"We preach Christ crucified" - 1 Cor. 1:23

It is possible for a person to make a profession and not be saved. Ex. Simon in Acts chapter 8. He believed and was baptised. He had deceived Philip. Peter was used to exposehim – v 20 to 23. Notice v 24 ‘pray ye to the Lord for me’ – he did not pray for himself.
    There may be three aspects to our experience of trusting the Lord. People might:
    A). Have a mental understanding of the truth of God.
    B). Be affected emotionally as they think of their sin deserving the wrath of God, and necessitating the death of the Saviour.
    C). Exercise an act of will – actually trust themselves to the Saviour.
Whatever of A) and B) might be involved in a persons experience – they are not saved until C) – the act of commitment!
     
    1st John presents us with seven tests – do we fulfill them?
    1). Ch:2 v 3 – ‘We know that we know Him if we keep His commandments’ – Do we have the desire to do His will?
    2). Ch:2 v 5 – ‘keep His word’ – Do we have the respect for the truth of God?
    3). Ch:2 v 29 – ‘do righteousness’ – Is the righteous character of God seen in our lives?
    4). Ch:3 v 9 – We should not habitually practice sin. Is there any habitual sin practiced?
    5). Ch:3 v 14 – ‘We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren’. Do we love other Believers?
    6). Ch:4 v 6. – Do we heed God’s messages?
    7). Ch:5 v 4. – ‘Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world’ – Are we constantly
    seeking the pleasures / treasures of the world or do we find our satisfaction in the Saviour and His things.
     
    Regarding assurance of salvation.
    1). The Word of God PROCLAIMS it. Salvation is presented as an  everlasting blessing. John ch:3 v 15, v 16, v 36;
    2). The Work of Christ PROVIDED it. Ephesians ch:1 v 7. – ‘In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace’. It’s Christ’s blood and resurrection that assures us of everlasting life when we call on Him as our Savior.
    3). The Witness of the Holy Spirit PROVES it. 1st John ch:3 v24, ‘Hereby we know that He abideth in us by the Spirit which he hath given us’. 

An Assembly is a company of baptized believers (Acts 2:41), gathered unto the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 18:20; 1st Cor. 1:1-9, 5:4), who meet regularly in a particular locality according to the pattern found in the New Testament in Acts 2:41, 42 and developed fully in such epistles as 1st Cor. and 1st Tim.

Such an Assembly is a spiritual fellowship (1st Cor. 10:16, 17), which is expressed visibly as they meet for the breaking of bread, prayer, collective testimony, the teaching of the Word of God, and preaching of the Gospel.

They have been gathered together by the Holy Spirit (Mark 14:13; Rom. 8:14), their sole authority is the Word of God (2nd Tim. 3:16, 17), and they have the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ to be in their midst (Matt. 18:20).

They are a residence of the Holy Spirit on earth, so they are a holy temple unto the Lord (1st Cor. 3:15, 16).

Such an Assembly is guided by godly overseers and served by faithful deacons in both temporal and spiritual ministry (1st Tim. 3:1 -16).

The priesthood of all believers is exercised in worship, praise and prayer, and the gifts, given by the risen Head of the church (Eph. 4:8 – 13), have liberty to function under the control of the Holy Spirit (1st Cor. 14:23 – 40).

There is a clear line of demarcation between the within and the without of an Assembly and purity is maintained by a careful, compassionate and godly exercise of discipline (1st Cor. 5:1 – 13).

When the Lord Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (or as some have called it, the communion service) He said, “This do in remembrance of Me” (Mk. 14:22-24; Lk. 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). This meeting is to be a time only for those who have put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus to remember the tremendous price that was paid in order to secure our salvation. This is symbolized by two elements: The bread – which pictures to us the sacrifice of the Lord’s body; and the cup – which represents the shedding of blood, without which their can be no remission of sins. The pattern of the early church in the book of Acts was to meet on the first day of the week for the “breaking of the bread” (Acts 20:7). Notice the expression used. It was not the first Sunday of the month, or the first Sunday of the quarter, or the first Sunday of the half-year, or the year; but the first day of the week. Paul suggests that it is to be a continual exercise when he wrote, “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (1 Cor. 11:26). Some have suggested that having the Lord’s Supper every week (instead of monthly or quarterly) dulls the worshipper sense of true appreciation. On the contrary, to those who practice the weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, it becomes the highlight of the believer’s week to gather once more with fellow believers and remind themselves of all that Christ has done to secure our salvation.

The women are told to be silent in the gatherings in 1st Corinthians 14:34, 35 and 1st Timothy 2:12. The men are told to lead the assembly in prayer, to teach, to preach the Word of God, to function publicly in the gatherings. In Titus 2:3-5 the older women are told to teach the younger women things regarding their families and their behaviour.


Worship in an Assembly is not limited to the males but the audible expression of worship is. We read in 1st Corinthians 14:34, 35 that the women in an Assembly are to remain silent. All of the believers should be in an attitude of worship. A sister’s worship is just as pleasing to the Lord as a brother’s but in the pattern for the New Testament Assembly she is commanded to remain silent when the Assembly is gathered together. God does not consider women to be any less but He has an order for His people in His Word when they are gathered together.

