Back to Basics 0213

Back to Basics

Jesus is the head of the church.

The church is the body of Christ redeemed by God’s grace.

Salvation is God’s grace to His elect. God never calls us to be graceful. Loving yes. Forgiving yes. But unmerited favor in ignoring or pardoning sin, NO! God’s grace is to restore us to lawful righteousness, NOT condoning blatant, impenitent sinful lawlessness! His grace wasn’t free, it cost Jesus His life on the cross, propitiation for God’s wrath towards those elect He saved!

What was the church, how was it created, organized, and sustained -biblically. Who has authority in it?

What has man done to it? Are the changes justified by the Bible? Do the changes fundamentally change the essence of what God’s church is?

Let’s begin in the Bible and look at the original church.

His physical life began as ours did, with one overriding exception. His genetic father wasn’t a descendant of Adam, it was our perfect and flawless God.
Jesus was circumcised. He was the last Adam under the old covenants. Through Him, all the promises made to Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses would be fulfilled.
Prior to His ministry, Jesus obeyed the Jewish law given by God through the patriarchs and Moses – perfectly.
He worked as a carpenter.
He honored His human parents and Heavenly Father – perfectly.
He never sinned.
He was begotten to be the flawless lamb of God, the eternal substitutionary sacrifice to take away the sin of the elect.
The last prophet of the Old Testament was a man named John.

John was sent from God as a witness to the Light ( truth, God who would dwell among us), for the stated purpose that through Jesus all might ( not will) believe. Those who received Jesus were given the right to become children of God. Only by God’s will (election), are those who receive actually capable to do so. John was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of The Lord.” That is what the purpose and power of baptism is. It is the sign of a new covenant from God. It was a witness that we are lost in sin and need a savior. A cry for divine intervention, without which we will remain lost and due eternal punishment.

His ministry began at His baptism by John, and ceremonially accomplished to fulfill all righteousness. Baptism was explained to be like Noah’s Ark, to protect and carry you over God’s just judgement and condemnation of sinful humanity. Baptism was also explained as Moses who led God’s people out of sin and judgement characterized as slavery to sin. Through Moses, God created a new Ark – the Ark of the Covenant, on which God would teach His people how God can and would justify the unjust, How our sin can be removed from us, how our separation from God can be reconciled, how our relationship with God that was fatally and eternally destroyed by Adam can be restored. When God looks upon us, our sin as testified by the law, is completely covered (paid for) by the blood of a sacrifice acceptable to God. This Ark of the covenant contains the Ten Commandments, and on which the blood of temple sacrifices were poured. God also projected His power from it to document His power and purpose to work through His faithful people.

Baptism is the sign of the new covenant. Only those in Christ, covered by His blood, empowered and guided by His Holy Spirit, can be and are saved from the justice due us. The church is the body of Christ. But, not everyone who claims to be believe in Jesus do. Some who were baptized never really accepted Christ, can’t yield to His will, do not possess His Holy Spirit, nor desire to Glorify God and be part of His spiritual body. The ultimate test is in what our will demands, what we feel about sin, and whether we choose to obey God’s will and accept His judgements as our own.

The church was born at Pentecost, 53 days after Jesus dies on the cross, 50 days after He rose from the dead, 10 days after He ascended to heaven.
The infant church was lead by 12 apostles, the 12 men that Jesus chose to appoint, discipline and teach. Jesus rejected Matthias (whom the apostles selected by lot to replace Judas Escargot) when He blinded Saul from heaven, converted him, and commissioned him Paul, the last apostle selected. The Apostles were unique, personally selected by Jesus to guide the infant church and close the inspired canon of scripture. The Bible seals it by Gal 1:8 and Rev 22:18-9. God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. God knows the plans of satan and the schemes of man. He gave us the Bible as trustworthy and true. The Bible guarantees that the gates of hell will not overcome it nor the church. I trust the Bible and dispose of all authority that doesn’t support and isn’t supported by the Bible.

So we have Jesus, the head and the authority of The Bible.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5 NKJV)

Much of what we think of when we think of church, isn’t part of the church described in the Bible, established by God, and setup by the Apostles. The Biblical church is quite simple. We read the Bible, see how we are fallen in nature, repent, get water baptized, and accept Jesus as our only Lord and Savior. We study the Bible, and seek to know God and be known by Him.”being known by Him” means that we confess our sin daily and work out our salvation with fear and trembling! We know we are far from perfect but strive daily to be a clear reflection of Christ to others. Knowing that we are the body of Christ, we follow only Him and test EVERYTHING with the Bible, hold on to the true and discard the tainted or corrupt in humility and dedication. We obey His commands, walk in His ways, and do everything humbly and boldly knowing that He is with us!

So what isn’t biblical? Clearly the Bible tells us to do somethings and refrain from doing others. But what about the countless things that are neither commanded nor prohibited? Precepts are easy, so says The Lord. Principles are more difficult and require the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit. Preferences are optional. If something is borderline, go the extra mile in service and use self control in areas of possible temptation. The devil will try to lead you to extremes or inaction. Pray for guidance and consider God’s glory first and others well being before your own, especially when they are entrusted by God to you!

So what has been added? Frank Viola has provided a list in His book Pagan Christianity:
Church building AD 327
Sacred space AD 200
Tax-exemptions for church organizations and clergy AD 323
Stained Glass windows AD 1081
Gothic Cathedrals AD 1100
Steeples AD 1600
Pulpit AD 250
Pews AD 1200
Order of Worship AD 500
Alter Call AD 1600
Sermons AD 300
Single Bishop or Pastor AD 200
Hierarchical Leadership AD 300
Clergy AD 200
Laity AD 100
Ordination AD 100
Pastors AD 1700
Clergy Attire AD 330
Clerical Collar AD 1865
Choirs AD 300
Funeral Processions AD 200
Tithing AD 700
Clergy Salaries AD 300
Collection Plate AD 1300
Ushers AD 200
Sinners Prayer AD 1800
Catholic Seminary AD 1500
Protestant Seminary AD 1800
Bible College AD 1800
Sunday School AD 1700
Youth Pastor AD 1900
Biblical Book Order AD 100
Biblical Chapter Numbers AD 1200
Biblical Verse Numbers AD 1500

Imagine worshipping God without these human constructs. Without pastors, believers had to read ( and learn to read) for themselves. Without clergy, the Holy Spirit would have to lead us. Without church buildings, gatherings would have to be smaller and our part enhanced. Songs would be optional, more spontaneous, and common. Without pews, pulpits, and churches, more participation by everyone. False unbiblical practices would not be legitimized by seminaries, colleges, or church organizations.

I hope you get the picture. The church would return to its status as being an organism. False leaders and members would be challenged and removed. Apathy and inaction would wane. Care and love would grow. Biblical discussions would be more relevant and deeper. Discipleship would be job one – all would know The Lord and charity would be more effective and spirit led. Being the church is biblical. Going to a church and paying others to read for you, study for you, give for you, and love for you is not. Greed, laziness, and pride isn’t the work of the Holy Spirit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control are.

It’s hard to separate the biblical from the human traditional by starting at a church building. Human doctrines, opinions, and practices are set in stone. None of the existing church denominations are near biblical. The passive aggression and habits die hard.

Perhaps, I am alone in my frustration with religious and pagan Christianity. If the Holy Spirit lives within our redeemed soul, please tell me where I am wrong. If He is echoing your thoughts with mine, let’s take a Leap of faith, iron sharpens iron, and follow Christ.

The silence is deafening!

In Jesus’ Name,

Az4christ.wordpress.com

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~ by az4christ on February 8, 2013.

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