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Doctrine of Church

January 15, 2011

DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH

A.  Biblical Nomenclature:  The Meaning and Usage of EKKLESIA.
1.  EKKLESIA was first used in Attic Greek for an assembly of citizens convened to conduct the affairs of the state.  It is so used in Acts 19:25, 32 for the assembly of the Ephesians to handle the problems of their city-state.  It was also used for citizens who gathered in the city to conduct business, Acts 19:30.
2.  It was used in the second century B.C. translation of the LXX in the Old Testament connotation for the assembly of Israel, Acts 7:38.
3.  It was used for the assembly of Jews in their synagogue, as in Mt 18:17.  The issue of discipline in the church is not taught here.  This has nothing to do with the church today; this applied to the Jewish synagogue.
4.  It is used for the Church universal, composed of all members of the royal family of God, i.e., all believers in this dispensation of the Church Age, Eph 1:2223, 5:2527; Col 1:1718.
5.  It is used for occasions when a group of believers in a particular geographical location got together, even as few as two or three.  Such a group was called a local church, as in 1 Cor 11:18, 14:19, 28, 3435; Phil 4:15; 1 Thes 1:1; 2 Thes 1:1; Rev 23.  These local churches mentioned were under the authority of pastors, whether the pastors were absent or present.  Whether the pastor teaches face to face is not the issue; his authority may come in some other form of communication.  The type of teaching does not determine whether or not the organization is a local church.
6.  You are part of the “Church” as a member of the royal family of God in this dispensation.
7.  Jesus Christ is the ruler of the Church.  It is you as an individual that He rules or does not rule, depending upon your volition.  He is your ruler.  But whether He is allowed to function in your life as your ruler depends upon whether you understand and apply the pertinent mystery doctrine.  If you understand this doctrine, you have the basis for submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the Church.  If you are advancing in the spiritual life and living inside the divine dynasphere, then you have accepted the authority of Jesus Christ as the ruler of the Church.  But the majority of Christians have rejected our Lord’s authority as the ruler of the Church.
8.  Jesus Christ has delegated authority for the communication of doctrine in the local church to the pastorteacher.  If believers have rejected the authority of Jesus Christ over their personal lives, they will obviously reject the authority of any pastor who communicates the Word of God, the mind of Christ.  Without knowing doctrine, we cannot accept the authority of Jesus Christ.
9.  A technical study of believers between the Pentecost and the Rapture, who at salvation enter into union with Christ through the baptism of the Spirit, comprises the rest of this study of the doctrine of the Church.  You are the Church universal.
10.  In its relationship to Jesus Christ, the Church is called:
a.  The body of Christ on earth.
b.  The bride of Christ in heaven.

B.  Synonyms for the Christ and His Rulership over the Church.
1.  Jesus Christ is called the last Adam as the ruler of the Church, and the believers, the Church universal, is called the new spiritual species, as found in 1 Cor 15:4547; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.  This “new creation” is important because it focuses attention on the Church during the intensified stage of the angelic conflict.
2.  In the head and the body analogy, Christ is the head and the royal family of God is the body.  This speaks of Christ’s authority.  The body emphasizes our differences in personality and spiritual gifts, Eph 1:2223, 2:16, 4:45, 5:23; 1 Cor 12; Col 1:1718, 24, 2:19.
3.  The shepherd and the sheep analogy is found in Jn 10; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 5:4.  This analogy connotes the security and great blessings that come to us as members of the royal family of God.  The analogy is apropos, for like us, sheep have no sense of direction, cannot fend for themselves, are helpless, and therefore need the guidance, sustenance, and protection of the shepherd.  The sheep must be guarded and fed by the under-shepherd, the pastor of the local church.
4.  The vine and the branches analogy is taught in Jn 15:16.  Jesus Christ is the vine; we are the branches.  This analogy is used for union with Christ, i.e., positional truth and/or positional sanctification.  The vine always represented stimulation.  The production of the branches is your advance to maturity.
5.  The concept of Christ as the chief cornerstone and the stones of the building as the Church was first taught by Christ in Mt 16:1618 when He told Peter, “You are blessed, Simon, Son of Jonas.  And on this rock [PETRA, giant rock, Lord Jesus Christ] I will build my Church [royal family of God].  Therefore, your name is now PETRAS [part or chip of a rock].”  This reference to Christ as the chief cornerstone is found in Eph 2:20; 1 Pet 2:48.  Peter recognized that Christ, not the Church, is the rock.  The Church didn’t even exist in Mt 16.  Christ is the link between the two walls, Israel and the Church.  He is the ruler of both.
6.  The analogy of the high priest and the royal priesthood is found in Heb 7:25, 10:1014; 1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6.  Only when the GodMan ascended and was seated could Jesus Christ be a high priest.  Every believer in union with Christ is a royal priest.
7.  The groom and the bride analogy are found in 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:2527; Rev 19:68.  This eschatological analogy speaks of the future of the Church as royal family of God.  This will not be fulfilled until the Second Advent at the wedding feast of the Lamb.  It takes seven years for the bride, the Church, to be prepared before the Judgment Seat of Christ.  There will be no local churches in the Millennium.
8.  The King and the royal family of God analogy is taught in Eph 1:2223; Col 2:10.  Jesus Christ is the royal king and we are His family.
9.  From each of these analogies, certain things are taught about your personal life as a Church Age believer.

