“What does God command and where do you stand?”
Everyday, sincere individuals ask this timeless question. If you are searching for the answer, you are cordially invited to join us in our
Gospel Meeting and Congregational Singing
Speaker: Brian Birdow of Caddo Mills Church of Christ
Saturday, September 20 – 5 p.m.
Refreshments to follow in the annex
Sunday, September 21st
9:30-10:30 a.m. – Bible Classes (all ages)
10:30 a.m. – Worship Service
Pot-Luck following service
2:00 p.m. – Evening Worship
Monday, September 22nd – Wednesday, September 24th
6 p.m. – Meal served nightly
7 p.m. – Service
For me…He decended from glory;
For Me…He suffered and died;
For Me…He climbed Calvry’s mountain,
To die with two thieves at His Side
For me…Thorns were placed on His forehead
For Me…His flesh was battered and torn;
For me…He was laid in the garden
To rise on a bright Sunday morn
For Him…We meet at the table;
For Him…We give thanks in His name;
For Him…We partake of the emblems,
To remember the reason He Came
The early church and her beginning
When we read Luke’s second letter to Theophilus (Acts) we see the wonderful beginning and spread of Christianity. Peter as well as the rest of the disciples are full of the Holy Spirit and they are in the city of Jerusalem. The occasion is Pentecost and only a few weeks have past since the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Peter begins to preach at Pentecost to those Jews who were responsible for killing the Christ (Acts 2:14). His powerful, inspired message convicts certain ones in the crowd and they respond by asking the question “Men and brethren what shall we do”? Peter responds “repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38). They that gladly received the word (his teaching) were baptized (Acts 2:41).
Lets us now pay close attention to what these now Christians did after obeying the gospel.
“And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles DOCTRINE, FELLOWSHIP, BREAKING OF THE BREAD, AND PRAYERS (Acts 2:42 Emp. B.B). If we are going to be like the early church we too must devote ourselves just like they did. It is for this cause that I have written four different articles focusing on each one of these very important parts of Christianity.
What is the church of Christ?
Before God ever said “let there be light” (Gen. 1:3), He had, in His mind, already purposed or set before a way in which He would redeem man back to Himself. The Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians:
“According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”. Also reference Eph. 3:9-11; 1 Pet. 1:20; Acts 20:28; Acts 15:19 for more information.
As the Old Testament unfolded, numerous prophecies predicting the coming of the church were recorded by inspired prophets of God. For instance, God told David that after he was dead and buried one of his descendants would “build an house for my name” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). According to 1 Timothy 3:15, the house of God “is the church of the living God.” Therefore, the Bible teaches that after David was dead and buried the church would be built.
Furthermore, Old Testament prophets revealed that this house or church would be established in “the last days” in the “top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall come and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:2-3; cf. Micah 4:1-4). In summary, these passages show that the church would be established:
- After King David was dead and buried
- In the last days
- In Jerusalem
In Matthew 16:18-19, after hearing Peter confess that He was the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus said:
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. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
From this passage we may ascertain the following things:
- The church of Jesus Christ had not yet been built
- The church would be built upon the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God
- The church is the same thing as the kingdom for it would be absurd for Jesus to build one thing and give Peter the keys to something else. Keys open doors and grant entrance. The apostles would teach and have taught what one must do in order to come into a covenant relationship with God (Acts 2:36-41).
- The church would be governed by the apostolic authority conferred upon the apostles by Jesus Christ. (John 16:13, 1 Cor.11:1, Acts 15, 1 Cor.14:37-38)
Since the church is the same thing as the kingdom, when John the Immerser prepared the way for the Lord by proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven was “at hand” (Isa. 40:3-5; Matt. 3:1ff), he was essentially saying that the establishment of the church was “at hand.” Even Jesus began traveling around the region of Galilee, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17).
After calling the twelve apostles, He dispatched them on a mission to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, saying, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 10:7). He sent out the seventy, instructing them to tell their hearers “The kingdom of God is come nigh or near unto you” (Luke 10:9). In fact, the coming of the kingdom was so near that Jesus promised some that they would not die until they had seen the kingdom come with power (Mark 9:1).
Just prior to His ascension Jesus commanded His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they received power from on high (Luke 24:49). This power would come upon the apostles after the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8).
Thus, from the paragraphs above we have learned the following things about the church of Christ:
- It was in the eternal purpose of God
- It would be established after David was dead and buried
- It would be established in Jerusalem
- It would be established in the last days
- It would be built by Christ
- The time of its establishment was “at hand” during the days of John the Immerser, Jesus, and the apostles;
- It would be established during the lifetime of some of those whom Jesus addressed in Mark 9:1
- It would come with power
- The power would come from on high
- The power would come after the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles.