The following is a very brief study (from the Scriptures) covering the subject:

THE CHURCH OF GOD


Acts 20:28 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.

A Scriptural inquiry into the nature of the church of God – seeking the answers to the following questions:


1. WHAT IS THE CHURCH OF GOD?  

2. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH?

3. HOW IS THE CHURCH TO FUNCTION OR OPERATE?
  
The Holy Scriptures (God’s words) are to be our sole authority and source of information:

 

2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Matthew 4:4 . . . . . . It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.


  

1. WHAT IS THE CHURCH OF GOD?

 

  ON EARTH: God has a church -  He has chosen to manifest that church locally – but the local church is not all there is to the “church of God.”


THE CHURCH BELONGS TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST [Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:27; Colossians 2:17]

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Ephesians
5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the churchis subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 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.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Colossians
2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18 Letno man beguile you of yourreward in a voluntary humility andworshipping of angels, intrudinginto those things which he hath notseen, vainly puffed up by hisfleshly mind,
19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.



CHRIST PURCHASED THE CHURCH [
Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]

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

Ephesians
5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the[U] church[/U] and gave himself for it;

1 Corinthians
6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.



CHRIST IS ITS ONLY HEAD [
Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23; Colossians 1:18]

Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Ephesians
5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Colossians
1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

  

THE CHURCH IS: A GREAT MYSTERY: [
Ephesians 5:21-32] – {Only Other Great Mystery = 1Timothy 3:16}
Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH [1 Timothy 3:15]
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
  
THE HOUSE OF GOD [1Timothy 3:15]
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
  
THE TEMPLE OF GOD [1Corinthians 3:16-17; 2Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21]
1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the
temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

2 Corinthians
6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY GHOST [1Corinthians 6:19]
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

ONE BREAD [1 Corinthians 10:17]
1 Corinthians 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST [
John 3:29; Revelation 21:2, 9]
John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom:butthe friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him,rejoicethgreatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore isfulfilled.

Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation 21:9 Andthere came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vialsfull of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither,I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

IN CHRIST JESUS [1Thessalonians 2:14]
1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

THE BODY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Christ’s Body [Romans 12:4-5; 1Corinthians 6:15; 10:17; 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23;Ephesians 2:16; 3:6; 4:4-16; 5:30-32; Colossians 1:18-24; 2:17-19; 3:15]

Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

1 Corinthians
6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

1 Corinthians
10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14
For the body is not one member, but many.
15
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19
And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20
But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21
And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22
Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23
And those members of the body,whichwe think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow moreabundanthonour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24
For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Ephesians
1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23
   Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Ephesians 2:14
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15
Havingabolished in his fleshthe enmity, even the law of commandmentscontained in ordinances; forto make in himself of twain one new man, somaking peace;
16
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Ephesians 3:6
That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Ephesians 4:4
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

Ephesians 4:11
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13
Tillwe all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Sonof God, unto a perfect man,unto the measure of the stature of thefulness of Christ:
14
Thatwe henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried aboutwith every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunningcraftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16
From whom the whole bodyfitly joined together and compacted by that which every jointsupplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of everypart, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians
5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Colossians
1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
20
And,having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcileall things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things inearth, or things in heaven.
21
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22
  n the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23
Ifye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved awayfrom the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which waspreached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul ammade a minister;
24
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

Colossians 2:16
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
18
Letno man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility andworshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath notseen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19
And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

Colossians
3:15   And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.


The
Church of God is a “Living Organism- NOT a “Building”; a “Business”; an “Organization”; a “Charity” or a “Social Club”!

  

#2. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH? {The called-out assembly of the saints}


GENERAL MINISTRY TO THE WORLD

1. SPREAD THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST [Paul’s gospel - Evangelize & Missions]

Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans
2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospelcame not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the HolyGhost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we wereamong you for your sake.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 Butwe are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved ofthe Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvationthrough sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospelwhich I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which wereofreputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

1 Timothy
1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles)

9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars,perceivedthe grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas theright hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

2 Corinthians 11:4 Forif he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached,or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.



GENERAL MINISTRY TO THE WORLD & TO THE "SAINTS"

2. MAKE KNOWN THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD {The Truth - The Whole Truth – Nothing But The Truth:}

Ephesians 3:8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this gracegiven,that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable richesof Christ;
9 Andto make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which fromthe beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all thingsby Jesus Christ:
10
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

Acts
20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.



