Doctrine #54: Church

Who do we learn "chords" from? Believers!

Where do we practice these "chords" with others? Church!

When someone is learning how to make music, we don't throw them up on stage and have them perform. We give them music lessons and give them plenty of time to practice. If you had to perform as soon as you knew your first chord, the music you would make would be pretty limiting and you could be really stressed out by the on lookers. You may even give up playing music all together.

Think about that in terms of Church. We are all in a process of learning spiritual "music" or Fellowship. If a church didn't know how to repair the damage that accumulated along the journey, it's members' main goal would be to NOT mess up; they would try to be without flaw. Focus on the outside appearance and stay away from conflict.

How did God intend Church to be?

Church is the ultimate community made up solely of humans that ought to work together to bring about God's Will on earth as it is in heaven. The profitability of church is measured by sharing, abuse, and repair: grace/fellowship/love, sin, and life.

Question: Do you believe your church is focused on accomplishing God's Will?

Next Doctrine: Doctrine #55

Table of Contents

If you need it, here is the support from the Word of God...

"42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need.
46 And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved." (Acts 2:42-47)

(This is the New Testament Church. We have gone over each of the four causes of the Church: Apostles' teaching (definitions, words, understanding, wisdom), Breaking of bread (fulfilling a physical need), Fellowship and Prayer. The effect (the WHAT) was "fear" (respect for God, humility), signs and wonders, SHARING their goods, and God continued to add to their numbers daily. Why would God add people to this church? This body was growing mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually with the four causes. It was a profitable body and God's Will is that all would be saved! The Acts Church knew how to repent/repair one to another. There was life in that body...)

"28 And one of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, What commandment is the first of all?
29 Jesus answered, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.
31 The second is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he:
33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question." (Mark 12:28-34)

(As a church and as individuals we are to love God with all four parts of who we are, which are the same four causes of the Church: heart (emotions), soul (spiritual), mind (mental), strength (physical). It is impossible to be in fellowship with others if you are not in fellowship with God FIRST. Fellowship with God is the cause (First Command), and the effect is the Second Command (loving thy neighbor as yourself). How we treat others is the way we want God to treat us, and it is our actions that prove our beliefs. Notice when the scribe answered Jesus "discreetly", Jesus said that he was not far from the kingdom of God. "Discreetly" in this passage meant with wisdom! Jesus saw that the man responded with understanding and wisdom, and had God's causes: God's HOW/WHY. Those people who have God's causes are thinking as God Thinks, and will respond with wisdom from those who are speaking while grace is flowing through them.)

"7 And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye. Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:7-15)

(The church's main focus is to bring about God's Will on earth. We will learn more about this in the following Doctrines. This was NOT a prayer for the individual. It was a group prayer meant to be prayed by a group of believers: the church! In fact, this was the perfect group prayer; it contained all four parts of prayer. The way for us to build value as a church is to exchange value with God as a body. WE ought to have fellowship with God as a body. Notice, that Jesus said "OUR Father" "Give US this day," "forgive US," "bring US," By forgiving those people around us, we are stating our will to God that we believe that He is Right and Just and will equal things out. When people repent, we ought to continue to forgive them because it allows for us to still exchange value with each other.)

"8 There is one that is alone, and he hath not a second; yea, he hath neither son nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labor, neither are his eyes satisfied with riches. For whom then, saith he, do I labor, and deprive my soul of good? This also is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:8-12)

(As a church we ought to be a workman, or laborer, with the words and definitions that we use in our body. A community is "three or more people who work together to create something more than what they would be able to create separately". Church is community. The principles behind three working together are fellowship, profitability, and uniqueness. There are going to be times when people sin, or fall, or abuse others, or get abused, and we as a body are there to love that person by confronting them, pointing them towards God, and facilitating repair. When two people have fellowship with God and fellowship with each other it is called "Three Way Fellowship." God's grace can flow through that group in many unique ways.)

