Five Truths God Wants Us To Know About the Church

Steve Viars February 1, 1992

- we're studying Basic Bible truths
- assurance, growth, God's provision through His word, prayer

- now we're in our fifth study - talking about God's
  provision through the local church
- last week we spent most of our time talking about why this
   study is important

- one of the bottom lines of all that was: The local church
   is one of the Lord's primary provisions for our growth and
   service in this age
- its plan A, B, and C

- it’s not perfect because humans are involved
- but any problems in a church is not because of the concept,
   its because of the people

- as a result, we ought to be strongly opposed to anyone that
   has the view that the church has outlived her usefulness
     - or that there's better ways to get the job done in
       this sophisticated day and age

- even in Acts 6, when the church had problems, the Lord
   didn't throw out the concept of the church
     - he had the leaders and the people work out the problem

- so when we think about God's plan and program for this age
    - we ought to quickly think of what's happening in the
      church
- when we think about what's really important to the Lord
    today, our minds ought to think of the church

- as a result, a fundamental question each of us has to
    answer is - Does the church have the same place in my
    heart, in my thinking, in my actions, in my life...
       - that it does in the heart and mind of God

INPUT - if that’s happening - what kind of things are going to
         be true of that person's life?  (What will it
         affect?)
           - what the person thinks about
           - dreams about (cf. the rotten commercials -
                wouldn't it be great?)
           - where the person spends their time
           - what they enjoy
           - what they talk about
           - where they invest their funds

- today, we want to study "Five Truths God Wants Us To Know
    About The Church"
- it's important that we know, and understand, and are
   applying the truth the Lord has revealed about the
   church."

 

I. The Church Began on the Day of Pentecost

    A. Predicted in Acts 1

        - this passage is the final post-resurrection
          appearance by our Lord
        - automatically that ought to get our interest up

        - any time we think about the bodily resurrection of
           our Savior, that ought to do something to us
        - that one of the things I like about our Easter
          Drama - the opportunity to concentrate on what it
          was like when our Lord was raised from the dead

        - if that doesn't light your fire, your wood is wet!

        - READ Acts 1:4-9

        - INPUT - what observations can we make about the
            message the Lord gave the disciples here?
              - these are "last minute" instructions and
                therefore very important
              - the Lord says something very spiritual and
                very supernatural is going to happen to them
                in the near future

    B. Completed by Acts 11

        - as you're turning, let me just say that these
          verses are where Peter is explaining his ministry
          to the Gentiles to the church at Jerusalem
        - he explains his ministry by recounting all that’s
          happened to him (much of what he says is not
          pertinent to our topic today)

        - but I would like us to look at verses 15-17

        - (the question we're seeking to answer is: When did
           the church begin?)

        - in verse 15-17, Peter is telling the church at
          Jerusalem about God sending him to Corneilus and
          his Gentile brethren

        - read 15-17

        - point is - Acts 1 predicted that something
             supernatural was going to happen
               - clearly by Acts 11, that had happened

        - so this supernatural event took place sometime
          between Acts 1 and Acts 11
             - so what's the event?

        - the answer comes in Acts 2

        - read Acts 2:1-8

        - in verses 14-40, Peter preaches a sermon about the
            death, burial, and resurrection
               - encouraging men and women to repent and
                  trust Christ as Lord and Savior
    - let's see what happened (READ 41)

    - now let's thread some of this together (we need to have
        folks ready to read Eph. 2:20-22 and I Cor. 12:12-13)

    - we studied last week Matt. 16:18
       - upon this rock I will build my church, Jesus said
       - in Acts 1, Jesus predicts that an event that was the
           most important thing He had to tell the disciples
           before He ascended
       - God, through His Spirit, was going to do a mighty
           work
       - that work was definitely completed by Acts 11

       - Jesus clearly was predicting the birth of the church
          in Acts 2

       - now let's hear how Paul later described the event

           - Eph. 2:20-22 (INPUT - as he reads, please think
               about how this verse is similar to Matt.
               16:18?) - note threefold use of "build"

           - I Cor. 12:12-13 (note emphasis on the Spirit)

       - now, you might say - "What's the point of all of
          this? "
       - the point is - what's happening in the church is
          Spiritual business

          - see, what's the most exciting thing for the Lord
            to tell the disciples before He leaves the earth
          - what the most spiritual thing going?
          - what's the greatest demonstration of the power of
               the Holy Spirit in this age?

