Introduction

By Lyndell Kincaid 
1. We have no name:
2. There are two reasons for this:
3. There is nothing to join:
4. To be scripturally gathered:
5. All believers are priests to offer spiritual sacrifices:
6. Every member has a function:
7. There is always a plurality of pastors:
8. All things should be done in simplicity and Godly sincerity:
9. The stress should be on the inward man:
10. The purpose of the local church:
11. We have five basic services:
12. Some thoughts on the Lord’s Supper:

1. We have no name:
A. Our bank account reads: “The Church Meeting in Jesus’ Name at 602 Oak Knoll”. B. Our telephone listing reads: “The Church at Oak Knoll Gathering in Jesus’ Name”. C. Our sign reads: “602 Oak Knoll is the property of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST and services are held here in his name. D. Our invitations read: 602 Oak Knoll – where believers gather in Jesus’ name. The church in the Bible is not a building. It is people. We are a local congregation which gathers together in the name of Jesus and in no other (Php. 2:10).

2. There are two reasons for this:
A. The Bible tells us that we are to do ALL things in the name of Jesus. Jesus himself told us to gather together in his name, and that when we did he would be in our midst. The only name  we want to glorify is the name of Jesus. Since he tells us to gather in His Name that’s what we do (Mt.18:20; Col.3:17).  B. We refuse to use descriptions of ourselves which are not common to all believers and found in the New Testament: the church, the body of Christ, the believers, the saints, the Christians, the disciples. A modern paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 1 and 3 would be:  “Everyone of you says, ‘I am of Martin Luther; and I of John the Baptist; and I of John Wesley; and I of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Martin Luther crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of John the Baptist? or were you saved by calling on the name of John Wesley? You are yet carnal. For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men? For while one says, I am a Lutheran, and another, I am a Baptist; are you not yet carnal? Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Therefore let no man glory in men. You are Christ’s. He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:12,13; 3:3,4,11,21,23; 1:31). Jesus is the Christ and Jesus is the Lord. No other name should we glory in, pray in, or gather in! Jesus was crucified for us. We were baptized in the name of Jesus. We were saved by calling on the name of Jesus. That is what Paul is trying to tell the Corinthians. Everything we do is in the name of Jesus. Jesus told us to gather in his name, and where we did, He would be in our midst. Paul says clearly that whatever we do, we should do it in the name of Jesus. Do we have the right to pray in any other name than the name of Jesus? What right do we have to gather together in any other name? His name is Jesus (Mt. 1:20; Php. 2:10; etc.) and we must gather together in that name (and that name alone) if we want to please Him.

3. There is nothing to join:
In the Scriptures we find that believers are “members of Christ”, “members of His body”, “members one of another”, and this is the only membership found there.  The church exists by the operation of God, and we are baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit; we simply confess our membership by meeting together according to the principles found in his word (1 Cor.12:13; Rom.12:5; Eph.5:30; Acts 2:47). There are two classes of Christians. One says, “Man has formed many denominations, and I must join one of these (the best one according to my preference) and serve it faithfully.” The other says, “God has formed one body and made me a member of it, and I will serve in it according to his word. I dare not be where the word of God does not place me.

