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Alan

The Local Church.

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The Local Church

I 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” that Paul is referring to the local assembly of the believers. The Apostle Paul is admonishing Timothy to behave himself in the local assembly of believers; the church. The local church was an assembly in an area of a community. It was the visible assembly of the saints in the New Testament. The church may be in a house, a rented building, or a building that was bought for the purpose of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In 1 and 2 Timothy Paul the Apostle give Timothy, and every saint in the New Testament, instructions “how” to behave himself in the local assembly of believers in the church.

This behavior includes the following two offices in the local church:

 

1. The qualifications of the pastor, or bishop, in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and called an elder in 1 Timothy 5:17. These qualifications are for the pastor of the local church.

2. The qualifications of the deacon and his wife, 1 Timothy 3:8-13. These qualifications are for the deacon(s) of the local church.

The local churches were Independent in Authority and Fellowship

Colossians 4:15 and 16, “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”

 

Nymphas had a church in his house. This assembly was local in scope, visible, and limited in authority,

There was another church, or another visible assembly of believers, in Laodicea. Paul admonished the two assemblies to share in the reading of the Epistle of Colossians. There were no "bishops," or denominational headquarters, over the two assemblies.

Denominations & the so-called “Universal” Church

 

There are no denominations in the New Testament. All of the denominations, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, etc… have a starting point in history, a leader, and a religious hierarchy that is unknown in the New Testament scriptures.

 

There is no “universal church” in the New Testament. There is a “General Assembly,” in heaven of all the saints, “But ye come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the

firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Hebrews 12:22 and 23

 

All of the assemblies mentioned in the New Testament are visible, local and independent. The Apostle Paul gave detailed instructions for the qualifications of the pastor and the deacon as the visible head of the local church. 

 

Edited by Alan
grammer (2) added the word "instructions" spelling

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3 hours ago, Alan said:

The Local Church

I 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” that Paul is referring to the local assembly of the believers. The Apostle Paul is admonishing Timothy to behave himself in the local assembly of believers; the church. The local church was an assembly in an area of a community. It was the visible assembly of the saints in the New Testament. The church may be in a house, a rented building, or a building that was bought for the purpose of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In 1 and 2 Timothy Paul the Apostle give Timothy, and every saint in the New Testament, “how” to behave himself in the local assembly of believers in the church.

This behavior includes the following two offices in the local church:

 

1. The qualifications of the pastor, or bishop, in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and called an elder in 1 Timothy 5:17. These qualifications are for the pastor of the local church.

2. The qualifications of the deacon and his wive, 1 Timothy 3:8-13. These qualifications are for the deacon(s) of the local church.

The local churches were Independent in Authority and Fellowship

Colossians 4:15 and 16, “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”

 

Nymphas had a church in his house. This assembly was local in scope, visible, and limited in authority,

There was another church, or another visible assembly of believers, in Laodicea. Paul admonished the two assemblies to share in the reading of the Epistle of Colossians. There were no "bishops," or denominational headquarters, over the two assemblies.

Denominations & the so-called “Universal” Church

 

There are no denominations in the New Testament. All of the denominations, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, etc… have a starting point in history, a leader, and a religious hierarchy that is unknown in the New Testament scriptures. 

 

Brother Alan, since you posted this, I am left to assume that you do indeed wish to continue discussing the point and that you do not wish to remain silent on the subject.  Even so, I am now choosing to engage with you --

I AGREE with EVERYTHING that I have included in the above quote from your posting.

However, concerning the following portion of your posting, I have some questions:

3 hours ago, Alan said:

There is no “universal church” in the New Testament. There is a “General Assembly,” in heaven of all the saints, “But ye come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the

firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Hebrews 12:22 and 23

 

All of the assemblies mentioned in the New Testament are visible, local and independent. The Apostle Paul gave detailed instructions for the qualifications of the pastor and the deacon as the visible head of the local church. 

 

In this portion of your posting, you indicate that the "General Assembly" is (1) "in heaven" and that it is an assembly (2) "of all the saints."  I myself AGREE COMPLETELY that the "General Assembly" is in heaven, and ONLY in heaven.  Furthermore, I would contend that ANY man-made attempt to reproduce a form of this "General Assembly" on earth is UTTER FALSEHOOD (which is why I UTTERLY REJECT any form of episcopal hierarchy, any form of denominational hierarchy, and the teaching of ecumenicalism).  However, my questions to you focus upon your indication that this "General Assembly" is an assembly "of all the saints."

