The Church 


"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. [ NOTE THIS IS THE EVENT IN THE LATTER PART OF THE TRIBULATION, THE CHURCH HAS BEEN RAPTURED PRIOR TO IT.]
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and what was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:4-8)

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day [NOTE: The "Day of the Lord" is the tribulation and Millennium combined through judgement day which means that the seven churches were it from a physical point of view. The Scripture points out why:], and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyartira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. [NOTE: Some preach that these churches compare to certain periods between 33 A.D. and now. That is not what the Bible states. I do believe that God uses these Scriptures to teach us why they strayed and wants us to learn from them what is important to God.]

"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Revelation 1:10-20)

The last church mentioned was the Church of Laodicea: "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 'I know thy works, and thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wast cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, and thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

After that John is given a preview of Jesus' opening the seven seals which bring in the tribulation.

What does that tell us about the church that we are experiencing today. Is it any wonder we are where we are. Jesus obviously wants a personal relationship with us because that is the only way we can overcome the world. He did it for us and without that relationship we can't get there. That is why he showed us what happened to the seven churches.

The # used to describe what the word "church" means in the Greek Lexical Aids. #1577: Ekklesia; originally seems to have been derived from ekkaleo, to call out. It was a common term for a congregation of the ekkletoi, those called out or assembled in the public affairs of a free state, a body of free citizens, called together by a herald. The ekkletoi, the called people, constituted the ekklesia.

In the NT the word is applied to the congregation of the people of Israel (Acts 7:38). On the other hand, sunagoge (4864) seems to have been used to designate the people from Israel in distinction from all other nations (Acts 13:43, cf. Matt. 4:23; 6:2; James 2:2; Rev. 2:9, 3:9). But when in Hebrews 10:25 the gathering of the Christians is referred to, it is not called sunagoge but episunagoge (1997), with the prep. epi (1909), upon, translated the assembling together.

The Christian community was designated for the first time as ekklesia to differentiate it from the Jewish community, sunagoge (Acts 2:47 TR). The term ekklesia denotes the NT community of the redeemed in its twofold aspect, all who were called by and who were called by and to Christ in the fellowship of His salvation, the Church worldwide of all times, and only secondary to an individual church (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; 9:31; 1 Cor. 6:4; 10:32; 11:22; 12:28; 14:4; 5:12; 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil. 3:6; Col. 1:18; 24). Designated Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32; 11:22; 15:9; Gal. 1:13; 1Tim. 3:5, 15). the body of Christ (Eph. 5:23, 24); the entire Church exclusively (Ephesians 1:22; 3:10, 21; 5:23-25, 27, 29, 32; Heb. 12:23).

The NT churches, however, are also confined to particular places (Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor. 1:2; 16:19, 2 Cor. 1:1; Col. 4:15; 1 Thess. 2:14; Phile. 1:2), to single local churches (Acts 8:1; 11:22, Rom. 16:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1) [source p.1712 Lexical Aids of the New Testament KJV Bible]

BISHOP: 1 Timothy 3:1-7 Qualifications to be an overseer: "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil).
DEACONS: 1 Timothy 3:8- 13 Qualifications for Servants: "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."
The Apostle Paul wrote the letters to Timothy to teach him. Here are more important points: 1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." [NOTE later referred to as ordination to allow him to teach, and be an apostle] "Wherefore I put thee in rememberance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6) NOTE: Paul mentions a "gift" which Timothy possessed as a result of the "putting on" of his hands on him. It is identical to the word used by Paul to describe the gifts (charismata [5486]) of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-11)... this particular gift that came upon Timothy was the outcome of his ordination to the ministry of the gospel in 1 Timothy 4:14. 2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."
Timothy was to carry on Paul's ministry.
In Titus we have the qualifications of an Elder. Paul wrote the following to Titus:
ELDERS: "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (Titus 1:5,6)
BISHOP: "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;.. (Titus 1:7.. 14)
This confirms that God meant there be a specific order to His people and laid out what the qualifications for congregations are. What is most important to God is obedience. That is why we are here on earth. If we don't learn obedience through the mechanisms that God has provided for us, we have little chance of making it. That is what Jesus's life portrayed. In the Word of God, OT and NT, it is always about obedience to the Word. That is the hard part about the Gospel and that is why Lucifer and his angels (a third of the angels) lost it.
Some believe and teach that there has been an interruption of receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are necessary for ordination of office. The laying on of hands would have had to have been practiced by original Apostles. Apostles named in the Bible all had contact with Jesus Christ even Paul on the road to Damascus. They were authentic Apostles and had the gift to ordain others who were then enabled to lay hands on others.
The Catholic Church, from which most denominations spring, changed the rules which took its authenticity out. Their hierarchy consists of many layers of authority and the priests are unmarried, celibate men. How can they, being disobedient to the Word of God, have the authority to lay hands on new candidates to teach the Gospel.
We believe that the gifts today, due to the interruption, come from Jesus Christ Himself direct. The reason for that is that one of the nine gifts is FAITH, and Jesus still HEALS and if we have access to one gift, we have access to all nine and should covet them.
Ephesians 4:1-16 Paul speaking to the church, the saints of Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring 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; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some; evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Amen
[ Source: KJV Hebrew Greek Kay Study Bible edited by Greek Scholar Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D. AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A. ]