Greetings to all my family and friends out there! 🙂 I intended to write this blog post a few days ago, but things keep on getting in the way. No excuses. OK. Here it is.
One of the courses we took this past semester at Sunset International Bible Institute was on The Church of Christ. This was one of my favorite classes. In it we learned the uniqueness of the church of Christ, its fundamentals, and just how the church is supposed to work.
We learned there is a pattern that Paul picked up from Jesus. Paul kept them and passed down to the churches he planted. Those churches, in turn, were to keep that pattern, and keep on passing it down. For example, in 1st Corinthians 11:1 Paul told the brethren there that they were keeping the pattern he gave them of regularly meeting together on the first day of the week and of taking the Lord’s Supper. In 1st Corinthians 4:17, Paul told them he would send Timothy to them, and he would remind them of all that Paul taught them. All of those were the exact same things he taught in every church. So we see there is a pattern of teaching that must be held on to.
We learned about elders, deacons, and evangelists. Elders have the special work of overseeing the church, shepherding the church. There are three Greek words that talk about and describe elders and their work. In Acts 20:28 we see all three words. Elders are to “keep watch” over themselves and the church to which God set them to be watch over. The Holy Spirit set them to be “overseers”, to watch over the church. And elders are to “be shepherds” and protect the church. Remember the shepherd imagery in Psalm 23? God protects His sheep with his staff and rod. In John 10 Jesus showed Himself to be the Shepherd for His sheep.
Those Greeks we talked about in Acts 20:28 are the same ones we see in 1st Peter 5:1-2. Peter writes to his fellow elders urging them to shepherd God’s flock, to protect their sheep. They are to serve as overseers, watching over the sheep God set them over, to watch after them and protect them.
In this course we learned the importance of baptism. Our word “baptize” is really a transliteration, rather than a translation of the Greek word baptizo. Our teacher suggested (and I whole-heartily agree with him on this) the word should have been translated “immerse”. The word carries the meaning of submerge and overwhelm. The New Testament talks a lot about baptism. From when Jesus was baptized in the early parts of Matthew (3:13-17), Mark (1:9-11), and Luke (3:21-22); Peter teaching the Jewish crowd in Acts (2:14-41); and throughout the book of Acts (10:23-48, 16:29-34, among others). There is also a lot of baptismal imagery through out the New Testament. For example, in Romans 6:1-14. This whole section pictures baptism as a burial underneath water. In 1st Corinthians 1:13 Paul tells the Corinthian brethren not to divide over personalities, because they were not baptized into Paul’s name, nor Peter’s, nor Apollos’. They were joined together in Christ, therefore they belong to Jesus, not to any human. And in Ephesians 5:25-26, Paul is talking husbands loving their wives as Jesus His church; because Jesus washes and cleanses His church, His bride with the waters of baptism.
There was so much more that we learned from this class. The Church Christ was definitely one of my favorite courses. I learned so much in it!
Thank you all so much for reading today. God bless you all! Grace and Peace.