1.  When you use the phrase, "of all the saints," are you including New Testament believers that are presently on the earth at this very present time?
2.  When you use the phrase, "of all the saints," are you including only New Testament believers that are presently in heaven (through death) at this present time?
3.  When you use the phrase, "of all the saints," are you including both New Testament believers and Old Testament believers together?

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20 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Brother Alan, since you posted this, I am left to assume that you do indeed wish to continue discussing the point and that you do not wish to remain silent on the subject.  Even so, I am now choosing to engage with you --

I AGREE with EVERYTHING that I have included in the above quote from your posting.

However, concerning the following portion of your posting, I have some questions:

This study is just on, "The Local Church." I do not not want to continue the debate on the previous thread.

4 hours ago, Alan said:

Denominations & the so-called “Universal” Church

 

There are no denominations in the New Testament. All of the denominations, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, etc… have a starting point in history, a leader, and a religious hierarchy that is unknown in the New Testament scriptures.

 

There is no “universal church” in the New Testament. There is a “General Assembly,” in heaven of all the saints, “But ye come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. To the general assembly and church of the

firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Hebrews 12:22 and 23

 

All of the assemblies mentioned in the New Testament are visible, local and independent. The Apostle Paul gave detailed instructions for the qualifications of the pastor and the deacon as the visible head of the local church. 

I simply pointed out that there are no denominations in the New Testament nor does Hebrews 12:22 & 23 have anything to do with the local church on the earth.

 

4 hours ago, Alan said:

in heaven of all the saints,

 

20 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

1.  When you use the phrase, "of all the saints," are you including New Testament believers that are presently on the earth at this very present time?
2.  When you use the phrase, "of all the saints," are you including only New Testament believers that are presently in heaven (through death) at this present time?
3.  When you use the phrase, "of all the saints," are you including both New Testament believers and Old Testament believers together? 

I did not quality the term "of all the saints" (nor do I intend to do so in this thread), as it is dealing with the "general assembly" that is in heaven and does not refer to the local church on the earth.

Who, "all of the saints" are is a study in itself. Maybe you can start a thread on this subject. This thread is only about "the local church" not "the general assembly."

20 minutes ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

In this portion of your posting, you indicate that the "General Assembly" is (1) "in heaven" and that it is an assembly (2) "of all the saints."  I myself AGREE COMPLETELY that the "General Assembly" is in heaven, and ONLY in heaven.  Furthermore, I would contend that ANY man-made attempt to reproduce a form of this "General Assembly" on earth is UTTER FALSEHOOD (which is why I UTTERLY REJECT any form of episcopal hierarchy, any form of denominational hierarchy, and the teaching of ecumenicalism). 

I whole-heartedly agree with you and am grateful for your stand.

Edited by Alan
grammer

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4 hours ago, Alan said:

The local churches were Independent in Authority and Fellowship

Colossians 4:15 and 16, “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.”

 

Nymphas had a church in his house. This assembly was local in scope, visible, and limited in authority,

There was another church, or another visible assembly of believers, in Laodicea. Paul admonished the two assemblies to share in the reading of the Epistle of Colossians. There were no "bishops," or denominational headquarters, over the two assemblies.

Brethren,

It is my contention that Paul the Apostle, as he preached the gospel, and folks were saved, he then had these saints assembled together in a local assembly: a church in a local area.

This thread is to follow Paul, by giving examples, as he, and the other apostles, obeyed the Great Commission in seeing souls saved and churches established.

Alan

 

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5 minutes ago, Alan said:

This study is just on, "The Local Church." I do not not want to continue the debate on the previous thread.

I simply pointed out that there are no denominations in the New Testament nor does Hebrews 12:22 & 23 have anything to do with the local church on the earth.

I did not quality the term "of all the saints" (nor do I intend to do so in this thread), as it is dealing with the "general assembly" that is in heaven and does not refer to the local church on the earth.

Who, "all of the saints" are is a study in itself. Maybe you can start a thread on this subject. This thread is only about "the local church" not "the general assembly."

I whole-heartedly agree with you and am grateful for your stand.

Brother Alan,

I do apologize, for I misunderstood.  Because you included some discussion concerning Hebrews 12:22-23 and concerning the "General Assembly," I was under the impression that you were open to further discussion thereof.  Now that you have clarified the intention of this thread discussion as being strictly about the local church, I shall withdraw my questions concerning the membership of the "General Assembly."

