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Title 6

The New Testament Church

Lesson Six Of Six

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The New Testament Church


Church Organization


What does the New Testament teach concerning the organization of the church?



The early church was guided by the apostles (Acts 2:42). The apostles were men chosen by the Lord (Luke 6:13). One of these was Judas Iscariot who later betrayed the Lord and then hung himself. The apostles understood, from the scriptures, that a replacement should be found. Acts 1:21-22 lists the qualifications for this office: one must have been in the company of the apostles "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us," this one must "become a witness with us of His resurrection," and this one must be a man: "Therefore, of these MEN..." (Acts 1:21). Of two men put forward, Matthias was chosen to replace Judas.


There is no one today who can meet these qualifications. This means that the office of an apostle does not exist today.



Paul and Barnabas' first missionary journey took them to Pisidia and Pamphylia. Here they preached the gospel and established churches. It was in the churches of these regions that they appointed elders (Acts 14:21-23). These elders were men who met certain qualifications.


The terms elder, bishop, and pastor are not to be mistaken for three different offices but are terms given to the SAME MAN who holds such an office (Acts 20:17-28; 1 Peter 5:1-2); each term revealing a different aspect of his work.


ELDER, denoting the dignity of the office.

BISHOP (or overseer), denoting his duty to oversee the souls in his care.

PASTOR (or shepherd), denoting his responsibility to guard and nourish the flock.


The qualifications for elders are listed in two places: 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. These are not suggested qualifications or a list of choices, they are absolutely necessary. The word must [in the text] comes from the Greek word dei and is defined as, "An unavoidable, urgent compulsory necessity" (Spiros Zodhiates' lexicon).



Deacons, too, had to meet certain qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8- 13). The work of deacons is to assist the elders and to attend to the physical needs of the brethren.



The church also had evangelists, whose main work was to proclaim the gospel of Christ, whether publicly or privately (2 Timothy 4:1-5).



Like the apostles, these prophets revealed the will of God (Ephesians 3:5). When God's will was fully revealed and written down, the role of the apostle and prophet came to an end. That the will of God has been fully revealed is evident from the following scriptures (Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).


The Worship Of The Church


The Early Church

The first Christians met on a daily basis (Acts 2:42). The text lists four things in which they continued steadfastly: the apostles doctrine, fellowship, the breaking of bread [i.e. Communion], and prayers.


The Worship Service

The first Christians met on a daily basis but there was one day in particular that Christians gathered for a specific two-fold purpose: to partake of the Lord's supper (Acts 20:7) and to take up a collection (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). The church also offered prayers, sang songs, and preached the word during these assemblies (Read 1 Corinthians 14). In all there are five activities that were  regular features of these assemblies: The Lord's supper, a collection, preaching and teaching, singing, and prayer.


God's Plan Of Salvation


Various Views

There are various views and opinions about God's plan of salvation. In this section we do not intend to make known all the various views; we shall simply go to the scriptures to establish the facts.


What Must I Do To Be Saved?

As the apostle Peter preached to the Jews about Jesus on the day of Pentecost, he was interrupted with the question, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). The scriptures quoted below give us the answer to this question.


"BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved..." (Acts 16:31).


"REPENT therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out..." (Acts 3:19).


"...if you CONFESS with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10).


"He who believes and is BAPTISED will be saved" (Mark 16:16).



You must fill in all the fields in order for your answers to be sent.


1. Why can no one be an apostle today?



2. Show from the scriptures that an elder, bishop, and pastor are terms that refer to the same man.



3. What are the qualifications for an elder?



4. What was the role of a prophet? Why do we not have prophets today?




5. What other offices does the New Testament mention?



6. What scriptures tell us that the New Testament is complete?



7. In what three things did the early Christians continue steadfastly?



8. On what day of the week must we assemble to partake of the Lord's supper? What other practice is peculiar to this day? What other activities would be included in a worship service?





9. What must one do to be saved? (Mark 16:16).



10. When are a persons sins washed away? (Acts 2:38; 22:16).



We look forward to receiving your answers.