A Study In Matthew 16
The church is one of God’s great gifts to this age. The church is the bride of Christ—it is not a building or a denomination, but believers who are called, equipped, anointed and filled by the Spirit so that Kingdom work can be accomplished. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ—then church is not something you attend, it is something you are.
It is true that the Church has human leaders and is therefore subject to mistakes and misdeeds. However, Jesus is the head of the Church and both has the desire, and the power, to employ His Church to accomplish His purpose. In this sense we, His Church, are His chosen instrument at this time in history.
The Apostle Paul noted that it is God’s will that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God is to be make known…” (Ephesians 3:10). Yes, there are anointed and eloquent preachers on television, and there are fine Christian books and online resources from which great knowledge can be gleaned. But these fine resources are to compliment one’s involvement in a local church, not replace it. It is God’s plan that His people belong to a local church—for edification, for support, for accountability, and to develop and employ Spirit-given gifts in support of a corporate (local Church) ‘Great Commission’ work. 1 Corinthians 12:18 notes that God Himself plays a role in leading individuals to the church He desires them to support. The Church God leads you to may not be the largest, or staffed by the most capable staff, but the very best place you can be is where God leads you to be. The church has been entrusted to fulfill an incredibly important mission—that mission can only be fulfilled when all respond faithfully to God’s leading, and serve and support the ministry that God calls them to.
In this teaching Pastor Gary profiles the qualities that define a true, bible-based church. Scripture notes that though there will be a ‘falling away’ from truth in the last days, a remnant of true believers will prevail. Let us strive to be counted among them.
Study Notes Are Presented Below:
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST
The Church is:
- A “house of God” (Jud. 18:31; 2 Chr. 5:14; Psa.42:4)
- The “house of the Lord” (Exod. 23:19; Deut. 23:18; Isa. 2:2)
- A “house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13; Isa. 56:7)
- A “family” (“You are a member of God’s family…and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.”) Eph. 2:19 (LB)
- A “place to rejoice” (Deut. 12:11-14)
- A place to praise God (Psa. 111:1, 134:1-3)
- A “sanctuary” (Exod. 25:8; Nu. 3:28; Psa. 20:2)
- The “bride of Christ” (Gal. 6:16; Rev. 21:2,9, 22:1)
- A special place:
- “…my eyes and heart are always there.” (1 Kings 9:3b)
- [It is the] “…special shoot that God planted.” (Isa. 60:21)
The Church is NOT a building, but believers
- We are God’s building (1 Cor. 3:9)
- We are “His house” (Heb. 3:6b)
- The church is a body (1 Cor. 12)
The Church is comprised of believers committed to:
- View all as valuable and important to the Kingdom’s work (1 Cor. 12:14-24)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16a)
- “Confess to one another” (James 5:16b)
- “Love one another” (1 John 4:7)
- “Encourage one another” (Eph. 4:29; 1 Peter 4:11a)
- “Forgive one another” (Eph. 4:32)
- “Bear on another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2)
- Believers are united not by a common race, background or preferences, but by a common need, calling, future and Lord.
About the structure of the New Testament Church
- God calls people to His church—He “sets them in place as it is pleasing to the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:18).
- God equips believers with different gifts and callings so the church will be able to carry-out its “Great Commission” work (Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:4-5; Matt. 28:18-20).
- Biblical Offices in the Church:
- Deacon (Acts 6; 1 Tim. 3:8-13) [The term Deacons is linked to the term servant].
- Shepherd/Pastor (1 Peter 5:2) [spiritual leaders/teachers of the flock in the sense that Jesus presented Himself as the ‘good Shepherd’ in John 10].
- Elder (Titus 1:5-2:15) [Assists the shepherd/pastor in the work of the church and provide spiritual guidance, instruction and administrative oversight of the ministry of the church].
- Overseer (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1) [A general reference to the Pastor or Elders of the Church].
- Bishop [A reference to those who have regional oversight, or leadership over more than one ministry area].
The calling of every church
- Be a “light” to the world (Matthew 5:14)
- Be “salt” (Matthew 5:13)
- Teach, reach, and baptize (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Preach the Gospel/share the truth of God (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
- Follow Jesus’ example (1 John 2:6; John 13:15)
- It is he who saved us and chose us for his holy work, not because we deserved it but because that was his plan.” 1 Tim. 1:9 (LB)
- “Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body [church].” Romans 12:5
- “Since we find ourselves fashioned into these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s… be what we were made to be.” Romans 12:5 (Message)
- “Praise the greatness of the Lord, who loves to see his servants do well.” Psalm 35:27 (NCV)