I shall look forward to any further study that you do herein concerning the New Testament's teaching on the local church.

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1 minute ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

I shall look forward to any further study that you do herein concerning the New Testament's teaching on the local church.

And, I also look forward to your participation, and the participation of others, on this noteworthy subject.

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A big contention against local autonomy is Acts 15 were they say the "Jerusalem Council" is determining doctrine for "the whole church" but to me it seems to be a case for local autonomy. As it started out with certain men trying to force the gentiles in Antioch to live as Jews for salvation but they went to Jerusalem to resolve the issue because the offending people were members of the Jerusalem church. While some of the apostles weighed in with guidance on the matter, it was James, the pastor of the Jerusalem church and not the apostles that passes sentence on the matter and the letter is written by that church as a clarification of their doctrine and as a request, not as a decree. Its basically Matthew 18 but with automatons churches, showing us how issues between churches should be resolved and not showing a denominational church hierarchy.

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5 hours ago, John Young said:

A big contention against local autonomy is Acts 15 were they say the "Jerusalem Council" is determining doctrine for "the whole church" but to me it seems to be a case for local autonomy. As it started out with certain men trying to force the gentiles in Antioch to live as Jews for salvation but they went to Jerusalem to resolve the issue because the offending people were members of the Jerusalem church. While some of the apostles weighed in with guidance on the matter, it was James, the pastor of the Jerusalem church and not the apostles that passes sentence on the matter and the letter is written by that church as a clarification of their doctrine and as a request, not as a decree. Its basically Matthew 18 but with automatons churches, showing us how issues between churches should be resolved and not showing a denominational church hierarchy.

John,

Thank you for bringing out that Acts 15:1-32 does not infer that a "Council" or a "denominational hierarchy" has any authority over the local church but that is was a good example how churches can get together in unity for fellowship and seek counsel with one another in order to discuss common issues. All of the local churches in the New Testament were autonomous and there was no denominational authority over any local church.

We will be discussing Acts 15:1-32 in more detail (with an emphasis on Acts 15:4, 13, 19, 22, 23, 25 & 30), later as I wanted to discuss a passage of scripture to show how Paul conducted his ministry in starting churches.

Alan

 

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I am of the belief that what we see happening in Acts 15 is nothing more than sister churches clarifying their doctrinal stand on issues of keeping the law. For ease of typing this morning I am going to cut and paste a lesson I did for my church that speaks directly to this issue. I do this because it it is early morning and I am preparing to leave of a trip, I just don't have the time to look it all up again.

I hope by doing this I am not stepping on Bro. Alan's toes with his study on the local church. Hopefully what I write will simply fortify what he is teaching.

I have to apologize because the forum formatting is changing my lesson formatting and the text does not make sense. I have to leave and just don't have time to reformat the lesson because i have t leave.

I'll try it again this evening.

Sorry   :15_1_63:

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Jim,

I am sure that the lesson that you have planned for us to view on Acts 15 will be a blessing to us all and fortify the study on the local church.

As with a lot of the scriptures, denominational leaders mis-use Acts 15 to try and control their churches.

Alan

Edited by Alan
grammer

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OK, it is "this evening" and I still cannot copy and paste my lesson without the forum scrambling the formatting. I use MS Word and evidently it is not compatible with how the forum formatting sees it.

Perhaps it may be better to just include the lesson as a downloadable file attached to this post. I'll try to do that now. So look for a file you can click on in this post.

This lesson is done in MS Word format, hopefully your word processor can hold the MS Word formatting, or you have MS Word on your computer.

Acts 15.doc

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21 hours ago, John Young said:

A big contention against local autonomy is Acts 15 were they say the "Jerusalem Council" is determining doctrine for "the whole church" but to me it seems to be a case for local autonomy. As it started out with certain men trying to force the gentiles in Antioch to live as Jews for salvation but they went to Jerusalem to resolve the issue because the offending people were members of the Jerusalem church. While some of the apostles weighed in with guidance on the matter, it was James, the pastor of the Jerusalem church and not the apostles that passes sentence on the matter and the letter is written by that church as a clarification of their doctrine and as a request, not as a decree. Its basically Matthew 18 but with automatons churches, showing us how issues between churches should be resolved and not showing a denominational church hierarchy.

