Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We will now take a look at the outline which we are to follow throughout this series of articles. The outline will present six foundational principles that the church must understand (by the way these are not six things that I just thought up. Even the structure of the outline itself is taken from Scripture). Before we enter into discussion of this outline, however, I would like to ask the very basic question, why should we spend so much time studying the church? I hope to show throughout these articles that our Lord has laid down in His word a very simple but very important pattern for His church, but first:
Is this a topic worthy of our serious consideration? Does it matter how we operate the church? I submit that it is, and it does. One of the primary reasons that it matters so much is that the church is a thing very near and dear to the Lord. In fact all of His activity on the earth in this age is centered around the church. Let us consider the following question by way of illustration: What are the earthly things that you have that are most important to you? If you were to make a list in answer to this question, I think that at the top of your list would be things like your family and your body, and perhaps just below that might be your home. I do not think it is coincidental that the three primary ways in which the Lord describes the church are as His bride, His body and His temple (dwelling place). He chose to picture His church using things that would communicate great value. That in itself suggests how important the church must be to the Lord. It becomes much clearer when we actually read what the Lord has to say in His word about His temple, body and bride.
“If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which is what you are” (1 Cor 3:17).
“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:25-27).
“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord does the church” (Eph 5:29).
If this is what God desires for His church, then perhaps we ought to desire the same, and perhaps we ought to carefully consider whether we are structuring the church and functioning in the way that brings most glory and honor to God. There is much more that could be said on this topic, but I leave that to your further consideration and study.
Now we are ready to see what are the principles that the Lord knows are most important for the church. I believe these principles are outlined for us in the book of Acts, and then expounded in the epistles. The book of Acts is not merely a collection of things that happened in the early days that Luke thought were interesting enough to be written down. This is the account, I believe, of how God taught the early believers what they needed to know to transition from their Jewish thinking to what God wanted the church to be. What follows is the outline of those principles. It will serve as a road map for this series of articles.
I. United Together with the Risen Christ (Acts 1:1-2:47)
II. Strength to Endure Opposition (Acts 3:1-6:7)
III. Equipped for Spiritual Service (Acts 6:8-9:31)
IV. Called to Holiness (Acts 9:32-12:24)
V. Sent to Preach the Gospel (Acts 12:25-19:20)
VI. Prepared for the Defense of the Gospel (Acts 19:21-28:31)

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