Ecclesiology (Part one)


ECCLESIOLOGY (Part one)

INTRO:

Ecclesia = Church

Ecclesia, the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority. It was, in this last sense, that the word was adapted and applied by the writers of the New Testament to the Christian congregation.

Ekkleesia in the New Testament never means the building or house of assembly, because church buildings were built long AFTER the apostolic age. It means an organized body, whose unity does not depend on its being met together in one place; not an assemblage of atoms, but members in their several places united to the One Head, Christ, and forming one organic living whole. The bride of Christ the body of which He is the Head.

1Co 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.
1Co 12:13  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.
1Co 12:14  For the body is not one member, but many.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Eph 5:27  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.
Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
Eph 5:31  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.
Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

OUR LORD JESUS HAD THESE WORDS TO THE APOSTLE PETER ONE DAY:

Mat 16:15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 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.

WE SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED AS SOME ARE. JESUS DID NOT SAY UPON THE APOSTLE PETER HE WOULD BUILD HIS CHURCH. JESUS REFERED TO THE STATEMENT THAT PETER SAID:

( Thou art THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD).

THIS IS THE ROCK THAT JESUS SAID HE WOULD BUILD (HIS) CHURCH. THE CHURCH IS BUILT AND STANDS UPON OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

THE CHURCH BEGAN ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST (fifty days).

Act 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Act 2:16  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Act 2:17  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Act 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

AND PETER SAID:

Act 2:29  Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Act 2:30  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Act 2:31  He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Act 2:32  This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Act 2:33  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

WE KNOW THAT THE HOLY GHOST WAS USED IN MANY WAYS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND IN THE DAYS OF JESUS IN THE FLESH IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. THE HOLY GHOST HAD NOW COME TO STAY AND ABIDE INSIDE THE BELIEVER.

THE SMALLEST CHURCH:

Mat 18:20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

THE BIBLE MENTIONS SOME TWENTY THREE CHURCHES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THESE LESSONS WILL COVER SOME BUT NOT ALL OF THE EARLY CHURCH. WE CAN STILL LEARN FROM THESE GROUPS OF THE EARLY SAINTS OF GOD.

I.) THE CHURCH AT JERUSALEM:

This the first church mentioned in the New Testament.

Act 2:38  Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Act 2:40  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
Act 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Act 2:43  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Act 2:44  And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Act 2:45  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Act 2:46  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

   a.) THIS WAS A PREACHING CHURCH.

SALVATION GIVEN BY THE GRACE OF GOD IS SIMPLE AND THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD SHOULD HAVE A SIMPLE MESSAGE:

Rom 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

     b.) THIS WAS A GROWING CHURCH.

Act 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Act 1:16  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Act 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

OUR LORD SAID:

Luk 14:23  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 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.

     c.) THIS CHURCH WAS FIRST PASTORED BY JAMES. (The HALF BROTHER of our Lord Jesus Christ). James is a half brother because:

1.) Jesus was the adopted son of Joseph. [His Father was the Holy Ghost (God)].

2.) James was the son of Joseph and Mary.

Act 15:13  And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

Act 12:17  But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.

Act 21:18  And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

Gal 1:19  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

Gal 2:9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Gal 2:12  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

     d.) This Church was in ONE ACCORD:

Act 2:46  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
 
     e.) This Church had the POWER OF GOD ON THEIR LIVES:

Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Act 2:43  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Act 2:44  And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

Act 5:11  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Act 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

     f.) These New Saints of God were PRAYER WARRIORS:

They had prayed through:

Mat 6:6  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Mat 6:7  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Mat 6:8  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Mat 6:9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mat 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.
Mat 6:12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Mat 6:14  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Mat 6:15  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Psa 34:15  The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

Isa 65:24  And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Eph 3:11  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
Eph 3:12  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Eph 3:13  Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Eph 3:14  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

     g.) This Church was GROUNDED IN THE WORD:

Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

1Pe 2:1  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1Pe 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1Pe 2:3  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Compare:

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

Compare:

Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

2Th 1:3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

2Pe 3:17  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Psa 19:8  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psa 19:9  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psa 19:10  More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

     h.) This was a PURE CHURCH:

Act 5:1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
Act 5:2  And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Act 5:3  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Act 5:4  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
Act 5:5  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
Act 5:6  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
Act 5:7  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
Act 5:8  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
Act 5:9  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
Act 5:10  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
Act 5:11  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

     i.) THIS CHURCH SUPPORTED MISSIONS:

Act 11:22  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

Act 13:2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Act 13:3  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Act 13:4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Act 13:5  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

II.) THE CHURCH AT ANTIOCH (Syria):

Act 11:20  And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

     a.) This Church was founded because of the PERSECUTION OF THE SAINTS OF GOD:

Act 11:19  Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

     b.) The First Pastor of this Church was BARNABUS:

Act 4:36  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

Act 11:22  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

     c.) PAUL was the first ASSISTANT PASTOR of this Church:

Act 11:25  Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
Act 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.

     d.) THE FIRST LOVE OFFERING WAS TAKEN AT ANTIOCH:

We can see that love offerings were a definite part of the early church.

Act 11:29  Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
Act 11:30  Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

And a continuing process:

Rom 15:25  But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
Rom 15:26  For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
Rom 15:27  It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.

     e.) IT WAS IN ANTIOCH THAT PAUL AND BARNABUS RESIGNED TO GO INTO MISSIONARY WORK:

Act 13:1  Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Act 13:2  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
Act 13:3  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Act 13:4  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
Act 13:5  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

     f.) PAUL CAME BACK TO THIS CHURCH LATER TO PREACH AGAINST ” LEGALISM “:

Gal 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Gal 1:1  Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Gal 1:2  And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
Gal 1:3  Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Gal 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
Gal 1:5  To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Gal 1:7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Gal 1:8  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.
Gal 1:9  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.
Gal 1:10  For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Gal 1:11  But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
Gal 1:12  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Gal 1:13  For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

THIS HAS BEEN A CONTINUING THING THROUGHTOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AND CONTINUES MORE AND MORE IN OUR DAYS NOW:

Compare:

Act 13:10  And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Act 15:24  Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:

2Co 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.

2Co 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

1Tim 4:1-3
Tit 1:10-11
2Pe 2:1-3
1Jn 4:1-3
2Jn 1:10-11
Jud 1:4

     g.) The Title “Christian” was first used at ANTIOCH:

The TITLE CHRISTIAN was not given to the early saints  as a title of respect but as a title of REBUKE. ARE YOU PROUD TO BE CALLED A CHRISTIAN?

The name “Christian,”  is used contemptuously, could not have been applied by the early disciples to themselves, but was imposed upon them by the Gentile world. There is no reason to suppose that the name “Christian” of itself was intended as a term of scurrility or abuse, though it would naturally be used with contempt.

Act 26:28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

1Pe 4:16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

NOTE:

There were two Churches of Antioch. The other one was ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA. THESE ARE NOT THE SAME CHURCH LOCATIONS.

Act 13:14  But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

IT IS THIS ANTIOCH THAT IS KNOWN AS THE TURNING POINT OF THE GOSPEL TO THE GENTILES.

Act 13:46  Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Act 13:47  For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
Act 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Amen

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