Tag Archives: universal church

5. Christ, the Head/Bridegroom/Husband of the Local Church


A Publication of Churches Under Christ 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.


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4. The Holy Spirit Forms a Church which Is a Temple, a Spiritual Body, the Body of Christ

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 4, 2018


Churches are called the bride of the Lamb. Christ is the bridegroom of the church.[i] The New Testament speaks of a church as a virgin espoused to one Husband. Paul likens the marriage relationship of husband and wife to the relationship of Christ and His churches:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ep. 5.23, 25-27, 29-33)

bridewaitingThe Lamb will marry His wife, and all members of the family of God will become part of a universal church or assembly.[ii] All believers will be married to Christ at the marriage of the Lamb.[iii]

Various people in the Old Testament are types of Christ, the Bridegroom, and the church, the bride. For example, Eve is a type of the church as bride and wife of Christ.[iv] Rebecca was a type of the church, the “called out” virgin bride of Christ. Isaac was a type of the Bridegroom, who loves through the testimony of the unnamed Servant;[v] he was a type of the Bridegroom who goes out to meet and receive his bride.[vi] “Typically, the book of Ruth may be taken as a foreview of the church—Ruth, as the Gentile bride of Christ, the Bethlehemite who is able to redeem.” Song of Solomon pictures, for one thing, the love between Christ and His church.

3The coming of the Bridegroom is cause for great rejoicing by the believer, the friend of the Bridegroom.[vii]  The marriage of the Lamb to His bride will be a glorious event which will occur in heaven, unlike the restoration of Israel which will take place on the earth.[viii]

The husband is to be the only head of the wife, and Christ is to be the only Head of His churches.[ix] “After Jesus was born, “there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Mt. 2.1-2).  “‘The King’ is one of the divine titles (Ps. 10.6), and so used in the worship of the Church (I Ti. 1.17), but Christ is never called ‘King of the Church.’ He is ‘King of the Jews’ (Mt. 2.2) and Lord and ‘Head of the Church’.[x]


 

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

The Biblical Doctrine of the Church


Endnotes

[i][i] “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (Jn. 3.28, 29).

[ii] “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Re. 19.6-8).

[iii] “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (He. 12:22-24).

[iv] “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (The Holy Spirit writing to the church at Corinth in 2 Co. 11.1-4). “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Ro. 7.4).

[v]  “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pe. 1.8).

[vi] “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Th. 4.14-16).

[vii] : “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (Jn. 1.29).

[viii] “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, “These are the true sayings of God” (Re. 19.7-9; see also Re. 21.9-22.17).

[ix] See Ep. 5.23, 25-27, 29-33 quoted in En ii above. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ep. 1.22).

[x] “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ep. 1.22, 23)”  “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1.15-18)

2. Christ Ordained His Local Visible New Testament Churches and Builds Them upon the Rock


A Publication of Churches Under Christ 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.


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1. Introduction

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

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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 institution of the New Testament church which is made up of local visible church bodies 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)—but to “the kingdom of heaven,” which in this age is represented by Christ’s local autonomous New Testament Churches and the individual believers therein who are to function as a spiritual body, each exercising his/her individual spiritual gifts. 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

1. Introduction to New Testament Church Doctrine


A Publication of Churches Under Christ 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.


Previous Chapter:
A. Bible Doctrine of Government

Next Lesson:
2. Christ Ordained the Church and Builds It upon the Rock

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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.”

Lesson 4: A Church Is a Spiritual Body (Ephesians)

The Church Is a Temple and the Method and Materials of Construction – Ephesians 2
(17 questions with answers following)
Click here to go to the “Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church” (Has links to all lessons)
Click here to go to Lesson 5
Added on March 23, 2017

Answers at the end, following the questions
Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

  1. To whom was Ephesians written?
  2. What is the theme of Ephesians 2?
  3. Paul said to the church at Ephesus:

    “19 Now therefore ye are no more _________ and _________, but _________ with the saints, and of the _________ of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the _________ and__________________, Jesus Christ himself being the chief _________ _________; 21 In whom all the _________ fitly framed together groweth unto an holy _________ in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are _________ together for an _________ of God through the _________.” (Ep. 2:19-22).

