4] Is the ministry restricted to only certain members?
1 Corinthians 14: 26 and 31
5] However, does God bestow special gifts of authority and responsibility upon certain members?
1 Corinthians 2: 28-30
6] Are these gifts to be recognised and respected?
Hebrews 13:17; 1 Timothy 5: 17-19
7] How must each member behave in the Church?
I Timothy 3: 14-15; 1 Corinthians 13: 33 and 40
8] Does the Bible give licence for divisions in the Church?
1 Corinthians 12: 25; 1 Peter 5: 5
9] Does the local Church have authority to disfellowship unruly members? (Roman 16: 17-18; 1 Corinthians 5: 13).
10] What attitude should one take towards unruly members?
2 Thessalonians 3: 6, 14-15
11] What attitude should one take towards weak members?
Romans 14: 1; Galatians 6: 1
12] How often are we to forgive our brother?
Matthew 18: 21-22
13] What is the Bible procedure in effecting reconciliations between members: (Matthew 18: 15-17).
14] What should each member endeavour to maintain?
Ephesians 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5: 13
15] Is it permissible for women to testify and prophecy in Church?
Joel 2: 28; 1 Corinthians 11: 5; Acts 21: 8-9
16] Is speaking in other tongues forbidden in Church?
1 Corinthians 14: 39
17] In public service where there are unbelievers present what gift must accompany speaking in tongues?
1 Corinthians 14: 12, 13, 27, 28
18] What is the general purpose of the gift of prophecy?
Corinthians 14: 3
19] Should we desire spiritual gifts?
1 Corinthians 14: 1
“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that went down in the skirts of his garments.
As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing even life for evermore. Psalm 133.
1. What did Christ say regarding the establishment and continuity of the Church? (Matthew 16:18).
2. Upon what foundation is the Church to be built? (Ephesians 2: 20).
3. What place must Christ have in the building of the Church: (1 Peter 2: 6; Ephesians 1: 22; Colossians 1: 18).
4. In referring to the Church Universal does the Bible single out any one denomination? (Ephesians 4: 1-4; Galatians 3: 26).
5. What constitutes membership in the Church? (1 Corinthians 12: 13; 2 Corinthians 5: 17; Acts 2: 4).
6. Is there a General Assembly and where is the record kept of membership? (Hebrews 12: 23).
7. In this General Assembly or Church Universal with Headquarters in heaven, are there any organised groups on earth local and self-governing? (1 Corinthians 1: 2; Galatians 1: 2; Ephesians 1:1).
8. What type of organisation did the early church have? (Acts 11: 19-26; 13: 1-4).
Note: Each local church was autonomous with full rights and privileges in every phase of church worship and administration.
9. Is there any evidence of an earthly headquarters that ruled over all the local churches?
Ans. No. Each church was self-governing.
10. Were Apostles and Evangelists credentialed by a headquarters and then sent out? (Galatians 1: 15-19; Acts 13: 1-4).
11. What was the custom of Paul and Barnabas in ordaining Elders? (Titus 1: 5; Acts 14: 21-27).
Note: The Elders were ordained in local churches not as a part of a general organisation but as overseers of local groups (Acts 20: 17-28).
12. What precaution must those in authority take: (Mark 10: 42-44; 1 Peter 5: 1-4).
13. In Paul’s letters to the various churches is there any hint of a general organisation with headquarters anywhere on earth? (1 Corinthians 1: 1-2; Galatians 1: 1-2).
14. Did Paul’s support come from a “General Treasury?” (Phil 4: 11-16).
15. In Revelation, the messages are sent to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 1: 11, 20). Was this letter originating in the earthly headquarters?
Ans. No. This is evidence that God recognised the sovereignty of each local church thus the Spirit of God disclosed the varied needs of each church.
16. Although each local church is to be an independent unit in itself, what spirit should prevail between all the churches?
Note: The manner of collection and distribution of offerings indicates each local assembly expedited its own financial business without a “general treasury”.
