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(KING JAMES VERSION USED IN PREPARING THESE LESSONS)
LESSON TEN -- ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH
In the New Testament Christ has provided the complete and unchangeable pattern for the organization of the church. If any human being presumes to change this pattern, such action violates the authority of Christ, and shows a lack of faith in the Word of God. The Father in Heaven would not permit Moses to change even ONE measurement of the Tabernacle. Let us be impressed that the Book of Hebrews demands this same principle of faith today. It says in Hebrews 8:5, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the PATTERN shewed to thee in the mount.”
People do not always think like God thinks (please read Isaiah 55:8-9). Being dissatisfied with the simple New Testament arrangement, creed-makers have devised many different kinds of church government. But the same Divine authority which gave the doctrine also gave the organization. If men cannot improve on the TEACHING of Christ, then by what principle can they improve on HIS PLAN for organization? In this lesson we want to study what God has revealed on the subject, as we see FOUR GREAT FACTS -- Please study them carefully:
FACT NUMBER ONE: In the New Testament the church in each community was complete in itself, with bishops (overseers), deacons (servants)•and members . . .
A. Philipplans 1:1, Paul addressed this Letter “to all the _____________________ in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the _______________________ and _______________________ .”'
B. Bishops also are called ____________________. (Look closely at Titus 1:5-7)
C. There was a PLURALITY of bishops or elders in every church. Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them ____________________ in __________________ church . . .”
D. Another word for “elder” or “bishop” is “pastor” (IN THE LORD’S CHURCH, PREACHERS ARE NOT CALLED “PASTOR,” BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ELDERS). A bishop is one who oversees. A pastor is one who feeds and watches for the flock. ELDERS DO BOTH:
1. Acts 20:17, Paul sent to the city of Ephesus, “and called the ___________________ of the __________________ .” Note that in verse 28 he said to them, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the ____________________ , over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you _________________________ , to _________________ the ____________________ . . .”
2. The obligation of saints (Christians) to elders -- Hebrews 13:17, “ ___________________ them that have the ________________ over you, and _______________________ yourselves: for they __________________ for your _________________ . . .”
E. The qualifications for men to be elders are given in 1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, beginning with “desiring the work,” count all the qualifications Paul gives, down through “having a good report from without.” How many did you count? _______________
F. The qualifications for deacons are given in 1 Timothy 3. Which verses? _______________
FACT NUMBER TWO: Every New Testament church had complete autonomy and was free from all other churches, and from any ecclesiastical organization or authority. In other words, every church was independent of any denominational headquarters, and was responsible only to the Lord.
A. 1 Peter 5:1, “The ______________________which are among you I exhort . . :” See Verse 2, “ ____________ the ________________of ___________ which is _____________ __________ , taking the _____________________________ __________________________ . . :” (This circumscribes or LIMITS the work of elders to the church WHERE THEY ARE MEMBERS. There is no passage which authorizes elders of one church to do the work of another church, or to function for it in any way, as elders. If you know of such a passage, please give the reference here: _______________________________
B. In evangelism each church did its own work - 1 Thessalonians 1:8, “For from____________ sounded out the ________________ of the _________________ . . .”
C. In benevolence each church did its own work -- Please read Acts 6:1-7.
D. When one church had more needy members than it could provide for, other churches sent a contribution; But in doing so, each one did its own work of selecting its own messengers and sending its contribution directly TO the need (not THROUGH a “sponsoring church,” or through any human organization) -- Please read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.
FACT NUMBER THREE: God has no organism other than the church to do His work.
A. This is simply saying there is no passage which authorizes an organization to develop within the church, such as a Bible class treasury, a ladies’ aid society, various committees, etc. If you know of such a passage, please give the reference: ________________________
B. This is also saying there is no passage which authorizes church support of an organization outside the church, such as a missionary society, benevolent society, college, hospital, etc. etc. Again, if you know a passage, please give the reference: _________________________
FACT NUMBER FOUR: If we want to be members of the TRUE church and have the hope of Heaven, we must make a complete return to the PATTERN of organization God has revealed in His Word. Remember John 12:48!
-- TRUE OR FALSE (CIRCLE ONE) --
True / False 1. A number of churches are to be under the control of one bishop.
True / False 2. Each church is overseen by a “board of deacons”
True / False 3. Each church has one pastor, and he is the preacher (See FACT ONE, D., Page 1)
True / False 4. An elder is to be the husband of one wife.
True / False 5. A deacon must have his children in subjection.
True / False 6. Elders of a church may receive funds from, and do work for, other churches.
True / False 7. Auxiliary organizations to do the work of the church are scriptural.
True / False 8. If we are saved, we must accept THE PATTERN the Bible gives for organization.
++ Lesson 11 Will Be "THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH" ++
(remember to tell your friends about this course and ask them to participate. Also, if you have questions, please let us know. We are here to help you.)
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