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Visible, Local NT Church Biblically Defended! VIRTUAL "Church" Debunked!

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August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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Author Topic: Visible, Local NT Church Biblically Defended! VIRTUAL "Church" Debunked!  (Read 4695 times)
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« on: October 26, 2016, 12:42:08 pm »

Cont'd

THE TRUE NEW TESTAMENT IS LED BY THE LORD'S UNDERSHEPHERD

         First, we must understand that a church is an organization instituted by God as Acts 2 records on the Day of Pentecost. Any organization must have leadership, and in a local church that calling and position of God has been divinely given to the pastor. God has given us clear instructions as to how His assembly is to be governed. If a church follows God's plan, He will bless and guide them in accomplishing His will for the church and for its members.

         The word "pastor" is poimen which refers to a shepherd who takes care of sheep or flocks. It means more than one who feeds them, but who protects, looks out for, and will give his life for them. The pastor is to guide and set the example as well as feed the flock. (See 1 Tim. 4:12)

         Ephesians 4:11 gives the New Testament lists of leading servants or ministers in the churches. The last position stated as given by the Lord to the churches is "pastors and teachers." Note that the wording of the verse reads, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Ephesians 4:11)

         In referring to the apostles, prophets, and evangelists, the verse states that God “gave some” followed by the name. However, the verse omits the word “some” in referring to “pastors and teachers.” Most believe the reason for the omission is that pastor and teacher are the same position of "pastor-teacher." The pastor is a shepherd to the Lord's flock and also their teacher. True pastors refer to themselves as "under shepherds" because they recognize that Jesus is the True Shepherd and the flock, the local assembly of believers, a church belongs to him.

         The concept is that the pastor, as shepherd, is the overseer who feeds the church members that the Lord has placed him to lead. Peter, to whom the Lord commanded to "feed His sheep" (John 21:15-17) wrote this in his 1st Epistle.

         "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:1-3)

         Paul also addressed the calling of a pastor as an overseer of Christ's flock.

         "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28)

         He is literally to pay close attention to himself, and his congregation that God has given him charge of. It means he is to vigilantly superintend the group. The position of pastor is referred to by several titles and each denotes the traits and responsibilities of the calling. The terms used to refer to God's leader are the titles Pastor, Elder and Bishop, which all refer to the same office.

         Bishop is the Greek word episkopos and means an overseer as Acts 20:28 shows. The word episkopos Means: epi = over and skpeo = to look or watch. Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:7, 1 Peter 2:25 all use this title.

         In many churches the position of a bishop is an official over the local church. Our English New Testaments read, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." (1 Timothy 3:1) In our English Bibles the single word episkope is translated “the office of a bishop.” However, the Greek phrase literally translated reads “If a man ei tis desire oregomai bishop epithumeo ." This is important to understand because it defines the position of a pastor as being a minister and servant to the congregation. The verse says if a man desires to be a epithumeo it means to be a superintendent or overseer, he desires a good work.

         The word “office” is not in the text. The English word office means a position of authority or holding an official position. However, the New Testament presents the pastor or bishop as being a minister, one who serves the congregation and does not hold a ruling office or position.

         Paul repeatedly referred to himself as a "bond servant" of the Lord. The pastor is the overseer, and does not hold the office of being a boss or authority over the assembly. Peter instructed the overseers saying, "Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." (1 Peter 5:3) The overseer is not to control, subjugate, or exercise dominion over the local congregation. He is to lead and oversee in accordance with the instructions of the New Testament. His calling is to serve God’s flock as their servant.

         There was no hierarchy among the New Testament churches and certainly no popes, or prophets leading a universal body. No reference in scripture indicates apostolic session of authority. When the apostle died, his authority ended. Paul was used to lay the foundation of the church and wrote most of our New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Once the scriptures were complete, the scripture inspired of God became the authority. (See 2 Tim. 3:14-15) On a subject as important as the organization of His church, surely the Lord would have given some instructions on the make-up or hierarchy if He desired one to exist.

         The title "elder" presbuteros is not a noun, but an adjective, referring to age, as an older man, an elder. (See Luke 15:25, John 8:9, Acts 2:17) The word "elder" refers to the experience and spiritual insight of a pastor, rather than the office. When the position is referred to by the word "bishop," is refers to an overseer. Elder refers most often to the spiritual maturity of a pastor. The word "bishop" refers to the work they do, whereas "elder" refers to the maturity of their spiritual experience.

         What should be the title of a leader of a church? The proper and biblical title is "pastor" as Ephesians 4:11 states. It is improper to use the title "Reverend" and never in God's word is a preacher called "Reverend." Psalm 111:9 is the only time that title is used in God's word, and it refers to Almighty God. "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name." (Psalms 111:9) This title had its origins in Roman Catholicism, which perverted God's word and set a hierarchy over God's people. It was a title given to the "clergy" to distinguish their authority and high position over the "laity" or the common people. This author always corrects those who use that title in addressing him. Only God is to be called Reverend.

