Chapter Twenty

CONGREGATION OF MESSIAH

Jesus the Messiah built His congregation, His church. Matthew 16:18. The New Covenant recorded the word of God concerning the church, and how the church was built. We are responsible to follow this covenant. You will be judged according to this New Covenant. 2 Cor. 3. Heb. 7:22; 8:1-13; 9:15; 13:20.
Hebrews 12:22-25: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and the church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a New Covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, . . .

We need to follow the New Covenant. The church needs to be the way that Jesus built it. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; . . ." 1 Peter 4:11 (KJV). ". . . that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written . . ." 1 Cor. 4:6. The New Covenant ends with a warning:
Revelation 22:18, 19: I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Organization of the Congregation

How did Jesus the Messiah build His church? How did He organize His congregation? He is head over all things to His church which is His body. Eph. 1:22, 23. He has only one body, one church. Eph. 4:4. We are to obey Jesus as Lord and Head.
Ephesians 4:11: And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

Apostles--Witnesses--and Prophets

Jesus chose twelve men whom He taught. They were eye-witnesses of His resurrection. Acts 1:8; 1:15-26; 26:15-17. The apostles preached the gospel, the good news that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and was raised from the dead on the third day. Read the book of Acts.

Apostles were eye-witnesses of His resurrection. The apostles were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to the apostles:
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. John 16:13; 14:26.

The apostles were guided into all the truth, and what is to come. What the apostles wrote is bound in heaven. Matthew 16:19; 18:18. This we have in the New Testament including the book of Revelation. That leaves nothing for other men to come up with at later times. When Jude wrote, the one faith had been delivered. ". . . contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 3.

We need to read and obey all the truth that is in the New Covenant. The seed of the kingdom of God is the word of God. Luke 8:11. The church did not produce the New Covenant. The New Covenant produced the church.

Paul was chosen by Christ to be an eye-witness, an apostle. Acts 26:15-17. Gal. 1:1. He was driven by the Spirit to write the word of God. 1 Cor. 2:13; 14:37. 2 Peter 3:15, 16. This you can read and understand. Ephesians 3:1-5. We are required to read, understand and obey the New Covenant, the New Testament.

There were prophets in the beginning of the church. We can read about this in 1 Cor. 14:1-3. Acts 11:27; 13:1; 21:9-11. Eph. 3:5; 4:11. Prophets edified, exhorted, consoled, taught the word of God and foretold future events. Apostles and prophets are a part of the foundation of the church, the house of God. Eph. 2:20. God gave the New Covenant through Messiah and the Spirit to the apostles and prophets. Peter warned us about false prophets. 2 Peter 2.

The apostle Paul warned:
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 3:10, 11.

We need to follow the plan, the specifications, the pattern given in the New Covenant for the congregation of Messiah, the church. No one has authority to change it. You will stand before Jesus the Messiah on the Day of Judgment.

Evangelists--Preachers

Philip was called an evangelist in Acts 21:8. He preached the good news of Messiah. Acts 8. Timothy was called an evangelist in 2 Timothy 4:5. The books of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus are to evangelists. Evangelists are to preach the word of God. 2 Tim. 3:15-4:5. They are to teach and read scripture. 1 Tim. 4:13-16. Evangelists are to teach and train. 2 Tim. 2:2. Evangelists are to set in order congregations and appoint elders (bishops). 1 Tim. 3:1-7. Titus 1:5-9. They are to preach, baptize and start new local congregations, as shown in the book of Acts.
2 Timothy 4:1-5: I solemnly charge you . . . preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. . . .

Bishops--Elders--Shepherds--Pastors

The apostles and evangelists appointed bishops in each congregation when men were qualified. Acts 14:23. Titus 1:5-9. Bishops are overseers, Greek episkopos. Bishops are also called elders, shepherds and pastors. There were bishops, more than one, in each congregation:
Philippians 1:1: Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers (bishops) and deacons.
It is wrong to have only one bishop in a congregation. It is wrong to have one bishop over several congregations. Elders, Greek presbuteros, means men who are older. Elders, bishops, are shepherds of the congregation.
Acts 20:17, 28. 1 Peter 5:1-4. 1 Tim. 5:17-20.
Acts 20:28: "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

The word pastors, Greek poimen, means shepherds, feeders. The qualifications for bishops are given in 1 Tim. 3:1-7, and in Titus 1:5-9. Notice that bishops must be married men with believing children. 1 Tim. 4:1-3.
1 Peter 5:1-4: Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow-elder . . . shepherd the flock of God among you, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over these allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock; . . .
Bishops are to shepherd the flock among them--to teach, to oversee and to protect.