SPECIFIC MINISTRY TO THE SAINTS ONLY  {Spiritual Only -Exclusive to the saints (the Body of Christ) - 2 Corinthians 6:14-18}

3. WORSHIP GOD [God’s Way – {Only In Spirit & In Truth} – Glorifying The Saviour]

John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Acts 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
15 Andhave hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that thereshall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

  
4. EDIFICATION OF THE BRETHREN {By & Through the Word Only}

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

1 Corinthians
14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

1 Corinthians
14:26 Howis it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath apsalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath aninterpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Ephesians 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:16  From whom the whole body fitlyjoined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makethincrease of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1 Thessalonians
5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Romans 15:2  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

1 Corinthians 14:3  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

2 Corinthians 10:8  For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

2 Corinthians 13:10 ThereforeI write these things being absent, lest being present I should usesharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

Acts
15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts
18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

1 Corinthians 2:13 Whichthings also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, butwhich the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things withspiritual.

1 Corinthians
14:19   Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1 Timothy 6:3   If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; {1 Corinthians 10:23; 2 Corinthians 12:19; Ephesians 4:29; 1 Timothy 1:4}  


5. DISCIPLING THE BRETHREN {Producing or re-producing – elders/pastors}

Acts 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

1 Corinthians
14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Philippians 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 Allscripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable fordoctrine, for reproof, correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

2 Peter 3:15  Andaccount that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as ourbeloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16  As also in all his epistles,speakingin them of these things; in which are some things hard to beunderstood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as theydo also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

  
6. FELLOWSHIP WITH THE BRETHREN {Centered On The Lord & the Word}

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Corinthians 8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Galatians 2:9 Andwhen James,Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived thegrace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Philippians 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.


FELLOWSHIP” WE MUST AVOID
1 Corinthians 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

2 Corinthians
6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Ephesians
5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  



MINISTRY OF THE SAINTS {Spiritual & Carnal}

7. SUPPORT OF THE BRETHREN [Spiritual, Physical, & Financial]
{Can be extended to unbelievers – but NOT to be a SUBSTITUTE for all of the above}

Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

1 Thessalonians
5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. {Acts 20:35; Romans 14:1, 15:1, 15:27;   1 Corinthians 8:9-12, 9:11,22; Galatians 6:2}

  

The purpose of the church is not for the entertainment of the brethren (coffee klatches; buffets; car washes; sewing circles;bake sales; cookie sales; etc.) nor for carnal pleasures (dances;carnivals; bingos; etc.) or worldly pursuits (Boy Scouts; Girl Scouts;Cub Scouts; etc.) And it certainly is not for the aggrandizement, or praise, or reverence, or adulation of elders (pastors), evangelists, or teachers.     

 

#3. HOW IS THE CHURCH TO FUNCTION?


THE SCRIPTURAL OFFICE OF *BISHOP {ELDERS-PASTORS}

 

1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

 

{*The word bishop (4); bishops (1) and bishoprick (1) is found 6 times in the New Testament as opposed to the word pastors which is found only once (plural – pastors - Ephesians 4:11) in the entire New Testament. The usage of the word “bishop” as indicating a man and an office elevated above ordinary elders-pastors with extra-scriptural authority over them is completely foreign to the Holy Scriptures and is without any support in the early New Testament churches. Since the use of the word bishop has been misconstrued, misused, and abused by the Roman Catholic Church and many mainline Protestant Churchesit is hardly ever used anymore amongst genuine Bible believers in describing the legitimate scriptural office of an elder-pastor in a true Bible-believing church today. In order to avoid the abuse and misuse of the word “bishop” in the many churches in the past and the continuing misapplication of the word by many churches [and cults] still today, we will use the term elder-pastor to describe the office and the work of a bishop to avoid any confusion with the all too common misuse of the word.}

SCRIPTURAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES OF: {an elder-pastor}

 

PERSONAL (Inward)

1. PRAYER [Addressed - to God]

2. STUDY [Scriptures – from God]

CONGREGATIONAL (Outward – “the ministry of the word of God”)

3. PREACHING [The Word of God] {PURPOSE: Feeding & Edification–Doctrine & Conduct}

4. TEACHING [Convincing, Exhorting - Sound Doctrine & the Whole Council of God] {PURPOSE: Feeding & Edification – Doctrine & Conduct}

5. WARNING[Against: Leaven (False Doctrine), Philosophy, Vain Deceit, theTraditions of Men, Science-Falsely-so-called, and the Rudiments of  the World, etc.] {PURPOSE: Edification– Doctrine & Conduct}

 

CORRECTION – SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY & LIMITS OF: {an elder-pastor}

6. ADMONISHING [Advise, Caution, or Notify of a Fault] {PURPOSE - Correction}

7. REPROVING [To Refute, Disprove, or Convince of a Fault or to Make It Manifest] {PURPOSE - Correction}

8. REBUKING [To reprehend for faults; to chide, chasten, check, restrain or silence] {PURPOSE - Correction}

Headings 6-8 above describe the absolute LIMITS OF PASTORAL AUTHORITY (i.e. “Correction”). All matters of Discipline within a church are to be administered by the whole body (the congregation) – NOT an individual elder-pastor, or a board of deacons, or any other extra-scriptural council or committee.

