7. Pattern of Replication of the Local Church
Pattern of Replication of the Local Church
- Importance of the Local Church:
Recap: Healthy local church- skeletal structure- Holy view of God/ Biblical leadership/ Sufficiency of Scriptures/ Biblical message- Fighting in a Biblical way.
- The Local church is precious in His sight. The pictures in the Scriptures tell us this: His people/ His bride/ His sheep/ His Temple/ His Household/ His body.
1) 1 Tim. 3:15: Pillar and support of the Truth: God has revealed Himself. God’s redemptive plan has been revealed. Sin/ Christ/ Atonement/ Man’s call/ all revealed. The church upholds and testifies to this truth.
- Salt and Light to this world. Testifying of one glorious way that has been opened.
2) Eph. 3:10: 3:20-21: Displays the Glory of God: God’s manifold wisdom made known to the church, and displayed by the church to the world as a witness. GOD HAS RESCUED A PEOPLE, from every nation and tongue.
- His wisdom is made known through the church. His divine plan, the covenant fulfillment through Christ, displayed in the church. The weight and work of God shown forth for both the heavens and earth to see.
- Amazing: Depends of your view of God- High view of God – We are God’s witnesses on this earth- Displaying His glory through a transformed life, through a transformed community. This is no small thing.
3) Rom. 8:19-23: Testifies to the Age to Come: It is a picture and a foretaste of the age to come. Rom 8 pictures the creation longing for the children of God to come in full. Creation itself will then be set free from its slavery. (Talking about the presence of sin removed at glorification/ Christ’s return) It will be put on full display for the entire world to see.
- The giving of the Spirit is the first fruits of the new creation. This life, this community where Christ is Head, this brotherly unity of every tribe and nation, this love for God and one another- is a preview of the age to come/ eternity.
- It also testifies to the judgment to come. For those who are not part of the church, those without life in Christ, will be excluded. Those who are outside will experience judgment. It is a preview of the age to come.
- Importance of church membership. Making sure that only those who are striving to know God/ have experienced and displays proper testimony of being born again should be a member.
- Importance of church disciple. Those who dwell in unrepentant sin, cannot be affirmed by the body as being a member of the church.
4) Advances the Kingdom: The local church is the means that has been ordained by God to advance His kingdom. Within the body (heart of men) and throughout the world (through missions):
- The body of Christ is built up and nourished through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the church. The body works together to disciple, to train, to edify, to rebuke, and exhort, to counsel his people. To conform the body to the image of Christ.
- It is through the church that the gospel is advanced, and churches planted. This is the design of God.
- HC is a missionary organization- but it is not a local church. We refuse to take the place of the local church- because that is not the way God designed it. We do not send missionaries, nor do we hold missionaries accountable.
- We come alongside the healthy local church, and aid them support and give resources to help them do what they are called to do. They support the church planter- the local church sends him out, and holds him accountable. We have no authority over any church. In fact, it is the local church that has authority over HC.
- It is our desire to be fully under the authority of the local church in a couple of years. Where the elders of the church are involved in the decision making process of HC.
- Because it is they who are called to Shepherd the sheep- They are called of God to this work, and been gifted by God to oversee it. To be involved in missions. HC is to be a ministry of the local church.
- Pattern of the Replication in the book of Acts- Tie together and see them in Paul.
- Apostle Paul: look/ trace his life briefly. We will notice several things about this man’s ministry, and how the Holy Spirit led him to be this apostle.
- Acts 9: Conversion. Well-documented life- Pharisee of Pharisee (Gamaliel)- Most educated man in Palestine (Sproul). Becomes as a little child- humbled at the Lord.
- THUS< we see his call. It was explicit and direct.
- After baptism (VERSE 20) “He is the Son of God”- His message was CHRIST!
- Mark of a true minister: His message is Christ. Never changed in his life- never moved past- Stood in and on- He could say, All his gain (loss), dead to the world- all things as “dung.” He did not preach to please men- but held the Gospel (the life, death, and resurrection) as what he received, held, stood on, and preached.
(V. 23)- “many days had elapsed” 3 years. Know through Gal. 1:15-19.
- He went to Arabia – no reason given- preach and to get away with the Lord? (re-orient his mind to truth- OT came to life- he had to learn). Mediate. Be alone.
Damascus: opposition. Plots to kill him; escapes in basket. Jerusalem: Disciples were afraid of him/ Barnabas befriends him. Meets w/ Peter 15 days.
- We see his heart: “disputing” with the Hellenistic Jews (just like Stephen). Acts 22: Vision in Temple- Christ tells him to leave. Tarsus.
- Lessons: Called of God/ preached the person of Christ/ character: not concerned w/ the praise of men/ He sought the Lord. Converted, called, and spiritually conditioned.
- Amazing: 7 to 8 years pass before seeing him again.
- Acts 11:19-26: Context: Peter encounter w/ Cornelius. Revelation of Gentiles; Peter questioned by church in Jerusalem. Recounts what happened. Act of God (like Pentecost).
- Antioch (3rd largest city) Gentile church being formed. Not by famous names: by men of Cyprus and Cyrene/ preaching Christ (ACTS is about the WORD OF CHRIST going forth).
- Jerusalem hears- sends Barnabas (a man Full of the Holy Spirit), sees the work and rejoices.
- Amazing: Barnabas was an outsider. A Jew in a Gentile church. Yet received with open arms (It is all about Him, not us). You can tell what kind of spirit they had.