17. What harm is there in a General Organisation and headquarters?
Ans. First and foremost, it is not scriptural and therefore it is not God’s plan for the church. Also, it robs the local church of divine guidance and leadership by the Holy Spirit. History speaks very forcibly of the danger and pitfalls of highly organised federated church denominations. This was one of the first downward steps the church took in its long slide into apostasy. It establishes a manmade system with edicts and jurisdictional decrees being enforced upon all members alike with no regard to local conditions or circumstances. It sets men over others with dictatorial power. It becomes a political system and often degenerates into a clique at the helm and disallows spiritual growth. It hinders the leadership of the Spirit and has prevented men from accepting truth and thereby has led the church into bondage, both spiritually, mentally and oftentimes, physically. In all, denominationalism has been one of the greatest curses that has come upon the Church and God’s call is o come out of her my people”.
CHURCH ORGANISATION –
1. What historical proof do we have concerning church organisation?
Ans. “All the earliest churches were independent and self-governing The Christians held that they all belonged to one universal church for all were one in Christ. But there was no General Organisation having control over the scattered churches. In the first century there was no organised government of the whole church. East congregation managed its own affairs in freedom”. From “The Growth of the Christian Church”, by R.H. Nichols Vol. 1, P.25, From, “Robinson’s Researches” Chp, 8 we read, “There was among primitive Christians a uniform belief that Jesus was the Christ and a perfect harmony of affairs. When congregations multiplied so that they became too numerous to assembly in one place, they parted into separate companies…. But there was no schism. On the contrary, all held a common union and a member of one company was a member of all. One company never pretended to inspect the affairs of another, nor was there any dominion over the consciences of any individuals”.
2. When did General Organisation come into being? (From Moshein’s History.
Ans. “During the greater part of this century (second); the Christian churches were independent of each other; nor were they joined together by association, confederacy of any other bonds but those of Charity.
Each assembly was a little state, governed by its own laws….But in the process of time all the Christian churches of a province were formed into one large ecclesiastical body which, like confederate states, assembled at certain times, in order to deliberate about the whole. This institution had its origin among the Greeks, with whom nothing was more common than the confederation of independent states”.
3. What does history tell us was the next step in General Organisation?
Ans. Quoting from Mosheim’s History Part 2. Chap. 2 – “To these assemblies, in which the deputies…of several churches consulted together; the name of SYNODS was appropriated by the Greeks; and that of COUNCILS by the Latins; the laws that were enacted in these general meetings were called CANONS i.e. rules. These councils ….changed the whole face of the church, and gave it a new form: for by them the ancient privileges of the people were considerably diminished, and the power and authority of the bishops greatly augmented. These pious prelates asserted at length that Christ had empowered them to prescribe to his people authoritative rules and manners”.
4. How did the present order of ecclesiastics come into being?
Quoting further from Mosheim’s, “Another effect of these councils was the gradual abolition of that perfect equality which reigned among the bishops in the primitive times. For the order of these assemblies required that someone of the providential bishops met in council, should be invested with a superior degree of power and authority; and hence the rights of the Metropolitans derive their origin. The universal church had now the appearance of one vast republic, formed by a combination of a great number of little states.
This occasioned the creation of a new ORDER OF ECCLESIASTICS, who were appointed in different parts of the world, as heads of the church, and whose office it was to preserve the consistence and union of the immense body. Such was the nature and office of PATRIARCHS among, whom at length, ambition formed a new dignity investing the BISHOP of ROME and his successors with the title and authority of Prince OF THE PATRIACHS”.
Thus we see the whole system of human church organisation and federation is derived from the Greeks, who patterned the church after their governmental system. We still he this Greek system with us in the multiplicity of sects and denominations. However, there are many sincere people today who have been enlightened on Bible organisation and the result has been that there are many independent groups who are free from the apostate system of ecclesiastical dictatorship.
