The last post make, we looked at the work of John the Baptist and how he prepared the way for Jesus Christ. John had the material ready and waiting for Jesus to call from the shores of Galilee and begin His church. Take note that this is a physical work that can be seen and observed. Just a side note here – if there ever were a universal invisible church, surely it was here because these people were saved and baptized and for religious liberals today, salvation is the only requirement for membership in that mystical body of believers they say is the universal invisible church.
Jesus operates contrary to this popular misconceived heresy. Jesus knew there was not a universal invisible church, therefore He called these men from the seashores of Galilee, from their occupation of fishermen; Jesus then established them in a visible, local church. Here is the beginning of the church. Man has to arbitrarily move the beginning of the church to the day of Pentecost to allow for the heresies of – universal invisible church, close and open communion, believers baptism. Man wants what man wants and God and His Son become irrelevant in the Church that Jesus built. Matt. 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.” Many people bandy this passage about but do not be mislead. This passage makes the statement that the church was built upon Jesus. Notice the terminology, “I”. The day of Pentecost is too late for Jesus to use the word “I”. Note “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The church Jesus built never went out of existence and never protested and came out of the church of Rome, therefore the church Jesus built is NOT any protestant denomination.
Here is what the bible teaches – The church is a visible church of Christ and is a congregation of baptized believers; associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel of Christ; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its only scriptural officers are bishops or pastors and deacons; whose qualifications, claims and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.
THE CHURCH WAS SET UP DURING THE PERSONAL MINISTRY OF JESUS.
1. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the material (Isa. 40:3; Matt. 3:1-3; Luke 1:17).
2. Jesus took the material prepared by John and set up His church. Peter and Andrew were called out (Matt. 4:18-22; Acts 1:20-23).
3. The church is the executive in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 16:19).
4. Jesus and John preached that the kingdom was at hand (Matt. 3:1,2; 4:17).
5. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 9:35).
6. The kingdom was suffering violence then (Matt. 11:12).
7. The kingdom was in the midst of men (not hearts) (Luke 17:20,21).
8. Some refused to enter, and hindered others from doing so (Matt. 23:13).
9. Jesus said there was no doubt the kingdom “is come upon you” (Luke 11:20).
THE CHURCH BEFORE PENTECOST (FIVE PROOFS).
1. They had authority to baptize before Pentecost (John 4:1,2; Matt 28:19,20). No authority to do anything was given at Pentecost; there was an exercise of previously given authority.
2. They had a law of discipline before Pentecost (Matt. 18:15-17).
3. They had the Lord’s Supper before Pentecost (Luke 22:19).
4. They had heard Jesus sing in the church (Psalm 22:22; Matt. 26:30; Heb. 2:12).
5. They transacted business (Acts 1:15-26). Elected Matthias to take Judas’ place.
6. They had a church treasurer, Judas.
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH IS LOCAL IN NATURE (Not Universal Nor Invisible).
1. The church in Jerusalem was local (Acts 1:12-26).
2. There was a local church in Antioch (Acts 11:26; 13:1).
3. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth” (I Cor. 1:2).
4. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth” (II Cor. 1:1).
5. “Unto the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2; plural number – local).
6. “Unto the saints which are at Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1; Acts 20:17).
7. “To all the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse” (Col. 1:2).
8. “To the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).
10. “John to the seven churches whichare in Asia” (Rev. 1:4).
11. “Tell it unto the church” (Matt. 18:17).
All of the above scriptures speak of a local church at a given place. There are some statements of general character in Ephesians which speak of things pertaining to any local church, but there are no scriptures that speak of an invisible or a universal church.
JESUS PROMISED PERPETUITY TO HIS CHURCH (Matthew 16:18; 28:20; Ephesians 3:21).
His churches have continued to this day having been know by different names in history: Christians, Montanists, Novations, Donatists, Paulicians, Albigenses, Petro-Brussians, Waldenses, Ana-Baptists, Baptists.
THE REASON FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF HIS CHURCH THROUGH ALL AGES.
1. That the message of salvation might be perpetuated (Matt. 16:18-20).
2. That He might have a people contending for the faith system (Jude 3).
3. That He might have a people to call His own name and claim as His bride (Acts 15:14; Eph. 5:22-33).Technorati Tags: church, pentecost, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, perpetual, existence