A Church Is a Mystery, an Assembly, a Spiritual Body


A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 1, 2018


The New Testament teaches that the New Testament church is a mystery hidden in past ages and therefore not revealed in the Old Testament. That the Gentiles were to be saved was no mystery (Ro. 9.24-33; 10.19-21).[i] The mystery was the divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing—the church made up of local autonomous New Testament bodies in this age—and in which the earthly distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears. (Ep. 2.14, 15; Co. 3.10, 11). The revelation of this mystery which was foretold but not explained by Christ (Mt. 16.18) was committed to Paul.

Just as the church in the wilderness was an assembly called out by God, an ecclesia (see Ac. 7.38), so the New Testament church is an assembly of called-out ones. Israel was a true church, but in striking contrast with the New Testament ecclesia. Israel in the land is never called a church; they were not assembled after they entered the land. Born-again believers are admonished not to forsake the assembling of themselves together, not to forsake the local church, the only assembly of believers on earth (He. 10.25).

The institution of the New Testament church or assembly is made up of local, autonomous assemblies. Christ will gather all members of his earthly family together in a general or universal assembly in the heavenly Jerusalem (He. 12.22-24) at the marriage of the Lamb (Re. 19.7-10). Before that, there will be no universal assembly or church.

All Bible references to a church here on the earth refer to an autonomous local body of Jewish and/or Gentile believers and not to a universal or catholic church. Nowhere in the New Testament is a church here on the earth ever referred to as anything other than a local spiritual body and nowhere does Scripture teach that a church is to have any type authority above it other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Some examples of references to churches as they existed in the New Testament follow quoted in endnote [ii].

Adherents can do no more than quote Matthew 16.18 or 1 Corinthians 12.12-13 out of context in support of the universal church doctrine. 1 Corinthians was written to a local autonomous church, with principles to be applied by all churches. One must analyze the verse in context of all immediate verses as well as all New Testament doctrine to ascertain its meaning; such an examination gives absolutely no support to a universal church doctrine for this age. See [iii] for links to more resources, sermons by Pastor Jason Cooley of Old Paths Baptist Church, webpage with teachings and links to more sermons and an article on C. I. Schofield’s “True Church” doctrine.

In his seven letters to seven local autonomous Gentile churches (in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica), the church, the “mystery from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God,” (Ep.3.9) is fully revealed, and fully instructed as to her unique place in the counsels and purposes of God. Through Paul alone, we know that a church is not an organization, but an organism instinct with His life, and heavenly in calling promise and destiny. Through him alone, we know the nature, purpose, and form of organization of local churches, the right conduct of such assemblies, and the commandments for the earthly walk of the members.

A church is a spiritual body made up of many members (Ep. 4, 1 Co. 12). Each member is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and has a proper place in the local body. Christ sets some in the body as apostles,[iv] prophets,[v] evangelists, pastors, and teachers; “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ep. 4.12). The members are to speak the truth in love that they “may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ep. 4.15-16).


Click here to go to Bible Study of Ephesians. Ephesians reveals the institution of the church as God’s masterpiece. It is more wonderful that any temple made with hands, constructed of living stones, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1 presents the church as a body.

Articles, Essays, and Other Resources Related to the Doctrine of the Church, Incorporation, 501c3, Etc.

The Local Church: A Building or What?

Bible Studies of various Books on the Doctrine of the Church.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


Endnotes

[i] A mystery in Scripture is a previously hidden truth, now divinely revealed, but in which a supernatural element still remains despite the revelation.

[ii] New Testament verses:

  • “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied” (Ac. 9.31).
  • Paul said, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house. (Ro. 16.5)” Notice that the church refers to the local body of baptized believers. The house was just the place where they met; it was not a church.
  • Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Paul … Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s” (1 Co. 1.1-2).
  • “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place….” (1 Co. 14.23).
  • “The churches [Not “the church of Asia”] of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Co. 16.19).
  • “Paul … unto Philemon … and to the church in thy house” (Phil. 1-2).
  • “… [T]hat 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” (1 Ti. 3.15).
  • The Bible defines “house of God”: “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house; as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken of after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” (He. 3.4-6).
  • In Revelation, the Lord speaks to “the church of Ephesus” (Re. 2.1) “the church in Smyrna” (Re. 2.8), “the church in Pergamos” (Re. 2.12), “the church in Thyatira” (Re. 2.18), “the church in Sardis” (3.18), “the church in Philadelphia” (Re. 3.7), and “the church of the Laodiceans” (Re. 3.14).

