The New Testament Church 0001 - Lesson 2

The Church Defined (Continued)

  1. LOCAL VERSUS UNIVERSAL
    1. According to the Scriptures
      1. The Lord’s church that He would build (Matthew 16:18)
        1. This is a difficult passage to judge.
        2. The church referenced here would appear to be all future believers.
        3. The only problem is that the gates of hell appear to be fighting against it, and in reality the gates of hell are fighting against individual bodies of believers.
      2. An individual body of believers that are gathered together to hear of disciplinary action (Matthew 18:17)
      3. The Lord added to the church such as should be saved (Acts 2:47).
        1. This is another difficult passage.
        2. The people gathered for Pentecost were from various places.
        3. It appears though, that the people who believed stayed in Jerusalem to continue to worship with the other believers.
        4. This would lead us to believe they were a local body of believers.
      4. The local body of believers in Jerusalem (Acts 5:11)
      5. The local body of believers in the wilderness (Acts 7:38)
      6. The local body of believers at Jerusalem (Acts 8:1)
      7. The local body of believers at Jerusalem (Acts 8:3)
      8. Multiple local bodies of believers throughout Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria (Acts 9:31)
      9. The local body of believers at Jerusalem (Acts 11:22)
      10. The local body of believers at Antioch (Acts 11:26)
      11. Herod stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church (Acts 12:1).
        1. This passage could be arguable.
        2. Could Herod have been persecuting multiple bodies of believers? Sure, he could have.
        3. It would, however, appear that this was specifically aimed at the church at Jerusalem. If this is true, then this is another reference to a local body of believers.
      12. Prayer was made of the church of God (Acts 12:5).
        1. This is another difficult passage.
        2. Could multiple bodies of believers from various locations have been praying for Peter? Sure, they could have.
        3. Yet, it would appear that this is specifically talking about the group found in Acts 12:12-17.
        4. Note: This was not the complete body of believers.
      13. The local body of believers at Antioch (Acts 13:1)
      14. Multiple bodies of believers (Acts 14:23)
      15. The local body of believers at Antioch (Acts 14:27)
      16. Paul, Barnabas and Titus were brought on their way by the church (Acts 15:3).
        1. This is a difficult passage.
        2. Perhaps they are talking about the local body of believers at Jerusalem where they are heading.
        3. Perhaps they are talking about doing something under the authority of the local body of believers at Antioch from where Paul was sent.
        4. Perhaps it is talking about multiple bodies of believers who assisted them on their journey. This would mean the phrase “the church” is used to denote multiple churches.
        5. Perhaps the passage is talking about “the church” of Galatia, but the problem is there were multiple churches in Galatia (Galatians 1:2) and this passage says “the church.” This again would denote that the phrase “the church” could be used for multiple churches.
      17. The local body of believers at Jerusalem (Acts 15:4, 22)
      18. Multiple bodies of believers in Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41)
      19. Multiple bodies of believers (Acts 16:5)
      20. The local body of believers at Caesarea (Acts 18:22)
      21. Multiple bodies of believers possibly of false religion (Acts 19:37)
      22. The local body of believers at Ephesus (Acts 20:17, 28)
      23. The local body of believers at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1)
      24. Multiple bodies of believers (Romans 16:4)
      25. The local body of believers in the house of Priscilla and Aquila (Romans 16:5)
      26. Multiple bodies of believers (Romans 16:16)
      27. Gaius hosts the whole church (Romans 16:23).
        1. Gaius was hosting Tertius.
        2. This could mean that Gaius hosted people from his own local body of believers.
        3. More than likely this is stating that Gaius was a host to all believers who came by his way.
      28. The local body of believers at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:2)
      29. Multiple bodies of believers (1 Corinthians 4:17)
      30. The local body of believers at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:4)
      31. Multiple bodies of believers (1 Corinthians 7:17)
      32. Give none offence to the church of God (1 Corinthians 10:32).
        1. This passage seems very strongly to point toward multiple churches being labeled as “the church of God.”
        2. Notice the groups
          1. Jews – all Jews
          2. Gentiles – all Gentiles
          3. The church of God – all the saved
      33. Multiple bodies of believers (1 Corinthians 11:16)
      34. The local body of believers in Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:18, 22)
      35. God’s positioning of servant in “the church” (1 Corinthians 12:28)
        1. The passage is dealing with the “body of Christ” at Corinth (1 Corinthians 12:27).
        2. The passage then goes on to discuss people who were placed in the church.
        3. The first group mentioned is apostles. So which apostles were first placed in the body at Corinth? Another good question is did all bodies of believers begin with apostles in their midst?
        4. The honest answer is that this passage seems to speak of the church as a larger body than just a local body of believers.
      36. The local body of believers at Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:4, 5, 12)
      37. A local body of believers (1 Corinthians 14:19)
      38. A local body of believers (1 Corinthians 14:23)
        1. Notice the word “whole.” Apparently part of the people can constitute a church.
        2. Notice also that unbelievers are not part of the church though they can come into its midst.
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 31:11

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.