Church - Part 2

New Series
Something I’m excited about
Not a book of the Bible but a topic deeply rooted in scripture
Foundational for understanding life as a follower of Jesus
Bold statement: Without a correct view of the church, a person will not have a correct view of what it means to follow Jesus.
At Abide Church, we believe that
(1) the Bible is our final authority in all matters,
(2) the nature of the church is a theological issue, and
(3) that both the Universal Church and the Local Church are divinely instituted.
Universal Church: All true Christians everywhere throughout all time.
Local Church: Local gatherings of Christians at a specific time and place.
We are going to use Retro-Christianity’s essential “marks” and “works” framework.
These essential “marks” and “works” are both
Biblical (supported by scripture)
Historical (largely recognized throughout church history)
The first mark of a church is Orthodoxy
“Orthodoxy refers to the core essential truths of Christianity—those classic fundamentals that have been believed everywhere, always, and by all.”
The New Testament gives many clear warnings to guard the teachings (doctrines) of Jesus.
To be a true church, you must believe and teach true doctrine. A true church must get the essential beliefs right.
Note: The teaching that we are to guard doctrine PRESUPPOSES that we have doctrinal alignment to be a church, otherwise, what are we guarding....
(I like to eat unicorn steak.)
A sample of what the Bible teaches about false doctrines:

(1) False doctrines will disguise themselves as true doctrines

2 Corinthians 11:12–15 ESV
And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
“There it is, that’s a false doctrine”

(2) People will be motivated to believe false doctrines

2 Timothy 4:2–4 ESV
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Spurgeon Clown Meme
A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.”
Charles Spurgeon

(3) People will be zealous (passionate) for false doctrines

Romans 10:2–4 ESV
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Some will teach false doctrines purely for the sake of gaining wealth or power
Others are extremely and truly passionate, but are extremely and truly wrong...

(4) Christians are given responsibility to watch for false doctrines

Romans 16:17 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.

(5) Pastors are given special responsibility to watch for false doctrines

1 Timothy 4:16 ESV
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Acts 20:28–30 ESV
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

(6) We cannot compromise on the gospel

Galatians 1:8 ESV
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
This book tells a story about a glorious God who redeems rebellious man.
The culmination of the story is the death and resurrection of Jesus, God himself become man to close the gap between God and man.

What is Orthodoxy?

It’s not enough to hold up a Bible and say, “here’s my orthodoxy”
“The word [orthodoxy] means “correct opinion,” and relates specifically to the tried and true interpretations of the Bible’s major theme, its overarching story, and its foundational truths. These are the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith that never change—and never should.”

Christianity is a Christ-Centered Religion

The Bible must be interpreted through the lens of Jesus
Jesus himself claimed that the Bible was all about him:
John 5:39–40 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Luke 24:27 ESV
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
Paul claimed that the Bible was all about Jesus:
Romans 1:1–4 ESV
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:3–6 ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
The doctrines of the church are NOT primarily about:
Having a good or comfortable life
Political or social ideals
Abstract universal spirituality
Moralism, how to be a good person
History, science, or prophecy
I like what Paul said:
1 Corinthians 2:1–2 ESV
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Two Ditches

Every church that doesn’t align exactly with your church is a false church. Everyone who doesn’t agree with every fine point of your doctrine is a heretic.
No doctrine is important, as long as we all love each other and get along it’s all good.
“Open-handed” versus “Closed-handed” issues
The church throughout history has fought to guard orthodoxy, the essential doctrines of the Christian faith...
The hard work has already been done for us.
When you study church history you’ll read about counsels and creeds… This is Christian’s coming together, searching the scriptures, and determining what is true and what is heresy.
(Modern examples are “The Chicago Statement” and “The Nashville Statement”)
This is the well outlined doctrines that true Christians have held as true and closed-handed.

The Triune God as Creator and Redeemer.

God is a trinity—one divine essence in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All things have been created and will be redeemed from the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit.

The Fall and Resulting Depravity.

Due to the disobedience of the first man and woman, all humanity and creation fell into a state of depravity, unable to save themselves.

The Person and Work of Christ.

The eternal Son of God became incarnate through the Virgin Mary and was born Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, two distinct natures in one unique person. He died as a holy substitute for sinners, rose victoriously from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will come again as Judge.

Salvation by Grace through Faith

Because of humanity’s depravity, people are unable to save themselves. Therefore, grace is absolutely essential to salvation, resulting in faith in God and eternal life.

Inspiration and Authority of Scripture.

The Holy Spirit moved the prophets and apostles to compose the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inspired, authoritative norm for the Christian faith.

Redeemed Humanity Incorporated into Christ.

The church is Christ’s body of elect, redeemed, baptized saints who by faith partake of the life and communion with God through jesus Christ in the new community of the Spirit.

The Restoration of Humanity and Creation.

One day yet future, Jesus Christ will physically return to earth as Judge and King. All humanity will be resurrected bodily—those saved by Christ unto everlasting blessing, the wicked unto everlasting condemnation. The physical creation itself will also be renewed, and sin, death, and evil will be eternally vanquished.
Our membership book and church website have a very similar statement of faith. The same essence, broken down a little differently.
Again, why are we talking about this??
This is the first part of the first pillar that holds up the church. Without correct orthodoxy, without correct doctrine on the essencials of the faith, we don’t have a church.
Ways that gatherings of people can disqualify themselves from being a church:
1. Not being centered on Jesus
2. Getting one or more closed-handed issues wrong
3. Not having a doctrinal position to guard in the first place
Acts 17:11 ESV
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
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