C.  Two Categories of “Church” in the Church Age.
1.  The Church universal, synonymous with the royal family of God, is composed of all Church Age believers.  You enter the Church universal at salvation through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resultant positional sanctification by which the royal family of God is formed and by which equal privilege is given to every believer.
a.  Every Church Age believer is given equal privilege and opportunity.
b.  The power which God gives to the Church is the omnipotence of God the Father related our portfolio of invisible assets and the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit related to the divine dynasphere.
2.  The local church is an assembly of believers in a specific geographical location under the teaching ministry of their right pastor, either face to face, or through some other system of communication.  The local church has a policy and an administrative system based on doctrinal principles.  This is why there are deacons and other administrative authorities in a local church.

D.  Dispensational Orientation.
1.  The Church is called the mystery age, Rom 16:2526; Eph 3:15; Col 1:2527.  The Church was not known in the Old Testament.  No Church Age doctrine was written or orally taught in Old Testament times, because the Church Age is a unique dispensation since believers are entered into union with Christ.
2.  The extent of the Church Age is from Pentecost until the Rapture.  The Church Age continues until the royal family is completed; then the Rapture occurs.

E.  The Period of the Church Age.
1.  The Church began in 30 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost; not in Abraham’s tent, as per the covenant theology of Shedd or Hodge.
2.  The Church was future from the time of Christ’s ministry.  When in Mt 16:18 Christ said “On this rock [Jesus Christ], I will build My Church,” He used the future active indicative of OIKODOMEO.
3.  The Church actually began on the Day of Pentecost around 30 A.D., as the Lord had prophesied.  In Acts 1:5, Jesus said, just before He ascended, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit a few days from now.”  Specifically, “a few days” referred to ten days.  Our Lord remained on earth for forty days after the resurrection.  According to the Jewish feast calendar, the Day of Pentecost began fifty days after the resurrection, represented by the Feast of the First Fruits.  So there was an interval of ten days after the ascension before the Church Age began.
4.  The first occurrence of the baptism of the Spirit was the day the Church Age superseded the dispensation of Israel.  By comparing Acts 11:15,16 with Acts 2:13, we establish the fact that the baptism of the Spirit occurred for the first time on the Day of Pentecost.  The baptism of the Spirit is also taught in 1 Cor 12:13.
5.  The Jewish Age was interrupted seven years short of its completion when the Church Age began.  The Tribulation, which follows the Rapture, is the end of the Jewish Age.  This dispensation is divided into three parts:
a.  The patriarchs, from Abraham to Moses.
b.  The client nation Israel, from Moses to Christ.
c.  The Tribulation, Daniel’s 70th week, from the Rapture of the Church to the Second Advent of Christ.
6.  On the Day of Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred.  The disciples were speaking in tongues as a warning of the coming of the fifth cycle of discipline in fulfillment of Isa 28:11.  The gift of tongues continued until 70 A.D. when it was cancelled (1 Cor 13:8).
7.  The times of the Gentiles is defined as the period from 70 A.D. until the Rapture when only Gentile nations can be client nations to God.
8.  The Church Age terminates with the Rapture or resurrection of the Church, when all the royal family receive their resurrection bodies, 1 Thes 4:13,18; 1 Cor 15:51-57; Phil 3:21; 1 Jn 3:12.  The Church and Israel never function simultaneously on the earth.

