6.1 The People of God

The People of God

All of God’s elect who have ever lived, are now living, or ever will live, make up the one true universal church. Revelation 5:9-10

The People of God in the New Covenant Era

While there has always been a people of God, the church in the New Covenant era has a unique historical beginning at Pentecost. The church is made up of both Jew and Gentiles and is not regulated by the Mosaic Law, but by the Law of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-22, Colossians 1:15-20

6.2 The Local Church

The church in the New Covenant era is given visible expression in local churches. All professed believers are commanded to gather together in the local church to build up one another in the faith. 1 Corinthians 12, Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42-47, Revelation 1:4-3:22

Church Leadership

God has given two positions of leadership in the local church: elders and deacons. Elders are responsible to shepherd and teach the local church.
Under Christ and his infallible and innerant word, the elder led congregation is the final authority in the church. Nevertheless, elders does practice authority. These elders are to be qualified according to the qualifications of 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1. They are never allowed to lord it over the people. A church without at least one elder is incomplete. All elders have equal authority and are the pastors of the church. Women are not allowed to be elders. Titus 1:5-16, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Ephesians 4:9-16, Philippians 1:1-2, Acts 14:21-25, Hebrews 13:17, Matthew 20:20-28
Deacons assist the elders. They are called upon to serve at the decision of the elders and their duties are determined by the elders. Deacons are to meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy chapter three. 1 Timothy 3:8-13, Acts 6:1-6, 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Men and Women are Equal

Scripture clearly states that men and women are equal before the Lord. The priesthood of all believers, both men and women, clearly demonstrates this truth. Galatians 3:26-29,1 Peter 2:4-12

Men and Woman have Different Roles

In the beginning God created mankind male and female. He made Adam first, and then made Eve from Adam’s rib. This order of creation subordinates wives to their husbands in marriage, and women to men in the church. As an act of submission to their Creator, women are commanded to submit to their husbands and to male leadership in the church. This consequently means that God does not call women to the position of Pastor or Elder. Genesis 2:4-25, 1 Timothy 2, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Church Discipline

The purpose of church discipline is to restore a fallen believer to holiness and to return him to a godly and pure relationship with God and with the church. Exercising church discipline further strengthens the church and glorifies God. The general principle to be used is described in Matthew 18:15-17. The first step is to appeal to the offender alone. If there is no repentance, then you appeal to him with one or two others. Finally, if he remains unrepentant, then you bring him before the church and appeal to him one more time. If he does not repent he is put out of the church and is viewed as an unbeliever. Those in the church are responsible to call him to repentance. They are not allowed to have normal relations with him as long as he remains in an unrepentant condition. Any verifiable, unrepentant sin is grounds for church discipline. When someone is removed from the church, or excommunicated, he is denying that he wants Jesus Christ to be his Lord. Denial of the Lordship of Christ is a denial that one has saving faith. That is why all those who are put out of the church are viewed as unbelievers. Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Galatians 6:1-5, 1 Timothy 5:17-20, 1 John 2:3-6

6.3 The Ordinances

The New Covenant people of God have been given two ceremonies to perform. They are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both of these ordinances were instituted by Jesus Christ and are to be observed by the church until the Lord returns. The ordinances are outward pictures of spiritual truths. There is no saving power in the ordinances. Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 6:1-4, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Luke 22:7-38, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

The Meaning of Baptism

The ordinance of baptism is the formal profession of faith for the believer. It is an outward sign of an inward reality. When someone is baptized he is saying that he is now trusting in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation, and desires Him to be the Lord of his life. Baptism is a necessary part of the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and is to be practiced by His church until the end of the world. Romans 6:1-4, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:37-41

The Mode of Baptism

The key element in the ordinance of baptism is water. Baptism symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Scripture does not require one particular method or mode of baptism. However, we hold to immersion as the mode of baptism. 1 Peter 3:18-22, Romans 6:1-4, Acts 8:36-40

The Practice of Baptism

Scripture recognizes every believer as a priest. Therefore, any believer is authorized to perform the ordinance of baptism, provided that it is in order and in godly and honorable submission to the local church leaders. Since baptism is the believer’s formal profession of faith, and since many of the baptisms recorded in Scripture are private, it is not necessary for baptism to be performed in a public service. It is proper for a believer to baptize someone once they have professed faith in Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:9-10, Acts 8:26-40, Acts 16:16-40

Institution of the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ on the night he was betrayed. This ordinance of the New Covenant age is to be observed in the church until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Matthew 26:17-30, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper

The elements, the bread and the fruit of the vine, are a reminder of the sacrifice on the cross of Jesus Christ for his people. The bread symbolizes his body, which was cursed on our behalf, and the wine symbolizes his blood which was poured out for the forgiveness of our sins and the purchase of our salvation. The elements of the Lord’s Supper do not become the actual body and blood of the Lord (Transubstantiation). Jesus is not physically present even though the elements remain bread and wine (Consubstantiation or Real Presence). Jesus is not spiritually present in a way that he is not present at any other time. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial. It is a time to remember the most important part of our faith, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, as a payment for the sins of the elect. Luke 22:7-23, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

The Warning

Any professed, baptized believer who takes part in the Lord’s Supper in an irreverent, self-centered manner, or is willfully hanging on to unrepentant sin, is eating and drinking judgment on himself. Our Lord promises to discipline all those who do not take to heart the seriousness of commemorating the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32