INTRO: The church of the Lord has been vital to my life and that of my family for all of my life. I remember the little white frame building with its double screen doors just off of Broadway in Harrisburg in which the church met for worship. That recollection takes me back to before kindergarten. The church assembled for worship on the Lords day, and its worship was just as ours is today. Not because of a human creed which is honored, but because then and now the New Testament says the same thing! But what sort of church is needed for the new millennium?
I. CONSIDER A MOMENT THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. Mt 16:18 It belonged to Christ
1. Acts 20:28 the purchase
2. Col 1:18 the headship
B. Acts 2:47 and Col 1:13 It was the place of the saved
1. 1 Cor 12:27 members of the body
2. 1 Cor 12:13 added when in beliefs and penitence they were baptized into the body, the church
C. Acts 2:42 and 1 Tim 3:14,15 Honored and reverenced the Lord by/with obedience
1. what was revealed by the Lord was done in the body
2. certainly in keeping with Jno 14:15
D. Acts 20:7 and Heb 10:23-25 Worshiped to the pleasing of the Lord
1. scripture and history confirm the worship of the church: Lords supper; giving; singing; praying; edifying in the word
2. the pattern revealed is honored, kept - 1 Cor 12:1,2
E. Jas 1:27 Gave attention to moral purity and to concerns for others
1. thus, it reflected the holiness and love of God
2. it was in the world to bring glory to God - so, Eph 3:21
F. Acts 14:23 and Heb 13:7,17 It was overseen by godly men called elders in each congregation
1. these men managed the churches under Christ
2. 1 Tim 4:8 there were also deacons who served
II. SO, WHAT SHOULD THE CHURCH OF NEW MILLENNIUM BE?
A. Trend? Toward vague, interdenominational groups
1. represented to be union of all Christian groups
2. but the doctrinal views of John Calvin and Pentecostal churches prevail in these groups
3. is this the church for new millennium?
B. And the church of your choice idea still prevails
1. thus, the church of new millennium can be whatever pleases, appeals to the individual
2. emphasis here is what pleases me
3. so, emphasis continues to shift from pleasing God to pleasing me! (even among congregations of the Lords church)
C. What do I read in the New Testament?
1. Mt 28:19,20 - 1 Cor 11:1,2 - 2 Tim 2:1,2 - 2 Pet 1:12-15 - 2 Tim 4:1-4 - Titus 1:9 and 2:6,7
2. can the church be Christs if His word and instruction are set aside? absolutely not!
3. abandon the N.T. and its instruction about the Lords church and the church of the new millennium will be something other than the Lords church!
D. Fact: apostasy did occur after first century
1. falling away was driven by human wishes
2. and the churches which developed out of apostasy clearly bear little resemblance to what the New Testament reveals ... but personal desires were met
3. problem: Gods desires were ignored
CLOSE: Folks, the church for the new millennium must be the church of the New Testament. Our emphasis must be Godward ... pleasing God ... bringing Him glory in the church. Anything else will not be His ... and if it isnt His, He will not claim it in eternity.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 October 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)