F.  The Uniqueness of the Church Age.
1.  The Church Age is the only dispensation in which believers are classified as royal family of God.  The royal family of God is formed through the baptism of the Spirit which is absolutely unique; it never occurred before the Day of Pentecost, and will never occur again after the Rapture.  The baptism of the Spirit has replaced water baptism, especially in the postCanon period of Church history.
2.  The Church Age is the only dispensation in which every believer is indwelt by all three persons of the Trinity.
a.  The indwelling of God the Father is related to the glorification of His plan, and it guarantees His ministry to every Church Age believer, which began in eternity past when the omnipotence of the Father formed your portfolio of invisible assets.  Therefore, God the Father indwells you to establish a link between His provision of your portfolio of invisible assets in eternity past and the present availability of your portfolio of invisible assets to you as the Church.  As the author of our portfolio of invisible assets, as the Grantor of our escrow blessings, as the mastermind of the protocol plan of God for the Church Age, as the designer of the divine dynasphere, God the Father indwells us in order that these might become a reality.  His presence guarantees their availability.
b.  The purpose of the indwelling of Jesus Christ is:
(1)  As a badge or sign that you are royal family of God.
(2)  As the guarantee of the availability of divine omnipotence to every Church Age believer.
(3)  As a guarantee of life after death, living in the presence of God forever.
(4)  As both our depositary and escrow officer, Christ’s indwelling guarantees that when you reach spiritual maturity you will receive the conveyance of your escrow blessings for time.  This also guarantees future and greater escrow blessings at the Judgment Seat of Christ after the resurrection.
(5)  As perpetual motivation for momentum when facing the various categories of suffering and pressure in this life, especially the three categories of suffering for blessing related to our advance to spiritual maturity.
(6)  As the basis for assigning #1 priority to relationship with God over relationship with people.  Not only is Jesus Christ the ruler of the Church, but the ruler actually indwells us as a steering mechanism.
(7)  As the basis for assigning top priority to the utilization of divine power in the divine dynasphere rather than human power in the cosmic system.
c.  The purpose for the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit is:
(1)  To provide a temple in our bodies, in order that Jesus Christ as the Shekinah Glory may indwell us.
(2)  As a base of operations for the execution of the protocol plan of God, the utilization of divine omnipotence.
3.  The Church Age is the only dispensation in which divine power is available to every believer, i.e., the omnipotence of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
4.  The Church Age is the only dispensation in which every believer is both a royal priest and a royal ambassador.
a.  As a priest, you represent yourself before God.
b.  As an ambassador, you represent God to man.  You are a walking, oneman army as Church, God’s representative on earth.
5.  The Church Age is the only dispensation where every believer has a detailed portfolio of invisible assets.  No such portfolio ever existed before or after the Church Age.  As a part of that portfolio of invisible assets, you have a spiritual gift, unique to the Church Age.
6.  The Church Age is the first dispensation in which there is a completed Canon of Scripture.  We have our instructions in writing.
7.  The Church Age is the only dispensation in which there is no prophecy.  Only two prophecies relate to the Church Age:  its beginning and end, the Day of Pentecost and the Rapture.  But in between, no prophecy exists.
a.  The Church Age operates under historical trends.  Historical trends teach that certain things are categorized as apostasy, but times of apostasy do not indicate the Rapture is near.  The Rapture can occur at any time.  “No man knows the day or the hour.”
b.  Historical trends is the only explanation for what occurs daily during the Church Age.  This is the only dispensation in which prophecy is not a crutch.  Prophecy is not needed to understand current trends.  Only doctrine is needed.  The New Testament describes various historical trends.

G.  The Great Power Experiment of the Church Age.
1.  The great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union of Christ during the First Advent overflows, becoming a complete and total dispensation in itself.
2.  As established with Christ on earth, the pattern continues. Available to us is the omnipotence of God the Father related to our portfolio of invisible assets and the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit related to the enabling power inside the divine dynasphere.
3.  We also continue to benefit from the omnipotence of God the Son who holds the universe together for the perpetuation of human history.
4.  The new spiritual species of 2 Cor 5:17 is designed for spiritual living inside the divine dynasphere.
5.  Because of unprecedented provision and delegation of divine power to every believer, every believer has equal privilege and equal opportunity.