  • A. There is only one church: (Eph.4:4; 1:22 23; 2:16; 5:30; 1 Cor.1:13; 6:15; 10:17; 12:12 27; Rom.12:5; Jn.17:21; Col.1:24; 3: 15; Etc.). The only division of this one church in the New Testament is by locality. There are local churches. Just as there is one body with many members there is one church made up of many local churches. These are local gatherings of believers: gathered in his name. “The church at Philipi; the church at Corinth; the church in their house; etc.” (Col.1:2; Ph.1:1; Eph.1:1; Gal.1:2; 1 Cor. 1:2; Rom.16:1,5,14,15,23; etc.).
  • B. Every believer is a member of this one church: (1 Cor.12:13,14,18,20,27; 6:15,17; Rom.12:5). If you are saved, you are already a “joined member”. Your mind should be relieved from all thought of joining any man made organization. You are already joined to the only church you need ever join.
  • C. Does that mean you have no responsibility? Of course not! Or as Paul would say, “God forbid!” As members of Christ, our responsibility is to follow the directions given in the New Testament Scriptures. We read for instance in Mt.18:20 that Jesus expected believers to gather together in his name. We read in Heb. 10:25 that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. When believers meet together and exhort one another not as members of this or that sect but simply as believers, as members of the body of Christ they are faithfully obeying the Word of God. Gathering together is the responsibility of the saints. In Acts 20:7; 2:42; 1 Cor. 11; 1 Cor.14; Eph.5:19; Col.3:16; Heb.10:25; etc., we find that gathering together was their regular custom.
  • D. We should seek to be scripturally gathered and not according to men’s traditions. God has always insisted that his work be done in his way. Moses was warned to build exactly according to God’s pattern. Noah was told to build the ark according to God’ s pattern. David was given a pattern for the temple. The priestly service was to be done as God instructed. This was very important to God. Paul tells us in 2 Tim.2:5 that we aren’t crowned unless we strive lawfully. We must go by the rules. God gives instructions. We must follow his plan. We must obey His principles or our work will be wood, hay and stubble with no crown or reward only loss. We gather together according to New Testament principles, never our own convenience or preferences. Jesus says that God seeks people to worship Him in Spirit and in truth. We can’t ignore either one. We should worship in truth, but not only in truth. We must never conform outwardly to truth, while we ignore our heart’s condition before the Lord. Nor is God seeking those who worship only in spirit. It must be in Spirit with soft pliable, repentant, sincere hearts but it must also be according to his word (which is truth). Doctrine & obedience are important to the Lord, the same as is a broken and contrite spirit.

4. To be scripturally gathered:

  • A. It must be in his name, and his lordship must be made clear (Mt.18:20; Eph.1:21; Col.3:17; 1:18; Php.2:9 11; etc.).
  • B. The truth of the one body must be shown (Eph.4:3 4; 1 Cor.10:17; Rom.12; 1 Cor. 12; etc.).
  • C. The apostles’ doctrine, breaking of bread, fellowship & prayers must be maintained (Acts 2:42; 1 Tm.3:15; 2 Tm.4:2 4; 1 Tm.1:10; 4:6,13; 6:3; 2:1; Rom.6:17; 1 Cor.14:6; 10:16; 11:23 26; 1:9; 14:15; Col. 2:22; 1:3; 2 Jn.9; Acts 20:7;1:14; 6:4; 4:31; 12:5; Lk.22:19; Jn.20:19; 1 Jn.1:3,7; 2 Cor.6:14; Gal.2:9; Ph. 2:1; 1 Th.5:17,25; James 5:15 16; Eph.6:18; Rev.5:8; etc.).
  • D. Evil (moral and doctrinal) must be judged (Mt.18:15 17; 1 Cor.5:1 17; 1 Tim.1:19 20; 5:20; Tit.2:15; 3:10; Gal.6:1; 2 Thess.3:6,14,15; 1 Thess.5:14; 2 Tim. 4:2; Jude 12; 2 Pt.2:13; 1 Jn.2:19; etc.).

Jesus Christ is the head of the Church:  (Eph.1:22 23; 5:23; Col.1:18; etc.). The local churches are small expressions of the whole church, and as such Christ is the head. He is Lord. His word is our only guide. His principles are our pattern.

5. All believers are priests to offer spiritual sacrifices:
(1 Pt.2:5,9; Rev.1:5 6; 1 Cor.14:26; Rom.12:1 2; Heb.13:15 16; Eph.5:20; Mt.23:8 10; etc.) There are different offices and different gifts but all are priests and can come boldly to the throne of grace.

6. Every member has a function:
(Rom.12; 1 Cor.12; 1 Thess.5:11; 4:18; 1 Pt.4:10,11) The body is handicapped when the members refuse to use their gift. Not all have the same gift and are not to compare themselves among themselves. All are simply to obey the Head and use His gifts be they many or one. We are in competition with no other member; all have different gifts or callings or offices and we are only responsible to please our Lord and to edify the church.

