The Biblical Church An Overview

We are the Church

The saints – The disciples – The believers – The Christians (born again, Spirit-filled)

The be a member of the Church (Not a ‘card-carrying’ member but a true member connected by the Holy Spirit and not man-made systems):

Must be born again … supernatural rebirth by the power of the Holy Spirit

And, baptized in water by immersion:

1> Death to self and rising to live for Jesus

2> Public declaration of your faith

3> Become a part of the Body of Christ

Acts 2:38 “…Repent and be baptized…”

THE CHURCH: Ekklesia … the assembly of the called out ones

Called out from the ways of the world to live differently

Called to go into the world and be “in the world but not of the world”

Peter calls us “living stones”

1 Peter 2:5 “…you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Peter tells us that, as priests, we have a task

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

“… to tell others the night-and-day difference Jesus has made for you…”

The Message version

Paul tells us that together we are the Body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it …”

Jesus is the Head of the Body – the Church

Colossians 1:18a “And he is the Head of the Body, the church…”

Jesus is currently building His Church

Matthew 16:18a “And I tell you … on this rock I will build my church…”

It is His Church … worldwide and locally

He is building it His way and it is by “revelation” (Matthew 16:18b) … He tells us each step

Worldwide – moves of the Holy Spirit…

Locally – each step we need to take to build according to His plans

There is a calling upon the Church – every church

Matthew 28:18-20  “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the (church) age.”

The life and the work of the local church is to tell every individual the good news of Jesus

The Gospel of the Kingdom… Conviction by the Holy Spirit, godly sorrow   and repentance (key elements)

Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

This is the basic call upon every believers life – to go and share

Jesus has given us the power to fulfill that call upon each of our lives and the call on New Hope

Acts 1:8a “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…”

We call this the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

It comes with 9 supernatural gifts through which the power works to convince unbelievers that Jesus is alive

To fulfill this task the Church is meant to be a “sending” Body of believers

Leaders:

Acts 15:3a “So, being sent on their way by the church…”

People – Believers:

Matthew 28:19 “Go into all the world…”

As we “go” and live out our faith in our own neighbourhood and community God will show up and confirm that we are speaking the truth as we share the Gospel of the Kingdom

Mark 16:20 “And they went out and preached (shared) everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.”

They stood up and stepped out in faith

Jesus showed up and showed off – confirming that their message was true

This Church that Jesus is building is the “hope of the world”

This Church that Jesus is building is supernatural in nature

This Church that Jesus is building exists to serve those who do not know Him

This Church that Jesus is building declares that Jesus is the only “open door” into Heaven

This Church that Jesus is building is made up of disciples / believers who have a personal relationship with the Living God

Romans 6:23b – John 17:3

Paul speaks of this Church in his first letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth

1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”

There are no pastors working as solo leaders in a local church in the New Testament – – – There are no local church pastors

To build a church – to plant the Gospel and raise up a church…

First you need an apostle who works, at times, in tandem with a prophet… and then the full fivefold ministry

To correct the foundation of an existing church so that it comes into line with the New Testament pattern of the Church

First you need an apostle who works, at times, in tandem with a prophet… and then the full fivefold ministry

Paul states the same pattern in his letter to the Christians in the city of Ephesus

Ephesians 2:20 “  (The Church)…built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”

Apostles and prophets are:

First … needed to lay the foundation correctly as Master Builders

Foundational … the other ministries are built upon the correct foundation

Otherwise building a skyscraper on a chicken coop foundation

Functional … they have a very specific role to fulfill within the Church

Paul tells us what that role is:

Ephesians 4:11-12 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”

Their task is straightforward:

“… to equip the saints for the work of the ministry…”

We, all of us, are the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9)

We, all of us, are ministers of reconciliations (2 Corinthians 5:18b)

We, all of us, are ambassadors of the Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20)

The task of the fivefold ministry – a/k/a Ascension Gift ministries – is to teach you to do the work of the ministry

Traditionally:

People hire a local church pastor and pay him to do the ministry on their behalf

Biblically:

The fivefold ministers train and equip the people to do the ministry

Every member is placed in the Body of Christ by God and ministers to those they are in relationship with … finger to the hand, elbow to the arm

Paul states:

1 Corinthians 12:18-20, 25b “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body …and that the members may have the same care for one another.”

