Thank you for visiting our web site, and for inquiring about God's plan for the CHURCH.The Bible is the only reliable source of information about Church. While I do not venerate the King James Version, every study must have an authority and I trust the KJV to be that authority.
God's plan for the Church is that it is to be an extended family that includes all who are adopted into the family of God. Consider: John 1:11-12 "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Therefore, the church is composed of all saved sinners seeking to do the will of God. Consider: Col. 1:13-21 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And 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. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled."
Strong's Concordance defines the word Church [ekklesia] as an assembly, a calling out, i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both)
IT IS AT THIS POINT WE MUST UNDERSTAND THEIR IS A DIVISION BETWEEN THE SOCIAL SYSTEMS DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY AND THAT OF GOD. Our social system and that of the world in general confuse a religious confession of Jesus Christ with true Christianity as defined by God's Word, to understand that Press Here and Press Here
The individual is the primary unit in the family of God. [John 1:12] Each local church being an assembly of those adopted into the family of God is a corporate unit in the extended family of God. [Acts 2:41-42] They are bonded together in Christ to do the will of God in that community.
As Christ is the sovereign head of the family of God, He draws those who He will into their fellowship for their mutual benefit, and ability to accomplish His will in that assembly. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 1 Cor. 12:12-18
God has set the order for the church, after the pattern of the Godhead.
God the Father is always the planner.
God the Son is always the doer of the will of the Father in the Church.
God the Holy Spirit empowers the work to be done.
This pattern is carried out with Christ in the role of the Father as the sovereign head of the Church. " And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. "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. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; " Col. 1:17 - 23
The Pastor has the role of Christ as the under-shepherd of that local assembly of God's flock. "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." John 21:15-17
The purpose of feeding the flock is to bring them into a state of maturity making them disciples of Christ. Jesus gave the commission to His disciples to make disciples as He did. "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world." John 17:18 Therefore, the under-shepherd is to reproduce himself through discipling others to take his place, as did Jesus.
The individual member of that assembly has the role of the Holy Spirit upholding their pastor in prayer, empowering him in his ministry. Acts 4:10-33
1. Each member of the church is to be a ambassador for Christ, reproducing themselves, enlarging the flock through evangelism." And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." 2 Cor. 5:14 - 21
The members of the church as one of the flocks of God's fold, is to reproduce themselves through discipleship as does the under-shepherd.
2. Each member of the family of God is to look after each other. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. 3For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. 4For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God." Romans 15:1-7
This is especially needed in our day. " Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
The closer we are to the return of Christ, the more we need each other to stay strong in the Lord, as no one can walk alone in this ungodly world. It is important that each local church remembers they alone are not the entire family of God, but a member of the extended family of God, composed of many local churches. They should have the heart of Christ for them as not all are what they should be. The Apostle Paul had the heart of Christ for the local churches of his day, that had problems with their walk with the Lord, exhibited by his epistles to the churches.
The heart of every under-shepherd, and every sheep of the flock of God, should have the same concern and love for all in the family of God. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." (1 John 5:1) Consider: 1 John 2:10 "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. . . Chapt.. 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. . . Vs.17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? . . .Chapt. 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
Today it would seem many are on a search and destroy mission, rather than a mission of restoration as is Christ. Read Rev. Chapters 2-3
The apostle Paul gives us all a piece of good advice "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." (Romans 12:16) Again he said: "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 2 Cor. 10:12
It appears the Apostle Paul understood the fact that when we point fingers at others the Lord has three fingers pointing back at us. Another way of putting it is, we should not use the Word of God as a magnifying glass to see the faults of others, but to use the Word of God as a mirror to see how the Lord sees us.
We should all compare ourselves with Christ, to see our spiritual needs, individually or corporately as a church body, for we are to be in His image and likeness. We are to be going where He would go, doing what He would do, saying what He would say, being what He would be to those around Him.
That is the will of God for every church and individual that belongs to Him. Of course all of this is fruitless academics IF we do not trust it, and apply it to our lives. If we individually and corporately as a church body do not demonstrate the life and will of God in our lives and ministries. By the way if parents do not demonstrate that God's church and His will for their role in it, is vital for their lives, neither will their children.
The material in this condensed outline has been compiled from our Bible course "The Family of God Bible Outlines" On Biblical Christianity. All scripture references are from the KJV of the Bible.
Thank you for taking the time to read and consider what is said here. If it has been a help to you, I would appreciate your E-mailing me your comments and any questions you may have, or if I may be of more help to you in reaching your potential in Christ our Lord.
Now go do what is right in the eyes of the Lord and may your decisions bring you the promise Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Your friend in Christ Warren T. Smith
You are now ready to study Unit 9 The Church as the Body & Bride of Christ.
Go to Family of God Bible Outlines Go to The Shepherd & Bishop of Our Souls
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