7. There is always a plurality of pastors, teachers, evangelists and deacons: (Eph.4:11; 1 Pt.5:1 5; 1 Tim.5:17; Acts 13:1; 20:17,28; 14:23; 11:30; 15:2,22; 16:4; Ph.1:1; 2 Tim. 2:2; Tit.1:5; James 5:14; 2 Jn.1; 3 Jn.1; 1 Cor.12:28; etc.). These are ordained by God, and it is He alone who makes them such. In Eph.4:11 13 we have the source of the ministry God. And we have the object of the ministry The church. Christ is the giver and the church is the receiver. She must not despise what He gives nor seek to supply her own need. The church does not give the gifts, or give the authority to use the gifts. She only recognizes them. If you have a gift you have God’ s authority to use it and you need no other (Rom.12:6,8; 1 Cor.12:4,5,28). In Acts 13, we have men agreeing with God’s appointment and God’s calling. Barnabas and Paul were already prophets and teachers. They were already using their gifts. The church was not the authority in Acts 13. All it could do was witness the Spirit’s call, express their fellowship to those the Spirit sent out, and send them also. This was a separation to a special mission. It was not an appointment to be ministers they were that already. To be a minister is to be called by God to be a minister, to have a gift for ministry, and to exercise that gift (1 Pt.4:10 11; Rom.12:6 7). In Galatians, Paul utterly repudiates the thought of having received his appointment from man. He was called and ordained by God and by Him only. human appointment to ministry has been the source of much evil. Many have been placed in a work with no fitness for it, and others who have gift for it have been refused because they were unable to reach the requirements of human systems. Men have set aside God’s pattern, and set up their own arrangements. Man has indeed built a great house, but it has become the “habitation of devils and a hold of every foul spirit.”

8. All things should be done in simplicity and Godly sincerity:
nothing for show or vain glory (1 Cor.2:1 5;3:18 20; 2 Cor.2:17; 1:12; Gal.5:26; Ph.2:3; etc.).

9. The stress should be on the inward man, not the outward, but both are important to God.
(Ps.51:6; Jer.31:33; 2 Cor.4:16; 7:15; Rom.2:20; Mt.23:26 27; 1 Pt.1:14-17; 2:15-16; 3:1-4, 11-17;4:2,5,15-17; 2 Pt. 2:19; 3:2,11; etc.). We sincerely believe that once God gets control of the inner man, the outer will begin to conform to the Lord, not vice versa. Therefore, we do not stress conformity to things outward we stress getting the heart right with the Lord, and putting Him first in every area of our life. He will work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure (Ph.2:13; Heb.13:21; 1 Cor. 3:13; Gal. 6:4; Eph. 2:10; 3:7,16,20; 4:1,12,17-23; 1 Thess. 5:13; 2 Thess. 2:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 4:14; Tit. 1:16; etc.) If you aren’t being conformed to the image of Jesus – something is wrong.

10. The purpose of the local church:

  • A. is to edify believers (1 Cor.12; 14; Acts 2:42; 11:21 26; 20:7; etc.). By exhortation, comfort, reproof, doctrine, correction, instruction, rebuke, etc.
  • B. is to reach the lost (1 Th.1:8; Acts 1:8;13:1 4; 1 Cor.14:23 25;2 Cor.5:19; Mk.16:15). By prayer. By personal witness: at home, among neighbors, on the job. By visitation. By preaching: from the pulpit, on the streets, at the jails, at the rescue missions, on tape, on the radio, on television. By the printed page: newspapers, tracts, books, letters. By missions: giving our money to send others and by going ourselves.
  • C. isn’t to have large crowds.
    • 1. Large crowds are welcome, and even desired, but not at the expense of compromising the Word of God.
    • 2. Large crowds are not the sign of blessing:
      • The largest crowds attend Catholic, Moslem, Buddhist, etc. services.
      • Jesus said narrow is the way, and few there be who find it.
      • He said many false prophets will arise and many will follow them
      • The average “professing” Christian is not too concerned about truth and therefore might not enjoy going where the truth is preached strongly and clearly. Therefore, we must never let numbers be our goal.
  • D. isn’t to have beautiful, reverent services.
    • 1. Things must be done decently and in order, and not in confusion (1 Cor. 14)
    • 2. Beautiful, reverent, services are not the sign of spirituality:
      • a. The most outwardly beautiful services are found in Catholic, Mormon and other such services not in the New Testament Church.
      • b. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told to be concerned with beauty in our order of service, our music, our message, our dress, etc. always we are told to be concerned with Life, joy, praise, truth, love, simplicity and sincerity. Everyone cannot speak in beautiful prose, nor sing in perfect harmony, nor afford fancy clothing; but anyone can exhort, encourage, praise, smile, greet, attend, give, edify, comfort, or make a joyful noise unto the Lord.
  • E. isn’t to build a large Sunday School on programs.
    • 1. We offer Bible teaching for all age groups, but we do not offer games, sports, prizes, or gimmicks as incentives to come, and we have reasons for this. We teach for the benefit of those who want to learn the Bible, and those who want their children taught the Bible. Fun and games are not God’s plan for reaching the lost or for keeping the saints strong.
    • 2. The Bible teachers should be reaching the lost by going out to where they are. The main emphasis of our S.S. classes is Bible teaching, not soul winning; although we expect our teachers to be soul winners in & out of their classroom.
    • 3. Believers go out to reach the lost, and gather together for strength.
      In other words, our main goal is to glorify Jesus, honor His name, and obey his words. We gather together to strengthen one another, teach one another, edify one another, exhort one another, encourage one another, comfort one another, and pray for one another and then send one another out to be witnesses to the lost. We believe this is God’s plan.

