Five Reasons Bible Studies
Lesson 1: Five Reasons Salvation Is Eternal And Cannot Be Lost
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
- John 11:26
Reason 1. Salvation is eternal because it is a gift from God
The salvation we enjoy is the free gift of God thorough his Son Jesus Christ. I receive that gift when I believe in Jesus as my Savior who suffered in my place and for my sin. In and of myself I could not do anything to deliver my soul from judgment and damnation.
John 10:27- 28a My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life.
Ephesians 2:8-9. For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourself it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.
Romans 3:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Reason 2. Salvation is eternal by the work and sealing of the Holy Spirit.
In the gift of the Comforter, I am continually being saved from now until eternity. The gift of salvation is not stagnant but continues constantly through the Holy Spirit to give us renewed life.
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Joh 7:38-39 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
2 Corinthians 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Reason 3. Salvation is eternal Because it is God’s work.
Since I did not earn salvation by my work it should be obvious that I cannot keep it by my work. God saved us and He alone keeps us by His efforts not our own.
1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Psalms 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
Reason 4. Salvation is eternal by the promise of God
We are told in scripture, that once we are his children through grace, we can never be lost again. Dare we call God the Father and God the Son liars by not believing this precious promise?
John 10:28b-29 ...and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6:39-40 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them
Reason 5. Salvation is eternal by the power of God.
It is God’s omnipotence that saved and keeps us eternally secure. If salvation is not forever by the power of God then nothing is sure and everything we believe, even the victory of Jesus on the Cross, is at risk of failure.
John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
Psalms 125:1-2 They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:33-39 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Conclusion: The hymn “Once For All” captures the confidence and joy that a true believer in Christ experience knowing that once they are saved they are always saved.
Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all
Now are we free-there's no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation;
Come unto Me," O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
"Children of God," O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling
Passing from death to life at His call,
Blessed salvation once for all
Once for all, O sinner, receive it,
Once for all, O brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
Lesson 2. Five Reasons The Church is Local and Visible and Can’t be Universal or Invisible
Defining The Universal, Invisible Church
In the NT the church comprehends the whole number of regenerated persons specifically from Pentecost to the first resurrection united organically to one another and to Christ by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit. According to the NT definition the church is the mystical Body of Christ of which He is the head – Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
The church invisible “consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof.” This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. It is called “invisible” because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who “searches the heart.”
The church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises appertaining to Christ’s kingdom belong, is a spiritual body consisting of all true believers, i.e., the church invisible. – Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Hermeneutics is the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.
Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of scripture, and has been later broadened to questions of general interpretation.
The terms hermeneutics and exegesis are sometimes used interchangeably. Hermeneutics is a wider discipline which includes written, verbal, and non-verbal communication. Exegesis focuses primarily upon the word and grammar of texts.
1St Principle of Hermeneutics
Follow the customary usage of language
This means to use the language as it was customary used by those who were the original hearers and speakers. It means that we understand the words literally not in some spiritualized sense known only us. We can’t ignore or change the original words, their definitions or the way in which they were used. We must understand figures of speech, exaggeration, stories, parables, similes and metaphors as they were understood by those who first heard the words we now read.
Reason 1: The Definition Of The Word
The Greek word, Ekklesia is translated church in the New Testament. Strong’s Concordance says ekklesia is from a compound ek and kaleo. It is translated in the Authorized version – church 115 times, assembly 3 times for a total 118 times. In New Testament times it was a gathering of citizens called out into a public place as an assembly.
Since ekklesia was an assembly it was local. By its definition it cannot mean unassembled and scattered (universal) and at the same time mean a group of people coming together in one place (local). A word cannot have two contradictory meanings. It is either local or universal; the rules of logic prohibit it from being both and the definition shows that it can only be local.
Reason 2. History and Etymology of the Word
Ekklesia or ecclesia is a compound word formed from the words “ek” and “kaleo” meaning “out of” and “to call” respectively. In the Greek city states of the past, the word ekklesia was a group of people called out by a town crier or trumpeter to assemble for the purpose of carrying out city business. There is an example of such an assembly (ekklesia) in Acts 19:32-39.
