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Apostolic Age

NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

 

Event

Date

Jesus Prepares the Way

28 A.D. - 31 A.D.

Church Established

31 A.D. - 100 A.D.

Seeds of Apostasy

53 A.D. - 95 A.D.

 

THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH

 

            The New Testament church is by definition made up of the total of all Christians.  The Greek word translated “church” has this meaning:  “Church (1577  ekklesia)-a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly. “ Jesus used this word to designate the collection of those called out of the world to serve him.  Jesus adds every new Christian to the church:  Acts 2:47 “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (NKJ) Individual Christians are not the church, rather each Christian is a member and all Christians together are the church. 1 Cor 12:12-14 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.” (KJV)

            The word “church” is also used to designate all the Christians united in a local area such as the church at Corinth, the church at Rome, etc..  1 Cor 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:” 1 Cor 11:17-19 “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.  For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.  (KJV)

            There was a single kind of church in New Testament times. Eph 1:22-23 “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Eph 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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." (NKJ) There was only one kind of church represented by all the local assemblies. 1 Cor 4:17 ”For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church."  (NKJ)  It had no exclusive, official,  single proper name. Every term used for the church was to describe an aspect of it.

 

A LIST OF SOME OF

THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH’S

 BELIEF AND STRUCTURE.

 

1. Jesus is the builder of the church. Matthew 16:16-18 Acts 20:28 Eph 5:23

     Acts 4:10-12  1Cor 3:10-12

 

2. Jesus is the only Lawgiver and head of the church.  Eph 1:22-23  2Jhn 9 Acts 2:36 Matt 28:16-20  Heb 1:1-2   James 4:12  Titus 2:13-14   Phil 2:9-15  John 10:1-18 John 12:44-50

 

3.  The Bible is the only Rule of Faith- 2 John 9   1Peter 3:21-22    Matthew 15:1-14, 1Cor 4:6, Col 2:6-23, 1Tim 4:6-7

 

4.  The Bible was finished and unchangeable by the end of the first century.  Jude 3, Gal 1:1-11 Revelation 22:18-19

 

5. Each church’s local Elders (also called bishops) enforced, guide, ruled only the local church according to Jesus’ word. 1Pet 5:1-11  Acts 20:17-35  1Tim 3:1-7  Titus 1:5-12

 

6. The local church’s Deacons assisted the Elders. 1Tim 3:8-13  Acts 6:1-6

 

7.  All Christians were Priests and none were lords over others. Mark 10:35-45 1Pet 5:3, Acts 10:25-26  Rev. 1:4-7  Rev 5:9-10  1Pet 2:5-10  Eph 2:11-22

 

8. A person becomes a Christian by Believing Jesus, Turning to God (repent), publicly confessing Jesus, baptized by immersion for the remission of sins. Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:36-47  1Pet 3:21-22

 

9. Faith and works of God are required to be pleasing to God.    James 1:19-2:26  Heb 11:6 Rev 20:11-15

 

10. A weekly pattern of worship by prayer, teaching, Lord’s Supper, vocal singing, contribution.  Acts 2:42  1Thess 5:17-25,  Acts 20:7 1Cor 10:16  1Cor 11:20-30,  Eph 5:18-19, Col 3:16, 1Cor 16:1-2.

 

11. A pattern of church income by members giving on the first day of the week, fee-will, self-determined, liberal offering.    Acts 2:44-45, Acts 4:32-37,  2Cor 8:10-15, Acts 5:1-6  2Cor 9:6  1Cor 16:1-2

 

12. A pattern of church spending by supporting preaching, elders, and Christian only, direct to the need,  benevolence.    Gal 6:6-10, 1Tim 5:1-16,  Acts 2:43-47,     Acts 4:32- 5:11 Acts 6:1-6, 1Tim 5:17-18, 1Cor 9:14  Acts 11:27-30 Romans 15:22-33, 1Cor 16:1-9 2Cor 8:1-9:15

 

APOSTASY FORETOLD

IN THE

NEW TESTAMENT

 

THE ANTI-CHRIST:  The anti-Christ (500) is the adversary of Christ,

 