    Verses 19-22 tell us that the “saints which are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus” are identified three distinct ways: (1) As ___________________ (of heaven-see verses 6-7) (2) who are of the household (_________) of God along with all the saints no matter which local church they are members of. They are also identified as (3) a ________ or spiritual ___________ or _______ made up of the _________ of the ________ at Ephesus who are united together by the ________ to be an habitation of ________. All believers, individually, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are an individual temple of God (See 1 Co. 3.16-17, 6.19. Ep. 2.1-10). Paul says, “ye also are _________ together.” Who is the ye he is speaking to? They are, in context, the saints which are at _________ and the faithful in Christ Jesus to whom he is writing (Ep. 1.1); and, in applicability, to all individual believers and all New Testament churches from that day until the marriage of the lamb.
  4. Thus, the saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus are builded ________ for an ___________ of God through the _______. (Ep. 2.22). They are built upon the foundation of the ________ and _______, _______ _______ himself being the chief corner stone. Every local New Testament ________ fits this model.
  5. Paul’s epistles were always written to a________ assembly, a local _______, but the principles he spoke were and are applicable to every New Testament ______ body and the saints in each _________.
  6. Thus, as to the local “habitation of God,” “the saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus” were builded _________ for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ep. 2.22). They are “_________ _________” All parts of a building must be connected—they must be “_________—that is, __________  __________, each being a part of the same _________ organism (See also, Ep. 2.21, Ep. 4, and 1 Co. 12). Every local New Testament ________ fits this model. If they are not “________,” they are not a ________, they are not a ________. A believer in China may or may not be a member of a church. He definitely is not a member of a church such as Old Paths Baptist Church in Minnesota, a church he has never heard of.
  7. Paul’s epistles were always to a local church whose members were connected. The members came together spiritually for _________, _________, _________, and ___________. Every member attended _________ meetings unless sick or for some other acceptable absence. They were members of a particular local _______ (such as the Church at Ephesus).
  8. The principles Paul spoke were and are ___________ to every New Testament ___________ body and the saints in each ___________.
  9. All Bible references to a church here on the earth refer to an local autonomous ________ of Jewish and/or Gentile believers and not to a ___________or catholic church. Nowhere in the New Testament is a ___________ here on the ________ever referred to as anything other than a local spiritual body and nowhere does Scripture teach that a church is to have any type __________ above it other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Some examples of references to churches as they existed in the New Testament follow:

    “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” (Philemon 1-2).

    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” (Re. 3.1), “the church in Philadelphia” (Re. 3.7), and “the church of the Laodiceans” (Re. 3.14).
  10. Those believers who spiritually unite together in a local body are a ________. A body must be __________; without unification and connection to the other parts, a ________ cannot exist.
  11. The building which Paul is speaking of is___________, ___________, and ___________, not ___________, ___________, and ___________.“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ep. 2:2-3)”“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ep. 2:4-7)

    “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2.22).
  12. The material for the construction of a church does not include those:

    “who were ______ in trespasses and ______; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this ________, according to the ________ of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of ______________: Among whom also we all had our _______________ in times ______ in the lusts of our _______, fulfilling the desires of the ________ and of the ________; and were by nature the children of _________, even as others” (Ep. 2.1-3).
  13. The material for the construction of a church is:

    Those (speaking in context to the members of the Church at Ephesus, but also in applicability to all believers) whom He hath _______________. See Ep. 2.1, 5 et seq.
  14. Thus, a church is a __________ organism, since it is built by bringing together __________beings. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a ___________ house, an holy priesthood, to offer up __________ sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pe. 2:5).
  15. The first step in the construction of a church is the combining of believers, Jew and _________, into a ______ ______ (See Ep. 2.11-16).
  16. The new man has a new citizenship and family. All believers, including the “saints which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Jesus Christ” are, along with all believers, no matter their local church affiliation, “________________ with the _________, and of the ______________of God,” who sit in “___________ places in Christ Jesus.” Ep. 2.1, 5, 19. Being a _______________ and “of the household of God,” speaks of _______________ and _________, not of local _________ body. All believers are therefore citizens of heaven and members of the family or household of God.
  17. Those believers in the church at Ephesus are (1) ________________ with the saints, (2) members of a new _________, the household of God, and (3) a local New Testament church assembly, an holy _________ of the Lord.