          - THIS IS IT! - THE CHURCH
            - where for the first time in human history, men
              and women could be permanently indwelled by the
              Holy Spirit of God
                - and could come together in local assemblies
                  to study, worship, serve, fellowship, and
                  spread the good news of Jesus Christ to
                  others

- here's why this is so important
- some folks have a whole different definition of "spiritual"
   today
- some folks think being really "spiritual" is speaking in
    tongues
- or going off on a mountain and letting God speak to you

- the most spiritual thing going today is the church
- the most important facet of the Spirit's work today is the
   establishment and development of the church

- if a person wants to get in step with the Spirit of God
    - if they genuinely want to walk in the Spirit

- then that person is going to have a significant place is
   his heart and life for the church

- the sad thing is - some folks who call themselves
    Christians - really don't give a lick about the church

    - they don't think about the church much
    - they don't pray for the church much
    - they don't love the church
    - they don't like to be at the church
    - they don't support the church

    - mark it down - based on what we're studying this
        morning -- those kind of people aren't very spiritual
          - they're not in step with the Spirit of God

- the church of Jesus Christ is the most spiritual thing
    going

- cf. folks in town who want to come off real spiritual
     (usually about some current social issue) but have no
      time for the church
         - stock answer - "What is your pastor saying about
              this?"


II. Our Savior Is The Foundation and Head of The Church

    A. Our foundation

        1. He is the "rock"

            - Matt. 16:18

            - INPUT - what is the word "rock" a symbol of in
                the following verses?

                - Deut. 32:3-4 - (greatness)
                - Ps. 18:31 - (strength)
                - I Cor. 10:4 - (provision, consistency)

        2. Everything we are as a church and everything we do
            as a church is founded on Him

            - I Cor. 3:11

    B. Our Head

        - Eph. 5:22-24

        - Col. 1:18

        - both of these passages teach that Jesus Christ is
          the Head of the Church

        - now let's push that one step further

        - Question is - through what means is Jesus
             exercising His headship today?

             - John 16:12-14 (directing the activities of the
                  church through the leadership of the Holy
                  Spirit)

             - Eph. 6:17 - (Spirit's sword is His sword)
- the bottom line is - our foundation and our head is Jesus
    Christ
- that has to affect the way we're organized and the way
   we're run

- INPUT - what are some evidences of a church that recognizes
    Jesus Christ as the Foundation and the Head?

    (many answers - be sure to include:

         1) church must be autonomous: self-governing, self-
              supporting, self-propagating)
         2) church must be true to the Scripture
         3) when decisions are to be made, while members
              should look to pastors and deacons for
              leadership, each must seek the mind of Christ


III. The Local Church Has An Organized Membership

    - this is an area that some folks wrestle with
    - let's think about some things the Bible says about this
         issue

    A. It was true of the first church

        Acts 2:41

        - note the three step process - saved, baptized,
           added to the church

    B. Special rolls were kept

        - I Tim. 5:9

    C. Church discipline assumes a role

        - I Cor. 5:13

    D. Elections of officers assumes a role

        - Acts 6:2-5


- the bottom line is that the norm in the NT is that a person
  is saved, baptized, and joins a church
- the idea of a person saying they're a Christian but not
  being a member of a local NT church is unheard of in the
  Scriptures

-now, I realize that when a person moves, they're going to
   visit around and try various churches
     - there's nothing wrong with that
     - there's usually going to be a little time involved

     - but its wrong when folks take months and months
       without joining, and getting involved, and serving the
       Lord together

 


- while we're on this subject, someone recently asked me a
  question I think we need to address.
    "Why is it important to be a member of this church in
     order to serve.  I think it's important to be saved,
     baptized, and a member of a church-why does it have to
     be your church?"

     INPUT?

    1) It doesn't have to be this church--but it should be
       the one you want to serve at.  If a person is a member
       of another church, why wouldn't they be there serving?

    2) cf. associate membership

    3) reason - we have a responsibility for the kind of
        folks that are placed in positions of service.

        - esp. folks who work with children

              - cf. Trenton VBS


IV. The Church Has A Grand Future

    - I Thes. 4:15-17

    - Eph. 5:25-27

    - Rev. 19:6-9

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video