Teachers

Teachers are to teach the word of God for equipping the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ. Eph. 4:12. 1 Cor 12:28. The church in Antioch had five men who were called teachers. Acts 13:1. As Christians learn and grow they should become teachers. Hebrews 5:12. Faithful men are to be trained to teach others. 2 Tim. 2:2. Bishops must be able to teach. Titus 1:9. Fathers are to teach their children. Eph. 6:4. Older women are to teach and to train the younger women. Titus 2:3-5. Women are not to teach men. 1 Tim. 2:11, 12. 1 Cor. 14:34-37. All Christians are to teach lost souls. Matt. 28:18-20. Acts 8:4.

Deacons

Deacons are servants in the work of the congregation. Philippians 1:1. The qualifications for deacons are given in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Deacon is a Greek word, diakonos, that means servant. An example of such service is in Acts 6:1-6.

Names

The disciples of Messiah are called:
Christians-----------------Acts 11:26. 1 Peter 4:16.
Saints-----------------------Romans 1:7. 1 Cor.1:2.
Children of God----------------Galatians 3:26, 27.
Brethren---------------1 Corinthians 2:1. Col. 1:2.
Priests----------------------------------1 Peter 2:5, 9.

Local congregations are called:
Churches of Christ------------------ Romans 16:16.
Church of God------------------- 1 Corinthians 1:2.

The congregation of Messiah is called:
Body of Christ------------Eph. 1:22, 23. Col. 1:24.
Bride of Christ----------------------Revelation 19:7.
Church of the first-born-----------Hebrews 12:23.
House of God----------------------------1 Tim. 3:15.
The church of the living God----------1 Tim. 3:15.
"My church" (church of Christ)-------Matt. 16:18.

Christians are forbidden to call themselves after the names of men. 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. We must not use names that are not given in the New Covenant. Denominations are wrong. Matt.15:13.

The Work of the Congregation of Messiah

The New Covenant teaches us what the work of the congregation is:

To Teach all Nations--To Preach the Gospel to Everyone
The church is "the pillar and support of the truth." 1 Timothy 3:15. Jesus the Messiah commanded to go teach all nations, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Matt. 28:18-20. Mark 16:15, 16. Congregations send missionaries, evangelists, and support them. Acts 13:1-3. Rom. 10:13-15. Phil. 4:15. 3 John 5-8.

To Teach and Train Christians
Christians are to be taught to observe all that Messiah commanded. Matt. 28:20. The congregation should be devoted to the apostles doctrine. Acts 2:42. In Ephesus there was daily teaching. Acts 19:9, 10. The Bible is to be read, taught and preached. Col. 4:16. 1 Tim. 4:11-16. 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:15-4:5.

To Help Christians and Others in Need
Christian widows indeed are to be helped. 1 Tim. 5:4-16. Acts 6:1-6. Christians who are in need are to be helped, the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners. Matt. 25:31-46. Acts 11:29. 2 Cor. 8, 9. Orphans are to be helped. James 1:27. In writing to churches: "So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." Gal. 6:10.

Worship Under the New Covenant

Israel worshiped God under the Old Covenant, under the law. Under the New Covenant, worship is different. Jesus said: "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth." John 4:24. See John 4:19-26. John 1:17; 16:30; 17:17. Our worship must be in truth, that which is given in the New Covenant:

The Lord's Supper--The Breaking of Bread
Jesus commanded to eat the broken bread and to drink the fruit of the vine in remembrance of His body and blood. Matt. 26:26-29. Luke 22:17-20. 1 Cor. 11:23-34. The breaking of bread is a part of worship. Acts 2:42. When are Christians to meet and break bread? On each first day of the week. Acts 20:7. The main purpose for meeting is to break bread. The Lord's supper is not a sacrifice-mass because Christ was offered once for all. Heb. 7:27; 9:12; 10:10. This is a sharing, in remembrance, a proclamation. 1 Cor. 10:16; 11:24-26.

Reading, Preaching--Teaching the Word of God
God speaks to His people through His word.
Col. 4:16. Acts 2:42; 20:7. 1 Tim. 4:6-16.

Prayer
In prayer Christians praise God, give thanks, petition, and talk to God. 1 Tim. 2:1-8. Hebrews 13:15. 1 Cor. 14:15. Acts 2:42.

Singing
"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;" Eph. 5:19. Col. 3:16. Heb. 2:12. 1 Cor. 14:15. Instrumental music is not part of worship in truth under the New Covenant.

Giving--Offering--Sharing
"And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Heb. 13:16. 1 Cor. 16:1. 2 Cor. 8, 9. Gal. 6:6.

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Jesus the Messiah said:
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:23, 24.

Germaine Lockwood

Copyright ©1996 by Germaine Charles Lockwood. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Scripture quotations in this work, unless otherwise indicated, are from The New American Standard Bible, Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations from The New King James Bible (NKJB), Copyright ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN. Used by permission.

Published in The Old Paths Archive
(http://www.oldpaths.com)

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