Yes, the Bible very clearly states exactly who and what will constitute "The Church" that Jesus said he would build. It might be very important to you at this juncture, to note that there is no significant difference about this, according to the translations of the scriptures used; such as the King James, New King James, Revised Standard, New Revised Standard, New International etc. Lets look at some passages that prove this.
Who is Included
The Bible tells us the answers very clearly.
A careful study of the Bible reveals that the Godhead has a very distinct form of government. It is a MONARCHY --NOT A DEMOCRACY, hence the term SOVEREIGN. At the head of this government is God the Father. It was under His tutelage that Jesus did his work in the creation of this world. Proof texts will include John 1:1-4 and Col. 1:15-20. Also integral with the Father and the Son ( "word"- "logos") is the Holy Spirit. (cf. Gen. 1:1,2 and John 14:15,16). As we progress, you will be able to see another, untaught (until now?) lesson about the word God and how it should be described, according to Biblical principles. You may very well be amazed, and possibly take offense initially, but please exercise caution before you make any harsh criticism; lest you lose something very important and precious that should be a part of you Christian walk and understanding.*
*The shortest, simplest explanation is to say that God (the Godhead) is a family! Think for a moment about how God chose to create humanity. The head of the family is the man, who is the one who has the overall responsibility for the family. Then, as a second and co-equal part of the family, comes the woman (wife). Thirdly, come the offspring (children) who have their own unique place in the family, and its continuity. (See Gen 1:26-28) God does not need separated gender but did utilize it in creating "Man" (mankind).
In the most ancient of times, there was a veritable "one on one" situation with God. That is to say that Adam, and later Eve, could speak personally with God, before He withdrew His presence from them, after the "fall." The proof text of this is found in Genesis 2. But, as further study will show, there have been times of exception, when in a recognizable from, not necessarily bodily, his power and presence were there for all the people to witness. One need but search a bit in the Old Testament to find these events. (Thundering, lightening, burning bush, pillar of cloud, pillar of fire, wrestling with an angel and so forth.)
The carryover into the New Testament is even more impressive if that is possible. The events surrounding the out pouring of the Holy Spirit show a combination of what went before, what would now take place, and what should take place until Jesus returns to establish the Millennial Reign. In short, there was a mighty rush of wind, tongues of flame over the heads of the apostles, and the institution of "tongues" and the other spiritual gifts that had been prophesied by Joel. It is here, that we learn or see, once again, how God's monarchy is working and enforced.
While Jesus lived on earth and taught the way of God and his commandments, he also chose and empowered certain people to do specific tasks for Him. We have illustrated for us, the choosing of the disciples, the sending out of the "seventy," the formal ministry to the general population, the admonishing and reproof of the existing clergy (priesthood), the private instruction to the disciples (11 of whom would become apostles of the true church) and the institution of the true church. The study of this are is particularly interesting in that the melding of the Old and New.
We can never separate any part of God or any of His people. We cannot and must not say "but we're a New Testament Church." As Hebrews 13:8 tells us God is unchangeable! Furthermore, 1 Cor. 13:8-13, while often used to attempt to show that the gifts given to the church at Pentecost were only temporal, I would offer a simple challenge. Where (and who) is the "perfect"? I tell you gentle readers - until the "perfect," who is Jesus, returns, the true church should operate under the blessing of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is not acknowledged, the whole truth does not abide in the leadership of congregations of those who would say otherwise.
By the same token, if ALL that God has offered and intended for the church is not in operation, that church will suffer from a distinct lack of power and effectiveness. There is a further danger, that of saying the gifts of the Spirit come from a source other than God. Mark 3:28-30 distinctly warns us of a most important facet of the Godly relationship.
How does the monarchy of God work today? Just as it always has. God calls and appoints certain individuals to particular offices. The positions of authority/responsibility are clearly outlined for us in Eph 4:11-13. The qualifications for the most responsible church leaders are found in 1 Tim 3 (all). And in Titus we see how all should conduct themselves under that leadership. This then, is the TRUE CHURCH that we should all be an integral part of. Are you a part of this church?? Do you have the courage and conviction of faith to labor in it and for it?? Remember, there is only one name under heaven by which men are "saved." From sin, from society, and most of all -- from themselves!
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12 RSV
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