“Pastoral care” is not done by the ‘paid pastor’ but by the people

People ministering to people … trained to do so by the fivefold pastor

Under the oversight (not control) of a “pastoral elder”

So, the fivefold ministers are trans-local – travelling from church to church in a circuit ministering in local churches

Paul did this and it is recorded in the book of Acts, chapters 13 to 15

Antioch was his home church and they released him according to his call

He travelled through Asia Minor and planted churches and ministered in churches on the island of Cyprus, in Perga, another city called Antioch, to Iconic, Lystra, back to home base, and then on to Jerusalem

And, working with local elders, they “equip the saints for the work of the ministry…”

Elders oversee the local church family:

Acts 14:23 “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

Let’s look at what happens when this is the case:

Ephesians 4:11-16 “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Jesus fulfilled all five ministries during His three years of public ministry…

“He is the apostle of our faith” – Hebrews 3:1

He is a “prophet without honour in His own home town” – John 4:44

He is an evangelist – John 3 and Nicodemus, John 4 and the woman at the well

He is a Pastor – called the Great Shepherd of the sheep – Hebrews 13;20

He is a teacher – “If I then, your Lord and Teacher” – John 13:14

He ascends into Heaven and gives these five ministries – roles – jobs – to various people so that the fullness of His ministry is still available today…

We have built the Church with the main role / only role being that of a “pastor” which is not biblical

And so we don’t have the power punch of the fivefold ministry of Jesus

The five aspects of the Lord’s ministry while here on earth

 

Apostles – Govern

Prophets – Guide

Evangelists – Gather

Pastors – Guard

Teachers – Ground

Each of the fivefold ministers comes in and does the work or the ministry they are called to do

1> They teach and equip and train the people to do the ministry

“…to equip the saints for the work of ministry…”

2> Working with the leaders separately training them to oversee the work and accomplish these five basic tasks – govern, guide, gather, guard, and ground…

3> And, working with (mentoring) those who are in the local church who have the same call on their life as they do

Apostles mentoring the future generation of apostles…and so on

“…for building up the body of Christ…”

This equipping makes each member strong and secure in who they are “in Christ”

This training teaches and even empowers them to fulfill the unique call from God on their personal life

So, the church becomes strong, developing spiritual muscle, well fed, able to accomplish the call that is on it’s life as a family in Christ

“…building up the body…”

So, this building with the fivefold ministers on on and on even today

Did not “peter out with Peter” as some Christian groups teach

“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith…”

Faith here refers to the body of revealed truth that is central and foundational to the Christian faith

The Gospel of the Kingdom

How to live as a believer being in the world but not of the world

Living in love and unity with the other believers within the local assembly

“…and of the knowledge of the Son of God…”

This does not refer to salvation knowledge…

But a deeper understanding of Jesus that comes as we pursue our personal relationship with Jesus

This comes through prayer, study of God’s Word, faithful obedience, relationships with other Spirit-filled believers and the work of the fivefold ministers

“… to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…”

God wants every believer and every local church to manifest the qualities and characteristics of His Son, Jesus

Jesus is the standard for all behaviour and character issues

“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes…”

Spiritually immature believers who are not grounded deeply in a correct understanding of God’s Word tend to receive everything that sounds good without discerning if it is true or false

False teachings are usually only slightly off the truth and sound good and even true unless you are well grounded in God’s Word and what the real truth is

Not just knowing the truth but living and applying it

Much of what is taught today in pulpits, on radio and television and the internet is meant “to tickle people’s ears” and raise money for the specific ministry

I hear little that is Scripturally true

“…Rather, speaking the truth in love…”

We are to “pursue love” (1 Corinthians 14:1) and then always speak in love

God has loved us unconditionally and speaks “truth in love” to us

We are to love all others without any strings attached – to the saved and unsaved

“… we are to grow up in every way into him…”

This is the goal of the Church that Jesus is building – that each of us becomes more and more like Him

This will lead others to notice that we are different and ask us about this difference

The end result being more people joining our faith family here at New Hope

“… who is the head, into Christ

We are the Body of Christ – the Church

He is the Head of the Church … we are all connected to Him and He directs us

He is the “authority” and we follow and submit to Him and His Word

“…from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped…”

The Lord supplies the power we need to be who He has called us to be and do what He has called us to do

“…from whom…”

Everything flow from Him …

“…when each part is working properly…”

Every one has a ministry – work to do for Jesus

Within the fellowship of the saints – the local church

Outside in the community in which we live

The fivefold ministry actively functioning in a local church releases everyone to be “working properly” within the church and into the community

“… makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

Godly, biblical church growth comes from every member of the body fully using their spiritual gifts

Through a life submitted to the Holy Spirit

In cooperation with the other believers – members of the local church

So no “pew-sitters” and no fat sheep

CONCLUSION:

So, we have a new building – New Hope Community Centre

But, we are the Church – New Hope Christian Church

And, there are many new things that we will be experiencing as we move forward in this journey we are on

We have taken another great step in the journey – but it is just one step

And, as we have focused our time, effort, and energy on building and now finishing the building

Jesus is asking us to also turn our attention to building and even rebuilding the Church – the family that assembles in the building

Foundational changes to come into line with the biblical way to build and function

Structural changes to come into biblical order

Simply another couple of steps on the same journey…

And, every step is important!

PRAYER:

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