THE CHRISTIAN AGE (Part 4)
ON TO PERFECTION (Part 1)
In the last two lessons, we have studied God’s New Testament plan for worship in the Christian age. We have learned that He commands us to be baptized to remove our past sins and when we do this, we are added to the Lord’s church. In the church we are taught to come together on the first day of each week that is Sunday, to partake of the Lord’s Supper, sing, give, teach, pray and have fellowship with one another.
The church of Christ that we read of in the Bible has no “headquarters” on earth. There are no councils, synods etc. to “hold the church together”. It is held together by a common love and by the word of God, the Bible. Members of the church of Christ use only the Bible as their guide and are held together, whether they be in America, China, Africa, Malaysia or anywhere else in the world, by the Bible.
Each congregation of the Lord’s church has elders (also called bishops, pastors and overseers), deacons, teachers, preachers and working members. The elders care for the spiritual welfare of the church. 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1 give the qualifications that a man must have before becoming an elder. Read these carefully and notice that an elder is an older man who is married and has faithful children. He is not a new member of the church and he is a man whom people both in and out of the church respect.
Deacons are appointed to help the elders in carrying out the Lord’s work. Their qualifications are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
Notice that where elders and deacons are mentioned in God’s word, there was never only one. There was always more than one elder or one deacon. Therefore, if we are going to be like the church in the Bible, each congregation should have elders and deacons. These elders and deacons should be appointed as soon as there are men in the church who have the qualifications that we read in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The church at Philippi had bishops and deacons (Philippians 1:1).
In the Lord’s church there are preachers who also serve under the elders. Preachers are never called bishop, elder or pastor (unless they are appointed as an elder as well as a preacher) and they should never be referred to as reverend or Father. Reverence is only to God, our Creator.
In Matthew 23:9 we read, “Do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in heaven”. A man should never be called a name given to God alone.
Each member of the Lord’s church should either be teaching or learning to teach others the will of God. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul tells Timothy to study to show himself approved before God.
We need to study and search the scriptures as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11 “to find out whether these things were so.” This teaches that we are not only to listen to the teachings of any man alone but to see if what they are teaching is from God and where it violates God’s law, we are to listen and follow only what God has commanded us to do in the Bible.
Section 1 - Fill in the blanks
The church of Christ that we read of in the Bible has no ________.
The church of the Bible is held together by a ________and by the ________ of ________.
Each congregation of the Lord’s church has ________, deacons and ________members.
An elder is an _______ man who is _______ and has ________ children (1 Timothy 3).
In the Lord’s church, there is always more than ________ elder in each congregation.
The qualifications of the elders and deacons are found in Titus chapter _______ and 1 Timothy chapter _______.
_______ member of the Lord’s church should either be teaching or learning to teach others the _______ of God.
We need to ________ and ________ the scriptures to see if what we are taught or heard of God as the _______ did in Acts 17:1.
Matthew 23:9 teaches that we are not to call anyone on earth ________ as only God in heaven is our ________.
Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15 exhorts us to ________ to show ourselves _______ before God.
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