THE FIVE MINISTRY GIFTS FOR THE CHURCH
1. What are the five ministry gifts for the Church? (Ephesians 4:11).
2. What threefold purpose do they serve? (verse 12).
3. What is the meaning of the word “Apostle?”
Ans. The word “Apostle” is derived from the Greek word “Apostolos”, which means “one that is sent” or a delegate , an ambassador of the gospel, a commissioner of Christ (with miraculous power), one sent to minister to. (see Galatians 2:8).
4. What is the office of an Apostle? (Matthew 10:1-8; 1 Peter 1:1; Romans 11: 13; 1:11).
5. How are Apostles ordained? (Matthew 10:1; Galatians 1: 1; 1 Corinthians 12:28).
6. What is the sign of an Apostle? (2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 9:2; Matthew 10:1; Acts 5:12).
(c) Confirm the believes in the faith - (Acts 14:22); 15:41
Note: The word “confirm” used here is not the same as in Mar 16:20. In Acts, the Greek word is “episterizo” meaning to further establish, to strengthen; whereas in Mark, the word is “Bebaioc” meaning to establish (initially).
8. What is the difference between an Apostle and a Pastor?
Ans. The word “Pastor is only found once in the New Testament (Ephesians 4: 11) and is no doubt the same as the office of the “Elders” (Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:1; Acts 20;17; 1 Peter 5:1, etc..) the “Bishops” (Titus 1:7; Timothy 3:1; Phil 1:1) and the Overseers (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5: 1-2). All the above scriptures would indicate that
the Pastors duties are within the local church But this does not mean that a Pastor could not also be an Apostle, or a Prophet, or a Teacher etc. But there are specific qualifications and duties of a Pastor that would not necessarily apply to the other ministries.
9. What is the difference between the 12 Apostles and the subsequent Apostles called of God?
Matthew 10:1, 5; Acts 1:22; Revelation 21: 14
Note: It is obvious that Jesus had a special ministry for the original 12 Apostles. They were to be the personal eyewitnesses of his earthly ministry. They formed he foundation of that Christian church at Jerusalem. Their ministry was exclusively to the “Lost sheep of the house of Israel”. God had a special plan and programme for the Jews in the early days of the Christian church. The 12 Apostles were called to perform this plan. They had the commission to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the twelve tribes of Israel thus fulfilling God’s plan for the “Election” (Romans 11: 5-
6). This was the Sealing of the 144,000 (Revelation 7: 1-). According to the scriptures there was to be 12,000 sealed from each tribe. No other time in history could this be fulfilled except in the early history of the primitive church. The record in Acts shows tremendous revivals with thousands of Jews being saved (Acts 2: 41; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7;14:1). When God’s [plan for the news was fulfilled the gospel was carried to all nations, even Jews could be grated into the olive tree and there seems to be an overlapping of Jewish and Gentile dispensations. The names of the 12 Apostles will be immortalised on the walls of the Holy City (Revelation: 21: 14). So no one else can fill the position of the original 12 Apostles but the office of an Apostle continued in the Church as the scriptures above amply prove.
PROPHETS AND THE GIFT OF PROPHECY
FOR TODAY 1. After “Apostles!” what is the next ministry gift mentioned by Paul? Ephesians 4:11.
2. What Old Testament prophecy foretold of the outpouring of the Spirit which produced the gift of prophecy in the New Testament days? Joel 2:28
3. When was this prophecy fulfilled? Acts 2:16-18.
It is noteworthy that the outpouring of the Spirit was upon “all flesh”. In the Old Testament times only chosen men of special calling received this special anointing. But in New Testament times we find that the gifts are for “all flesh” – your “sons and your daughters”. Let us also bear in mind that the initial outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was not the final outpouring. There were subsequent outpourings as we shall see in our study.
In 1 Corinthians chapters 11 through 14 the word “Prophesyings” occurs some 22 times. This indicates the important place it occupied in the worship of the Early Church.
4. What is the purpose of prophecy?
A. God speaks to the Church supernaturally – 1 Corinthians 14:3.
B. Prophecy edifies the Church – 1 Corinthians 14:4.
C. Prophecy is for the exhortation of the Church – 1 Corinthians 14:3. We must note that prophecy is ministering to the Church. It is never to be used as a means of human vengeance or denunciation of each other. It is meant to “build up” the Church.
