Fellowship

The church is not a building

It is those who make up the body of Christ (Christians). Eph 1:22-23; 5:23-21; Col 1:18, 24; 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27

Note: The word “church” is from the Greek word “ekkleesia” (“ek” - out of; “kleesis” - a calling) literally meaning “a calling out of.” Greek usage of the word denotes “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some, public place; an assembly. cf Acts 19:32, 39, 41; 7:38. With regard to the church of the Lord, it would be those who are “called out of” the world of darkness into the world of light (read 2 Cor 6:14-18; Col 1:13-14; 1 Jn 1:6-7; et al).

  • The universal body Mt 16:18; Eph 1:22
  • The regional body 1 Cor 16:1 (Gal 1:2), 19; 2 Cor 8:1
  • The local body Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Cor 1:2; Rm 16:16; Rev 1:11, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18

The church was founded by Christ

(Mt 16:18; 1 Cor 3:11; Eph 2:20) It was NOT John the Baptist (Mt 4:10), Peter (Mt 16:19); Paul (1 Cor 1:13); Pope Boniface III; Luther; Henry VIII; Calvin; Smythe; Wesley; Smith; Russell; etc.

The church was founded in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (33 AD)

(Is 2:2-3; Dan 2:44; Lk 24:46-47; Acts 1:8, 12; 2:1,41,47 cf 5:11; 8:1) and not in Rome (606 AD); Germany (1530 AD); England (1534 AD); Switzerland (1536 AD); Holland (1611 AD); England (1739 AD); USA (1830 AD); etc.

The church is headed by Jesus Christ

(Eph 1:22-23; 5:23-24; Col 1:18, 24; 1 Jn 10:16; 1 Pet 5:4) and NOT the pope; archbishop of Canterbury; “modern day prophets”; preachers; etc..

The church uses the Bible as it’s only source of authority

(Jn 12:48; 20:30-31; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 1 Cor 4:6; Rev 22:18-19; Prov 30:5-6; Dt 4:2, 12:32; 1 Jn 5:13) and NOT catechisms, prayer books, missals, books of the “latter day revelation”, etc.

The church doctrine is Bible doctrine and is defined only by the Bible

(Gal 1:6-9; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Jn 9-11; 1 Tim 4:1-7; 6:3-5; Acts 2:42) and NOT Calvinism, Arminianism, Cathicism, humanism, etc. as defined by traditions, confessions, articles of faith; creeds; treatises, edicts, emotion, subjectivity, logic etc. (Mk 7:6-9; 2 Tim 4:3-4; Rm 16:17; Heb 13:9).

The church has one organizational plan

This demonstrates congregational autonomy and NOT a system of hierarchy, monks, nuns, reverends, ecclesiastical bodies, synods, councils, general assemblies, conferences, boards, etc.

  • The head is Christ
  • The body – Christians

Elders

Their title

  • “episkopos” (bishop, overseer) Acts 20:28; Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:1-2; Titus 1:7
  • “presbuteros” (elder) Acts 11:30; 14:23; 15:2, 4, 6, 22-23; 16:4; 20:17; 21:18; 1 Tim 5:17, 19; Titus 1:5; Jas 5:14; 1 Pet 5:1, 5
  • “poimeen” (pastor, shepherd) Eph 4:11; Verb form Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2

From the word study we see:

  • All three words apply to the same office:
    • Titus 1:5, 7 equates a) & b) (cf Acts 20:17, 28)
    • 1 Pet 5:1-2, 5 equate b) & c) (cf Acts 20:17, 28)
    • 1 Tim 3:1-2; Titus 1:5-6 equate a) & b) Acts 20:28 equates a) & c), thus: a) = b) = c) (this sounds like math to me?)
  • Preachers and pastors are two different positions cf 1 Tim 5:17

Their authority

  • Extends only to their own congregation Acts 14:23; 20:17; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:5
  • Must be exercised only in plurality. No one elder has more authority than any of the others in any given congregation. See above scriptures

Their qualifications

1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9

Their duties

  • 1 Thess 5:12-13; Heb 13:17; plus all the above scriptures.
  • Deacons Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim 3:8-13; Phil 1:1
  • Members (relationship to the elders) I Thess 5:12-13; 1 Tim 5:17-20; Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5: 5

Notes:

  • Jerusalem (Acts 15) was NOT “central headquarters” for the first century church. It must be remembered that doctrine came from there because that was the home congregation of the apostles (Acts 8:1, 14, 25; 11:1-2, 22; 15:2-4).
    • If Acts 15 authorizes a “central headquarter” then why change it from Jerusalem? (cf Rome, Salt Lake City, Canterbury, Brooklyn, etc.)
    • Is the word that comes forth from the various church headquarters inspired today?
    • Are there apostles in “church headquarters” today?
  • Those “churches” which promote various systems and doctrines promote confusion (1 Cor 14:33) and division (Mt 16:18; Jn 10:16; 17:20-21; Rm 12:4-5; 1 Cor 1:10-17; 3:3-4; 12:12-13, 20, 27; Gal 5:20; Eph 2:16; 3:6; 4:4-6; Col 3:15; etc.). Can they all be right? How can they recognize one another?