- Barnabas (full of the HS)- was preaching and many were being brought to the Lord (V. 24)
- Yet, we see something amazing: He goes and searches for Saul.
- Amazing: What is the role of the HS in the Trinity? To make much of Christ, and not himself
- WHAT is a fruit of being full of the Spirit? Making much of Christ, and not yourself. A true believer fades and Christ increases.
- Barnabas was in revival: ministry growing- yet he leaves to get someone else to help. Selfless: The mission was more important than self. The glory of the Lord was greater. Great TEMPTATION: Promote self, to consider this your work.
- Searched diligently (V. 25): word used in the hunting down of a criminal/ someone who is hidden. Paul was not easy to find.
- Barnabas/ the Founders of Antioch/ Paul was not about themselves. About the Kingdom of Christ. No competition/ no rivalry.
- (V. 26) Whole Year he met with this local church. Paul now in a local church.
- Lessons: Character of these men - a healthy church has a high view of God, and correct preaching of the Gospel/ a Biblical leadership of men who are called/ without reproach.
- No selfishness/ No divisions (like Corinth).
- We see the Spirit of God, calling Paul- sending him to the desert to be with the Lord/ no allowing him to go into the ministry now/ no allowing him just to run off and start a ministry; or raise support/ he disappeared from the scene for 7 to 8 years/ to be found by God and brought into a local church. Training ground/ raised to leadership.
- Acts 13:1-3: Men from different backgrounds: Barnabas (Cyprus) and Jerusalem, Simeon (Black) possibly African, Lucius (N. Africa), Manaen (grew up w/ Herod Antipas) – language may indicate possible step-brother.
- Understood the spiritual reality to ministry; “ministering to the Lord and fasting.” Understood that the weapons of warfare are spiritual in nature.
- BUT why not to the people? Priorities right/ ultimate goal of every believer is to the Lord. We eat and drink to the glory of the Lord.
- If we minister to the people: 1) tempted to not trust in the Sufficiency of the Scripture; to listen to their desires, preach to please them- instead of the Word.
2) It will also kill the minister- as he judges his ministry on numbers, and baptisms, instead of faithfulness.
- “ministry to the Lord” has the focus of pleasing Him first (individual/ corporate).
- It is a Spiritual ministry= thus, spiritual practices are employed. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual in nature. We SEE This HERE: The Word of God is preached/ Sacrificial love is evidenced by the leadership/ we see them giving themselves to prayer and fasting.
- Seeking the Lord’s direction/ not their own. They would give the Lord no rest- and they were desperate for the Lord- even in revival. Great men do not pray- weak men do. They understood their need, and bathed everything in prayer.
- They took advantage of the great weapon of warfare.
- Even when Paul and Barnabas are called out- they continue to pray and fast (V. 3). Lifestyle. Thought Highly of the Lord, trusted Him/ They didn’t trust talents and gifts-
- 5 men mentioned here: Why? All were involved. In fact, “they” could be seen as the entire church. They report to the entire church upon their return.
- - MUST understand: Barnabas and Paul were not the only ones being called out; entire church. God calling the church to a work- not just individuals. Spirit lead them, to separate two. God didn’t put it into the heart of 2 men, have them plead their case, try raise support.
- Confirmation from leadership & church. Same Spirit that called Paul (changed him), same Spirit that confirms this call through others. Spirit is not divided.
- They called to leave: responsibility of church to aid them. They were called like the two.
- The church confirmed the call. Many feel a call to declare truth (they should), many desire the office, the qualifications should be met by every Christian (except able to teach). Many have communication skills- does not mean they are called into eldership.
- The people must recognize and confirm the call. If they do, then they are obligated to support the man called.
Lessons: Church’s primary ministry is towards God. Spiritual ministry reflected. Advancement is through graces given by the Lord. His work.
- Call of Lord taken seriously. Fasting/ prayer. Confirmed through the church.
- Pattern of Spirit of God: Barnabas and Paul (men from different backgrounds) together. Brought through the local church. The local church confirms the call, releases them.
- Acts 14:21-28: end of journey, after being stoned; travel back through the churches, appointing elders who God raised up. Much fear and trembling; fasting and prayer. Serious.
- Elders, “set in front” of congregation, or commended, just as before in Antioch.
- Paul & Barnabas return; they were different men- physically bearing scars- Spiritually more mature in the grace through the experience.
- Church is gathered; Their report goes beyond the leadership, but to everyone. All were involved. Each missionary journey we see the same pattern.
- Thus we see an accountability. They were accountable, and needed to give a report to the congregation. The congregation was obligated to support these missionary men.
- Thus we see the elements:
- The Body of Christ being formed through the preaching of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel.
- We see the High view of God, as they cry out to Him in prayer.
- We see the call of God on a preacher; we see the HS preparing him for the ministry- we see the HS calling him to a local church- and then calling the church to send him out.
- We see these men trusting in the sufficiency of the Lord- as their ministry is to the Lord, and not men.
- We see them using the spiritual weapons given to them- the preaching of the Word, Prayer, Sacrificial love- and if you read Paul’s missionary journey’s you will see enduring suffering.
- India needs Biblical churches/ Biblical message/ Biblical elders/ training Biblical men/ sending out and supporting these men.
- God is looking for faithfulness to his Word.
- You must put these truths in your heart- Not just your head, or your notebook.
- You must dig deep- establish the bones. Without which all else will fail. Make sure the internal organs of love are functioning properly- building muscles as you advance the kingdom through the methods that He has ordained.
- The local church is the hope of this world. It is the means designed by God to display His glory. Run the race well.