THE CHRISTIAN AGE – Part 1
“………..the churches of Christ salute you.” [Romans 16:16]
In our last lesson we discussed the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We learned that this is the gospel. Our next lesson will go into detail of how to obey the gospel for we find in II Thessalonians 1:8 that we must obey the gospel or we will have vengeance taken on us by the angels of Christ in flaming fire.
This lesson will go into detail about the church. In Ephesians 4:4 we find that there is one body. Colossians 1:18 tells us that the body is the church. So in the Bible we find only one church. Each of us should search our Bibles and then do just as the church in the Bible did and we will be that same one church.
In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus told His disciples that He was going to build His church. He also told them that He would give Peter that he would give Peter the keys to the kingdom or the church. We will follow this through and find where the church was established or started.
As we have stated Christ said He would build His church and He was going to give Peter the keys [keys are for opening things]. We notice in these verses that Jesus uses the terms “church” and “kingdom” as one. In other words the church is the kingdom and the kingdom is the church. When we use the term church, we do not mean the building, we mean the people. When Christ said church, he meant an assembly of people, the “called out” or those people who are called out of the world of sin.
In Mark 9:1 we hear Jesus tell the people that some of them that He was talking to at that time would not die before the kingdom [or church] came. From this we know that it should have come soon after Jesus said this. This same verse also tells us that the kingdom would come with power.
Acts 1:8 tells us that they [the apostles] would receive power after the Holy Ghost had come upon them. Now if we can find when the Holy Ghost came on the apostles, we will know that the power came and therefore the kingdom or church came. Then we must see what Jesus did.
Soon after Jesus ascended into heaven, we find that the Holy Ghost came and the apostles were filled with it. [Acts 2:1-4] They even began to speak in other languages. This was so that all the people could understand what they were saying for there were people in Jerusalem who came from all parts of the world. At this time, [Acts the second chapter] we find Peter using the “keys” that Jesus had given him. Peter preached the first gospel sermon on this day and by this preaching he opened the doors to the church. Up till this time each time the church was mentioned, it was in the future, but after Peter preached this sermon and many obeyed the gospel the church was mentioned as in the past. The first time we read of the church after it was established is in Acts 2:47. Here we find that God added to the church those that was being saved.
In our next lesson we will see what we must do to be added to Christ’s church. Study all the scriptures in this lesson for we read in Acts 17:11 about some people who were called noble because they heard the word with an open mind and then studied each day to see if what they heard was truth. We should always put God’s word first.
Some other good scriptures to read while studying the church are 3 John 9; Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Acts 11:26. These scriptures speak of the church meaning one, not many. I Corinthians 16:19 shows that the church can meet in someone’s house. The church does not necessarily have to have a church building to be pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 1:22 teaches that Christ is the head of the church. Ephesians 5:24-25 shows that the church is subject to Christ and that Christ died for the church. One can see by these few scriptures that the church is very important. We should study carefully before becoming a member of just any church.
Some questions we might ask about the church we are a member of are:
1. Does it have a name found in the Bible? Read Romans 16:16
2. Does it practice things that the church in the Bible practiced? Read Acts 2:42
3. Does it meet each first day of the week to break bread, the Lord’s supper. Read Acts 20:7
These are other things that we will consider about the church that we read about in the Bible. We will study these in other lessons.
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