NOTE:
All matters of Punishment are to be administered by Almighty God!

In the early church there was no clergylaity set up as in almost all modern day churches. There was no one individual “pastor” over the church, or in the larger churches – a “senior pastor”; “assistant pastors”; “youth pastor”; “Choir Director”; or so-called “Christian Counselors” -dispensing pagan philosophy within the church, or today’s’ modern equivalent - Humanism, Psychiatry, & Psychology.

The leaders in the early church were called elders and were always plural in number and they shared whatever power and authority they had – equally. No division existed between the congregation and elders-pastors. [They (elders-pastors and the congregation) all were brethren – with no distinctions!]

An elder’s (pastor’s) authority over the brethren was, and still is, very limitedspiritual only!

An elder (pastor) is not to exercise dominion over the brethren or over their faith!

 

THE SCRIPTURAL OFFICE OF DEACONS

 

Since there is so little said about the office of Deacon in the Scriptures -the Scriptural office of a deacon is the least understood of the only two scripturally recognized (and authorized) offices in the church [bishop/elder/pastor] & [deacon]. However, there is enough information in the Holy Scriptures to indicate who is eligible for the office; what the office is; and how it should function.

1 Timothy 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.


According to the Holy Scriptures the office of Deacon is to be filled by MEN ONLY, and the physical and spiritual “requirements” are on the par with the “requirements” for the office of a bishop/elder/pastor.

According to the Bible, the primary difference between a deacon and a bishop/elder/pastor is that a deacon has no authority over the brethren. A deacon’s primary duty is to “serve” the church in a physical capacity. But, just as a bishop/elder/pastor is “called” of the Lord to “serve” God and “minister” to the church; a deacon also is “called” of the Lord to “serve” God and to “minister” to the church - not the pastor! – And is not “limited” to just “serving tables” as the scriptural record of Stephen and Philip demonstrates: {Stephan: Acts 6:8-15 & Acts 7:1-60. Philip Acts 8:5-40}

The Scriptures clearly indicate that a deacon has no authority, whatsoever, over the church; and is not to be in “competition” with a bishop/elder/pastor. On the other hand a deacon is not “limited” to just the “dirty” physical jobs only. Obviously in most so-called Evangelical” and “Fundamental”churches in the Western world today, the office of “deacon” barely resembles the scriptural “pattern demonstrated in the Bible.

NOTES ON THE CHURCH {The Body of Christ}

The early New Testament church (referred to by some as the primitive church) was an “ORGANISM” (a “BODY”) – Spiritual in Nature. Paul referred to it as a great mystery. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:32. [Context -Ephesians 5:23-32]
  

A New Testament church is meant to FUNCTION as a BODY (NOT A BUSINESS) – loving one another and having the same love for one another; caring for each other and having the same care for each other; having one mind; (having Christ’s mind). The New Testament church is a BODY with THE LORD JESUS CHRIST as its only HEAD. Anyone claiming to be that head (pastors-elders-bishops-etc.) are PRETENDERS and USURPERS and THIEVES and ROBBERS!

When a church(any church) becomes an “ORGANIZATION” (worldly in nature & form) It will, at some point, cease to function as an “ORGANISM” and inevitably start down the irreversible road to apostasy.

Any church can emulate the “FORM” (copy certain practices of the early New Testament church) without actually performing the Scriptural PURPOSE and FUNCTION that God intended for his BODY.

After studying the following  church histories: Schaff’s, LaTourette’s, Eardmann’s, Cunningham’s, Ruckman’s, and various others; some historical facts become self-evident:

  • Every church established   from 33 A.D. up to 1900 has apostatized (without one exception).
  • Almost all of those churches   have simply disappeared.
  • All of the few churches (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox & Protestant) that have remained until today - are false and counterfeit.
  • Apostasy always (without   exception) began with the church“leadership.
  • Most of the church “leadership” came from the “intelligentsia”   or the “educated” class.
  • Most of the ordinary   Christians blindly followed the church“leaders”.
  • Concerned Christians were powerless to stop a churchfrom   going apostate.
  • NO CHURCH HAS EVER RECOVERED FROM APOSTASY!

[This also holds true for every so-called “Christian” Organization created by men.]

There is a “pattern” that all Christian churches have gone through (and are still going through today) 1st. Doctrinal – 2nd. a Little Leaven – 3rd. a Turning Away - 4th. Apostasy – 5th. Reprobate.

No amount of rules, regulations, restrictions, edicts, ordinances, or laws have been able to prevent Apostasy. And no amount of compromise can bring a church back from it.

 

Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

1Samuel 4:21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.
22 And she said, The glory is departed from
Israel: for the ark of God is taken.

1Corinthians
16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. {Anathema Maranatha = “Accursed until the Lord returns”.}