D. Prophecy is for the “comfort of the Church – 1 Corinthians 14:3.
E. Prophecy brings conviction to the sinner – 1 Corinthians 14:14:24, 25.
Note: In many churches pastors have forbidden prophecy because they fear it will cause embarrassment and divisions in the Church, but the Word of Giod declares that they that are “unlearned and unskilful” in the manifestations of the Spirit will recognize that it is the Spirit of God that causes the supernatural revelations and they will acknowledge that God is in His people and they will repent.
F. Prophecy will bring teaching to the Church – 1 Corinthians 14:31.
G. Prophecy enables the Christian to war a good warfare – 1 Timothy 1:18.
H. Prophecy will bring life to the “dry bones” [formal worship] Ezekiel 37: 3-10.
Note: In these days of Laodicean complacency [lukewarmness] the ministry of prophecy is needed to quicken to spiritual activity the latent powers and gifts that God has for the believers. Prophecy will encourage, strengthen, and empower the believer. Every child of God needs this in his or her life today.
5. How many may prophesy? 1 Corinthians 14:1, 24, 31.
6. How does this agree with 1 Corinthians 12:29?
Note: It is obvious that not all of God’s people are prophets. The office of a “prophet” is not necessarily the same as the “gift of prophecy”. We have noticed that prophesying serves certain purposes in the Church. We have also noticed that “all may prophesy”. When Paul asked the question “Do all prophesy”? he no doubt referred to the office of a prophet who through divine revelation foretold future events. See Acts 11:28; Acts 21:10, 11. In Acts 21:8, 9 we find that Philip the evangelist, who was also of the seven deacons, had “four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy”. This is the gift of prophecy which Joel declared would be for “all flesh”. But the office of a prophet, one who foretells future events, is for certain God-appointed men.
There are two words in the Old Testaent that are used interchangeably for this office – a “prophet” and a “seer”. In the Hebrew these words are entirely different. “Seer” is one who sees, or has visions. It appears that the old Testament prophets had this ability and there was no distinction between the Seer and the Prophet.
However, when we come into the New Testament ministry the “gift” to prophesy is for every believer and does not necessarily refer to the office of a Prophet – one who is a Seer, a special gift bestowed upon certain men of God’s choosing. [1 Samuel 9:9, 2 Samuel 24;11].
HINDRANCES TO PROPHECY 7. What are some of the hindrances to prophecy?
A. Failure to “stir up the gift” – 2 Timothy 1:6.
Note: In view of the scriptures quoted above that “all may prophesy” it is evident that all who receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the Bible evidence of speaking in other tongues may prophesy. The gift to prophesy is imparted as part and parcel of the gift of the Spirit and is resident within; but it needs to be “stirred up” or put into operation in the same way that “speaking in tongues’ is for all believers and needs to be operative. Paul said “I would that ye all spake in tongues” [1 Corinthians 14:5] and “Ye all may prophesy” [1 Corinthians 14:31].
B. Despising Prophecy – 1 Thessalonians 5:20.
Note: We are not to minimize the ministry of prophecy. Today many Christians are too proud and self-righteous and they do not desire the manifestation of prophecy. They do not want the revelation of their hypocrisy.
C. Neglect of Prophecy - 1 Timothy 4:4.
Note: Neglect, indifference and lukewarmness are the curses of the nominal churches today. Many places of worship are in the icy grip of dead, lethargic formalism. They are no longer the power house where saints used to become charged with a holy zeal for the proclamation of the gospel.
D. Quench the Spirit - 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
Note: Today, in many places the Spirit is quenched by man-made programs, no place is given for spiritual manifestations.
E. Grieve the Spirit - Ephesians 4:30.
Note: The Spirit of God is grieved [mourn, sorrow] by the stubbornness, arrogance and self-will of man. God seeks a humble and contrite vessel through whom He can speak.
Failure to wait upon your ministry - Romans 12:6,7.
