History of the Lord's Church

Introduction:

  1. Many people misunderstand the church of our Lord.
  2. They do not appreciate the significance of His kingdom as being spiritual in nature.
  3. Often this is due to the fact that they do not know its history or purpose of existence.

 Discussion:

I.                   THE CHURCH WAS WITHIN THE MIND OF GOD BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.

A.     The church was not an after thought, but rather within God’s eternal purpose for the redemption of mankind.

1.                In writing to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul declared, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Eph. 1:4).

a.         The Lord did not predestinate us as individuals, but predestinated that all who obey the gospel will be added to the church, which is His spiritual kingdom.

 Acts 2:47, “Praising God, and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

 Col. 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

b.         Contrary to the claims of many denominations, the church was not an after thought of God, but was within His eternal purpose.

 Eph. 3:10-11, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”

c.         There were Jews who were going to force Jesus to be a king over a physical kingdom.

 John 6:15, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”

 II.                THE PROPHETS PROPHESIED OF THE FUTURE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LORD’S CHURCH.

A.     The prophet Isaiah foretold of the establishment of the Lord’s spiritual house in which those of all nations would flow unto it.

Isa. 2:2-3, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths:  for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

1.                The Great Commission is now in effect.

 Matt. 28:18-20, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:  and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen.”

 B.     Daniel interpreted the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (Dan. 2:31-44).

(The Lord’s spiritual kingdom would be established during the time of the fourth empire from the time in which he spoke.  From the Babylon Empire, there would be the kingdoms of Medo-Persia, the Greek Empire, and then the Roman Empire.  The Lord’s eternal spiritual kingdom would be established during the time of the Roman Empire.)

Dan. 2:44, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed:  and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

 III.             DURING THE PERSONAL MINISTRY OF THE SON OF GOD, HE PROMISED TO BUILD HIS CHURCH.

A.     Jesus Christ promised to build His church, which is His spiritual kingdom.

1.                During the personal ministry of both John the Baptist and the Son of God, they spoke of the kingdom as being nigh at hand (Matt. 3:1-2; 4:17).                                            

B.     Our Lord revealed in what manner His spiritual kingdom would come into existence.

Matt. 16:18-19, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

 Mark 9:1, “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have been the kingdom of God come with power.”

 Luke 24:46-49, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you:  but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

 Acts 1:6-8, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

 IV.              ON THE FIRST PENTECOST AFTER THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST, HIS CHURCH CAME INTO EXISTANCE. 

A.     His spiritual kingdom, the church, came with power as the Son of God had promised that it would.

 Acts 2:1-5, 47, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

 …And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

B.     After that Pentecost, the church / kingdom is spoken of as being in existence.

 Acts 8:1, “…the church which was at Jerusalem;…”

 Col. 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

 V.                 THE APOSTLES FOREWARNED OF A GREAT DIGRESSION FROM THE FAITH.

A.     A departure from the faith can and usually does begin in a local congregation.

 Acts 20:28-31, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” 

 1 Cor. 1:10-13,  “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Clo’e, that there are contentions among you.  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?  Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul.”

                B.     The Apostle Paul foretold of a general departure from the faith.

 1 Tim. 4:1-3, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

VI.              AFTER THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CHURCH IN THE FIRST CENTURY, THERE WAS A CONTINUAL DIGRESSION FROM THE FAITH THAT HAD ONCE AND FOR ALL BEEN DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS.

A.     History records the digression and the development of denominationalism.

1.                In 606 the Catholic Church appointed their first Pope.  He became head of their church (2 Thess. 2:1-12).

 1 Tim. 4:1-3, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” 

a.         After the church was established, the Son of God is declared to be head of the church, not the Pope.

 Col. 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church:  who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

 Eph. 1:22-23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” 

B.   In the 1500s the Reformation took place with Martin Luther.

                           1.       Thereafter, hundreds of denominations came into.

                                           existence. 

1 John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:  because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 

1 Cor. 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 

1 Cor. 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

 VII.           THE ERA OF THE RESTORATION.

(Brother Keith Sisman, a faithful gospel preacher in England, has traced the Lord’s church through the centuries.  Evidence indicates that the church of Christ has continually existed throughout the centuries since its establishment in the first century.  We can also be certain that it continually existed by way of the inspired Word of God.  The Word of God is the seed of His kingdom, Luke 8:11).

A.     In the 17 and 1800s there were those who returned to the Bible pattern to restore pure New Testament Christianity.  In so doing, they did not establish a new church, but returned to the one already established.

1.                The planting of the pure and unadulterated Word of God will produce Christians and only Christians. 

1 Pet. 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;…” 

1 Pet. 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 

Luke 8:11, “Now the parable is this:  The seed is the word of God.” 

2.                We must place our trust in the inspired Word of God, not in the creeds of uninspired men. 

Matt. 24:35, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” 

1 Cor. 4:6, “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” 

B.     We must refrain from digressing to the right or left of legalism and liberalism.

 Josh. 1:7-9, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee:  turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:  for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:  for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

a.         What was true of those living under the old covenant, is also true of those of us who are living under the new covenant.                                                  

C.     The Son of God has the priority of determining what shall be bound on earth and what shall be loosed. 

Matt. 16:19, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:  and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (See also Matt. 18:18). 

D.    The legalistic antis attempt to bind where the Lord has not bound.

1.                These include:  anti multiple cups, anti multiple Bible classes, anti orphan homes and anti cooperation.                                               

E.     The liberals attempt to loose us from a “thus saith the Lord.”

1.                These include:  they deemphasize baptism, add innovations into the worship service, promote women taking leading parts in the worship services of the church, have no objection to women serving as elders, deacons, and preachers, promote a new hermeneutics (claiming that the letters of the New Testament are only love letters), attempt to loose from the Lord’s teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage, and promote fellowship of those outside the spiritual body of Christ. 

VIII.        WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE LORD’S CHURCH?

A.     The church of Christ, which is the spiritual kingdom of our Lord, has never been destroyed and never will be. 

Heb. 12:28, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” 

B.     When the Lord returns, He will find both faithful and unfaithful citizens in His spiritual kingdom, which is His church. 

Matt. 12:41-43, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire:  there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  

C.     When Christ returns at the end of time, He will receive His kingdom and deliver it unto the Heavenly Father. 

1 Cor. 15:23-24, “But every man in his own order:  Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” 

Conclusion:

   The church of Christ is the redeemed.  It is the responsibility of the church of our Lord to uphold the doctrine of Christ, which is His gospel.  

   Our Lord’s church, which is His spiritual bride, must remain pure in doctrine, in practice, and in the heart.  

Eph. 5:25-27, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife loveth himself.”  

--Dub Mowery


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