The Kingdom or Church of Christ
- Prophecies Concerning It.
- Isaiah and Micah predicted that the law should go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-3; Micah 4:1-3);
- Jeremiah predicted that the Lord would establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, that it should not be like unto the covenant that He made with their fathers when he brought them out of Egypt, that He would put His laws in their minds and write them in their hearts, that they would know the Lord and that their sins and iniquities should be remembered against them no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13);
- and Daniel predicted that the God of heaven would set up a kingdom that should never be destroyed and that it should consume and break in pieces all other kingdoms, and stand forever (Daniel 2:44).
- Foundation. Isaiah predicted that a foundation stone should be laid in Zion (Isaiah 28:16), and that stone is Christ (Matthew 16:13-20; Romans 9:32,33; 1 Corinthians 3:10,11; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 1:6-8).
- Head. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18 Ephesians 5:23).
- The Beginning. In contemplating this subject, we should note the general drift of the Bible teaching prior to the death of Christ:
- It was in the future when God made promises to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), to Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5; (Genesis 28:10-14); it was in the future when Jacob prophesied of the coming of Shiloh (Genesis 49:1,8-10; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:1-5); it was in the future when Moses predicted the coming of One whose authority should be supreme (Deuteronomy 18:15-18); it was in the future when Isaiah predicted the bringing in of the Gentiles (Isaiah 54:1-3; Isaiah 62:1-4); it was in the future when John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea (Matthew 3:1-13); it was in the future when Jesus announced to His disciples that some of them would live to see it come with power (Mark 9:1); it was in the future when Jesus visited Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13-17); it was in the future, near the close of the earthly life of Jesus, for the disciples were expecting it to immediately appear (Luke 19:11-27); it was in the future when Jesus was on the cross (Luke 23:42,43); it was in the future after the death of Jesus on the cross (Mark 15:43); it was in the future, just preceding the ascension (Acts 1:6,7).
- Previous to Pentecost the Church or Kingdom is spoken of as in the future, but after that day it is spoken of as having an actual existence (Acts 2:41; Acts 5:11; Acts 8:1; Hebrews 12:28). It was necessary to abolish the first institution in order to establish the second (Hebrews 10:9): but the first was not removed during the life of Jesus, for He commanded His disciples to follow the teaching of the law as expounded by the Scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-3), and the vail of the temple was not rent in twain until He expired (Matthew 27:51; Ephesians 2:13-16).
- The new institution was to be characterized by the absolute blotting out of sins (Jeremiah 31:31-34), and as the blood of animal sacrifices could never take away sin, it was indispensably necessary for Christ to die before the work could be done (Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:9; Hebrews 9:14-22; Hebrews 10:4; 1 Peter 1:18,19).
- The church was purchased by Jesus and was not His until He paid the price (Matthew 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20).
- The body could not exist without the spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19,20; James 2:26) and the Spirit was not given until the glorification of the Lord (John 7:38,39; Acts 1:5).
- The prophets, Jesus Christ and His apostles agree in placing the beginning at Jerusalem (Psalms 110:1-4; Isaiah 2:1-3; Isaiah 62:1,2; Joel 2:28-32; Micah 4:1,2; Luke 24:45-53; Acts 1:5-8; Acts 2:1-47; Acts 8:1; Galatians 4:21-31).
The work was inaugurated on the first Pentecost after the ascension of Christ. This day is distinguished from all others in the world's history:
- The disciples received their first message from Jesus after His departure (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 2:36);
- the Holy Spirit came into the world and began through the apostles the evangelization of the world (John 14:16-18; John 16:7-11; Acts 2:1-4);
- the prophecies were fulfilled on that day (Isaiah 2:1-3; Psalms 110:1-4; Joel 2:28-32; Micah 4:1,2; Acts 2:1-47);
- Peter and the other apostles began to bind and loose in the name of Jesus (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 18:18; Acts 2:37,38);
- the apostles proclaimed a law of remission in the name of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:37);
- the apostles did their first preaching under the last and great commission (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:14-36).
- The Law of Admission. In general terms, the law of admission into the Church is the gospel, but conditions are specifically laid down in it by the Lord and His inspired apostles. The gospel may be divided and studied,
- in promise (Genesis 12:1-3; Galatians 3:16);
- in prophecy (Genesis 49:10; Isaiah 7:14);
- in preparation (Isaiah 40:1-8; Matthew 3:1-12);
- and in fact (Mark 4:26-28; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3).
These condition to the alien are:
- its importance (Hebrews 11:6);
- it is taking God at His word (Romans 4:21);
- its unity (Ephesians 4:5-13);
- its basis is Jesus Christ (John 8:24; 1 Corinthians 3:10,11);
- it is produced by hearing the gospel (John 20:30,31; Romans 10:17);
- it purifies the heart (Acts 15:9);
- and its effect on the life (James 2:17-26).
- God is willing for men to repent (Ezekiel 18:25-32; 2 Peter 3:9);
- men can repent, for salvation depends on it (Luke 13:1-5);
- the motives that produce it are the goodness of God (Romans 2:4), and the fear of judgment (Acts 17:30,31; 2 Corinthians 7:10);
- it is a change of mind resulting in a change or reformation of life (Isaiah 55:7; Isaiah 7:5; Matthew 3:7; James 3:7-10).
- men are required to confess Christ (Matthew 10:32,33);
- it is done with the mouth unto salvation (Romans 10:9,10);
- and in the presence of witnesses (John 12:42; Acts 19:18; 1 Timothy 6:12-14).
- the subject--believers in Christ;
- the action--a burial;
- the design--for the remission of sins (Matthew 3:14-17; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; John 3:5; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-3; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26,27; Ephesians 4:5; Ephesians 5:26; Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 10:22; 1 Peter 3:21).
- The Life. Every member of the body of Christ is required to
Live righteously, soberly and godly in the present world
(Titus 2:11-14), adding to his faith courage, knowledge, temperance, patient, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity (2 Peter 1:5-7).
The Assembly. The ancient Christians assembled on the first day of the week to,
- break bread (Acts 20:7);
- and contribute to the Lord's cause as He had prospered them (1 Corinthians 16:1,2).
- Name of the Church. In New Testament times the Church was called the Church of Christ (Romans 16:16) or the Church of God (1 Corinthians 1:1,2;
- Names of the Members. The members of the Church of Christ were called, individually,
- saints (Romans 1:7);
- children of God (Romans 8:16);
- heirs of God (Romans 8:16);
- brethren (Romans 12:1);
- sons of God (1 John 3:2);
- and Christians (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16).
- Early History. The early history of the Church is the history
Of triumph. The apostles began their labors in Jerusalem and in a very
Short time a very great number of people had yielded to the
Demands of Christ in Jerusalem and the surrounding country (Acts 2:37-42 Acts 4:1-4; Acts 5:14; Acts 6:7). Soon Philip, the evangelist, introduced the gospels in the city of Samaria with great success (Acts 8:1-25), and Peter introduced it among the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius
(Acts 10:1-48; Acts 11:1-26).