(교재는 영어이나, 한국어로 진행 됨)
What Is a True Church of Jesus Christ? (GLMC Family Summer Retreat – 7/25/2015, Rochester, MN)
1. Who has created it?
1.1 Jesus Christ mentioned the name “church” for the first time in Matthew 16:18, “…on this rock I will build my church”.
1.2 Jesus called it, “my church”.
1.3 He said, “I will build it” in the future tense.
1.4 He will build it upon Peter’s confession “You are the Christ and the Son of the living God”. (Matthew 16:16)
2. What is the meaning of the church (ekklesia in Greek)?
2.1 It means “Being called out” of the world.
2.2 What Jesus meant by it was that He called His own disciples out of all the Jews in Israel.
2.3 So, its meaning implies that the church cannot be organised by itself. God is the only creator and sustainer of His church.
2.4 In the Old Testament, the Israel was called, “assembly” or “congregation” (Qahal , ’Edah in Hebrew). In the LXX (The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) it was translated into a “church” (ekklesia).
2.5 Jesus Christ called out His disciples to become the household of God in the New Testament era. Therefore, in the New Testament era, the church is called the family of the living God. (Matthew 12:50; 1 Timothy 3:15)
2.6 The members are all born from above through the Holy Spirit for the sake of Jesus Christ’s shed blood and resurrection. The church of Jesus Christ is the only legitimate family of God in the whole cration.
3. How has the church started?
3.1. Jesus used His Word and His Spirit to call people out of the world to be members of His church.
3.2 In Mark 16:15, in the account of the farewell mandate, the Lord Jesus reveals how the church comes to exist and expands itself,
“ He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
3.3 Jesus called His disciples by saying to them “follow me” (Matthew 4:19), “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1:17)
3.4 After the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, His disciples obeyed the commands of Jesus Christ and got baptized with His Holy Spirit and preached (proclaimed) His gospel to the Jews and the converts in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:1-4, 14, 27-41) All of this took place on the Pentecost (pentekoste in Greek, fifthieth day)
3.5 By confessing Jesus of Nazareth the Christ )Messiah), under His initiative, after His resurrection and ascension, His church replaced the assembly of the Old Testament Jews, as the people of God, and the household of the living God.
4. What is the Foundation of the church?
4.1 Confession and acknowledgement of Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ (Kristos in Greek), that is, the Messiah (Messiach in Hebrew).
4.2 In Caesarea Philippi, Peter confessed to Jesus, “You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
4.3 Why the messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth was so important to the Jews in His days? This confession made Jesus the promised Prophet by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)
“18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.”
4.4 On the Pentecost, those Jews and Greek converts all made the same confession as Peter did and got baptized to be members of church of Jesus Christ.
5. How the church is governed?
5.1 The church of Christ is governed by the Word of God.
5.1.1 Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1-3,14; 1 Colossians 1:15-17). Jesus was the source and an ambassador of the Triune God to the Creation. The church obeyed the commands of Jesus at its inception, likewise all Christians must be governed by the same Christ’s commands.
5.1.2 The Ruler of the church of Jesus Christ is the ascended Jesus Christ. Out of His supreme messiahship, Jesus gave an authority Peter and the rest of 12 Apostles (Representatives of church of Jesus Christ) to prevail the gate of Hades (realm of the dead).
5.1.3 This New Testament church exists and is governed by under a sole reign and messianic authority and power while prevailing the gate of Hades.
The written Word of God is, then the guidance and rule of the church of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:16)
5.1.4 When its member is not obedient to the rule of Jesus Christ, the discipline must take place for the honor of its Ruler and King, Jesus Christ and for the wellbeing of the church and the restoration of the offender. (Matthew 18:15-17)
5.1.5 Church discipline is based on God’s commands (1 Corinthians 4:6), therefore God’s holiness is kept among His household. We have many scripture passages where the Lord’s directives are found as to how, why, when, and where the church discipline must be exercised (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Timothy 5:20)
5.1.6 By an obedient and faithful discipline done in the church, God’s honor kept intact, and individual Christian may be restored and spiritually healthier than before the his/her lapse (Acts 5:1-10; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; Hebrews 12:10-13)
6. How is the church nourished and to grow?
6.1 In accordance with Christ’s farewell command, the church is being nourished by the Word of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:20)
6.2 All Christians in everywhere in the world must be nourished by the Word of God and Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:2), “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,”
6.3 The ascended Lord Jesus Christ gave the church spiritual foods in terms of Word of God and Holy Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Supper). Therefore, by the faithful proclamation of the Word of God, and the pure administration of the Holy Supper, the whole church may be nourished and grown to the full maturity of Jesus Christ. Especially, by the faithful proclamation of the Word of God, the church members are edified, and comforted in times of adversities.
7. For what purpose does the church exist in the world?
7.1 The human history is not autonomous, nor independent, rather it is completely governed by its Creator God in heaven.
7.2 God creating His covenant people in the Old Testament era, and the church of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, God rules His creation.
7.3 The church of Jesus Christ is the only visible manifestation of God’s righteous Kingdom on earth.
7.4 When the church loses its purpose to exist, the whole world experiences the loss. When the church stays in course without losing its sight of the City of God, and the future consummation of the Righteous Kingdom of God, the whole world gets enriched. Therefore, the church of Jesus Christ is the instrument by which the King and Lord Jesus Christ rules the fallen world until His Second Coming.
7.5 By practicing the heavenly life on earth, the church of Jesus Christ shows the fallen world, what the righteous Kingdom of God looks like. When we fail to show our love to God in our neighbor-love, the world mock at us. When in our action we show our love to God in our neighbor-love, we condemn the fallen world, and proclaim to them to repent and turn to the living God.
7.6 What commands did Jesus give at His farewell speech to His disciples (the representatives of His church)?
7.6.1 Go and make disciples of all nations (of non-Jewish nations, all gentiles)
7.6.2 The foremost important thing we have to remember from Jesus’ farewell commands is this: When making people disciples out of all nations, “Teach the people ‘to obey’ my teaching.” Here when Jesus says, “teaching”, it means His “doctrine”. (Matthew 28:20)
7.6.3 How can the church baptize the gentiles? When the church obeys His commands by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of the listeners.
7.6.4 When the gentiles listen to the spoken Word of God, that same Word is used by the Holy Spirit to create faith in Jesus, the Christ in the hearts of the listeners (Romans 10:9-15)
7.6.5 Those who confess Jesus is the Lord, the Christ are to be baptized, then being taught the “obedience to all His doctrines”.
7.7 Then, how about an individual member of the church, what should he/she do to obey Jesus’ farewell commands?
7.7.1 A faithful adherence to listening to God’s proclaimed Word is a must for every Christian. Then each member must faithfully give to the cause of church’s gospel proclamation and its endeavors.
7.7.2 Making all efforts to edify each other by exercising God-given spiritual gifts is the every member’s duty to each other. (the communion of the saints)
7.7.3 Neighbor-love in giving is the first step of “good works”. By such good works, an individual member of the body of Jesus Christ edifies the church, and proclaims gospel to the fallen world (by deeds and words: 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
7.8. In all this, the church of Jesus Christ is never to fail to live and point the coming Kingdom of God in its consummation in the New Heaven and the New Earth. In all the activities, the church must keep this vision of the coming righteous Kingdom of God intact and well-focused. (Revelation 22:12-21)
In conclusion, when the church is faithful to the gospel proclamation (both words and deeds), a pure administration of the sacraments, and a God-honoring discipline, the church is a true body of Jesus Christ like the ones in Antioch, Philadelphia and Smyrna in the First Century.