The Work Of The Church

imageTwo of the ways the word church is used in the scriptures:

1) Church is used to refer to all of the saved (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4; Eph. 5:23) — the " universal church."

Christ is the head of the universal church and its members are subject to His word (Eph. 1:22,23). Beyond this there is no organization to the universal church — no earthly head, no ecclesiastical synod, or convention.

The universal church does no work as a collective body.

2) Church is used to refer to the saved in a given locality (Acts 8:1; Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 1:2) — " the local church."

In the local church there is organization — bishops, deacons, and saints (Phil. 1:1).

Each local church is independent in existence from other churches, equal, that is not subservient to another church or the eldership of another church, and autonomous, or self-governing, that is, one local church can not rule over or make decisions for another local church (Acts 14:23; 1 Peter 5:2).

" The organization of the New Testament church is simple, not complex. It is the local church with elders, deacons and members. No other organization is known in the New Testament. The local church with elders and deacons is a complete and perfect organization through which to do everything God has commanded the church as such to do. It therefore follows that any organization larger, or smaller than the local church designed to do the work of the church, is an infringement upon the divine arrangement and is unscriptural." (Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Gospel Advocate, Sept.28, 1938).

"God gave no organization to the 'church universal.' No super-organization or centralized agency has ever been provided by the Lord for inter-congregational action. There were no inter-congregational alliances ever authorized. No group of elders ever became, by New Testament authority, 'brotherhood elders.' no church was ever set aside by divine authority to become a brotherhood agency through which all churches could do a work to which all were equally related. Each congregation maintained it independence. The only organization ever authorized by through which the church is to function is the local congregation" (W. Curtis Porter, The Gospel Guardian, May 3,10, 1956).

4 Diagrams of organizations and works that are wrong:

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Three Area Of Work For The Church:

1) Evangelism 1 Tim. 3:15

"Paul's statement that the church is the 'pillar and ground' of the truth emphasizes the fact the church is that which sustains and upholds the truth. A church upholds the truth by teaching it and supporting those who are preaching it" (Sound Doctrine, Vol.2, pg.51)

Acts 13:1-3; 1 Thess. 1:8

2) Edification of the body Eph. 4:11,12; 1 Cor. 14:26; Acts 11:22,23

Two ways that the church does the works of evangelism and edification are:

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3) Limited benevolence

"It should be clearly understood, however, that the church is not a big Red Cross organization "

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"Many are busy trying to burden the church with benevolent obligations that the Lord never bound upon it."

It s not the work of the church to provide the world or its member with recreation or secular education.

"It is recognized by all Bible readers that God has a church in the world, and all agree that the saved man is a part of the great family of God. However, in New Testament times the local congregation was the unit of action. Each congregation was a separate and distinct organization (Acts 14:23), There was no ecclesiasticism through which the churches worked. They believed in the Lord and had the same aims and purposes, but neither had any jurisdiction over the other " (Sound Doctrine, Vol.2, p.48)

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