The New Testament Church 0002 - Lesson 3

Its Organization (Continued)

  1. THE STRUCTURE OF A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
    1. Its Independence
      1. Problems
        1. The council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-35)
          1. The problem (Acts 15:1)
          2. The determination of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:2-3)
          3. The presentation of the problem (Acts 15:4-5)
          4. The meeting of the apostles and elders (Acts 15:6-21)
            1. The consideration of the apostles and elders (Acts 15:6)
            2. The dispute of these matters (Acts 15:7)
            3. The words of Peter (Acts 15:7-11)
            4. The evidence set forth by Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:12)
            5. The words of James (Acts 15:13-18)
            6. The decision (Acts 15:19-21)
          5. The outcome of the meeting (Acts 15:22-29)
            1. The sending of ambassadors (Acts 15:22)
            2. The writing of letters (Acts 15:23-29)
          6. The reception of the news (Acts 15:30-35)
        2. The authority demonstrated by Paul
          1. At Corinth
            1. His call to follow him (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1)
            2. His threat to come in wrath (1 Corinthians 4:21)
            3. They wrote to Paul for answers (1 Corinthians 7:1).
            4. His collection for Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
            5. His statement concerning his letters (2 Corinthians 10:8-10)
          2. With Timothy
            1. He instructed Timothy to abide at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3-4).
            2. He gave Timothy charges (1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:13-14; 2 Timothy 4:1-2).
            3. He told Timothy what to teach (1 Timothy 4:11).
          3. With Titus
            1. He left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5).
            2. He appointed Titus to ordain elders (Titus 1:5).
            3. He instructed Titus on what to teach (Titus 2:1, 15).
      2. Evidence for independence
        1. They received members.
        2. They practiced church discipline (Galatians 6:1).
        3. They sent out missionaries (Acts 13:1-4).
        4. They partook of the Lord’s Supper.
    2. Its Leadership
      1. In heaven (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:18)
      2. On earth
        1. Bishops or elders
          1. They are made overseers by the Holy Ghost (Acts 20:28).
          2. They are over the church in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
          3. They are to take care of the church of God (1 Timothy 3:4-5).
          4. They are to be remembered, obeyed, and saluted (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24).
          5. They are to take the oversight (1 Peter 5:1-4).
        2. Deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13)
    3. Its Authority
      1. Given by the Lord
        1. The administration of the ordinances (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
        2. The sending of missionaries (Acts 13:1-4)
        3. The discipline of its members (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)
      2. Not to be replaced
        1. By Bible colleges
        2. By mission boards
        3. By individuals
        4. By corporations
      3. Not to be usurped
        1. By conventions
        2. By fellowships
    4. Its Teachings
      1. Built on the Word of God
      2. Both doctrinal and practical
      3. Propagated by all (2 Timothy 2:2)
    5. Its Responsibility (Acts 1:8)
  2. THE ORGANIZATION OF A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
    1. Note: The following principles are not directly from the Word of God. These principles do not in any way conflict with the Scriptures and are built upon methods that have worked in the history of Baptist churches.
    2. Request Independence
      1. Church planting endeavors may begin with a small number of people sent out by another body for the purpose of establishing a work in a new area.
      2. As this new work prospers and continues to build up in number, it may desire to seek independence from its sending church.
      3. At such a time, the new work should write the sending church and request independence. Here is an example from history: A letter to Old Center Baptist Church in Logan County Kentucky – “The return of the Arm which received into full fellowship James Moore, . . . the Arm requests help from the body to inquire into their strength and if found capable of keeping of house to constitute them into a church.” – taken from Pioneer Baptist Church Records of South-Central Kentucky and the Upper Cumberland of Tennessee 1799-1899 pg. 29
    3. Establish Articles of Faith
      1. The order of these things could easily be contested, but it seems wise to first establish the articles of faith so that all other decisions are based upon these principles.
      2. These should be done as thorough as possible in the beginning.
      3. These should be mostly, if not exactly, like that of the sending church.
    4. Establish Bylaws and Constitution
      1. Bylaws and constitution are governing documents that guide a body of believers in church business and protect the church from corruption.
      2. These articles should be approved and signed by all founding members.
    5. Call a Pastor
      1. Arguably this could be done before the establishment of articles of faith or the bylaws and constitution.
      2. The reason why it is given here is that it might then be done according to the articles of faith and bylaws.
      3. In order to ensure the purity of establishing this new work, it would be wise to have the pastor of the sending church act as a moderator over these events.
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 29:20

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.