Acts 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
Acts 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
First, the Greek term which basically means “called out” was commonly used to indicate an assembly of citizens of a Greek city and is so used in Acts 19:32, 39. The citizens who were quite conscious of their privileged status over against slaves and noncitizens were called to the assembly by a herald and dealt in their meetings democratically with matters of common concern. When the early Christians understood themselves as constituting a church, no doubt exists that they perceived themselves as called out by God in Jesus Christ for a special purpose and that their status was a privileged one in Jesus Christ – Holman Bible Dictionary.
Jesus did not create a new word, He simply took a word already in common use and made it His own, qualifying it as His ekklesia, His assembly.
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
It was understood as a local assembly then and could not be understood as universal since something that is universal cannot be assembled and an assembly cannot be made universal. The words by their definition and history are mutually exclusive. One is the opposite of the other. Something cannot be a universal and at the same time assembled.
Words and language mean nothing if we don’t hold to their accepted and logical definition and use.
2nd Principle of Hermeneutics
Interpret by the Analogy of faith
This means that we let scripture interprets scripture. The Bible stands as a whole, one seamless and unified message. We must always let God do the explaining when it comes to His own words. Along with this rule is a corollary which states that we always move from the easier understood verse to the harder to understand verses never the other way around. We cannot let the verses which are difficult or complicated reinterpret those which are plain and straightforward.
Reason 3. Comparing Scripture with Scripture
1 Corinthians 1:2 – 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 theirs and ours
Galatians 1:2 – And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:
1 Thessalonians 1:1 – Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The vast majority of the 118 uses of the word ekklesia in the New Testament scriptures shows they refer directly to a local, visible assembly, ie., a group of people coming together to carry out the Lord’s work in a specific location in Ephesus, Colossi, Philippi, or meeting in a house such as Philemon.
This is the most straight-forward, simple way to understand the church.
The Proof Text for the Universal Church
In Ephesians, Paul uses the church as an illustration about husband and wife relationships.
Ephesians 5:23-32 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 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. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet 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.
Nothing in the passage would change the understanding of the Ephesians from a local church body to a universal invisible body. They would understand the illustration only in terms of a local visible church.
(Would they picture a universal wife, or an invisible wife? How would such a marriage work?)
When all the members of all the churches are in heaven (Revelation 19) then the Lord will take His bride, but it will still be a visible and local assembly.
Nothing in Ephesians 5 negates or modifies the definition or history of the word used 111 times directly referring to a local visible assembly.
Reason 4. The Institutional Sense of Church
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Here the word ekklesia is used in a way which does not directly refer to a local, visible assembly, instead it is used in an institutional sense.
To refer to the institution of the church means that once Jesus established the church it would continue to exist and grow. It refers to all true churches in existence at any one time.
Jesus uses the word church, in this verse, in the same way a entrepreneur might use it in talking about his business plan, "I will build my business and the competition will not beat it out." Yet if you asked him to show you his business he would then take you to a local store, or several local stores. This "business" would grow into more and more stores each one in several locations, but all of them visible and local. The same is true of the church as an institution, it is a generic or abstract term which in no way contradicts or even modifies the traditional common usage of the word in the New Testament.
Though the church exists as an institution, this does not mean it is something other than a local, visible assembly. Any time an example of the institution is seen, it is a local, visible body.
Reason 5. The Authority of Christ as Head of the Church
Ephesians 1:22-23 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. –
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Colossians 1:18 - 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.
If the church is universal then Jesus cannot be the head of the local church, but only of the invisible, universal church. Now in order for the visible church on earth to function it must be under the authority of a Pope, a Bishop, Synod, a Presbytery or council.
Another authority other than Christ takes power over the local church. This is exactly what has happened to many so called Christian Churches throughout history.