I have a couple questions.

1.How do we know the Judiazers were members of the church at Jerusalem? I don't recall reading that.

2. How do we know James was the Pastor of the church at Jerusalem? I also don't recall reading that but I do recall hearing a few preachers say it.

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Bro. Jordan,

The answer to your first question is found in verse1 and 2. They came down from Judea and Paul and Barnabas determined to go to Jerusalem about the matter that they had brought up.

I can't find the exact scripture about James being the pastor right now, but will look for it later.

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Jim,

I liked your study on Acts 15 and felt it was noteworthy to copy and paste in its entirety on this study. I changed only one thing; the spelling of Barnabas.

Acts 15

Country Baptist Church

May 23, 2012

By James Foley

 

Paul and Barnabas have returned from their first missionary journey. At this point in time they had been at Antioch fellowshipping with the church there a long time. This short time of relative ease is about to come to an end. Paul had, in the past, no small disputation with some of the church members at the Jerusalem Church who had been holding on to their Jewish customs. This situation is going to become a point of contention, as well it should be; keeping the law has no place in regard to salvation or in the teaching of the Lord’s church in regard to salvation. Romans 10:4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

 

Ver.1 These men were members of the church at Jerusalem. There can be no doubt that these were pretenders. Paul had dealt with this problem in the Jerusalem Church before. Galatians 2:1-6

 

These men were not even good at being pretenders. This church at Antioch was a sound church; to hear from members of a sister church that they believed that salvation was of the law would cause quite a stir.

 

Ver.2 This is a very good example of an incident that never should have happened. The very fact that they came down to Antioch and taught, tells us that they were teachers in the church at Jerusalem.

 

We need to be very careful about who we put in a place of instruction in our churches. Teachers need to be well grounded in the faith and very spiritually minded; Godly men.

 

We have ample instruction for just such situations. 2Thess. 3:6 “Now we command you,

brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”

 

The church at Antioch could have decided this matter themselves, why didn’t they, why go to the church at Jerusalem?

 

Situations like this create doubt, not doubt about what is right, but doubt about what a sister church might believe or teach. This would be of utmost importance to the church at Antioch because this church was started by the church at Jerusalem. Now to hear that the church that sponsored them might believe something contrary to what they had been taught was very troubling. It could even be cause for them to break fellowship with the sister church if what these men were saying was actually what the church at Jerusalem believed.

 

The church at Antioch was spiritual enough to decide this issue for themselves, this is why there was such a sharp contention regarding what these men were teaching; the church knew it was wrong. They sent men up to Jerusalem on a fact finding mission, it was imperative

that they determine what their sister church believed, the law or grace? So they send Paul and Barnabas to find out.

 

Ver.3-5 Notice in Ver.3 Paul and Barnabas are brought on their way by the church. This speaks volumes regarding church authority; these men did not go up to Jerusalem on their own, the church sent them. This is also not a question of one church having any authority over another. Each New Testament church is autonomous. This is solely a matter of fellowship between churches and their members.

 

In Ver.5 we see that there were men within the Jerusalem church that believed that the law must be kept to be saved. It says they were of the sect of the Pharisees, it also says that they “believed”. This is not to be understood as being saved. They believed, but it was a head knowledge not a heart knowledge. They believed Christ had come to save, but they also believed that once you were saved, you had to keep the law by being circumcised as Moses commanded.

 

This flies in the face of scripture: Romans 10:4For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” The Son of God is the only man that ever kept the law in its entirety. It is only through Him, understanding that He kept the law for us, that we can be eternally saved.

 

In Christ we keep the law that we could not keep on our own. Rom. 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

 

Ver.6-12 After much dispute among the Church members at Jerusalem, Peter rose to speak and put the whole matter in perspective. In doing so, he made the beliefs of this church clear to all, including those who thought that the law had to be kept also.

 

Peter puts the pretenders in this church in their place by firmly showing that salvation was wholly by Grace, without any works of the law mixed in. Ver.10 He puts it in perspective by telling these pretenders that they are tempting God, and putting a Yoke on the neck of disciples by their Jewish teaching concerning the law. The yoke he speaks of is the law.

 

In Ver.11 He goes on to show all, including the representatives of the church at Antioch, Paul and Barnabas, that this church believed in salvation by Grace and faith in Christ. God has one Gospel for all and makes no distinction between men,whether they are Jew or Gentile.

