Which Church? New Testament Churches Celebrated The Lord’s Supper Weekly

Which Church?

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by the Lord Himself on the eve of His crucifixion. In the loaf and cup He was giving tangible emblems of His body and blood, and His command to His disciples was to perpetuate this ordinance in remembrance of Himself. The practice of the early believers in the book of Acts gives guidance regarding the ‘breaking of bread’. A quick glance at the end of chapter two will reveal that the participants were people who had been saved by responding to Peter’s preaching. Subsequently, they were

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Which Church? New Testament Churches Were Instructed By A Number Of Preachers

Which Church?

In Christendom, a system has developed that we call the clerical system, in which one man has almost the sole responsibility of preaching to a congregation week by week. That practice is not based on the teaching of the Bible. In New Testament times, in each local church, a number of men had responsibility for ministering to God’s people. Indeed, every believer had some part to play, for the assembly is likened to a human body with each member playing a vital role. Every believer has been endowed with a spiritual gift that has to be employed for the good of the whole body. To pay one man to bear almost the whole responsibility of helping God’s people is a contradiction of the ‘body of Christ’ aspect of the local church, 1 Corinthians 12:27.

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Which Church? New Testament Churches Were Guided By Overseers

Which Church?

The responsibility for leadership in New Testament assemblies devolved upon overseers, (often translated ‘bishop’ in the King James Version). These men are also described as being elders, that is, men of a mature spiritual experience, 1 Timothy 3:6. They were not elected by the congregation, but appointed by the sovereign choice of the Holy Spirit, Acts 20:28. Certain qualifications had to be met, and these are outlined in 1 Timothy chapter 3, and Titus chapter 1.

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Which Church? New Testament Churches Were Restricted To Christian Membership

Which Church? New Testament Churches Had No Sectarian Title

One sad feature of the present day is that many of the Lord’s dear people are connected to religious systems in which believers and unbelievers are linked. That situation was never the norm in New Testament times. In 1 Corinthians 1:2, Paul described the composition of the church of God at Corinth like this, “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints”. Thus each member was a genuine believer for it is our faith in Christ that sanctifies us, Acts 26:18. He also spoke of assemblies in general as “churches of the saints”, 1 Corinthians 14:33, another indication that there should be an exclusively believing membership.

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Which Church? What Is A Church?

Which Church? What is a Church?

Many people refer to a religious building as a church, but in the New Testament, buildings were never called churches. In fact, there are verses which show that buildings accommodated churches, so obviously, the building itself was not the church. For example, churches met in the homes of Philemon, and Aquila, Philemon 1:2; Romans 16:5. The church was the congregation of people who met in these homes, so the church was made up of

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The Lord’s Gracious Work Of Restoration

2 Corinthians 5:17

“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’” John 21:15

When believers fall, they sometimes falsely think that their service, usefulness, and preciousness to God the Father are at an end. Thankfully, those who have received Christ by faith have become children in His family, and can never

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Entry Level Theological Truth [15]

Entry Level Theological Truth 15 Earth NASA

“Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.” Genesis 2:10-14

 

God created this world with abundant natural resources – chief among them is water. Astronomers and physicists continue to search for this life-sustaining commodity among the planets. Amazingly, it is quite rare, unless you happen to live on earth where it is common. This is not surprising, for the universe itself manifests many instances of fine tuning. In other words, but for the Almighty’s creative mind and power superintending the physical processes of the creation, life would have been impossible.

 


A Unique Planet With Divine Fingerprints All Over It



 

John Lennox, an Oxford mathematician and Christian believer, points to the scientific understanding of this fine tuning of the universe in his book, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?, quoting fellow mathematician Sir Roger Penrose in these words:

Try to imagine the phase space…of the entire universe. Each point in this phase space represents a different possible way that the universe might have started off. We are to picture the Creator, armed with a ‘pin’ – which is to be placed at some point in the phase space…Each different positioning of the pin provides a different universe. Now the accuracy that is needed for the Creator’s aim depends on the entropy of the universe that is thereby created. It would be relatively ‘easy’ to produce a high entropy universe, since then there would be a large volume of the phase space available for the pin to hit. But in order to start off the universe in a state of low entropy – so that there will indeed be a second law of thermodynamics – the Creator must aim for a much tinier volume of the phase space. How tiny would this region be, in order that a universe closely resembling the one in which we actually live would be the result?’

