The Local Church’s relationships

Arthur G. Clarke

Part 2 of 14 of the series The Church and the Churches

It seems desirable to add to the previous lesson some further explanation on the subject of the local church's relationships:—

1. To the Lord. Basic thought—Subjection. Analogies (Lesson 1) bring out various aspects of this—Rev. Chs. 1-3 also, where the risen Christ is seen “in the midst” of the assemblies as sole Supervisor—each assembly responsible directly to Him and He deals directly with each assembly. Only links of assemblies are in the one Lord (Eph. 4.5) as controlling Head, and one Spirit (Eph. 4. 4) as the indwelling power for testimony (oil).

2. To other Assemblies. Basic thought - Intercommunion. Should be close and happy fellowship between all—N.T. shows constant coming and going of servants of God for ministry and believers visiting for various purposes. Hut no federation of churches, no limited circle of assemblies (with or without special names), no man-made organization, and no central authority, whether " mother " church or ecclesiastical council, representative committee or any other form of administrative body.

3. To the World. Basic thought—Separation. The Church (Ecclesia) “called-out-ones."

(a) By individual election, Jn. 17. 14-16; 15. 19; Gal. 1. 4; Col. 3. 12.

(b) By collective constitution as the church of God, a people for His Name (Acts 15. 14; Tit. 2. 14).

“Holy," i.e. separated unto God from all world systems, for” the whole ' Kosmos ' lies in the wicked one " (I Jn. 5. 19)—social world—political world—religious world, pagan or so-called “Christ­ian." See clear command, 2 Cor. 6. 14, 16, 18.

Assembly Gatherings. Significant that whilst, under the Law, Israel's daily life and religious exercises were regulated by plain commandments down to the last detail-—a service which " gendered " to bondage (Gal. 4. 24)—the church has the privilege of a service of sonship in joyful liberty (Gal. 5. 1; 2 Cor. 3. 17 and context). No festival seasons or fast days are enjoined, and no command whatever to Christians as to times and places of meetings, Col. 2. 16. 17; Gal. 4. 8-11; Rom. 14. 5-7.

Nevertheless we are not left without guidance in the example of early believers, recorded surely for our instruction. We find they met

1. For the Breaking of Bread, Acts 2. 42; 20. 1-7; I Cor. 11. 23-32. Primary object of the assembly gathering. See Lessons 4 and 5.

2. For Collective Worship. Whilst no concrete example in N.T. except as connected with other exercises especially (I), it is clearly implied (in the collective sense as well as individual) in the fulfilment of our functions as a holy priesthood. See Lesson 6. Cf. Jn. 1. 23, 24; 1 Pet. 2. 5 ; Heb. 13. 15 ; 10. 19-25 ; Acts 2. 47 (first sentence).

3. For United Prayer. Acts 2. 42 ; e.g. 4. 24ff; 12. 5, 12.

4. For Scripture Reading and Ministry. Acts 2. 42 ; 1 Tim. 4. 13 ; 1 Cor. 14 ; Col. 4. 16 ; Acts 15. 30, 31 ; 20. 7. For Ministry see Lesson 9 and cf. O.T. example Neh, 8.

5. For Reports. Acts 4. 23 (local) ; 14. 26-28 (missionary) ; 15. 3, 4.

6. For Discipline. 1 Cor. 5. 4. See Lesson 10. A sad necessity.

7. For Social Intercourse. Fellowship of their "own company," Acts 2. 46; 4. 23, 32; Jude 12; 2 Pet. 2. 13. The "Agape."

 

There are 9 articles in
ISSUE (1954, Volume 6 Issue 3)

A Body

Fruit Bearing

God’s Principles of Unity

The Local Church’s relationships

Old Testament Prophets: Suffering & Glory

Perfect Humanity

Reports of Gospel Work and other Assembly Activity

Titus 3. 1-15

A Word to Preachers

There are 13 articles in this series

The Church - What it means

The Local Church’s relationships

The Ordinances - (A) Baptism

The Ordinances - (B) The Lord’s Supper

The Ordinances - (B) The Lord’s Supper (2)

Worship and the Christian Priesthood

Fellowship

Government - Overseership

Ministry - Deaconship

Discipline

Church Finance

The Church’s Development and Destiny

Women’s Sphere and Service

There are 42 articles by this author

New Testament Church Principles

Analytical Studies in the Psalms

New Testament Church Principles

The Church - What it means

The Local Church’s relationships

The Ordinances - (A) Baptism

The Ordinances - (B) The Lord’s Supper

The Ordinances - (B) The Lord’s Supper (2)

Worship and the Christian Priesthood

Fellowship

Government - Overseership

Ministry - Deaconship

Discipline

Church Finance

The Church’s Development and Destiny

Women’s Sphere and Service

Introduction to the Offerings

The Burnt Offering

The Continual Burnt Offering

The Meal Offering

The Peace Offering

The Sin Offering

The Trespass Offering

Brief Comparisons of the Offerings

Methods of Bible Study

Methods of Bible Study

Methods of Bible Study

Examples of Bible Study Methods

Romans

Second Corinthians

First Corinthians

Galatians

Ephesians

Philippians

Colossians

First Thessalonians

Second Thessalonians

Second Timothy

Titus

Philemon

Hebrews

James