 

There are those that say they are Christians today that believe that Baptism saves. This teaching is just another way of saying you have to keep the law to be saved. If Baptism saves, then there is something you must do to be saved…be Baptized. “This is another gospel.” Which Paul spoke of in Gal. 1:6I 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.”

 

Ver.13-21 Now the Apostle James has his say in the matter. He would put nothing on the new converts other than that they be Holy. Ver.19-20 He tells them that the Jews have many that preach the law, but this is not the job of a New Testament Church.

 

It should be noted here that this is not a “convention” as some teach, it is simply a meeting of two sister church’s to determine a point of doctrine. Conventions are foreign to the Word of God. Conventions are the product of associations and are strictly a modern invention brought about by those of no spiritual understanding. God’s Word teaches that churches are to be independent of each other and local in nature, rather than “universal.”

 

Ver.22-25 Now the church at Jerusalem has a business meeting and determines to send men to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas carrying news in a church letter that will clarify this churches doctrinal position.

 

We need to note in Ver.24 that although the pretenders went out from the Jerusalem church, they were not authorized to teach what they did. The church gave them no such instruction.

 

The words, “went out from us,” could have a quite different meaning than that they were officially sent out by the church at Jerusalem. It could very well mean that they went out from the fellowship of the Jerusalem church because of doctrinal differences and were no longer members of that body.

1John 2:19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

 

Ver.30-35 There is always cause to rejoice over preserved fellowship that centers around God’s truth.

 

John Young,

If you would like to upload your study on Acts 15 please do so as you feel led.

Brethren,

I was planning to upload a study on Acts 14:21-23. I do want to reserve the right to upload that study at my discretion.

Alan

 

Edited by Alan
formatting spelling

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10 hours ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

1.How do we know the Judiazers were members of the church at Jerusalem? I don't recall reading that.

The answer to this question is found by seeing the contextual relationship between Acts 15:1-2 & Acts 15:14.

Acts 15:1-2 -- "And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this questions."

Acts 15:24 -- "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment . . . "

Now some thought questions:

1.  Were these "certain men" preaching and teaching a false gospel?
2.  If they were, should they have been disciplined from the church and marked as false teachers?
3.  Was it Biblically righteous for Paul and Barnabas to engage so strongly in dissension and disputation with them?
4.  Why was there so much disputing among the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church over this matter? (See Acts 15:6-7)

Edited by Pastor Scott Markle
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(1) I clicked onto your Acts 15.doc

(2) I pasted it onto a file document on my computer, Linux 18.3, LibreOffice, then saved it in my computer under your name in my document files.

(3) After it was saved, I noticed that Barnabas was spelled wrong so I changed it.

(4) I changed the formatting in LibreOffice.

(5) I then upload it onto OnLineBaptist. I did have to do a little more formatting as LibreOffice is a different format from Microsoft Office.

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2 hours ago, Jordan Kurecki said:

I have a couple questions.

1.How do we know the Judiazers were members of the church at Jerusalem? I don't recall reading that.

Verse 1 "certain men which came down from Judæa" and verse 24 "certain which went out from us have troubled you with words,"

2. How do we know James was the Pastor of the church at Jerusalem? I also don't recall reading that but I do recall hearing a few preachers say it.

James is the pastor because he is the one passing the final sentence about what the church will do. As seen in verse 19 "Wherefore my sentence is," and then in the letter his sentence is actually the church's will as seen in verse 25 "it seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord,". Additionally when Paul returns to Jerusalem he is always being instructed by James as in Acts 21:15-26

 

1 hour ago, Pastor Scott Markle said:

Now some thought questions:

1.  Were these "certain men" preaching and teaching a false gospel?

Yes, the certain were but the Believing Pharisees were not. The first said salvation could only come by circumcision of Moses, meaning they had to join the covenant of Israel before salvation of Christ could be available to them. The Jerusalem Church said these certain men were "subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law:". Whither they were lost themselves or doing it on purpose does not matter. They could have simply been well intention but wrong. The believing Pharisees put salvation of the Gentiles first but that after salvation it would be "needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses" probably as part of being in fellowship with the church. The first said salvation is available only for those in the covenant of Israel and the second basically said it was required for church membership as the church was like a spiritual Israel. The great disputing in Jerusalem was not about the certain men but rather the latter argument of the believing Pharisees.