F. a picture of a good local church can be found in Revelation 3:8:

    • 1. Had a little strength.
    • 2. Kept God’s Word.
    • 3. Did not deny his name.

This is the kind of local church we hope to build.

11. We have five basic services: (Acts 2:42)

  • A. Doctrine: Sunday at 10 a.m. Bible study verse by verse, chapter by chapter in the King James Bible. There are classes for all ages.
  • B. Preaching: Sunday at 11 a.m. Messages by the pastors or their guest preachers. Sunday mornings are the time to bring the lost to our services. This is the time when you can always count on the plan of salvation being given.
  • C. Lord’s Supper: Sunday at 7 p.m. In remembrance of him. This is a time of worship. Everything said, or sung, etc. should be in remembrance of who he is and what he has done for us by His death, burial, and resurrection. This is an open meeting for those who are saved. This is our worship service and we should come prepared to worship our Lord. If lost people visit during this time, we should quietly tell them that participation at the Lord’s Supper table is only for those who have trusted Jesus as their Saviour, but that they are welcome to quietly sit with us in the service. Let them know you are glad they are visiting with us.
  • D. Praise, fellowship, edification, exhortation: Sunday, following the Lord’s Supper. This is also an open service, and any who feel led can teach us with songs, hymns, psalms, praise, doctrine, instruction, exhortation, edification, and comfort. We wash one another’s feet with the word. This service is geared for believers. It is not an evangelistic service. If we are blessed with lost visitors, take them aside after the meeting, and try at that time to personally and individually reach them for Jesus. This meeting may also be a time when the pastors will find it necessary to give reproof, rebuke or correction, but be sure and leave that up to the pastors – it is their responsibility. If you feel a rebuke is needed, tell the pastors your burden.
  • E. Prayer & thanksgiving: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. This is an open service of prayer, praise & giving thanks: where we remind one another of our needs; of the great and precious promises in God’s Word; of the faithfulness of our God; of the joy God has in the faith of His people; of the many answers to prayer we have seen; and we agree to pray about certain requests and we pray – in sincerity and faith. We must not pray in order to please men (or worry about how we sound to others). We pray because God tells us to pray and promises to answer prayer.

12. Some thoughts on the Lord’s Supper:

 by Luis Paulu

If you have never experienced it there is nothing like it. Just a table with bread and the fruit of the vine. No big thing. No special lighting on it or elaborate stuff so you get distracted. There you sit. Everybody just sits quietly; a fellow asks for a hymn, somebody else gets up and prays. Or reads a scripture. Then another song. There is just nothing like the Lord’s Supper celebrated that way. We should be willing to fellowship with all believers. We should love everybody who belongs to Christ. But, there is nothing sadder than to go to a church, and it’s the first Sunday of the month, and the preacher preaches his soul out, you know. Then when he’s through, he says, “Oh, yes, the Lord’s Supper today.” It’s 12:15. Hmm. Everybody wants out by 12:20. “Deacons, come forward.” The deacons come jogging down. Everybody takes a piece of bread and a cup. Then they say, “God bless you all. See you next week.” And that’s it. And you think, if only they knew what it could be to take it every Sunday. To just be quiet and stop all this rushing deacons up and down the aisles. Just sit quietly and concentrate on the Lord Jesus Christ. To me there is nothing that levels the body more than sitting around the Lord’s table. There, nobody cares if you are “Dr. This”, or “The Greater International That”. The only thing we care about is that we are there to remember the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is wonderful. When you come out of there it is very hard to be cocky. You just can’t go out of there and say, “Ah, I am a great evangelist, watch out, out of my way.” You have been at the cross, man, and when you do it every Sunday, it just keeps you right there. It is the most healthy thing for the Body of Christ.