 III. THE EARLY CHURCH ELECTED ITS OWN MINISTERS.

         Acts 6:1-7, records that the early church elected special men to do a particular task. These men were the first deacons. They were not officers or leaders in the church, but men chosen by the congregation to perform a particular administrative menial task that needed to be done. The apostles and pastors were the leaders of the church. (For further reference you might like to read my article, "The Biblical Role of Deacons")

IV. THE LOCAL CHURCH IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY IN DISCIPLINE.

         In Matthew 18:15-17 the Lord Jesus taught the local church has the final authority in disciplining an erring member. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, teach that it is the local church that has the responsibility to discipline members.

 V. THE LOCAL CHURCH HAS THE ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF SELF-GOVERNMENT.

         In Acts 1:23, Jesus's disciples chose two men from among them, Barsabas and Matthias to replace Judas who betrayed Christ. The Greek word used for "appointed" is histemi. It means to put forward or "to propose."

         They proposed two men and then sought God's choice by casting lots. We do not cast lots today for two reasons. First, we have the complete New Testament with instructions as to how we are to chose men for service. Second, they were choosing an apostle and we do not have apostles today. Christ called each apostle. There is no record of the assemblies after the death of the apostles appointing men to replace them. God gave Paul instructions as to qualifications of pastors and deacons. (See1 Tim. 3:1-7, 3:8-13, Titus 1:5-9) John was the last apostle.

         But they did begin the procedure of choosing men from among their congregation. In Acts 1:6 they chose seven men as special servants (diakoneo deacon). The assembly was instructed to chose from among them seven men of good report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to elect to the position of administering over the distribution of food to the widows.

         In Acts 15:2, the Antioch assembly elected Paul and Barnabas with several other men to go to Jerusalem and question the apostles about the matter of the Gentiles. After the matter was decided, the Jerusalem church sent men of their assembly with Paul and Barnabas, to convey the message. The message was that the Holy Spirit had directed them in their decision and the local church agreed. It was not a command, but was a recommendation.

         It is scriptural for local churches to associate with each other for fellowship and the propagation of the Gospel as seen in Romans 16:1-2, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, Acts 15:2-4, 22-27, 30-33, 18:27. The local church sends out missionaries. In Acts 13:1-4, the local church at Antioch under the direction of the Holy Spirit commissioned and sponsored the first missionaries. In Acts. 14:26-27, they returned and reported to the church what God had done. The local church is pictured in Scripture as autonomous, meaning it governs itself under the direction of the scriptures and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The local congregation rules itself led by the Holy Spirit with no hierarchy of individuals or organization over it in or out of the local assembly.

 VI. THE PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER

         The New Testament church is made up of individual born-again believers who can go directly to God in prayer without the intercession of any man or institution. Christ is our only Intercessor and is our High Priest. (See Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:1,5,10; 6:20; 7:1,26; 8:1,3; 9:7,11,25; 10:21; 13:11)

         In 1 Tim. 1:20, Paul instructs individuals to pray, and describes various subjects of prayer. In Verse 5, he states, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). There is both private (Matt. 6:6) and public prayer (Acts 4:24-31). Hebrews 4:14-16, states Christ is our High Priest who knows our every emotion and need personally. We are boldly going to the throne of Grace (God the Father), to find help in a time of need. In Jesus's model prayer, Luke 11:1-4, Christ instructed us to pray to the Father. All prayer in the Bible is addressed to God the Father. . It is not correct for a believers to pray to Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. When we pray to God the Father, we are praying through Jesus Christ, being led by the Holy Spirit. We address our prayer to the Father because He is the Head of the Trinity

         Nowhere in the Scriptures are we instructed to pray to a "saint" or anyone but the Father. Christ is our sole Intercessor, no other exists. We are to confess our sins directly to God and personally ask Him for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). It is unbiblical, degrading, and disrespectful for a person to pray to anyone, but directly to God the Father through our Intercessor Jesus Christ, who is the Savior.

         In the Old Testament the priest offered sacrifices and interceded for the Children of Israel. Everything they did was a picture of the coming Messiah and Intercessor Christ Jesus. After Christ has come we no longer need the picture or symbol, we have the reality of Christ as Intercessor. Every believer is a priest. "

          "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. . . . But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Pet. 2:5,9)

         The Holy Spirit leads us in prayer. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:18)

          “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 20-21)

         Every believer has the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who leads him and enables him to know the things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-16. Tells us, we can know nothing of God apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26, tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for us for things we do not know how to express. John wrote, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” (1 John 2:20) Believers have a special endowment that means you may not know exactly how to pray or what to pray for, yet the Holy Spirit knows and intercedes for us. Note the phrase, "groaning which cannot be uttered." This is not verbal prayer, it is not our own prayer, this is the interceding of the Holy Spirit that we are not aware of. We are told this to help us to understand we are to pray as best we can, but it is the Spirit who knows our hearts. Even our prayers are purified and corrected by the Spirit. This has nothing to do with ecstatic speech or “praying in the spirit” as the modern Charismatic movement practices. Praying in the spirit simply means praying with discernment and understanding. The Bible never presents praying without one understanding what he is praying. We pray the best we can and the Spirit intercedes.