This is one of the great dangers of the Universal, Invisible Church belief.
The error of the universal, invisible church began not in a study of scripture but in opposition to the error of the Universal Visible church which was the Roman Catholic church. Protestants, not wanting to be associated with the Roman Church, argued that the church was not a universal visible church, with its head the pope at Rome, to a universal invisible, with it's head in heaven. Though this rightly denied the Pope as the head of the Lord's Church, it ignored the authority and autonomy of the local church with Christ as her head.
The pope was replaced with another extra-church authority and Christ was ignored in the leading of the local body.
Conclusion: Why It This Important?
A belief in the Universal, Invisible Church ultimately leads to weak local churches and ever stronger, over powering, denominational hierarchies. It denies that Jesus can and must be the head of each local assembly and replaces Him with a human authority.
This leads to greater error as a fallible person now dictates to hundreds or thousands of churches.
In addition, the abdicating of local church authority in carrying out the Great Commission results in weaker missions, weaker preachers and finally in much weaker churches.
A belief in the universal, invisible church is not just a different opinion on the Lord’s church, it is a church killing heresy and is one of the major reasons so many, who used to believe the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, have now become nothing more than social clubs, preaching a easy believism to make the world a better place today instead of preaching the Gospel to save souls for eternity.
Lesson 3: Six Reasons You May Not Be In a Biblical Church
Reason 1: Bible Only
If your “church” accepts anything other than the Bible as the Word of God and rule for the Christian life, you are not in a Christian, Biblical Church.
Example - The pastor/founder is called a prophet, or apostle and claims to receive direct revelation from God outside of or in contradiction to the Bible.
Ellen G. White (7th Day Adventist) claimed to have received over 2,000 visions and dreams from God. Joseph Smith saw Jesus in a vision and was given a Golden Book, containing the Book of Mormon. Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science) published "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" She claimed it was the final revelation of God to mankind and asserted that her work was inspired of God.
Tongues/ Pentecostalism/ Charismatic
Example - The church practices tongues, signs, prophetic utterances, etc. that are extra-Biblical. This “personal revelation” from God can and often does supersede and ignore the teaching of the Word.
Instead of one founder or leader thinking they are hearing directly from God now an entire “church” believes they are a direct pipeline of pure revelation.
Accordingly there is no longer a need to study the Bible or even believe the Bible since tongues/ visions/ prophecies are a much faster, fresher and direct channel to God.
Rule: The Bible Is The Only Authority
The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is God's very word and carries the absolute authority of God Himself. Where the Bible speaks Baptists speak where it is silent we are silent. What it commands we do. What it prohibits we avoid. There is no authority equal to the Bible and no person or group may change, add to, override or contradict it's authority. It was complete with the book of Revelation and is true in every word and thought.
2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Jude 3; Mat 5:17-19
2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
2 Peter 1:20, 21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Matthew 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Reason 2: Local Church Authority
If your “church” is not a Spirit led democracy but instead the pastor, elders or a board govern the church, over and above the members of the church, you probably aren’t in a Biblical church.
Examples – Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Catholics all believe that the local church has no authority and that all local churches are under the power of the “Church Hierarchy” ie. Pope, Bishops, Elders. Also any individual pastor who usurps this authority is no longer leading a Biblical church.
Rule: The Autonomy of the Local Church
A true, Biblical church is an independent body accountable only to the Lord Jesus Christ, who founded it and is its head. All authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. The church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious power or hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church's beliefs or practices. A true church may and should fellowship with other churches around mutual interests, but that church cannot be a "member" of any other body nor under the authority of any organization outside the church in matters of the Gospel and Great Commission.
Acts 5:29; Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23
Acts 5:29 - Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Colossians 1:18 - And he (Jesus) 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.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23 - Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
Reason 3: Direct Connection To God
If a “church” uses an intermediary between the believer and God, either in prayers or instruction then that is not a Biblical church.
Example: Confessionals and the practice of confession as practiced by the Catholic Church.
