ARTICLE 6 | THE CHURCH
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
- Matthew 16:15-19 >> The church is built upon the nature & work of Jesus Himself & will not falter because He has overcome all of His enemies.
- Matthew 18:15-20 >> To the church, Jesus gives His authority to know truth & confront error.
- Acts 2:41-42,47 >> The church is meant to live in community with one another, being built up by apostolic teaching, fellowship, & prayer.
- Acts 5:11-14 >> The church is the main instrument of God manifesting His will in this world, through the lives of Christians who serve as ambassadors for Christ.
- Acts 6:3-6 >> In its early stages, the church has had teachers/elders/overseers & deacons/servants so that both the spiritual & practical needs of the congregation could be met.
- Acts 13:1-3 >> As the church meets in worship, the Spirit of God speaks, convicts, & calls believers to seek His will in new ways.
- Acts 14:23 >> Each church is autonomous, being governed by those God has called into the service of leadership.
- Acts 15:1-30 >> The word of the apostles (what we now call the New Testament), along with the Old Testament serves as the final authority of faith & practice for the church.
- Acts 20:28 >> The Holy Spirit is the one responsible for calling leaders into service. They must exercise leadership in the sight of God with great diligence & faithfulness.
- 1 Corinthians 3:16 >> As opposed to the Old Covenant where there was a physical temple where God manifested His presence, in the New Covenant the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, making their hearts, minds, & bodies the instruments of worship & tools for the kingdom of God.
- 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 >> Church discipline is integral part of maintaining the purity of the church’s worship & witness & holding high the work of the Spirit in each individual’s life.
- 1 Corinthians 7:17 >> It is the believer’s responsibility to serve the Lord with the life the Lord has given them.
- 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 >> Full-time vocational ministry is a biblical concept in which the church devotes their shared resources to employ those called by God to serve as leaders.
- 1 Corinthians 12 >> As the Spirit of God indwells all true believers, He manifests His power through various unique facets of their being. These “spiritual gifts” are gifts from the Holy Spirit that are meant to be used for God’s glory & the building of His kingdom.
- Ephesians 1:22-23 >> Even though each church is autonomous, each church is ultimately accountable to the Lord of the church, Jesus Christ.
- Ephesians 2:19-22 >> People from all nations & walks of life are brought near to Christ in salvation, thus forming a universal church that is diverse, yet is nourished & edified God’s Word.
- Ephesians 3:8-11,21 >> The church exists for the glory of God & brings Him glory as they commune with Him & see the wisdom of God made manifest among them.
- Ephesians 5:22-32 >> Marriage is an earthly illustration of a heavenly reality, with Christ the bridegroom & the church as the bride.
- Colossians 1:18 >> Jesus Christ is the head of the church & is the one who should receive all the glory from everything the church has done.
- 1 Timothy 2:9-14 >> Far from being products of sin, gender roles serve God’s purpose when biblically defined within the church.
- 1 Timothy 3:1-15 >> The different offices of pastor/elder/overseer & deacon/servant are roles that require a life of holiness & integrity.
- 1 Peter 5:1-4 >> Pastors & leaders within the church do not exercise authority out of pride, but out of the humility that most accurately reflects the attitude of Christ the Great Shepherd of the church who laid His life down for His flock.
- Revelation 21:2-3 >> Eternity will be marked by the celebration of God’s glory made manifest through His church.
ARTICLE 7 | BAPTISM & THE LORD’S SUPPER
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
- Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22 >> Jesus was baptized by immersion as a revelation of the pattern to be followed by all those who would follow Him.
- Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19-20 >> The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the church in which we remember the incredible price paid for us by Jesus on the Cross. This remembrance serves to remind the church that Jesus is coming again one day to get them.
- Matthew 28:19-20 >> Baptism in the name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit is one of the greatest manifestations of a person’s decision to follow Christ.
- John 3:23 >> Baptism must have been something done by immersing people fully in water since John needed plenty of water.
- Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33 >> Baptism was done by the apostles in the early church as people responded to the message of the Gospel.
- Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12 >> Baptism is a symbol of the unity believers experience with Christ in His death, burial, & resurrection.
- 1 Corinthians 10:21 >> The Lord’s Supper is something that should be taken only by believers who are walking blamelessly & without hypocrisy.
ARTICLE 8 | THE LORD’S DAY
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
- Exodus 20:8-11 >> The Sabbath day is the last day of the week (Saturday) in which God’s people are called to rest, as modeled by God Himself on Day 7 of creation. As believers keep this day as holy & separate, they will experience the blessing of following God’s design.
- Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1 >> The Lord’s Day is a special day on the Christian’s weekly calendar that should be reserved for celebrating the resurrection of Christ with the church.
- Acts 20:7 >> From its inception, the church of Jesus Christ has sought to set apart the Lord’s Day by gathering to worship & listen to the Word.
- I Corinthians 16:1-2 >> One of the ways that we worship the Lord on the Lord’s Day is through the giving of tithes & offerings that benefit the life & work of the church.