[iii] Listen to the following sermons by Pastor Jason Cooley: Defining the word Church: Local, Visible, Institutional, never Universal; Origin of the Universal Church Exposed: Constantine, Augustine & Scofield; Rightly Dividing Baptisms: Is 1 Corinthians 12:13 Spirit baptism or water baptism?. For more in depth teachings and sermons on the church, go to the following webpage and scroll down: The Biblical Doctrine of the Church. See also, the article, Scofield’s headnote to “Ephesians” and margin notes on his false “true church” doctrine.

[iv] The word apostle, means “one sent forth,” and is is used of our Lord He. 3:1. Elsewhere it is used for the twelve who were called to that office by our Lord during His earth ministry; of Paul, called to the apostleship by the risen and ascended Lord, and of Barnabas Ac. 14:14 specially designated by the Holy Spirit Ac. 13:2. Of Matthias, chosen by lot by the eleven to take the place of Judas Iscariot, Ac .1:16-26: “And he was numbered with the eleven.” Ac. 1:26
The “signs” of an apostle were (1) They were chosen directly by the Lord Himself, or, as in the case of Barnabas, by the Holy Spirit (Mt. 10:1-2; Mk. 3:13-14; Lk. 6:13; Ac. 9:6; 13:2; 22:10,14-15; Ro. 1:1). (2) They were endued with sign gifts, miraculous powers which were the divine credentials of their office (Mt. 10:1; Ac 5:15; 16:16-18; Mt 28:8-9). (3) Their relation to the kingdom was that of heralds, announcing to Israel only Mt. 10:5-6 the kingdom as at hand and manifesting kingdom powers Mt. 10:7-8. (4) To one of them, Peter, the keys of the kingdom of heaven, viewed as the sphere of Christian profession, as in Mt. 13, were given Mt 16:19. (5) Their future relation to the king will be that of judges over the twelve tribes Mt 19:28. (6) Consequent upon the rejection of the kingdom, and the revelation of the mystery hid in God (Mt .16:18; Ep. 3:1-12), the Church, the apostolic office was invested with a new enduement, the baptism with the Holy Spirit Ac. 2:1-4; a new power, that of imparting the Spirit to Jewish-Christian believers; a new relation, that of foundation stones of the new temple (Ep. 2:20-22) and a new function, that of preaching the glad tidings of salvation through a crucified and risen Lord to Jew and Gentile alike. (7) The indispensable qualification of an apostle was that he should have been an eye-witness of the resurrection (Ac. 1:22; 1 Co. 9:1).

[v] The church was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ep. 2.20). These “prophets” were New Testament prophets; to the Old Testament prophets, the church remained a mystery.

  • The mystery of the church, “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Ep. 3.5).
  • “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded” (1 Pe. 2.4-6).

Christ Ordained the Church and Builds It upon the Rock


A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.


Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 5 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 1, 2018


Just as God ordained civil government, He also ordained His churches after the nation Israel rejected Him and the kingdom of heaven. Civil government, as we learned in earlier lessons was to secure a temporal earthly blessing for mankind. The power given by God to His churches on earth was to secure a spiritual good for their members.

When Christ asked His disciples whom they thought Him to be (Mt. 16.15, Mk. 8.29, Lu. 9.20), Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16.16; see also, Mk. 8.29, Lu. 9.20). At that point, our Lord announced the out calling of the church when He said: “And I say also unto thee, [t]hat thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16.18-19).

The building of the church is on the rock of Peter’s confession, the Christ he confessed. Peter makes clear that the rock upon which the Lord will build the institution of the church is Christ Himself:

  • “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed” (1 Pe. 2.4-9).

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner” (Ac. 4.11, part of Peter’s address to the Sanhedrin). From the context, it is obvious that Peter is speaking of the Lord as being the chief corner stone. Nowhere in the Bible is there any indication that Peter was the cornerstone of a universal visible or invisible church.

The words used also make clear that Christ was referring to Himself as the rock on which the church would be built. There is in the Greek [in Matthew 16.18] a play upon the words, “thou art Peter [petros—literally, ‘a little rock’], and upon this rock [Petra] I will build my church.” He does not promise to build His church upon Peter, but upon Himself, as Peter himself is careful to tell us (1 Pet. 2.4-9).

