scriptural baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the next article.

 

B. The next step in obedience; after salvation, is scriptural baptism.

 

1.     Matthew 3:1-12 – John the Baptist always baptized believers but refused to baptize those that did not have fruits meet for repentance.

 

2.     John 4:1-2 – Jesus taught his early church to baptize those who believed the gospel message.

3.     Acts 2:38-47 – On the Day of Pentecost and afterward, the Jerusalem church baptized believers.

4.     Acts 5:13 – The Bible records that some believers were not baptized, thus did not become members of the Lord’s church because they were afraid.

5.     Acts 8:12 – Philip baptized these people into the membership of the church at Samaria.

6.     Acts 16:25-34 – The Philippian jailer was baptized into the membership of the church at Philippi.

 

C. After salvation and scriptural baptism, those wishing to remember what Christ has done for them observe the Lord’s Supper.

 

1.     Acts 2:41 – When these people were saved, and scripturally baptized, they were eligible to receive the Lord’s Supper at the hand of the early Jerusalem church, of which they were members.

 

2.     Acts 20:7 – This church observed the Lord’s Supper each Sunday.

 

3.     A person who is not a member of a local Baptist church cannot take the Lord’s Supper with that particular body.

 

D. I Corinthians 11:1-2 – "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you."

 

1.     Verse 1 - The churches of Jesus Christ are to observe the ordinances as Paul was instructed to observe them. See also verse 23-26 which states, "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."

 

2.     Verse 2 - The only ordinances that are recorded, as being observed by any of the churches of the New Testament, are baptism and the Lord's Supper.

 

3.     Foot washing is never mentioned in the scriptures as being observed by any of the churches or the apostles in the New Testament.

 

E. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:

 

1.     II Thess. 3:5 – "And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." The ordinances are not mentioned in particular, but any time we obey God, we will observe the ordinances correctly.

 

2.     Romans 16:17-20 – "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."

a.      This is a good practice for all true churches.

b.     If we would stay true to God’s doctrines, we must forsake the doctrines of men.

 

3.   I Corinthians 11:23-34 – "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."

a.      This scripture speaks of the method of giving the Lord’s Supper.

b.     The supper was given only to churches, never to those outside the assembly.

c.      There is a responsibility of the church to judge its own members of public sins and discipline any person who is ineligible to take the Lord’s Supper.

d.     There is also a responsibility of each individual to judge himself of any secret sins, unknown to the congregation.

 

4.     Matthew 18:15-20 – "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

a.      Church members must understand that if they hold any grudge against any member of their church, they cannot take the Lord’s Supper.

b.     They must first get rid of the grudge; then take the Lord’s Supper.

c.      Matthew 5:23,24 makes it abundantly clear that if we hold something against a brother, God will not accept our worship, whether this worship is in a regular worship service, daily prayers, or the Lord’s Supper.

 

5.     II Corinthians 2:17 – "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ." Many corrupt the Word of God and God’s churches by giving the Lord’s Supper to whomsoever they please.

 

6.     I Corinthians 4:17 – "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;" There are trials in this world if we serve God only, but the eternal benefits are well worth it all.

 

V. GOVERNED BY HIS LAWS

 

A. Matthew 28:20 – "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."

 

1.     Jesus said to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (the New Testament church).

 

2.     No one has the right to change His law concerning the church and its ordinances.

 

B. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:

 

1.     John 14:15 – "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

 

2.     John 15:12 – "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

 

3.     I John 4:21 – "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."

 

4.     I Thessalonians 4:2 – "For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus."

 

5.     II John 6 – "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it."

 

6.     Galatians 6:2 – "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

 

7.     All the epistles.

 

VI. AND EXERCISING THE GIFTS, RIGHTS, AND PRIVILEGES INVESTED IN THEM BY HIS WORD

 

A. Ephesians 4:7 – "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

 

1.     Paul is writing to the local church at Ephesus instructs them that grace to serve in a particular or certain service in the church is given to each member, "according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

 

2.     Every member is saved for a purpose by God's grace.

 

B. I Corinthians 14:12 – "Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church."

 

1.     Paul tells us we ought to desire spiritual gifts in order to be a blessing to the church in building it up spiritually.

 

2.     Spiritual gifts are not to be desired tin order to prove you are saved.

 

VII. AND THAT ITS ONLY SCRIPTURAL OFFICERS ARE BISHOPS OR PASTORS AND DEACONS

 

A. Philippians 1:1 – "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:"

 

1.     Paul addresses the only officers spoken of as being in New Testament churches.

 

2.     There is no such thing or person mentioned in the New Testament kind of churches as the "pope" of Roman Catholicism!

 

B. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:

 

1.   Acts 14:23 – "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed."

 

2.   Acts 15:22 – "Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:"