His calculations lead him to the remarkable conclusion that the ‘Creator’s aim’ must have been accurate to 1 part in 10 to the power of 10123, that is 1 followed by 10123 zeros, a ‘number which it would be impossible to write out in the usual decimal way, because even if you were able to put a zero on every particle in the universe there would not even be enough particles to do the job’.*

Citing astrophysicist Hugh Ross, Dr. Lennox affirms that the chances of a life-sustaining planet like earth existing are 1 in 1030.

 


The Sound Of Many Waters



 

The rivers, oceans, and rainfall all show that God providentially designed this planet with mankind’s well-being in mind. As Paul told the Lycaonians: “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17.) Yet in spite of the Lord’s kindness towards human beings, people frequently squander – sometimes ignorantly and sometimes intentionally – the resources that the Creator has placed on the earth.

At times one group of people with-hold needed water and food from others to advance their own cruel political and social agendas (one thinks of Stalin’s treatment of Ukraine’s wheat in the 1930s, Mobutu Sese Seko’s plundering of Zaire’s mineral wealth in the 1980s-90s, and Qaddafi’s theft of Libyan oil over his three decades of tyranny, to name but a few examples.) In spite of these all too common instances of human evil, it does not change the fact that God fashioned this planet to meet man’s needs. This ought to produce thankfulness, “for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28.)

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*John C. Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2007, p. 70.

Photo credit: NASA

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Entry Level Theological Truth [7]

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ Genesis 1:26

Some years ago I remember watching a news report on a fire at the Primate House of a major zoo. The newscast spent a significant amount of time – perhaps five minutes or so – discussing the calamity that befell the popular chimpanzees, apes, monkeys, and other primates. They even remarked that “grief counselors” were brought in to console the grieving employees.

The following story on the newscast concerned an elderly couple who died in a house fire the same day; they were allotted approximately forty-five seconds, and no mention was made of anyone to comfort their bereaved friends and relatives. Fully realizing that people can form strong attachments to animals – especially the cute, clever, or cuddly – this seemed to me to be a ghastly inversion of God’s creation order. Sadly, it is common in our modern culture to elevate beasts to the same level as humans; in some cases, they are even valued above mankind’s needs.

All Creatures Great And Small

Being created in God’s image invests humans with a dignity and destiny far beyond lower orders of creation like animals and plants. As things made by the Creator these lower life-forms are important and must not be misused. Nevertheless, mankind is made with rational and spiritual faculties to interact with their Maker in a relational way. We are created to know, worship, and serve the Lord.

Multitudes fail to see this exalted destiny, instead living as if they were beasts by deadening their consciences and living for their appetites, vain pleasures, and lusts. Rather than find their legitimacy in communing with their Creator, they live as if He is remote, impersonal, and uncaring. When in reality, God is personal and loving – as Paul words it:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring. (Acts 17:26-28)

All Are Precious In His Sight

Because every person is created in God’s image, racism is demonstrated to be false. To value one race over another is to misunderstand Man’s worth to the Almighty. Regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, or nationality, all men are important, for they are all created for God. Of course, their value is greatly enhanced by the fact that the Son of God Himself became a sinlessly perfect man in order to redeem mankind through His sacrificial death on the cross and the triumphant resurrection and ascension afterwards (John 3:16.) Rather than obliterate mankind after the fall, the Lord took steps to preserve them for eternity as well as to elevate them to an enjoyment of life in His presence that was impossible before. By becoming a man, and identifying with the human race, God the Son shows us the importance that the triune Godhead places upon creatures made in the image of God.

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