C. MATURITY - CITY CHURCH & ELDERSHIP - May 26, 2011
1. MATTHEW 16:18 (16:13-20) THE CHURCH: BELONGS TO JESUS. “And I also say unto you, that you are Peter, and upon this :rock I will build my :church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (NNT). Here we see the first of 114 references to the word “church”. Again, the rules of pedagogy cause us to consider carefully the insights from this first reference. The church was purchased by Christ by His blood. Therefore we belongto Him! And the “counsels” of hell will notprevail against Christ's Church! Hallowed be your :name.
2. MATTHEW 18:15-17 THE CHURCH: SOLVES INTERPERSONAL PROBLEMS. “And if your :brother sin, go, reprove him between you and him alone: if he hear you, you have gained your :brother. 16But if he hear not, take with you one or two more, that at themouth of two witnesses or three every word stand. 17And if he refuse to hear them, tell the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be to you as the Gentile and the publican.” This is the secondreference to church. Here is a 4-fold manner in which to solve interpersonal problems - and according to Jesus - this is the onlyway for NT observant believers to solve such problems! Your :kingdom come.
3. ACTS 13:1-3 THE CITY CHURCH: HAS AN ELDERSHIP IN ITS GATE. “Now in the church that was at Antioch were prophets and teachers, both :Barnabas and Symeon :called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen foster-brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2And as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy :Spirit said, Separate me then :Barnabas and Saul for the work unto which I have called them. 3Then, having fasted and prayed and laid theirhands on them, they sent themaway.” Each City Church in NT times had its Eldership in the Gate of its city, just as did Bethlehem in the OT. The 5-fold Eldership of prophets and teachers waited on God - had the Word of the Spirit - fasted - and obeyedthe Word of the Spirit. Your :will be done, As in heaven, so on earth.
4. ACTS 15:22 (15:1-35) THE CHURCH & ELDERSHIP: JOINT DECISION. “Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men out from them, andsend themto Antioch with :Paul and Barnabas; Judas :called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.” Probably no greater controversy arose in the early church but that caused by the “Judaizers”. The Book of Galatians was written by the Spirit through Paul to address this problem. How satisfactory was the 4-fold solution here! Our :daily :bread give us this day.
5. RUTH 4:1 (4:1-21) THE OT CITY ELDERSHIP. “Now Boaz went up to the gate, and sat down there; and, behold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz spoke came by; unto whom he said, Ho, you! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down” (ASV '01). The cities of Israel from ancient times had an Eldership in the Gate of their cities, with many synagogues within. How important was their decision here. Boaz took precedence over the nearer kinsman. David and David's Greater Son Jesus - came from this decision! And forgive us our :debts, as we also have forgiven our :debtors.
6. REVELATION 2:7 (2:1-7) SEVEN CHURCHES: SPOKEN TO BY THE SPIRIT. “Who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him that overcomes, to him will I give to eat of the tree of :life, which is in the Paradise of :God. All city churches should be listening to the voice of the Spirit. Pastor Bob Birch of Canada thoroughly understood this. Overcomersin each city church emerge as individuals who hear (which implies obedience) the Word of the Spirit. And bring us not into temptation.
7. 1 CORINTIANS 16:19 (16:19-24) THE CHURCH: CAN ALSO LOCALLY BE IN A HOME. “The churchesof :Asia salute you. Aquila and Prisca salute you much in theLord, with the churchin their house.” There are 14 local churches mentioned in the NT. Aquila and Priscilla led 3 of these in 3 city churches. The elder of each local church formed the plural city church Eldership as seen in Acts 15. But deliver us from the evil one!
NOTE: The City Church with its Eldership in the Gate - is the Pedestalholding up God's Word: His Bible Numeric Outlined Interlinear Greek NT. In the 1967 Vision I saw the City Churches with their Eldership as being God's Pedestal to supportHis Word: specificallythis Interlinear product! We are not to be under any false illusions on this. It is God's purpose that this unique Interlinear Greek NT for Laymen - hold pre-eminence over all other NT texts and translations. The Numeric Phenomenon marks it as being unique. It is notin the Aramaic text. It is not in the Hebrew translation of the NT. God for His own purposes and according to His owncounsel, has determined to set it in this particular product. God's Numerics - not the Anglicans Westcott and Hort - established this text.
There is much confusion in this area, with many divergent theories and opinions. God is the final adjudicator! And we have His verdict through HisNumeric phenomenon.
Back to the Church - God's Pedestal for His Word! It comes from the Greek word ek-kleSIa, which appears 114 times in the NT. Once in Acts 7 it refers to Israelin the Wilderness; 3 times it refers to the secular city of Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41); 14 times it refers to a church in the home such as in 1 Corinthians 16:19; 15 times for the Universal Church: Jew and Gentile in the One New Man for all time; but - 81 timesconcerning the City Church! Revelation 2 and 3 contain 14 of these 81 references to the City Church.
It is important that we have God's perspective on these teachings. It matters little to us who is right or wrong - it only matters that our God'sperspective is allowed to be predominant. Let God say what Hewants to say - and let the Bible mean what itwants to mean. All of this will come out in the wash upon the return of Christ Jesus - our Lord of lords and King of kings.
Roland Allen from England, missionary to China and Africa, author of “Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours?” and “The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church” - had these two books placed in my hands in 1949 by Harry Conn of Chicago, when I was attending Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. These two books and the exhortation of Mr. Conn started me in the direction that has led me to the above. Jim Watt
SPECIAL: “I Have Never Forgotten You” - Oscar winner Nicole Kedman narrates this fascinating Tribeca Film Festival selection for documentarian Richard Trank, who relays the remarkable story of architect turned Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. After losing nearly 90 family members in the Holocaust and surviving a German deathcamp, Wiesenthal volunteered to help the American War Crimes Unit track down war criminals on the lam, and went on to find more that 1,000 of them. - 1 hr. 45 min. 2006
My wife Marie and I received the above from Netflix, and found it one of the most outstanding documentaries on the Holocaust of all we have ever viewed. In it Frederick Forsyth tells how he worked with Wiesenthal in producing “The Odessa File”. Also, Anthony Hopkins recounts the outstanding part Wiesenthal played in the production of Steven Spielberg's “Schindler's List.” Added also is Wiesenthal's key part in the production of “The Boys from Brazil”. It is a pity that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran could not immerse himself in the truth of this - rather than the lies he walks in. J & M