1 John 2:18-23: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.  But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.  I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.  Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.  Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (NKJ)

 

            1. Many antichrists rather then a single individual.

            2. Already existed by the end of the First century.

            3. Came from within the church, a false brethren.

            4. Denies Jesus as the Christ, or the Father, or both.

 

1 JOHN 4:1-3  “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.  You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them." (NKJ)

 

            1. Would claim to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to prophecy.

            2. Teaches Jesus did not come in the flesh.

            3. Already started.

            4. Of worldly origin.

 

2 JOHN 1:5-9  And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.  For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.  Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. (NKJ)

            1. Contrary to the love of the brethren and is a deception.

            2. Does not believe that Jesus came in the flesh. (A spirit, illusion, etc..)

 

 

THE MAN OF SIN, THE SON OF PERDITION

 

2 THESSALONIANS 2:3-12  Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.  (NKJ)

 

            1. Opposed and exalted himself against God and objects of worship.

            2. Sits in the temple of God and sets himself up to be God.

            3. The process was already at work.

            4. Lawless, uses deception and lies, no love for the Truth.

            5. Exist until Jesus comes again.

 

 

THE FALLING AWAY, THE APOSTASY

 

MATTHEW 24:4-13 “And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  (NKJ)

 

1. Many would claim to be Christ.

2. Christian would be offended with their faith, would betray fellow Christians, and hate fellow Christians.

3. Due to so much disobedience and falsehoods, Christians love would chill.

4. All to take place even before the destruction of Jerusalem on Sept. 2, 70 A.D.

5. Only those who endures past these things would be saved.

 

 

ACTS 20:28-31  "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.  For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.  (NKJ)

 

            1. Some would come into the church and hurt them.

            2. From within the Church some would teach perverse things and pull

                Christians away from the church.

 

 

1 TIMOTHY 4:1-5 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;  for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. if you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. but reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. (NKJ)

 

            1. Once were Christians but left the Faith.

            2. Support and teach false doctrine.

            3. Speak lies, unconscionable.

            4. Forbid marriage, eating of meats.

 

THE CONDITION OF THE CHURCH

AT 95 A.D.

REVELATION 2:1 - 3:22

 

THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS  REV. 2:1-7

 

GOOD: Tested false Apostles and them liars.  With patience accomplished good works. Hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans as Christ does.

 

BAD:   Left their first love (Christ).

Comments:  Remember former state, repent, return to first works: or Jesus will quickly remove their lampstand.

 

THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA  REV. 2:8-11

 

GOOD:  Rich towards God in works, dealing with tribulations, worldly poverty.

BAD:     None mentioned!

Comments: Do not fear, be faithful unto death.

 

THE CHURCH AT PERGAMOS  REV. 2:12-17

 

GOOD: Loyal to Christ in spite of great persecution.

BAD:    Allowed fornicating idolatry in some members. Allowed some to hold the Nicolaitans doctrines.

Comments: Repent or Jesus would come and fight them.

 

THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA  REV. 2:18-29

 

GOOD: Commended for many works, love, service, faith, and patience.

BAD:    Allowed false female prophet to teach and seduce Christians into fornication and idolatry.

Comments: Jesus already decided to make her and her disciples an example to the churches by their destruction.  Seduced Christians should immediately repent. Christians not part of this evil to maintain their present course until             the end.

 

THE CHURCH AT SARDIS  REV. 3:1-6

 

GOOD: None mentioned

BAD:    Have a false reputation that they are good, but have no finished works. Spiritually Dead towards God!!

Comments: Be careful to strengthen what is left, holdfast to the Gospel, repent. The few faithful are assured of salvation.

 

THE CHURCH AT PHILADELPHIA  REV. 3:7-13

 

GOOD:  Small church with many works, kept the word of Jesus, have not denied Jesus during hard times.

BAD:    None mentioned!

 

Review Timeline Chart 4: “The New Testament Period” 2B.C. - 100 A.D.

 

Next Lesson “The Early Church” 100 A.D. - 600 A.D.

 

 

 

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