Note: If one does not wait upon God in humble preparation his ministry will be ineffective and grievous; it will become “sounding brass and tinkling cymbal”. We have far too much preaching about the errors and controls and pitfalls of spiritual gifts and not enough positive preaching to encourage the believers to enter into their ministry. Too many preachers spend time preaching about limiting prophecy to two or three and never get to the first one. It is just as much out of order not to have any as it is to have too many; maybe more so. When God set these gifts in the Church He had a purpose and that purpose cannot be disregarded or we will suffer spiritual loss. It is true we can substitute our man-made programs, but that will not fill the place of the spiritual gifts. Paul said, “Desire spiritual gifts” and “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to EDIFICATION and EXHORTATION and COMFORT” – 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3. Let us pray that God will give the Church a complete RESTORATION of SPIRITUAL MINISTRIES.
EVANGELISTS, PASTORS AND TEACHERS
1. What is the meaning of the word “Evangelist”?
Answer: The word “Evangelist” is derived from the Greek “Euangelistes” which is a combination of “eu” meaning “well” and “angeles” meaning a “messenger” and denotes a preacher of the gospel, one who proclaims glad tidings or good news.
2. What are Bible examples of Evangelists?
Acts 21:8; 2 Timothy 4:5.
3. What does the word “Pastor” mean?
Answer: The word “Pastor” comes from the Greek “Poinmon” which means a “shepherd”, one who guides as well as feeds the flock. In the Greek Bible it is found only in Ephesians 4:11.
4. What other terms are used in reference to the office of the Pastor?
Answer: The term most frequently used in reference to the office of Pastor is “Elder” which comes from the Greek “Presbuteres” meaning one who is mature in spiritual experience. Another word is “Bishop” which comes from the Greek “Episkopes” meaning an “Overseer”.
5. What are some of the places where the word “Elder” is used?
1 Peter 5:2; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 20:28.
8. What are the duties of the Pastor?
1 Timothy 5:17; Acts 20:28; James 5:14, 15.
9. What scriptures indicate that there was a plurality of men holding this office in a local church?
Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5.
10. What spirit should predominate among the Elders?
1 Peter 5:5, 6; 1 Timothy 5:21.
11. How should the office of the Pastor be regarded?
1 Timothy 5:17-19; Hebrews 13:17.
12. How should the Pastor relate himself to the members?
1 Peter 5:2, 3.
13. Is the Pastor the only one who ministers?
1 Corinthians 14:26-31.
Note: The concept of the Pastor being the sole minister is not scriptural. This idea stems from the gradual development and growth of the power and authority of the bishops over the laity in the apostacy of the Church. The New Testament order provides a plurality of ministries whereby every member of the Body, the Church, functions in a God-given spiritual capacity. This is God’s method of bringing the Church to maturity or perfection [Ephesians 4:11-16].
14. The fifth office mentioned is that of the “Teachers”. What scriptures show their place in the ministry?
Acts 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12;28; 1 Timothy 2:7; Titus 2:3.
Note: The “Five Fold Ministry” is represented by the human hand [1 Kings 18:44]. The THUMB, the APOSTLE, can easily touch and work with all the other fingers. The INDEX or pointing finger, the PROPHET, foretells future, points out sin. The EVANGELIST, the longest finger, reaches out for souls as Philip, the Evangelist, the PASTOR, the RING FINGER or the heart finger, a heart for the sheep. TEACHERS, the LITTLE finger, can get into the ear when others cannot.
LESSON 26 THE JEWISH QUESTION 1. What nation did God choose to be His representatives and custodians of His truth?
Genesis 13:14-17; 26:1-5; 28:10-15.
2. Because of Israel’s sins they were taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years [2 Chronicles 36:11-21; Jeremiah 25:9, 11] after which they returned to Palestine under the Persian rulers Darius, Cyrus, and Artaxerxes [Ezra 1:1-3; 6:1-12; 7:11-28]. Daniel was one of the captives in Babylon. While there what prophetic time period did Daniel foretell was allotted to the Jewish nation? [See chart at end of Lesson].
