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 “ekklesia” (“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, Catholicism, 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, Premillennialism, 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