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Becoming a Christian: Lesson 4 - The All Sufficiency of the church of CHRIST
- The title says it all! The church of CHRIST is capable of doing all that God has purposed it to do. We want to look carefully to see "what sayeth the Scriptures" regarding the church's work and its capacity to carry out God plan.
- It is impossible to have proper respect for Christ without having proper respect for the church He established.
- The work and mission of the church is often distorted. Its nature (a spiritual entity) is misunderstood by many claiming to be followers of Christ.
Let's look at the "All Sufficiency" of the church of CHRIST.
The Work of the Church
- Preach the Gospel to all the world!!
- Matthew 28:18-20: 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Mark 16:15-16: 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
- Acts 8:4: Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
- Christians assembled and participated in the worship of the church.
- Hebrews 10:24-25: 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
- Acts 20:7: On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
- Lord's supper- 1 Corinthians 11:23-26: 23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
- Collection for the saints - 1 Corinthians 16:1-2: 1Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
- Prayer - Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
- Singing -
- Colossians 3:16: Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
- Hebrews 2:12: He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
- Edified by preaching -
- Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
- Ephesians 4:16: From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
- Ministering to the needy "saints" (Christians only) -
- The church assisted the needy Christians in their group -
- Acts 2:44-45:44: 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
- Acts 4:32-35: 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
- The church helped the widows indeed -
- 1 Timothy 5:16: If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
- The church helping other churches of CHRIST relieve their needy members
- Acts 11:27-30: 27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
- This is God's "Pattern" for the work and the worship of the church. The Bible teaches that it did accomplish all that God wanted it to do! Yes, the church of CHRIST is "All Sufficient to do just what He wants it to do, nothing more nothing less!
The church "described" in the book of Ephesians. (Paul's essay on the church)
- Eight pictures of the church are presented:
- Fullness of Christ - Ephesians 1:22-23: 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
- New creation of God- Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- Body of the reconciled- Ephesians 2:11-16: 11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
- Citizens in the kingdom - Ephesians 2:19: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household
- Household of God- Ephesians 2:19: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household
- A holy temple - Ephesians 2:19-22: 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
- God's wisdom - Ephesians 3:1-13: 1For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
- Bride of Christ- Ephesians 5:23: For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
- Each of these pictures emphasize that the church is a relationship, a fellowship of those who belong to Christ.
- Acts 20:28: Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
- All of these views of the church picture God's wisdom. They are the results of His planning.
- Since God planned the church, it must be that the church is all sufficient to accomplish the purpose for which God planned it.
- To deny this is to impeach God's wisdom.
- 1 Corinthians 1:25; For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
- Acts 15:18; things known from long ago.
- Romans 11:33:Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
- To improve on God's plan, man must be wiser than God!
- Jeremiah 10:23; Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
- 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”
To deny the completeness of the church is to deny the completeness of the Bible.
- The Bible makes known ALL of God's will concerning man's redemption, nothing lacking!
- 2 Peter 1:3; His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- We can know what pleases God only by what He has revealed.
- 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 10these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
- The church revealed by the Holy Spirit in this book must be sufficient. If not, then the book is incomplete.
Divine Revelation always sets forth God's Way
- Notice, Matthew 28:20 says, "...I have commanded you"
- Galatians 1:11-12; 11I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 4:6 Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other.
- A perfect revelation cannot set forth imperfect ways, nor can it set forth an imperfect and insufficient institution. God's way revealed in God's Word is SUFFICIENT to ACCOMPLISH GOD'S PURPOSE!
We must be cautious to guard the purity of the church against those who would seek to make changes in God's pattern for the church.
Some objections we must be ready to answer. How would you answer these statements?
- "Maybe the church is sufficient, but the organization is not"
- "The church needs an earthly headquarters, so all of the congregations could be more closely united"
- "A missionary society makes it much more efficient for the church to do its work"
- "The church is not able to take care of its own benevolent responsibilities, therefore we need another organization to accomplish this."
- "We find nothing wrong with one congregation overseeing the money and work of several congregations, as long as all agree to it"
- "Overseers of a local congregation may establish and oversee any organization they find necessary to do the work God gave to the church"
- "We find nothing wrong with a local congregation being involved in social and recreational activities as long as church leaders are in charge"
- God's ways are not only SUFFICIENT, they are ALWAYS BEST!
- Jeremiah 10:23 Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.
- Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
- Isaiah 55:8-9 8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- When we follow God's way it indicates that we have FAITH and TRUST in Him.
- Any departure from God's way indicates UNBELIEF on our part.