3. Before the time allotted to the Jews expired, to whom was the gospel first preached?
Matthew 10:5-7; 15:22-28.
4. To what did God compare Israel and the Gentiles?
Jeremiah 11:16, 17; Romans 11:17.
5. What did God say He would do to some of the branches?
Jeremiah 11:16; Romans 11:17.
6. Who is the BRANCH into which both Jew and Gentile are grafted in?
Jeremiah 23:5, 6.
7. Since the allotted time for the Jews has expired [A.D. 34] does God make any distinction as to race or nationality?
15. Do the prophecies pertaining to the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem have any spiritual significance?
Compare Amos 9:11-15 and Acts 15:13-17; also read the who chapter of Isaiah 60 and 61:1-6.
16. When did the Gentiles come to the light of the gospel?
Isaiah 60:3; Acts 10:34, 35; 13:36; 15:7, 14.
17. What other prophecies speak of the same thing?
Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 54:1-5; 56:4-7.
18. Can we see any connection of this with the prophecy in Haggai 2:6-9?
19. How does Paul speak of the glory of the ministration of the Spirit?
2 Corinthians 3:7-11.
20. How was this glory manifested:
Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.
21. If the foregoing is true, what about the present day return of the Jews to the land of Palestine?
Answer: A careful observation of the conditions and circumstances connected with the present return seems to indicate that it is primarily a NATIONALISTIC move. One must be careful not to stretch scriptures out of context, yet we must not close our eyes to events that obviously God has a hand in. ALL THE PROPHECIES
which speak of Israel’s return were given BEFORE the Babylonian captivity. Therefore the first application must have been relative to the return from this captivity. However, it is also obvious that every detail of those prophecies was NOT fulfilled in that return; furthermore, the present return of the Jews also fails to comply fully with the specification of the prophecies. We must therefore conclude that there must be a duplication and repetition of the fulfilling of those prophecies. Events in the Middle East certainly indicate a Sovereign Hand working on behalf of Israel. There is more to come before Israel will recognize Christ as their Messiah and Saviour. The “times of the Gentiles” [Romans 11:25; Luke 21:24] appear to be running out and we must look to the Jews for the culmination of prophecy.
22. What about the so-called “lost tribes”?
Israel and Judah were united after the Captivity [Ezekiel 37:15-22]. The Septuagint Version was made by six men of each tribe [285 B.C.] and James addresses the “Twelve Tribes” in his day [James 1:1].
DATA: The literal years of Babylonian Captivity as recorded in 1 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 29:10 and Daniel 9:2 ended at the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem [B.C 457]. See Daniel 9:25 and Ezra 7:11-23.
All prochecies relative to the return and restoration of the Jews and Jerusalem was given BEFORE 457 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, took Zedekiah the last king of Judah captive and killed all his sons [2 Kings 25:1-11; 2 Chronicles 36:11-21] and took the Jews into Babylonian captivity.
The Return and Restoration of the Jews and Jerusalem was accomplished under the Persian kings Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes. See Jeremiah 25:12; 29:10; 2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1:1; 6:14; 7:11-21.
70 weeks of years were allotted to the Jewish nation during which time God directed His special favour towards them, sending His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the whole world. This time period ended in 34 A.D. The Jews as a chosen nation were cast off [Romans 11:15-23] and the gospel went to all peoples [Acts 13:46]. The final calamity upon Jerusalem came in 70 A.D; the temple was destroyed and the Jews scattered among “all nations”.
The “Gap Theory” in which the last week of the 70 weeks is said to apply in the last days when the “ANTI-CHRIST” is supposed to rule is mere human speculation. The Bible does not warrant us to cut off the last seven years from the original 483 years and to apply it to a “Tribulation Period”. There have been many periods of time in which God’s people were subjected to severe tribulation. Millions of saints have died a martyr’s death, cruel tortures have been inflicted upon God’s people for centuries. Of course this tribulation shall increase to the end of time but “Anti-Christ” has been here since John’s day [1 John 2:18].