In 1st Corinthians 11:1-16 that the Lord has, in His wisdom, given guidelines for men and women in the assembly. The woman is to take her place under the authority of the man. It is a matter of order not inferiority. It is also a picture of how the church is subject to the Lord so the woman is subject to the man. The woman’s head is to be covered when gathered in the assembly so as to bring glory to her head, the man, being a picture of the church bringing glory to her head the Lord. The man’s head is to be uncovered to bring glory to his head, Christ.

One objection that has been raised is that the problem addressed is local to Corinth and should be interpreted within the culture of the district. But 1 Cor 1:2 shows that the letter has to be applied universally: as an inspired document it should have acceptance with every believer in every place.

Baptism was commanded by the Lord Jesus Himself. Matthew 28.19

Baptism is not essential for salvation: salvation is by the grace of God.

Baptism was by immersion in water.

The primary meaning of the Greek verb BAPTIZO is “to immerse” or “to dip” (Arndt and Gingrich). In non-Christian literature it also meant “plunge, sink, drench, overwhelm, etc.” The Greeks used the verb for the dyeing of a garment in a pot.

The normal sense of the Greek prepositions would certainly indicate immersion also.

And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down INTO (EIS) the water, Philip as well as the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they came OUT OF (EK) the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. Acts 8:38,39

Immersion best illustrates certain aspects of the meaning of baptism. A number of years ago a ranch hand engaged in a friendly dispute with his foreman over the mode of baptism. The ranch hand believed in immersion, the foreman thought sprinkling was surely sufficient. Then one day a young horse died on the range. The hand was given the responsibility to bury it in a secluded corner of the ranch. Several days later the

foreman found it with several handfuls of earth sprinkled generously over the carcass! The foreman saw the point. Sprinkling is no burial. Christian baptism illustrates our identification with Christ in His death and burial (Rom.6:4). How significant immersion becomes when we recognize the great truth it illustrates.

Baptism was only for those who had believed(Saved). It was those who gladly received his word who were baptised. Acts 2:41. In the records of households being baptised, there is never a hint that any of these family members were infants.

John the baptizer in Matt. 3:11 declared that “He (Jesus) shall baptize (immerse) you with (Greek EN, meaning IN) the Holy Spirit………”

It must be remembered that nowhere have we found that the Holy Spirit was to “BAPTIZE” the believer. John stated that Jesus would “BAPTIZE” the repentant believers “IN” the Holy Spirit. There are seven Scripture passages that link the word baptize and Spirit, or Holy Spirit, together in one verse. Only seven! Six are to be found in the Gospels and Acts. One in each of the four Gospels and two in Acts. However, the seventh is found in the First Corinthian epistle. Seven seems to be the number of completion in Scripture and only when we come (chronologically) to I Cor. 12:13 (after having viewed the other six passages), do we see a completing of the subject. When the subject is viewed from all seven passages, Jesus is the undisputed BAPTIZER. The seven passages referred to are: Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5, 11:16; I Cor. 12:13.

The “purpose” for which the believer is baptized is unto (with a view to) one body (the church).
It can be outlined as follows:
  1. THE BAPTIZER ………………JESUS
  2. THE BAPTIZED……………….BELIEVER
  3. THE ELEMENT…………………IN (GREEK EN)THE HOLY SPIRIT
  4. THE PURPOSE ……………….UNTO (GREEK EIS)ONE BODY

Every believer who receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord has received the Holy Spirit. if a person does not have the Holy Spirit (Spirit of Christ), he is not Christ’s (Rom. 8:9).

The baptism “in the Spirit” is the spiritual operation of God forming the one body which is the church. This is a true experience of all who receive Christ in this age (dispensation of the grace of God – Eph. 3:2). It is not something genuine believers are to “seek”.

In most denominations, someone is appointed by each congregation as a full time
preacher, a person who has almost exclusive access to the pulpit, and who
receives an agreed salary or stipend for services rendered.

 

New Testament churches were guided by elders, sometimes called overseers(translated bishops in the KJV). There was always a number of these men in each congregation: see Acts 20.17, Phil.1.1, 1Peter 5.1. They are also called pastors (Eph.4.11), that term being a translation of the very ordinary word shepherd and indicating their responsibility to care for the flock.

 

New Testament churches were instructed by a variety of preachers and teachers. For example, in the church at Antioch five men had responsibility for the task (Acts 13.1).

 

New Testament churches had no payroll. It is true that in these early days there were men who served the Lord in a full time way, but their ministry seemed to be more of a pioneering or itinerant nature. There is never a hint that any contract was settled with them, or that they had the assurance of an agreed income. They were dependent on the Lord to supply their material needs, and He did so through His people as they gave them unsolicited gifts.

 

In Scripture we cannot find the equivalent of the college training, the salary, or the vestments of the modern clergyman, and so we just try to maintain the simplicity of the New Testament pattern by disregarding these things and allowing various gifted brothers to preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God.
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