"11 And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ:
13 till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullgrown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error;
15 ;but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;
16 from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:11-16)

(God gives unique roles to different people in the Body for the perfecting of believers and the building up of the Body. These offices are in place so that we may become more profitable and the measure is of the stature of the fulness of Christ! Speaking the truth in love is sharing! Sharing is exchanging information (WHAT) for the benefit of someone else (WHY) in truth and love (HOW). As a church, have we been carried away by every wind of Doctrine? Do you think church members are quicker to read the top "Christian" bestselling book than they are the Word of God?)

"14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
15 And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established.
17 And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican." (Matthew 18:14-17)

(This was the process that Jesus gave the church for dealing with sin. We are to show our brother his fault alone, and if he hears (understands) us we have gained our brother. This is profitable. It did NOT say that your brother had to "agree" with you, he just had to understand what it was that you were saying. What if he doesn't hear you? Then, you bring one or two more people with you so that they can be a witness to EVERY word. Do you still think that words are not important? Then we bring him to the church in order to facilitate a bottom for him; we forgive him and allow God to take justice out on him because he is an unbeliever. Do you think we follow this process in the modern day church? If a church doesn't follow this process they are acting as if they know how to confront better than the Son of God. Yikes!)

"1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?
2 Or know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world is judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, do ye set them to judge who are of no account in the church?
5 I say this to move you to shame. What, cannot there be found among you one wise man who shall be able to decide between his brethren,
6 but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
7 Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded?
8 Nay, but ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren." (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)

(The believers were looking to even things out by going outside the church by using the world's metrics to even things out. The confrontation process that Jesus gave us allowed us to handle disputes among believers and still remain profitable; this was a principle. If we do not confront other believers we wrong and defraud other believers. If we treat believers as unbelievers, or even worse, if we felt they were a threat to us, we would be quicker to use the world's measures of judgment instead of using God's. In that case, the entire body loses. Are the members in your church quicker to take out a lawsuit than confront the believer that sinned against them?)

"1 It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even among the Gentiles, that one of you hath his father's wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that had done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing,
4 in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5 to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7 Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ:
8 wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators;
10 not at all meaning with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world:
11 but as it is, I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat.
12 For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves." (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)

(This fornicator was a part of the church and Paul told them to kick him out of the church? Why? That didn't sound profitable to remove a member. In fact, in the short term it seemed as though they were killing the profitability of the body. Paul said this person who was not a believer, and pretended to be a believer, would make other believers unprofitable. Having fellowship with them would be the same as endorsing their hypocrisy. If there are people who are evil toward the body, we are to remove the evil person from the church so we can have fellowship with the evil person if they humble themselves. Clearly, these people are not believers because their actions prove what they believe. This is not hypocritical because we are recognizing they are not a believer. When they are outside the body, God will again facilitate a breaking ("...delivering them unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh...") for them and in the long term the goal is that the person will grow in fellowship with God ("spirit may be saved") so that he can again come back into the church. Remember that we put away unbelievers so that believers will not try to be in fellowship with that individual; we learned the same principle in regards to marriage.)

"3 Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother sin, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he sin against thee seven times in the day, and seven times turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4)

Let's make some music with this last passage...

Why would you forgive your brother if he repents? Because you would want God to forgive you if you repented. If you didn't forgive your brother, yet you wanted God to forgive you, you would be a hypocrite. Also, it would not be right to forgive your brother if he only confessed. Confession is a SAY... it is a WHAT. Repentance is a DO... it is a HOW/WHY. A Right WHAT with a Wrong or no HOW/WHY is deception. Confessing without repenting is deception. Confession and repentance is truth. If your brother sins against you seven times in a day and repents seven times in a day, you ought to be humble and allow God to be Right and Just. If you continue to take justice out on your brother even after he repents, you will be the one on the wrong side of justice by the end of the exchange. When we forgive those who have wronged us after they repent, it is a statement of our will that God "is" and He will reward us when we diligently seek after Him: we have faith!

What would it look like for a Body of individuals to REPAIR forever?