Jesus did not give Peter the keys—a key being a badge of power or authority (see, e.g., Is. 22.22 and Re. 3.7)—to the church, but to “the kingdom of heaven,” the keys in the sense of Matthew 13, that is of the sphere of Christian profession. Peter assumed no other authority. In the council at Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15, James seems to have presided. Peter claimed nothing more than to be an apostle by gift and an elder by office (See 1 Pe. 1.1 and 5.1). The power of binding and loosing was shared by the other apostles (See Mt. 18.18 and Jn. 20.23). Since only Christ held the keys of death and the place of departed spirits, this did not involve the determination of the eternal destiny of souls.  “I [Jesus Christ] am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Re. 1.18).

Isaac Backus, the great Baptist leader in New England, elaborated upon the faith confessed by Peter:

“This faith is the foundation of the church; against this faith the gates of hell shall not prevail; this faith hath the keys of the kingdom of heaven; what this faith shall loose or bind on earth, is bound and loosed in heaven…. Now it followeth, that whatsoever person hath received the same precious faith with Peter, as all the faithful have, 2 Pet. i. 1, that person hath a part in this gift of Christ. Whosoever doth confess, publish, manifest or make known Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, and Saviour of the world, that person opens heavens gates, looseth sin, and partakes with Peter in the use of the keys; and hereupon it followeth necessarily, that one faithful man, yea, or woman either, may loose and bind, both in heaven and earth, as all the ministers in the world” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called BaptistsVolume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), p. 12 quoting John Robinson, A Justification of Separation from the Church of England.).


Click here to go to Bible Study of Ephesians. Ephesians reveals the institution of the church as God’s masterpiece. It is more wonderful that any temple made with hands, constructed of living stones, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1 presents the church as a body.

Articles, Essays, and Other Resources Related to the Doctrine of the Church, Incorporation, 501c3, Etc.

The Local Church: A Building or What?

Bible Studies of various Books on the Doctrine of the Church.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church

Links to Lessons on Satan

(1) Lucifer Becomes Satan, Deceives Mankind, and Continues To War Against God
(2) The Beast System and the Fate of the Beast
(3) Warfare with Satan: His Demons
(4) Satan’s Devises and the Believer’s Resources
(5) The Choice: God or Satan?

Click here to go links to the written lessons.
Click here to go to links to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

Bible Lessons on Israel

Click the following links to go to the subdivisions on lessons on Israel.

(1) Israel, the only theocracy ordained by God
(2) Israel’s Performance, God’s Judgement, and a New Economy—God’s Grace
(3)  God is the God of Israel

Click here to go links to the written lessons.
Click here to go to links to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

d. Civil government

Click the following links to go to the subdivisions on lessons on Civil Government:

(1) The Ordination and Purpose of Civil government 
(2) The Purpose of Gentile Civil Government
(2) Civil Government Failure and God’s Judgment of Nations
(3) God Desires that Gentile Nations Glorify Him

Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 3 1/2 to 6 minute video lectures.

Introduction to New Testament Church Doctrine


A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.


Click here to go to the written lessons.
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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 1, 2018


These short lessons will reveal the truth about Christ’s true church and churches and in the process of doing so will also shatter myths fostered by religio-political lawyers, pastors, establishments, politicians, and theologians. “The house of God, which is the church of the living God,” is to be “the pillar and ground of the truth,” and not a bastion of the lies of Satan.[i]

Untold damage to the cause of Christ has been caused by unbridled allegorization or spiritualization of Scripture by Catholics and Protestants. Some of those religions, due to their heinous theologies (false interpretations of Scripture) have, since the early fourth century:

  1. prostituted religion by joining hands with the state and continuing to call the resultant religious organizations “churches;”
  2. violently persecuted and murdered others, including true believers who stood on God’s Word in spite of persecutions and martyrdom, down through the last 2,000 years;
  3. lied about the history of true believers and churches whom they tried to stamp out and obliterate using every conceivable means, including barbaric torture, murders of horrific proportions, imprisonment, conficscation of property, and banishment.
  4. destroyed or confiscated and held the writings and documents of those persecuted ones in their libraries;
  5. continued their tactics as far as possible, absent the persecutions, against God’s true churches.

