What Constitutes a New Testament Church? Part III

3.  Sound Doctrine.

Foundational to sound doctrine is accepting the Bible for what it says about itself.  All scripture is given by inspiration of God (God breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (II Timothy 3:16).  

Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system.  Being a Christian means embracing what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation.  Consider the following truths found in the Bible.*

God Is the Sovereign Creator:  The Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him.  The NT reveals it was Jesus Himself who created all things, therefore He also owns and rules everything.  

God Is Holy:  He cannot commit or approve of evil.  God requires holiness of us as well.  You shall be holy, for I am holy (I Peter 1:16).  

Mankind Is Sinful: Everyone is guilty of sin.  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God (Romans 3:10&11).  

Sin Demands a Penalty: God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekial 18:4).  

Jesus Is Both Lord and Saviour: Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (II Cor. 5:21/Rom. 3:26). 

The Character of Saving Faith: True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin.  Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin, pursue Christ and obey Him.  True saving faith always responds in obedience.*

*Copyright 2013 Heritage Baptist Church, NSC, SD.  Used by permission.

Preach The Word!

The Apostle Paul to Timothy.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

II Timothy 4:1-8

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

What Constitutes a New Testament Church? Part II

2.  Biblical Leadership

A bishop (overseer) then must be blameless (nothing to be laid hold of), the husband of one wife (a one woman man), vigilant (watchful), sober (self-controlled), of good behaviour (orderly), given to hospitality (loving strangers), apt to teach (skilled in teaching); Not given to wine (clear minded), no striker (peaceable), not greedy of filthy lucre (eager for base gain); but patient (gentle), not a brawler (contentious), not covetous (a lover of money);

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?  

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil (the accuser of the brethren).  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. I Timothy 3:2-7

  Definitions are from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, copyright 1984, 1996, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN

What Constitutes a New Testament Church? Part I

                                            1.  Regenerate Membership

A New Testament Church is made up of Christians.  A Christian is an individual who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:5-7

The Greek word translated washing in Titus 3:5 is the word loutron which means bath or laver.  This word loutron is the same word used in Ephesians 5:26 by the apostle Paul when he states: that he (God) might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word.  Loutron is used metaphorically of the Word of God, as the instrument of spiritual cleansing.*

The apostle Peter affirms this by declaring we are born again (to beget or bring forth again; to regenerate), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.   I Peter 1:23

Palingenesia is the Greek word for regeneration in Titus 3:5.  This word is made up of two Greek words: palin which means again and genesis which means birth.*  Does born again sound familiar?

Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (i.e. by the word, Ephesians 5:26/I Peter 1:23) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  John 3:3-5

Are you regenerate?  Have you been born again?

Note: The writer of Hebrews describes the Word of God as quick which means living.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Further Note: What is the meaning of the word church?  

Ekklesia is the Greek word for church; ek meaning out of and klesis meaning to call.  In the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the OT,  this word was used to designate a gathering  of Israel for any definite purpose.  In Christian usage ekklesia refers to either the whole company of the redeemed or to a local assembly of believers.  Simply put, the word for church means the assembly of called out ones.*  The called out ones are the ones called out of the world.

The church is made up of those who have been washed by God from their sins.  As such, the church is unable to wash anyone else since it is made up of those who needed washing themselves.  Only God can wash or regenerate through His Word and by His Spirit. 

The candidate for washing is one who is capable of believing in God’s provision for his sin through the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and who is capable of realizing his own need of forgiveness.

*W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words

….let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….




Christ Jesus – Man of Sorrows

C. H. Spurgeon writes: How completely it takes the bitterness out of grief to know that it once was suffered by Him.

The Macedonian soldiers, it is said, made long forced marches which seemed to be beyond the power of mortal endurance, but the reason for their untiring energy lay in Alexander’s (The Great) presence.  He was accustomed to walk with them, and bear the like fatigue.  If the king himself had been carried like a Persian monarch in a palanquin*, in the midst of easy, luxurious state, the soldiers would soon have grown tired; but, when they looked upon the king of men himself, hungering when they hungered, thirsting when they thirsted, often putting aside the cup of water offered to him, and passing it to a fellow-soldier who looked more faint than himself, they could not dream of repining. Why, every Macedonian felt that he could endure any fatigue if Alexander could.

This day, assuredly, we can bear poverty, slander, contempt, or bodily pain, or death itself, because Jesus Christ our Lord has borne it.  By his humiliation it shall become pleasure to be abased for His sake, by the spittle that distilled on his cheeks it shall become a fair thing to be made a mockery for him.  By the buffeting and the blindfolding it shall become an honor to be disgraced.  And by the cross it shall become life itself to surrender life for the sake of such a cause and so precious a Master!

May the man of sorrows now appear to us, and enable us to bear our sorrows cheerfully.  If there be consolation anywhere, surely it is to be found in the delightful presence of the Crucified… 

Taken from a sermon preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in March 1873.  From the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 63 vols.  London: (Passmore & Alabaster, 1873), 19:121-32.

*Palanquin – An east Asian covered litter carried on poles on the shoulders  of two or four men.  American Heritage Dictionary, copyright 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975 by American Heritage Publishing Co.