The church members are called Christians

(Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet 4:16 cf Col 3:17) and NOT Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Calvinists, Episcopalians, etc. (cf Acts 4:12; 1 Cor 1:12) ALL Christians are:

  • Born again Jn 3:3-5
  • Saints 1 Cor 1:2; 14:33; Phil 1:1; et al
  • Priests 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6 (cf Mt 23:9)
  • Filled with the Holy Spirit Acts 2:38; 5:32; Rm 8:9-11; 1 Cor 6:19
  • Children of God Rm 8:14-17; 1 Jn 3:1-2
  • Citizens of Heaven Heb 12:23; Phil 3:2
  • Saved Rm 8:1; 1 Jn 1:7; 5:13

The church worships in spirit and truth

(Jn 4:23-24) It does not worship according to the traditions or doctrines of men Ps 145:18; Mk 7:6-9; Acts 17:22-23

  • The Lord’s Super Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:17-34 (16:2); cf Mt 26:26-29
  • Singing Eph 5:19; Col 3:16
  • Preaching by Godly men 1 Cor 14:34-35; 1 Tim 2:11-12

The Purpose Of Fellowship

  • To Worship Acts 2:42, 47; Phil 3:3; Jn 4:21-24
  • To Love Rm 12:10; 1 Pet 1:22
  • To Serve Gal 5:13; 6:2; Rm 12:15; 1 Thess 5:14; Jn 13:1-17
  • To Edify 1 Thess 5:11; Eph 4:11-16; 1 Cor 12:12-31; Heb 10:24-25
  • To Admonish Rm 15:14; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 5:14
  • To Learn 1 Cor 14:31; 1 Tim 4:11-16; 2 Tim 2:15
  • To Work Eph 4:12; 2 Cor 5:17-20

Note: Can the above scriptures be followed if I am not fellowshipping with the SAINTS on a Regular basis?


Worksheet

The Place Of Fellowship

  • Ephesians 1:22-23 What is the church? Compare Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18
    • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27 Who is in the body? Compare Galatians 3:26-27
    • Romans 16:16 What are the local bodies called? Compare I Corinthians 1:2
    • Acts 4:12 Are names important? Compare 1 Corinthians 1:12
    • Should we call our church Trinity Episcopal, Redeemer Lutheran, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s, etc.?
  • Matthew 16:18 Who is the founder of the church? Compare 1 Corinthians 3:11
    • Was Luther, Boniface III, Calvin, Wesley, Russell, etc. the founder(s)?
  • Luke 24:46-47 Where was the church founded? Compare Isaiah 2:2-3; Acts 8:1
    • Acts 2:1, 419 47 When was the church founded? Compare Daniel 2:44
    • Was it founded in Rome (606AD), Germany (1530AD), England (1534AD)g U.S.A. (1830AD), etc.?
  • Ephesians 1:22-23 Who is the head of the church? Compare Ephesians 5:23-24; Colossians 1:18, 24
    • Should I follow the Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury, some “modern day prophet”, some preacher, etc.?
  • Acts 17:11 What is the only source of information used for authority in the church? Compare 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Revelation 22:18-19
    • Should I use a catechism, prayer book, missal, etc.?
  • 2 John 9-11 What is the only form of doctrine in the church? Compare Mark 7:6-9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5
    • Should I believe Calvinism, Arminianism, Catholicism, Lutheranism, Premillenialism, Moonism, etc.?
    • John 12:48 Where is the doctrine of Christ found? Compare I Corinthians 4:6; 14:37; 2 Corinthians 1:13
    • Should I use creeds, articles of faith, confessions, treatises, edicts, etc.?
  • 1 Timothy 3:1-13 What are the only authorized offices in each congregation? Compare Titus 1:5-9; Philippians 1:1; Acts 14:23; 20:179 28; 1 Peter 5:1-5; 1 Timothy 5:17; Ephesians 4:11
    • Where is the authority for a clergy/laity system, monks, nuns, reverends, ecclesiastical bodies, synods, councils, general assemblies, conferences, boards, central headquarters, etc.?
    • John 17:20-21 Does denominationalism promote unity or division and confusion? Compare
    • 1 Corinthians 14:33; 1:10-17; 3:3-4; Galatians 5:20
    • Ephesians 4:4-5 Are there truly “many churches” or “many faiths”? Compare John 10:16
  • Acts 11:26 What are members of the church called?
    • Should I be called Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Moony, etc.?
    • 1 John 4:23-24 How should I worship? Compare Romans 16:17; Mark 7:6-9 Psalms 145:18
    • Can I worship with Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Witnesses, or anyone else I know to be in error?

The Purpose of Fellowship

  • John 4:21-24 compare Acts 2:42, 47
  • Romans 12:10 compare I Peter 1:22
  • Galatians 5:13 compare John 13:1-17
  • I Thessalonians 5:11 compare Hebrews 10:24-25
  • Romans 15:14 compare Colossians 3:16
  • 1 Timothy 4:11-16 compare I Corinthians 14:31
  • Ephesians 4:12 compare 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

Conclusion: Which choice will I make?

  • Worship in vain with those I know to be in error? YES or NO
  • Worship in spirit and truth with those I know to be saints? YES or NO