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An Introduction to Church Doctrine Study February 10, 2007

Posted by mjtilley in church, Jesus Christ.
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A couple of weeks ago, before we actually started our study of Ephesians, Matthew offered some thoughts on the church, based on Gamaliel’s discourse in Acts 5:34-40.  The observations made by the Pharisee (that’d be Gamaliel … not Matthew, at least as far as the passage is concerned) indicate several fundamental truths about the church.

  1. Anything can be called a “church.”  The word “church” is simply a label put on people who gather together.  The English word is translated from the Greek “eklesia” which means “a called out assembly.” In Acts 5, Gamaliel rightly notes that Theudas and Judas essentially lead “churches,” yet their followers were met with ruin.
  2. The true test of a church is its foundation.  To see what the apostles (particularly Peter, who is under scrutiny here) were depending on as their foundation, look at Acts 3 and Acts 5:29-32.  It’s obvious, their foundation was Christ; their message was Christ-centered!  In Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus notes that the foundation of the church was the fact that He was God, the Christ.  Therefore, Freedom Baptist Church will only be a true, real and useful church if it is the church of Jesus Christ.
  3. Only a true, God-founded church will succeed.  Gamaliel says, “if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it” (Acts 5:39).  And Jesus says in Matthew 16:18: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  No matter what I do (or don’t do) … no matter what the world and the devil tries: a church founded on Jesus will be triumphant!
  4. But that success comes from God alone.  In the Matthew 16 passage, before noting that the church will succeed, Jesus notes that He was the one who would build it.  Looking at I Corinthians 3:17, Paul — under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit — notes that for all our labors, it is God who gives the increase.
  5. Yet God has offered me the privilege of laboring with Him.  Notice I Corinthians 3:11-20.  Paul makes it clear that the perfect foundation is Jesus and that God is the one who causes success and growth.  However, Paul also uses the image of a building and a garden to show that we have the responsibility and opportunity to co-operate, to be a co-laborer with God.  What a privilege!

You can listen to or download the entire lesson from archives.org.

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