    “19 Now therefore ye are no more ___________ and _________, but _______________ with the saints, and of the _______________ of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief ________ ________; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together ___________ unto an holy ________ in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are _________ together for an___________ of God through the ___________” (Ep. 2:19-22).

Answers

  1. Ephesians was written to “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ep. 2.1.)
  2. The theme of Ephesians 2 is that “A church is an holy temple in the Lord.” (The answers below which examine Ephesians 2 will make this clear.)
  3. Paul said to the church at Ephesus:

    “19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ep. 2:19-22).

    Verses 19-22 tell us that the “saints which are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus” are identified three distinct ways: (1) As fellowcitizens (of heaven-see verses 6-7) (2) who are of the household (family) of God along with all the saints no matter which local church they are members of. They are also identified as (3) a temple or spiritual building or body made up of the members of the church at Ephesus who are united together by the Spirit to be an habitation of God. All believers, individually, are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and are an individual temple of God (See 1 Co. 3.16-17, 6.19. Ep. 2.1-10). Paul says, “ye also are builded together.” Who is the ye he is speaking to? They are, in context, the saints which are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus to whom he is writing (Ep. 1.1); and, in applicability, to all individual believers and all New Testament churches from that day until the marriage of the lamb.
  4. Thus, the saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ep. 2.22). They are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Every local New Testament church fits this model.
  5. Paul’s epistles were always written to a local assembly, a local church, but the principles he spoke were and are applicable to every New Testament church body and the saints in each church.
  6. Thus, as to the local “habitation of God,” “the saints at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus” were builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ep. 2.22). They were “builded together.” All parts of a building must be connected—they must be “together”—that is, connected spiritually, each being a part of the same spiritual organism (See also, Ep. 2.21, Ep. 4, and 1 Co. 12). Every local New Testament church fits this model. If they are not “together,” they are not a body, they are not a church. A believer in China may or may not be a member of a church. He definitely is not a member of a church such as Old Paths Baptist Church in Minnesota, a church he has never heard of.
  7. Paul’s epistles were always to a local church whose members were connected. The members came together spiritually for worship, preaching, teaching, and fellowship. Every member attended church meetings unless sick or for some other acceptable absence. They were members of a particular local church (such as the Church at Ephesus).
  8. The principles Paul spoke were and are applicable to every New Testament church body and the saints in each church.
  9. All Bible references to a church here on the earth refer to an local autonomous 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:

    “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” (Philemon 1-2).

    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” (Re. 3.1), “the church in Philadelphia” (Re. 3.7), and “the church of the Laodiceans” (Re. 3.14).
  10. Those believers who spiritually unite together in a local body are a church. A body must be united; without unification and connection to the other parts, a body cannot exist.
  11. The building which Paul is speaking of is spiritual, heavenly, and eternal, not fleshly, earthly, and temporal.“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ep. 2:2-3)”“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Ep. 2:4-7)

    “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ep. 2.22).

    The Testament temple (the church) will be contrasted with the Old Testament temple in Lesson 6.
  12. The material for the construction of a church does not include those:

    “who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ep. 2.1-3).
  13. The material for the construction of a church are:

    Those [speaking in context to the members of the Church at Ephesus, but also in applicability to all believers] whom He hath quickened. See Ep. 2.1, 5 et seq.
  14. Thus, a church is a spiritual organism, since it is built by bringing together spiritual beings. “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” (1 Pe. 2:5).
  15. The first step in the construction of a church is the combining of believers, Jew and Gentile, into a new man (See Ep. 2.11-16).
  16. The new man has a new citizenship and family. All believers, including the “saints which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Jesus Christ” are, along with all believers, no matter their local church affiliation, “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God,” who sit in “heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ep. 2.1, 5, 19. Being a fellowcitizen and “of the household of God,” speaks of citizenship and family, not of local church. All believers are citizens of heaven and members of the family or household of God. All believers are not members of a church.
  17. Those believers in the church at Ephesus were (1) fellowcitizens with the saints, (2) members of a new family, the household of God, and (3) a local New Testament church assembly, an holy temple of the Lord.

    “19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ep. 2:19-22).

For more on the universal church doctrine, see
C.I. Scofield’s “true church” doctrine

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