In Lesson 14 we learned that God’s command to us for acceptable worship to Him. We have learned that what He commands us to be baptized to remove our past sins and when we do this we are added to the Lord’s church. In the church we are taught to come together on the first day of each week to partake of the Lord’s supper, sing, give, teach, pray and have fellowship with one another.
The church of Christ that we read of in the Bible has no “headquarters” on earth. There are no councils, synods etc to “hold the church together”. It is held together by a common love and by the word of God, the Bible. Members of the church of Christ use only the Bible as their guide and are held together, whether they be in England, China, Fiji, America or anywhere else in the world, by the Bible.
Each congregation of the Lord’s church has elders, [also called bishops, pastors and overseers], deacons, teachers, preachers and working members. The elders care for the spiritual welfare of the church. First Timothy chapter three and Titus chapter one gives the qualifications that a man must have before becoming an elder. Read these carefully and notice that an elder is an older man who is married and has faithful children. He is not a new member of the church and he is a man whom people both in and out of the church respect.
Deacons are appointed to help the elders in carrying out the Lord’s work. Their qualifications are found in 1 Timothy chapter three.
Notice that where elders and deacons are mentioned in God’s word there was never only one. There was always more than one elder or one deacon. Therefore if we are going to be like the church in the Bible, each congregation should have elders and deacons. These elders and deacons, should be appointed as soon as there are men in the church that have the qualifications that we read in First Timothy chapter three and Titus chapter one.
In the Lord’s church there are preachers who also serve under the elders. Preachers are never called bishop, elder or pastor [unless they are appointed as an elder as well as a preacher] and they should never be referred to as reverend. The only place we find the word reverend in the Bible is in Psalms 111:9 and there it refers to God. A man should never be called a name given to God alone.
Each member of the Lord’s church should either be teaching or learning to teach others the will of God. In II Timothy 2:15 Paul tells Timothy to study to show himself approved before God. We should take Paul’s advice as though it were written to us.
From the four gospels [Matthew, Mark Luke and John] we can learn to pattern our life after the life of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We see Jesus as a lamb when people spoke against Him but as a lion when they attack the word of God. We should be the same.
The book of Acts teaches us how to become a member of the Lord’s church. We should use the examples given in Acts and obey the commands given there and we will then become members of the church of Christ.
From the book of Romans through the book of Jude we read letters written to churches and Christian teaching them to live as God would have them.
The book of Revelation is a book of prophesy. Some of these prophecies have been fulfilled. It is a book that requires much studying to understand for it is full of symbols. We are promised to be blessed if we read and hear the words that are written in the book of Revelation [Revelation 1:3].
After we have become a member of the Lord’s church and taken the milk [learned the first principles of the teaching of Christ] we are then ready for the meat [the stronger teaching of God’s word]. Hebrews 6:1 [Philips translation] says “Let us leave behind the elementary teaching about Christ and go forward to adult understanding……”
In Galatians chapter 5 verses 19 through 21 we learn some things not to do. We are taught if we do these things we will not inherit the kingdom of God. They are called the works of flesh and are these: Adultery and fornication [sexual immorality] uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings , murder, drunkenness, revellings and things like these.
The same chapter [Galatians chapter 5:22-23] teaches us about the fruit of the Spirit. Qualities that we can and should have to be pleasing to God are these: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance.
We are taught in II Peter 1:5-8 to work very hard to add to our faith, virtue [goodness of life], to virtue we must add knowledge we must add to knowledge, temperance. When we acquire temperance we must add patience, then godliness then brotherly kindness and love. We are taught that if we work hard to acquire these Christian graces we will not be barren [complacent] or unfruitful [unproductive] in the knowledge of Christ.
May each of us do our part in obeying the commands of God for we are taught in Revelation 2:10 that if we remain faithful unto death we will receive a crown of life from our Father in heaven.
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