The Organization of the Church

Text: Hebrews 8:1-5


I.         We give God glory when we teach His doctrine and execute it accordingly - I Peter 4:11

            A.        Thus we are to follow the pattern set for us - Philippians 3:17

            B.        Warnings abound not to change the message - Galatians 1:6-10

            C.        Any change would give glory to man and no longer to God

II.        Two uses of the word “church”

            A.        The body of all the saved

                        1.         Ephesians 5:23-27 - This is not in one particular area, but Christians across the world with Jesus Christ as its head

                        2.         The apostles were Christ’s ambassadors to make know the will of the Lord - II Peter 3:1-2

                                    a.         They are apart of the foundation of the church - Ephesians 2:19-20

            B.        The saved in an area

                        1.         The church at some location - Acts 13:1; I Thessalonians 1:1

                        2.         The worldwide church was not composed of local churches. Becoming a Christian put you into the universal church - Acts 2:47

                        3.         Membership in a local church was separate - Acts 9:26-28; 11:26

            C.        What you do not find is any regional or national organization

III.       The order in the Church

            A.        Christ is the head of all things in the church - Ephesians 1:22-23

                        1.         The apostles taught the ways of Christ in every church - I Corinthians 4:17

                        2.         Teachings regarding marriage were ordained in all the churches - I Corinthians 7:17

                        3.         The teachings were uniform across the various local congregations

                        4.         What the apostles bound was what was bound by the Lord in heaven - Matthew 18:18

            B.        Each local church is overseen by elders - Acts 14:23

                        1.         Each church had its own eldership

                        2.         The elders in each church was plural in number

                        3.         The elders within each church were equal in authority

                        4.         The elders of each church were independent of any other church and equal to the elders of any other church

                        5.         Their duty is limited to the flock among them - I Peter 5:1-4

                                    a.         They are not lords but examples

                        6.         They are not a rule making body, that comes from the Lord as taught by the apostles. Rather they exist to make sure the Christians in their charge follow the Lord’s laws - Hebrews 13:17

                        7.         They protect the church from false teachings - Titus 1:9

            C.        Deacons serve the church - Acts 6:1-4

                        1.         They make sure the day-to-day operations of the church run smoothly

            D.        Preachers - II Timothy 4:5

                        1.         Preachers are the heralds of the good news - I Timothy 4:16

                        2.         Their focus is saving people from their sins - I Corinthians 1:21

                        3.         They also teach the law to Christians - I Timothy 4:11,13; II Timothy 4:2

            E.        Teachers - Ephesians 4:11

                        1.         The focus is on teaching God’s word - James 3:1

                        2.         It is a roll for which Christians should grow into - Hebrews 5:12

            F.        While there are different responsibilities, one Christian is not superior to another - Matthew 20:25-28

IV.      What the Lord established is sufficient - II Peter 1:2-3

            A.        We stay with the authority given by Christ - Colossians 3:17

            B.        The churches spread the teachings of Christ - Ephesians 3:8-11

            C.        They supported preachers at home and abroad - Philippians 4:15-16

            D.        When there were disasters, at home or in sister congregations, they helped - Acts 4:32-35; 11:27-30

V.        The subtlety of the Lord’s plan

            A.        By no earthly central control, false teaching has difficulty infecting the entire church

                        1.         Even within a local congregation there is not a single leader to easily pull the congregation astray

            B.        By congregation independence the spreading of the gospel is done most efficiently in each congregation’s area.

            C.        The church cannot be wiped out because there is no center of command on earth. Congregations are self-starting from the Scriptures.