Satan and his demons never give up. They continue to attack on all fronts. Because of great religious victories by true believers in America, the efforts of true believers and churches can no longer be thwarted by the atrocious persecutions of the past. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and corresponding provisions in the constitutions of every state protect freedom of religion, conscious, press, association, and speech from persecution.[ii]

But Satan never ceases to fight. He unceasingly uses any and all tactics to hide the truth about establishmentarian[iii] theology, history, persecution, and goals.[iv] Perhaps Satan’s greatest tool of warfare is lies, as always. He keeps people in the dark through lies. Most of mankind hate the light (truth, Jesus Christ[v]) and come not to the truth lies because their deeds are evil.

On the other hand, even most believers do not come to the truth. They have not taken the time to study the credentials, motives and teachings of “Christian” revisionists. The father of those revisionists is the devil, the god of this world. He controls the institutions of the world—civil government, secular media, and secular education. Most believers do not continue in the Word of God and studies of the Word of God, much less legal, earthly, historical facts. They have become easy prey for that old serpent and his army.

Let us never join, through ignorance of the Word of God, history, and law with those religions who have prostituted God’s church. God wants His children, and especially pastors, to take the time to study preeminent Bible issues (1 Ti. 2.15) and relevant historical and legal facts concerning the doctrine of the church.

These lessons will provide a good starting point for those who wish to step out of the dark into the light of Christ. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Ro. 13.12). “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (Jn. 3.21).


Click here to go to Bible Study of Ephesians. Ephesians reveals the institution of the church as God’s masterpiece. It is more wonderful that any temple made with hands, constructed of living stones, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1 presents the church as a body.

Articles, Essays, and Other Resources Related to the Doctrine of the Church, Incorporation, 501c3, Etc.

The Local Church: A Building or What?

Bible Studies of various Books on the Doctrine of the Church.

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


Endnotes

[i] John 8:39-45: “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”

[ii] See, ESSAYS, ARTICLES, AND OTHER RESOURCES RELATED TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH, INCORPORATION, 501C3, ETC.

[iii] Establishmentarian definition: “Adhering to, advocating, or relating to the principle of an established church; a person adhering to or advocating this.”

[iv] The history of religious freedom in America and the past, present, and future of the efforts of the religious Calvinists, Catholics, and Charismatics to return America to the days of Old World establishment and persecutions are chronicled in The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/A Case of Premeditated Murder/Christian Revisionists on Trial/The History of the First Amendment.

[v] John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The Choice: God or Satan?


A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.


Click here to go to links to all written lessons on Satan.
Click here to go to the written lessons.
Click here to go to the 5 minute video lectures.


Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 1, 2018


Je.18.7-12The choice is between the things of God—the eternal, heavenly, and spiritual—or the things of Satan—the temporal, earthly, and Satanic.

Does God desire that a government be under Satan? No! Pursuant to the Word of God, God desires every government—self-government, family government, civil government, and church government—to be under Him. But He gives every government a choice.

A nation (civil government) can repent and turn to God at any time. God through Jeremiah said:

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them” (Je. 18.7-10).

Click above image to to to “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

In America, a church can choose, as will be seen, to remain totally under God without persecution. By choosing to become a temporal, earthly, legal entity such as a corporate (aggregate of sole) 501(c)(3) a church combines the earthly, temporal and Satanic (see our previous studies in this section on Satan) with the heavenly, eternal, and spiritual.

An lost individual can repent toward God and put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save him. See God’s Plan of Salvation. A saved person can utilize the resources in Satan’s Devises and the Believer’s ResourcesEach individual in a family (father, mother, child) has  a duty under God to follow God’s precepts within the family.

It is important to remember, however, that God gives every individual, every family, every church, and every nation a choice between going by His or Satan’s principles. All individuals and institutions are doomed, sooner or later, if they let Satan’s principles of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and/or pleasure influence them to give in to their lusts and follow him. Ultimately, as the Bible reveals, one’s only hope is to come to God with a humble and contrite spirit, repent of sins, and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her personal savior. This will be the beginning of a new life in which one who continues in His Word will become His disciple and will know the truth which will set him free (See Jn. 8.31-32).

The way of god of this world: death, hopelessness, hate, destruction, and eternal torment.

The way of God: faith, hope, love, edification, eternity with God.


Click here to learn how to be saved.

Click here for more on the responsibilities of those who have been saved.

Sermon series on Satan by Pastor Jason Cooley of Old Paths Baptist Church:

Satan Your Enemy – 14 Sermons
Satanic Roots of Evolution – 5 Sermons
Satanic Roots of Rock Music – 4 Sermons
Satan’s Gospel – 2 Sermons