Or those in the “church” who interpret dreams, visions or impressions to tell you God’s will for your life.
Rule: Priesthood of the Believer
Every true believer is a priest of God and may enter into His presence directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and His people. As priests, we can study God's Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God because each of us is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.
1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10; Hebrews 4:14-16; Rom 8:26-27
1 Peter 2:5, 9 - 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.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Revelation 5:9-10 - And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Hebrews 4:14-16 - Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Rom 8:26-27 - Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Reason 4: Church Ordinances and Offices Not In The Bible
If you are a member of a group of people who call themselves a church but who have rituals, practices offices or ordinances that were not in the first church founded by Jesus Christ, then you are probably not a member of a Biblical Church.
Example: The Catholic Mass and Seven Sacraments, Mormon Baptism for the dead, Infant Baptism of Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc.
Rule: Only Two Ordinances
The local church should practice two ordinances: Baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and The Lord’s Supper, a memorial of His death upon the cross for us. These ordinances are purely symbolic and have no saving or sustaining merit in themselves.
Definition: ordinance – 1. An authoritative command or order. 2. A custom or practice established by long usage. 3. A Christian rite.
Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32
Matthew 28:19 – 20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you I, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 - For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
Rule: Only Two Offices
The Bible mandates only two offices in the church--pastor and deacon. The terms pastor, elder, bishop, or overseer all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, and are elected or removed by the authority of the local church and only the local church.
1 Timothy 3:1,8; Acts 20:17,28; Philippians 1:1
1 Timothy 3:1,8 - This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work..
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
Acts 20:17, 28 - And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood
Philippians 1:1-2 - Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reason 5 Freedom of Conscience
If the organization you belong to has ever held the same power as the civil government or state and if that power was used to dictate what anyone should or must believe, then you are probably not in a Biblical church.
Example: The Holy Roman Empire, The Lutheran Church of German, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, The Anglican Church of England.
Rule: Individual Soul Liberty
Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the his own heart as regards spiritual truth. No one should be forced to profess a belief against his own convictions or will.
Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9
Romans 14:5, 12-13 - One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
2 Corinthians 4:2 - But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Rule: Separation of Church and State
God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government's purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1-7 and the church's purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christian influence should be exerted through opinion and the election of moral leaders by involved Christians as well as praying for our leaders but the line between influence and control must be clearly understood.
Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 22:15-22; Matthew 28:19-29
Romans 13:1-7 - Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Matthew 22:15-22 - Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
Matthew 28:19-20 - Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Reason 6 Salvation and Church membership
If a “church” makes a person a member by any other means than by a profession of faith and voluntary submission to baptism and the church, then that church is not a Biblical church.
Example: Infant baptism makes a baby a member of the church even before it can talk. A person is considered a member of a church because of their parents, nationality or background.
Rule: Saved and Baptized Church Members
Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer's baptism. Salvation is by grace through faith and is once for all. Salvation cannot be earned but only received as a gift of God through faith. Once a person truly believes, they can never be lost again, they are eternally secure by the power of God. Membership in the church is based upon baptism by immersion of an individual old enough to understand the consequences of sin and the choice they must make in Christ.
Acts 2:41-47; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3; Matthew 3:13-16; Acts 8:36-37
Acts 2:41-47 - Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
2 Corinthians 6:14 - Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Ephesians 4:3-4 - Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Matthew 3:13-16 - Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Acts 8:36-39 - And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
There are millions of good people and possibly millions of Christians in organization that do lots of good things but are not a church according to the rules and examples we see in scripture. You don’t have to be a member of a Biblical Church to be saved, but the odds of you knowing how to be saved in a counterfeit church are not in your favor.
If you are saved then find a church that meets the Bible standards we looked at tonight. If you are depending on your church and your connection to it, to save you, then you really are not in a true church and a lot more is at stake than just these teaching points.
Accept Jesus as your personal savior, accepting His death upon the cross as God’s gift of grace this is salvation and when that is real, finding the real church will be a lot easier.