…to provide the men of our church a one page summary of twelve of the main doctrines of the faith so as to be better equipped
1. to know God and
2. to love him and
3. to be conformed to Christ’ image
4. and to fulfill our God-given leadership role at home and at church by explaining and modeling the things of God to our wife, kid(s) and / or at church.
Click this link for the most current version of this MS Word document. When the course is finished, Lord willing, in Dec 2009, a final document will be posted: Systematic Theology – Main (updated 12/19/09) – all 12 Sessions are now included!
Current Handout: XI. The Doctrine of the Church
A. The Nature of the Church: What is necessary to make a church? How can we recognize a true church? What are the purposes of the church?
Defined: “The church is the community of all true believers for all time” (G853); 2 Cor 6:14-18 “Paul’s application to the Corinthians of promises originally given to Israel reflects his conviction that the church is the fulfillment of God’s covenant people, being restored under the new covenant. The combination of 2 Sam. 7:14 (“I will be a father to you”) with Isa. 43:6 (“sons and daughters”) indicates that God’s promise to become the “father” of David’s “son,” the Messiah, is expanded to include all of God’s people who are adopted into his new covenant “family”.”
- A. Nature of the church: 1. local and universal (1 Cor 16:19 house; Acts 9:31 region; Eph 5:25 universal); 2. Metaphors for the church: bride of Christ (Eph 5:32), new temple / a new group of priests (1 Pet 2:5); body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12+); “The thought that the church is like the bride of Christ should stimulate us to strive for greater purity an holiness, and also greater love for Christ and submission to him. The image of the church as branches in a vine should cause us to rest in him more fully” (G859); B. Purposes of the church: 1. Ministry to God – worship (Col 3:16, Eph 1:12); 2. Ministry to Believers – nurture (Col 1:28, Eph 4:12-13); 3. Ministry to the World – evangelism and mercy, “whole-person ministry” (Matt 28:19, Luke 6:35-36); “Missions exists because worship does not.”
B. The authority of the church: What kind of authority does the church have? How should church discipline function?
Defined: “The power of the church is its God-given authority to carry on spiritual warfare, proclaim the gospel, and exercise church discipline” (G887).
- A. Spiritual warfare (2 Cor 10:3-4, Rom 10:17): “These weapons, used against demonic forces that hinder the spread of the gospel and the progress of the church, include such things as prayer, worship, the authority to rebuke demonic forces, the words of Scripture, faith, and righteous conduct on the part of the members of the church” (G888); B: Church & state: two distinct spheres (Matt 22:21, John 18:36); C. Church discipline’s purpose: 1. restoration and reconciliation of the believer who is going astray (Gal 6:1, Heb 12:6, James 5:20); 2. to keep the sin from spreading to others ((Heb 12:15, 1 Cor 5:2, 6-7); 3. to protect the purity of the church and the honor of Christ (Rom 2:24, Rev 2:20, 14-16);
C. Church government: How should a church be governed? How should church officers be chosen? Should women serve as pastors of churches?
Defined: “A church officer is someone who has been publicly recognized as having the right and responsibility to perform certain functions for the benefit of the whole church” (G905).
- A. Plurality of elders: as a pattern in all NT churches (Acts 14:23, 20, 17, Titus1:5, 1 Tim 4:14, James 5:14); B. the functions of elders: servant leadership and teaching (1 Peter 5:2-5 not domineering, 1 Tim 5:17, Mark 10:42, 45, 1 Tim 3:2, Titus 1:9); C. qualifications for elders (and character for all of us to pursue out of our union with Christ) 1 Tim 3:2-7, Titus 1:6-9; D. Deacon roles: Acts 6:1-6 “Here the apostles who ruled over the Jerusalem church found it necessary to delegate some administrative responsibilities to others [deacons]” (G919); 1 Tim 3:8-13 – qualifications suggest some functions as deacons (finances/money, admin/household, counseling and house to house visitation/v11 their wives);
D. Means of Grace within the Church: What are the different activities within the life of the church that God uses to bring blessing to us? What do we miss if we neglect involvement in a local church? “Means”: What does the HS use to impart blessing?
Defined: “The means of grace are any activities within the fellowship of the church that God uses to give more grace to Christians” (G950).
- A. Nature: The list (below) is not all carried out only by the elders nor does it make people more fit to receive justification (in contrast to Roman Catholic view; shorter and different list as well)(G951-952).
- B. At least 11 means of grace bringing blessing: 1. Teaching the Word (Rom 1:16, Is 55:10-11); 2. Baptism (Col 2:12); 3. The Lord’s Supper: “the unity of believers is beautifully exhibited at the time of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 10:17)” (G955); 4. Prayer: “genuine expression of our hearts and the reflection of sincere faith” (Eph 6:18)(G955); 5. Worship: using our voices to proclaim what we know to be true from His Word out of the affections of our heart (2 Chron. 5:13-14); 6. Church discipline: purity, joy, community (2 Cor 7:10); 7. Giving (2 Cor 9:7, 8:5); 8. Spiritual Gifts (1 Pet 4:10, 1 Cor 14:12); 9. Fellowship (Heb 10:24-25); 10. Evangelism: people blessed and messenger blessed (Acts 9:17 with Acts 9:20); 11. Personal Ministry to Individuals: often includes “words of encouragement or exhortation or wise counsel” (Col 3:16, Eph 4:29) (G959);
Application & Discussion Questions:
1. As the main pastor of your family, what two things are you going to share from today from God’s Word to them (or the family / body of Christ if single)?
2. How does the quote, “Missions exists because worship [from people from all tribes] does not yet” relate to the purposes of the church listed above in section 1? Which purpose is primary and which purposes are overflow?
3. How does the promise in Matt 16:18 give us hope and peace? How is this similar to the metaphor that Christ is the head of the body in Col 1:18? Are we joyfully resting in Christ?
 ESV Study Bible, http://www.esvstudybible.org, 2 Cor 6:14-18 notes, accessed 11/14/09
 John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p5