 VII. THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH HAS ONLY TWO ORDINANCES.


         Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the only two ordinances given to the local church. "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:41-42)

BAPTISM

         In Acts 2:41, the three thousand souls who received Christ withdrew from the crowd and were baptized. In doing so, they identified themselves with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. They believed Peter's sermon and received "his word." Peter's word was the Gospel, the Good News that Christ was the Messiah and that He had died for the sins of the world, and that He was buried and arose on the third day from the grave.

         They were baptized, which was a public dedication of their belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Messiah. They showed by their submission to baptism that they believed in His death, burial and resurrection. Baptism always follows salvation.

         Baptism is never presented as salvation or as a sacrament. A sacrament is defined as a religious act done by men, which has saving properties. In other words, an act which helps in saving a person. The Bible knows nothing of any sacrament. Men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ only and salvation is the free gift of God. Christ suffered and died atoning for the sin. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) No act or ritual of man has saving properties.

         In Hebrews 11, the Old Testament saints are presented as saved because of their faith in what God told them to do. They trusted God and obeyed. The acts of the Old Testament sacrifices were understood as being a picture and a symbolic looking forward until the day the Messiah would come and make the atonement for sin. The Bible knows nothing of infant baptism. Only those who trusted in Christ were baptized. An infant cannot understand and receive the Gospel by believing. Therefore an infant should not be baptized.

THE MODE OF BAPTISM

         The word baptism means to immerse. Actually the Greek word baptisma or baptizo is transliterated into an English spelling. If it was to be translated, it would mean to dip, bury, submerge, or to immerse. There are other Greek words which mean to sprinkle or pour, but they are not used in reference to baptism. Romans makes it plain that baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Sprinkling or pouring does not symbolize this. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:3-6)

         History records that all churches immersed until about 250 AD. After that time for the sake of convenience at a time of sickness, clinical baptism was practiced. Once allowed, others began to ask for sprinkling, including old people and later on it was allowed for any who ask for it. Most Protestant denominations will immerse if it is requested, however it is not taught or encouraged. The Roman Catholic church did not make sprinkling its mode of baptism until 1311. Those who sprinkle do so as a means of convenience and ignore the biblical teaching of the mode of baptism?

THE LORD'S SUPPER


         Christ instituted the Lord's Supper the night before He died. (Matt. 26:26-30) The Lord's Supper was a memorial act for believers. It was given to the believer to bring to remembrance Christ's sufferings and death for our sins. (See 1 Corinthians 11:26) When an assembly takes the Lord's Supper they show or proclaim their belief in Christ's death for the remission of sin, looking forward to the day when Christ will return.

         The Lord's Supper is only for believers and is an ordinance of the local church. It is never to be given to individuals and not to be practiced outside the local congregation. It is not a sacrament with saving properties. It is mockery for an unbeliever to take the Lord's Supper. An unbeliever has not believed or received Christ as their Savior and thus has no part in salvation. Because of a lost person’s unbelief, their sins have not been forgiven and Christ’s sacrifice for sins does not apply to them. In verse 28, a person is admonished to examine himself before he takes the Lord's Supper. It warns that one who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

         The Lord's Supper is a picture of Christ's suffering and death for our sin. For a man to take the Supper and not receive Christ's is blatant sin. To have a knowledge of Christ's suffering for one's sins and then to reject Christ as one's Savior is belittling and mocking Christ.

         It also mocks Christ and belittles His suffering for a believer to have unconfessed sin in his life and still take the Lord's Suffer which is a memorial remembering His suffering. The believer is to examine himself first, confess sin and then take the Lord's Supper. No one is "worthy" in himself to take the Lord's Supper. But it honors Christ when we confess our sins and receive His free gift of forgiveness. It shows a deep respect and regard for Christ's suffering when we repent of sin and turn from it.

         "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? . . . Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (Romans 6:12-15)

         The elements of the Supper, the bread and the cup are only symbolic of the body and blood of Christ. They do not, as practiced by Catholicism, magically become the actual body and blood of Christ. Nor do they become spiritually "blessed," as some believe, thus affording the taker some spiritual benefit. The bread and wine (grape juice) are only symbolic and the value in taking the Lord's Supper is in honoring and revering Christ in His suffering for us and for self-examination to judge sin in our own lives.

THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE ORDINANCES TO THE LOCAL CHURCH

          We call these two symbolic acts "ordinances" because the Lord ordained or appointed them. They are not sacraments or a means of dispensing grace. Grace is only obtained by faith in Christ Jesus. Believers are to follow the ordinances because Christ commanded us to. (See Matthew 28:19-20). When Christ commissioned the disciples to baptize and observe all things that He had taught He also told them to wait until they were indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit. (See Acts 1:4-5) The church began when it was empowered by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Christ forbade them to go before they received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

         Christ commissioned the church to practice the ordinances, not individuals, schools, Christian youth groups, camps and etc. 1 Corinthians 11:20, states that this local church "came together" for the purpose of taking the Lord's Supper. Note V17, 18, 33. The context is clear in the setting of the local assembly which had come together. A memorial is a public declaration or remembrance. Ephesians 5:25, states Christ died for the ekklesia the local assembly or church. The Lord's Supper was taken with all Christ's disciples present. The Lord's Supper is an act of public worship. Note 1 Cor. 11. There is no record in the Bible of an individual or anyone apart from the church taking the Lord's Supper.

         How often it is to be done is left up to the church. The only instruction is in 1 Corinthians 11:26, as "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.” The charge and instructions are given to the "whole church." Ministers are not given the authority to give the Lord's Supper at their discretion outside of the gathering of the local assembly.

VIII. THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH PRACTICES SOUL LIBERTY.

         "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27)

         Every believer has the responsibility and right to interpret the Scriptures, to hold and profess and to worship God as the Bible teaches. No church or religious organization has God's authority to direct believers to obey it or recognize it as their authority to any further degree other than directing them to follow the scriptures. The word of God is one's authority, not the church organization. A true New Testament church will carefully teach its members God’s word.

         The Holy Spirit deals with and teaches the believer as an individual. "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7) The gift of God is given to believers as individuals, being used in the context of the local assembly. "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Corinthians 12:7) [See Romans 12:3-8.]

         Christians will be individually judged at the BEMA judgment of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Romans 14:10, says we shall all stand before judgment. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, shows the examination of Christians is based on one's individual work.

         2 Peter 1:20 states, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.“ (2 Peter 1:20) As believers, we have the personal responsibility to God to know what the Bible teaches and to follow it alone. We cannot at the judgment plead that we were mislead by our church, pastor or anyone else. We have the right to believe the Bible without regard for the creeds or traditions of churches.

IX. THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH IS MADE UP ONLY OF SAVED INDIVIDUALS.


         "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. . . . Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:41-42, 47) The church is an assembly of people who have received Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is made up of those who have made a public declaration of their faith in Christ by being baptized.

         The Bible teaches one should be a member of a local assembly of believers. This is demonstrated in the definite step the first Christians followed. This order is always the same.

    1. Believers receive Jesus Christ as their Savior by believing the Gospel. The grammatical construction of the phrase "they gladly received his word" meaning they believed the Gospel message of Peter, were baptized ßapt??? baptizo. The word is first aorist passive indicative, constative aorist. This denotes that “received the word” is an action that takes place before the action of the main verb "baptized." It means that only those who had already received the word and were saved were baptized. "Receiving the word" came first and based on that they were baptized.

    2. Following salvation the believer gives a public declaration of his faith by submitting to baptism. Jesus said He would be ashamed before His Father of those who were ashamed of Him, and His word before this adulterous and sinful generation. (Mark 8:38) Many other verses in the New Testament speak of the fact believers are not to be ashamed of Christ before men. (See Rom. 1:16, 5:5,9:33,10:11, 2 Tim. 1:8,12,2:15) Baptism a God’s assigned way believers can show they are saved, not ashamed of Christ, and are in agreement and fellowship with the local assembly.

    3. Following conversion and baptism the believers were "added" to the church. The fact that Christ died for the church as Ephesian 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”. This reveals the importance of the local church. The gifts were given in the context of the local church and are never shown as existing apart from the ministry of the assembly. (1 Corinthians 12:7,11,18,28).

    CONCLUDING REMARKS

             Each believer has a great responsibility to know what God's will is and what He wants His ekklesia His local congregation, to believe and practice. Even though Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail against His church, the fact is Satan has made great inroads among those who have not been vigilant. Yet, in spite of the Devil’s cunning devises there have always been believers who joined themselves together in local assemblies to honor and serve the Lord.

             It is imperative that each pastor and church member be vigilant in protecting, with the Lord's help, the purity of his local church. That means the word of God must be studied and following and applied without spot or blemish to the Lord's flock. God’s plan and desire are stated in Ephesian 5:25-27.

             "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 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 5:25-27)

             May God grant His saints, the diligence and the fortitude to “. . . exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”(Jude 1:3) Paul wrote "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:5)
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