THE CHRISTIAN AGE
In our last 2 lessons, we discussed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which were essential facts that constitute the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We will now study on how one may obey the gospel. When a person obeys the gospel of Christ, God forgives his sins and adds him to the church that Jesus built (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:47, Matthew 16:18).
Our lesson now will be devoted to a study of the church we read about in the New Testament. Jesus Christ himself is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18). When Jesus ascended to heaven, it was God who "gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). In as much as the CHURCH is the BODY and there is but ONE body, we can readily see that the New Testament presents but ONE CHURCH and Christ is its head (Ephesians 4:4).
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus told His disciples that He was going to build His church. On that same occasion He told Peter that He would give him the keys to the kingdom. Later we will learn that Peter was given the information which was essential for lost souls to enter the kingdom, which is the church that came into existence on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. Therefore, when we refer to the church in this lesson we do not mean the building; we have reference to the people who have rendered obedience to the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:41). By making a careful study of the passages mentioned above, one can see that the church is the kingdom and the kingdom is the church.
In Mark 9:1, we read Jesus told the people standing there that some of them that He was talking to at that time would not die before the kingdom (or church) come. From this we know that it should have come soon after Jesus said this. This same verse also tells us that the kingdom would come with POWER.
Acts 1:8 tells us that they (the apostles) would receive POWER when the Holy Spirit came upon them. Therefore, if the time of the coming of the Holy Spirit can be determined, we will know exactly when the kingdom (or church) had its origin. In Acts 2, we find that the Holy Spirit came and the apostles were filled with it (Acts 2:1-4). They began to speak in other languages (tongues) so that all those who were there in Jerusalem could understand what they were saying; for there were Jews who were from all parts of the world.
At this time, (Acts the second chapter) we find Peter using the “keys” that Jesus had given him. Peter preached the first gospel sermon on this day and by this preaching, he opened the doors to the church.
Up until this time, each time the church was mentioned it was in the future, but after Peter preached this sermon and many obeyed the gospel, the church was being mentioned as in the past. The first time we read of the church after it had been established was Acts 2:47. Here we find that God added to the church those that were being saved.
In our next lesson we see what we must do to be added to Christ’s church.
Section 1 - Fill in the blanks
In Ephesians 4:4, we are told that there is ______ body, and that body is the _______ (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Jesus said Matthew 16:18 - 19 that He was going to build ________ church. Therefore the church of the Bible belongs to _______ and He is the _______ of the church, Colossians 1:18.
In Mark 9:1, Jesus told those people standing with Him then that some of them would see the _________ or _______ come before they die.
Jesus said that the kingdom would come with __________ (Mark 9:1).
Acts 1:8 tell us that the __________ would receive _________ when the _________ __________ come upon them.
Section 2 - True or False
The Church and the kingdom are different.
The church is an assembly of people who have rendered obedience to the gospel of Christ, Acts 2:41.
In Acts 2 when the apostles received the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in tongues which is actually languages so that the people could understand the message.
We can learn from Acts 2:47 that people do not pick or join the church of the Bible, but God adds the saved to the church which is also His body.
If we do just what we read in the Bible, we can only be members of the one church where Christ is the head.
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