The Gospel Church

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Hebrews 10:24-25  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

“We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers (Acts 2:41,42,47), associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel (Acts 14:21-23); observing the ordinances of Christ (I Corinthians 11:2); governed by His Laws (Matthew 28:20); and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word (Philippians 1:27); that its only Scriptural officers are Bishops, or Pastors, and Deacons (Philippians 1:1); whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.”

The word CHURCH is used in the New Testament to designate a company of people called out from others and joined together in one body.  There are two words from the Old Testament--CONGREGATION and ASSEMBLY--that have the same general meaning (compare Psalm 22:22 with Hebrews 2:12).

Never, as far as the Bible is concerned, is the word Church used to refer to a building.  Buildings are the meeting places of Churches  (Colossians 4:15; Romans 16:5; I Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 2).

The word CHURCH has a threefold meaning that is fundamental to the New Testament doctrine of the CHURCH.  (1) Our LORD said “I will build My CHURCH” (Matthew 16:18).  Here CHURCH is used in its INSTITUTIONAL meaning.  We may be certain that whatever the LORD builds cannot be de­stroyed by any power in earth or hell.  (2) Our LORD instructed His disciples to “tell it to the CHURCH” (Matthew 18:17).  Here, as in some ninety places, it is the LOCAL CHURCH that is meant (see also I Timothy 3:15).  Whoever would examine, participate in, and report to the CHURCH is directed to a particular, local body called out, joined together to carry out the commands of its HEAD.  (3) In Ephesians 5:27 and Hebrews 12:23, the word CHURCH is used in its GLORIFIED sense.  The CHURCH instituted by the LORD Jesus Christ, visible in the world as particular, local ASSEMBLIES, called out from the world to proclaim the GOSPEL; will, at the Coming of the LORD become the GLORIFIED CHURCH (Revelation 21:9,10).

Each particular LOCAL CHURCH is governed by Christ.  The only proper rule of faith and practice is the Bible, God’s holy word.  The LORD Jesus is the LAWGIVER.  His CHURCHES obey Him (Revelation 2 and 3). No man or woman is the head, or even the co-regent of the LORD’ S CHURCHES!  The Scriptural officers of each New Testament CHURCH are “the bishops and deacons” (Philippians 1:1).  The qualifications of both may be learned by a study of I Timothy 3; Titus 1; I Peter 5; and Acts 6.  There is, and has been a contradictory trend, which trend we are warned to beware  (Acts 20:28-30).  The doctrine of the CHURCH in its threefold meaning is set forth in I Corinthians 3.  In this day of contrary attitudes we need to hear the burning question directed to the LOCAL CHURCH in Cor­inth, “Despise ye the CHURCH OF GOD?” (I Corinthians 11:22)

Only those should be received into CHURCH membership who give cred­ible evidence that they have received Christ as Saviour and LORD.  The CHURCH is a spiritual body.  The work of the CHURCH is spiritual work.  Being a member of the CHURCH must continue to be a voluntary commit­ment of a saved individual to the covenant relationship (Ephesians 3:21).

- - - - The Scriptures below are referenced in the doctrinal statement - - - -

Acts 2:41-42,47  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (42) And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  … (47) Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 14:21-23  And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, (22) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (23) And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

1 Corinthians 11:2  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

Matthew 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Philippians 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians 1:1  Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

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