2.  If they were, should they have been disciplined from the church and marked as false teachers?

They went out but probably not in official capacity as they were given "no suchcommandment:" and they were called certain men, probably because no one really knew them but that they just showed up and said they were from Jerusalem.Basically church hoping and teaching it as if it was what they were teaching in Jerusalem. Its kind of like when visitors show up and after a few Sundays start arguing doctrine and latter you check with their old pastor and he doesn't know who they are but tells you that they don't teach what they are arguing.

3.  Was it Biblically righteous for Paul and Barnabas to engage so strongly in dissension and disputation with them?

Yes. Because they were "subverting souls." and contradicting their doctrine of Faith in Chrsit alone. Whither intentionally or not, that is more than just having an opinion on secondary matters.

4.  Why was there so much disputing among the apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church over this matter? (See Acts 15:6-7)

They were disputing the "after salvation" aspect of the Gentiles in relation to fellowship with the church of Christ and Israel. Not the certain men's before salvation argument. Peter basically shows both Jew and Gentile is purified by Faith, so purification by the law of Israel does not apply to salvation and James makes clear by quoting Amos 9 that Believing Gentiles are not part of Israel like the Jewish Christians are but are still part of the church and therefor do not need to Join Israel for membership in the churches. They then requested they follow four things so that both Jew and Gentile could have fellowship in the same local church.

 

1 hour ago, Alan said:

John Young, If you would like to upload your study on Acts 15 please do so as you feel led. There is so much in Acts 15 that I basically just touched in passing on the local church anatomy. Brother Jim's submission pretty much covered the local church aspects of my notes. The only exception I would take with the notes would be calling the "Pharisees which believed" unsaved pretenders. While a case could be made for the certain in verse one, I believe this is an unfair accusation of devout believing Jews. As we see in Acts 21 the keeping of the law was still a concern to James and the Jerusalem Church and still part of the Jewish covenant and Paul still kept it unto God as part of that covenant. The "Pharisees which believed" were actually just confused with the differences between the two covenants God had with Israel and the church. They were not unsaved nor did they reject the salvation of the Gentiles as this is made very clear in: Acts 21:17-26 17 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. 18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. 19 And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise theirchildren, neither to walk after the customs. 22 What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. 23 Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 24 them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

However, I digress as I can see how this can divert the primary aspect of the study here from the local church to one of church and the state of Israel of which my focus was on in my sermons on the chapter.

 

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I need to correct myself and say that the "request" are later called decrees they were to keep" in Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. Though this may refer to the letter of Acts 15, may it also be the other epistles of James, Peter, and Jude as well? I'm still of mind that the four request were not the decrees but the resolved doctrine to be taught was the decrees as the doctrine was important but in references to the four request Paul noted that 1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. and Romans 14:21-22 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. Showing the four request were request and not decrees but rather the decrees were Salvation, Church, And Israel, doctrines that were resolved.

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John,

Thank you for your lengthly, and detailed, exposition of Acts 15 and your notes on Acts 21:17-26, 1 Corinthians 10:23, and Romans 14:21&22.

I also think it is noteworthy on the notes concerning James being the pastor of the church.

Alan

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8 hours ago, Alan said:

Ver.3-5 Notice in Ver.3 Paul and Barnabas are brought on their way by the church. This speaks volumes regarding church authority; these men did not go up to Jerusalem on their own, the church sent them. This is also not a question of one church having any authority over another. Each New Testament church is autonomous. This is solely a matter of fellowship between churches and their members.

Jim,

Thank you for bringing out the biblical fact a true New Testament Church is autonomous.  

Alan

 

Edited by Alan
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Acts 15:1-32, “The Jerusalem Meeting”

Verse 1 & 2

The Apostle Paul and Barnabas were at their home church, the local Church at Antioch, Acts 14:26-28, giving their report of their first missionary journey to the Gentiles. While at Antioch, certain men had come from Judea and taught the brethren that a person must be circumcised according to the Law of Moses in order to be saved.

The Apostle Paul and Barnabas disputed with these teachers and their false teaching. The brethren at Antioch decided to send Barnabas and Paul to Jerusalem and confer with the other apostles and elders concerning this doctrinal matter.

 

Verse 3 “… And being brought on their way by the church ...”

