What Does the Bible Say About Church? (1)

 

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What does the bible say about church? (1) Church COMES TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE ... ” 1 Corinthians 14:23 “IF ... THE WHOLE 101 D is # Is t cipleship his is t a chu est ☐ rc Yes.W ☐ hy? __ h? No.W _ hy no ___ t? ___ __ E 2 IPL . O ber SC L DI BERT Octo AL 12 IP D SH BER 1 FER 10 R 4 O 01

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2 HOW DID YOU GO WITH THE TEST? 101 Discipleship test # Is this is a church? ☐ Yes.Why? ______ ☐ No.Why not? _____ Let’s see what the scriptures say about this topic. WHAT IS A “CHURCH”? Paul, the apostle says in 1 Corinthians 14:23: Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? From this scripture we can learn much about what a church is.

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3 1) ... if the whole church comes together ... A building can’t come together. So it is clear that the word ‘church’ has nothing to do with a building! In the bible the word ‘church’ always refers to people, and never to a building. You’ve probably heard people say things like, “Which church do you go to?” Or: “Yesterday, I went to church.” But biblically, it is impossible to “go to church.” You can either be part of the church, or not be part of it. Biblically, you can’t go to church! You you can fellowship with other members of the church, yes—but you can’t go to church. 2) ... if the whole church comes together in one place ... The whole church can come together in one place. We will see later that in the New Testament the churches met in houses. (We will talk more about that shortly. See: WHERE DID THE CHURCHES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT MEET?) 3) ... if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues ... If a

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4 biblical New Testament church comes together, all members speak in tongues. (If you’d like to follow up on what the word of God explicitly says about that, you may read our book Did You Receive the Holy Spirit When You Believed? An Experience that Will Empower Your Life. It’s available as a free flipbook online or PDF download at http:// www.oberdorferministry.com. In Chapter 3: How Did the First Disciples Know if Other Believers Had Received the Holy Spirit? and other passages of the book, we cover this point in more detail.) 4) ... if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers ... When the church fellowships together, it is not a place for unbelievers to be there. The fellowship meeting is for believers in Christ who all have already received the Holy Spirit and all already speak in tongues. That is why Paul says “and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers.” Paul says, “there come in.” The meeting of a church is

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5 not for unbelievers in the first place. It’s for believers, so that they can edify each other. However, if unbelievers come in, the church should be wise in dealing with them. In the next verse, Paul instructs us how to go about this. 1 5) ... if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? If uninformed people or unbelievers come to a meeting of the church, and all speak in tongues, those people will say that these people who all speak in tongues are mad because they don’t understand. Of course, if those people who don’t know about speaking in tongues and those who are unbelievers come to a meeting, the church won’t be able to say to them, “Please leave again.” In that case the church should behave wisely towards them, and not just start speaking in tongues or give 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. (1 Corinthians 14:23) 1

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6 messages in tongues without first explaining what speaking in tongues is. WHERE DID THE CHURCHES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT MEET? In the New Testament, the churches met in houses. Consider the following scriptures: 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise GREET THE CHURCH THAT IS IN THEIR HOUSE. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. (Romans 16:3-5) When Priscilla and Aquila were in Rome, there was a church that met in Priscilla and Aquila’s house. 23 Gaius, my host and THE HOST OF THE WHOLE CHURCH, greets you. Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you, and Quartus, a brother. (Romans 16:23)

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7 Paul wrote his letter to the Romans when he was in Corinth. In Corinth, Gaius hosted Paul and the Corinthian church. This means that Paul would have stayed with Gaius. And the whole Corinthian church would have met in Gaius’s house. 19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, WITH THE CHURCH THAT IS IN THEIR HOUSE. (1 Corinthians 16:19) When Priscilla and Aquila were in Corinth, there was a church that met in Priscilla and Aquila’s house. 15 Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and THE CHURCH THAT IS IN HIS HOUSE. (Colossians 4:15) In Laodicea, there was a church that met in Nymphas’s house. 1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and TO THE CHURCH IN YOUR HOUSE ... (Philemon 1-2)

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8 Philemon probably lived in Colosse and there was a church that met in Philemon’s house. HOW DID THE CHURCHES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT CONDUCT A MEETING? Paul, the apostle instructs the church of the Corinthians how to go about the fellowship meeting in 1 Corinthians 14:26: 26 How is it then, brethren? WHENEVER YOU COME TOGETHER, EACH OF YOU HAS A PSALM, HAS A TEACHING, HAS A TONGUE, HAS A REVELATION, HAS AN INTERPRETATION. LET ALL THINGS BE DONE FOR EDIFICATION. So whenever the church comes together each of the members should participate and minister to others in the ability that God supplies. They should share, for example, a song (psalm), a teaching, the gift of different kinds of tongues, a revelation, and interpretation of tongues. This is of course only

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9 possible in a small setting, such as in a house setting. The New Testament model of how a meeting of the church should be conducted is intentionally left fluid, and it leaves room for the Holy Spirit to move and to inspire the members of a church to share and to participate as the Holy Spirit leads them. What the bible does not give us is a fixed pattern we should follow when it comes to how to conduct a meeting of the church. The bible certainly does not instruct us to conduct a meeting in the way it has become customary in many settings. Often, you find a similar unchanged pattern, such as the meeting starting with a song, then it is followed up by prayer, a sermon, another song, a collection and a final prayer. The New Testament model of a church meeting should happen along the lines of Paul’s instructions with everyone participating.

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10 A QUIZ FOR THE READER Here’s a quiz for you. Enjoy! A Church is ... Check ☑ which of the following statements are True (T) or False (F). T 1 2 ☐ ☐ F ☐ ☐ The bible says that a ‘church’ is a building with a cross. The bible says that a ‘church’ is a building where people go to on certain days. The bible says that in a church meeting, most people should sit and listen. In the New New Testament, church meetings took place in special buildings. The bible says that believers should invite non-believers to a meeting of the church. 3 ☐ ☐ 4 ☐ ☐ 5 ☐ ☐

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11 T 6 ☐ F ☐ The bible says that not all members of a church speak in tongues. The bible says that if all members of a church speak in tongues, and there are people at the meeting who are uninformed about speaking in tongues, these people will say that speaking in tongues is normal. The bible says that people’s houses cannot be used for a meeting of the church. The bible tells us that in a church meeting the sermon is the most important part of the meeting. The bible tells us that a church meeting can be a simple meeting in which all people participate. 7 ☐ ☐ 8 ☐ ☐ 9 ☐ ☐ 10 ☐ ☐

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12 SUMMARY A church is a body of believers in Christ. All members of a church speak in tongues. The fellowship meeting of a church is not a place for unbelievers. The New Testament churches met in houses. At the meeting, everybody should participate and all members should minister to one another in the ability that God supplies so that the others are edified (build up). ❀ Answer Key # 1 False, 1 Corinthians 14:23 # 2 False, 1 Corinthians 14:23 # 3 False, 1 Corinthians 14:26 # 4 False, Romans 16:3-5, 25 and other scriptures # 5 False, 1 Corinthians 14:23 # 6 False, 1 Corinthians 14:23 # 7 False, 1 Corinthians 14:23 # 8 False, Romans 16:3-5, 25 and other scriptures # 9 False, 1 Corinthians 14:23 # 10 True, 1 Corinthians 14:26

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