Thoughts of John

What is on my mind.

What is a Church?

I. The New community of God’s people: The Church
A. The Universal Church (Invisible) – All those and only those, of all times and all places in whom the Holy Spirit has worked faith that for the sake of Christ’s vicarious satisfaction their sins are forgiven.
1. Names for the Universal Church
a. God’s household – 1 Tim. 3.15
b. God’s Temple – 1 Peter 2.4-10; 2 Cor. 6.14 – 7.1; 1 Cor. 3.10-17; Eph. 2.11-22
c. The People of God – 1 Peter 1.3 – 2.10
d. Body of Christ – 1 Cor. 12.13
2. The Properties (Attributes) of the Church
a. The church is invisible and by that we mean that we don’t know who the members are for sure – Rom. 11.2-4; 1 Kings 19.8-18
b. The Church is one-As the Church includes all men the world over who truly believe in Christ, it is evident that there can be but on Church – John 10.16; John 11.52; Eph. 4.3-6; Gal. 3.28
c. The Church is holy – Eph. 5.25-27
d. The Church is Universal – It embraces all true Christians that ever lived, are now living, and will live to the ends of days – John 17.20
e. The Church is imperishable – Individual church bodies particular denominations, and local congregations may pass away but the invisible Church will continue.
f. The invisible Church is the only saving Church – John 3.16
3. The building and the preservation of the Church is exclusively the work of God – Eph. 1.20-23; Matt. 16.18; Ps. 46
B. The Local Church (Visible) – Assemblies of true believers who are gathered at a certain place for the purpose of preaching the Gospel and Administrating the Sacraments (Baptist & the Lord’s Supper) – 1 Cor. 1.2, 11.16, 16.19; Rom. 16.16; Acts 8.1; 1 Thess. 2.14
1. Relation of the Local Church to the Universal Church — The true believers of the Local Churches are members of the Universal Church. The Universal Church consists of only true believers, the Local Church may have unbelievers (hypocrites).
2. The Local Church exits by Divine Institution
a. All believers should gather on regular basis to be ministered to and to minister to others — Acts 2.42-47, 14.23; Heb. 10.25
3. The Church: Its Nature and Function – This is the basic starting point that applies to the Church as a whole and each area of work. It requires a thoroughly biblical understanding of what the Church is and what its functions are.
a. The situation is something like this: The Holy Spirit through the preaching/teaching of the Word of God (Law and Gospel) and the right administration of the Sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) creates, preserves, equips, empowers the people of God (Church/congregation) and the individual in the congregation — faith, hope, love
1) to worship (leitourgia) Acts 13.2; Heb. 8.6)
2) to fellowship (koinonia) Acts 2.42; 1 Cor. 1.9, 1 John 1.3
3) to grow (paideia) Eph. 6.4; Heb. 12.5-6; 2 Tim. 3.16
4) to serve (diakonia) Matt. 20.26ff; 1 Cor. 12.5; Eph. 4.12
5) to give/share/steward (oikonomia) Luke 16.2; Eph. 1.10 , 3.2
6) to witness (marturia) John 1.7; Acts 22.18; 1 John 5.9
b. These are not separate but closely-related functions produced by the one Spirit in the one body. They dynamic is always:
first downwards (God initiating and sustaining actions)
then upwards (man’s response to God)
and inwards (the Church itself)
and outwards (the Church to the world)
c. God creates, preserves, equips, empowers his people. He works in his people in the Church, and through his people in the community and the world. The activity is God-centered (Word/Gospel/Sacraments), but people-oriented
4. The Ministry of the Church
a. General Ministry – To serve and use our spiritual gifts to serve others – Eph.  4.11-13
b. Specific Ministry – God’s call to individuals to serve in a particular office of ministry: Pastor, Overseers/Elders, Trustees; Deacons/Deaconesses
5. Spiritual Gifts of the Church – The church is gifted by God for ministry
a. The design of the spiritual gifts is that they function as parts of the body
1) Each part under the headship of Christ
2) Each part is given by God
3) Each part is necessary
4) Each part is concerned for the other parts
5) No part is sufficient by itself
6) Gifts are to function harmonist
b. Definition of Spiritual Gifts – A special ability given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the body of Christ according to God’s grace to be used within the context of edifying (building up) and expanding the Church
c. The purpose of spiritual gifts is the growth of the body – Eph. 4.13-16
d. The Discovery of Spiritual Gifts
1) Establish yourself in Christ
a) As one of God’s children
b) As one growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ
c) As an active member of His body (Local Christian Church)
2) Explore the possibilities
a) By a Biblical study of the spiritual gifts
b) By reading extensively about spiritual gifts
c) By getting to know gifted people
d) By praying that God will show you your gifts
3) Experiment with as many as possible
a) By responding to the needs that you become aware of in and outside of the body of Christ. Don’t be afraid of failure
b) Seeking to learn which gifts you don’t have and which gifts you do have.
4) Examine what satisfaction you have when using the various gifts
a) From all indication in Scripture, using one’s spiritual gift is an enjoyable and satisfying experience. Don’t confuse this with an ego trip or self-deception.
b) What do you see that you want to do something about
5) Evaluate your effectiveness
a) Are others benefiting when I use a particular gift?
b) Are you becoming more competent in this area?
c) Do opportunities open up for you to exercise this gift?
6) Expect confirmation from the body of Christ
a) Do others recognize the gift in operation?
b) Do others utilize the gift?
7) Exercise patience always remaining teachable
a) Discovering your gifts requires time
b) Discovering our gifts requires openness to the Lord’s working in our lives and always being willing to be used as He sees best.
e. The Distribution of Spiritual Gifts
1) Given by God
2) Given to believers
f. The Delineation of Spiritual Gifts – Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4; 1 Cor. 7.7, 1 Peter 4.9
g. Dangers associated with Spiritual Gifts
1) Ignorance
2) Phobia – afraid of spiritual gifts
3) Mania – Crazy about spiritual gifts
4) Comparing – Spiritual gifts
5) Competing – Spiritual gifts
6) Exaltation – Put other gifts down and elevate yours
6. Unity of faith, Unity doctrine, and Unionism
a. Unity of faith – All believers belong to one Church
b. Unity of doctrine – That the members of a Church or a denomination are united in all the doctrines they teach and confess
c. Unionism – Church bodies ignore their doctrinal differences and unite
7. Church Discipline – Matt. 18.15-20; Gal. 6.1-10
a. Involves two matters (Provides for the need/occasion for discipline)
1) Belief – Teaching Doctrines contrary to the Scriptures/Statement of  faith
2) Conduct – Ungodly life (perpetual living in sin
b. Procedure – Matt. 18.15-20
1) Go in private
2) Take two witnesses
3) Bring it to the church (Leadership)
4) Excommunication
c. Purpose – To restore an individual

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December 19, 2009 - Posted by | Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Interpretation, Christian, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Prayer, Religon, Theology

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