Some Thoughts on What a New Testament Church Means

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Matthew 28:18-20 – The mission of the church of Jesus Christ is to make disciples of all nations. Disciples who are formed into the character of Christ. We are called to bring people into a yielded heart relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord.

Galatians 4:19 – That Christ may be formed in you. Seeing Christ formed in each individual is the mission of the church.

Some characteristics of a Biblical community.
– The people have a common truth base. They gather together around the scripture.
– They have a common understanding of who Christ is in the church. They believe that Christ is the way, the truth, the life, He is the one around whom people gather. Everything revolves around Jesus.
– A common understanding of the role of the Church and its role in the ongoing work of Christ in the world.
– A common mission.
– A common creed and standards.
– A Biblical community has common traditions.
– A common understanding of the role of authority.

What is unity? It is not the absence of difference debate or diversity. It is rather the presence of a common vision and passion resting on the foundation of commonalities. All rooted in one great truth, Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth and all that is therein.

Wisdom is a moral quality moving to the heart. All of us are foolish about something but wisdom comes as we learn to repent.

The goal of the ministry is to lead the church in a wide purposeful change of standards and traditions without loosing the foundation that those standards and traditions are based upon.

God is calling us to a belonging relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christ has not called us into bondage but to a love relationship that leads us to love and serve others freely from the heart.

Repent. Fellowship cannot be organized around practices. It must be organized around God.

The characteristics of those who turn to Christ are humility, willingness to let Christ be Lord. Jesus calls us to look away from satan and his temptations and to look instead to Jesus.

The dynamic energy of the Holy Spirit is not apposed to the organization in the church. Jesus is Lord, but this proclamation must be worked out in the life of the church.

Honesty is not the ability to accurately describe how one feels. Honesty is the freedom to exercise integrity in exploring the real reasons why I feel and act the way I do. There is surface honesty, moral honesty, and honesty with integrity to move to repentance.

The gospel does not offer us deliverance from death, fulfillment of our dreams, immediate escape from suffering. Instead, it offers us life, the path to life is death, God is calling us to surrender rather than preserve our life.

No significant change is painless. Confusion is an understood companion of change. One cannot wait to make decisions until all confusion is gone. Dynamic change will always result in the death of something. When we choose one choice of action we have to simultaneously put another one to death.

How do we live well in the present in light of eternity? The hard circumstances in life are not the cross… the surrender to Christ in the hard circumstances is the cross. This is how you enter eternal life, through the cross.

Death only has power over what you hold onto. Whatever we yield to Christ the devil has no power to destroy. The strength that we admire in people is found in daily dying to Christ.

The greatest moments in leadership always follow great moments of struggle or disaster. The greatest challenge of leadership is to offer something life-giving without destroying what people have that is good.

Acts 15 – The Jerusalem conference. Leaders are not tyrants but they do have authority.

We face the challenge of helping each person experience growth and gain, to follow Christ before Christ has answered all of our questions or removed all our fears. We have to move away from the demand that Jesus and others save us without our heart, mind and will participating.

Colossians 2 – No philosophy of man can replace the word of God. Proper interpretations of scripture require that we have to keep both sides of the issue in proper tension.

Acts 4 – The early church had no plan, but they had their experience with Jesus and they prayed. That is what we read. They didn’t try to figure out how to make this thing work. They didn’t try to figure out how to make this thing work like a business would. They spent a lot of time together. They shared together in victories and losses. They struggled with relational and other issues. Struggles in the life of the church are not uncommon.

Scriptures used – Matthew 28:18-20, Galatians 4:19, Acts 15, Colossians 2, 2 Corinthians 3, Acts 4

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