The Local New-Testament Church
Today, I have the privilege to draw to your attention the New Testament local church. The church is under attack in this day in which we live. It is certainly under attack by the world and the flesh, but I also find that it is under attack from within. We have diluted our position and have become very worldly, unfruitful, and self-centered hearers of the Word of God.
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.
- Acts 20:29-30
Therefore, because of the apostasy that is so prevalent in our churches today, I am desirous to come to you as the book of Jude says in vs. 3-4:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we consider the New Testament local church, I want to remind you of the importance of our name. We are not a—
We are a church. That means we are a called-out body of saved, baptized Christians.
Jesus did not give His life for the association, center, or the fellowship; but rather, He gave Himself for the church. Let us not become weak concerning our name.
In addition, I want you to remember our Leader.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the Saviour of the body. (emphasis mine)
- Ephesians 5:23
Our Leader is neither a charismatic and persuasive individual nor a denominational headsuch as an organization, a Bible college, etc. Our Leader is the Lord Jesus Christ.
I also want to remind you of our responsibility.
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.
- Ephesians 5:26-27
We are not to be a worldly church, but rather a sanctified church—a glorious church without any spot, wrinkle, or blemish. We are to be holy. May I remind you what the Bible says:
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
- Ephesians 5:3-4
Our purpose is to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world.
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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
- Acts 1:8
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.
- Matthew 28:18-20
Our financial program is that of tithes and offerings.
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
- I Corinthians 16:1-2
I am so burdened for the New Testament local church. I see us wavering on so many fronts. In addition, I am very concerned with the philosophy that has invaded our churches.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
- Colossians 2:8
Somewhere along the line, we developed the idea that we can listen, read, and study neo-evangelicals and separate the bad from the good. It is not possible.
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
- Acts 4:20
Many of us are witnessing the influence of user-friendly preaching, music, terminology, dress, and appearance that is not becoming of saints. May I remind my readers that we will never reach this world and rescue a nation for Christ by becoming like the world, but rather by being separate from the world. Why in the world would anyone want to be like the world? If a Christian were going to be just like the world, what would be the reason for leaving the flesh to come to a compromising church?
My prayer is that we will fall in love again with God’s institution, the church. We need to protect it and realize that, according to the book of Jude, the historic doctrines of the faith have been deposited into our care.