 

As they traveled to Jerusalem other churches, on their own volition, and without any orders to do so, had Paul and Barnabas give their testimony concerning the conversion of the Gentiles. The churches decided on their own free will to take care of the needs of the missionaries as they traveled. There was no church hierarchy, nor church council, nor denominational headquarters, involved in any of the decisions to help Paul and Barnabas.

 

Verse 4 “… they were received of the church ...”

 

Once the apostle Paul and Barnabas arrived at Jerusalem they were warmly received by the church. In all of the travels by Paul in this passage of scripture, and in the complete New Testament writings, there are individual church making decisions by their own volition. There is no “universal church,” “church hierarchy,” denominational headquarters, nor “bishops” giving churches directions in any matter.

 

Please take careful note concerning the word “bishop” in the scriptures and in church history. In Titus 1:5-7 the word “bishop,” and word “elders” describe the same office, the office of the pastor, interchangeably. “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre.” Titus 1:5-7

 

The Apostle Paul also uses the word for the office of the pastor of a local church “bishop” in 1 Timothy 3:1 & 2.

 

The New Testament office of the bishop of the church is for an individual church. The usage of the word “bishop” by the denominational churches to mean the individual overseeing numerous churches is not scriptural.

 

Verse 5-12

 

The issue of whether or not the Gentiles should be circumcised in order to be saved is discussed and resolved.

 

Verse 13-21 “… James answered ...”

 

“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace 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.” Galatians 2:9

 

“And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.” Acts 21:17 & 18

 

Throughout the book of Acts, James is the leader of the assembly at Jerusalem. James is the spokes man for the assembly at Jerusalem and quotes Amos 9:10 & 11 to prove that the Gentiles are saved without the need of circumcision nor keeping the Law.

 

Throughout the history of the true New Testament churches, and even in our era, the pastor is the spokesman for any assembly in his own church. The Apostle Paul, and the other apostles and elders, accepted his position as spokesman of the assembly.

 

Verse 22-29 “… with the whole church ...”

 

The churches involved in the discussion are all pleased with the results of the decision. There is no mention of the “universal church” nor is there a hint of a “universal church” involved.

 

The Apostle Paul, the other apostles, Barnabas, and the elders of the other churches are pleased. The result of the meeting was written down and delivered to other individual churches by Judas and Silas.

 

Verse 30-32 “So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: ...”

 

All of the churches involved were completely autonomous and local in scope and authority. The decree from the meeting in Jerusalem was accepted by the church at Antioch with no coercion involved. The church at Antioch could either accept the results of the meeting or reject the results of the meeting.

Edited by Alan
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Acts 14:19-23, “The Work of the Missionary”

The Apostle Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles. The Apostle Paul is the pattern for the church in the area of missions.

 

In Paul’s first missionary journey we see how he preached the gospel, taught the disciples, confirmed them in the faith, ordained elders, or pastors, in every church that he started.

 

Throughout the journeys of Paul the Apostle, and in the Epistles that the Holy Spirit directed him to write, Paul never established a denomination, a church hierarchy apart from, or outside, the local church, a “council of churches,” nor a “universal” church. The Apostle Paul followed the command of the Lord Jesus as read in the Great Commission, Matthew 28:1-20, and as he was further instructed in his earthly ministry by the Lord Jesus.

 

The Apostle Paul, and the other Apostles, are part of the foundation of the church: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.” Ephesians 2:20 It is the responsibility for every church to follow the footsteps of the Apostles. Those churches who deviate from the example of Paul the Apostle are not in full accord with his teachings and example.

 

Acts 14:19-23, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they preached had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 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. 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.”

 

The work of Paul the Apostle as the missionary to the Gentiles is self-explanatory. After being stoned (I believe unto death), Paul rose up and the next day he went to Derbe and preached the gospel. As he preached some folks believed in Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The Apostle Paul, Barnabas, and the other men in his company, taught the disciples.

 

They returned to cities of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch and preached the gospel and taught the disciples.

 

In each individual city Paul then confirmed the disciples. The confirmation process included teaching them all of the doctrines revealed to Paul up to that time. And, before he left, “… they had ordained them elders in every church ...” According to the scriptures, the elders were pastors of individual, autonomous, independent, churches in the various cities. There is no “universal church,” denomination,” or any other church hierarchy. After Paul left the pastors were the visible head of the local assembly of disciples.

 

The work of a true New Testament missionary has not changed. The work of the missionary is to start local, autonomous, independent, churches of the country that God has called him too.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Alan
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