What the Bible Affirms About...The Church


Although we often refer to the building that we meet in as the church, I think we all know that the building is in fact not the church. The church is the people. You and I make up the church. We often talk about the church, and we have read about it in the Bible, but if someone were to ask you about it, what would you say? Today, we will try to help one another to better understand what the Bible affirms about the church.

READ Scriptures- Acts 20:28; 2:40-41; Ephesians 4:11-16

Purchased by the Blood of Christ (Acts 20:28)

The Flock, the Church of God, was purchased with the blood of Christ. This is why the cross has such great significance in Christian doctrine. God has redeemed us with the blood of His Own. We are His purchased possession. We are not independent men and women, and the church does not belong to itself, but we are all bought by the blood of Christ.

Populated by All True Believers in Christ (Acts 2:40-41)

One the day of Pentecost, when the church was first established, those who heard the message of the Gospel and received it were baptized and added to the church. Those who had genuinely repented and believed were baptized and added. We, too, have all heard and believed the Gospel. All of us who have put our faith in Christ belong to, and are in fact the body of Christ.

Provided Leadership (Eph 4:11, 15)

The chief point that we must grasp is that the Church was bought by the blood of Christ, it is His, and Christ is the head of the body. Let us constantly remember that we belong to and answer to the Lord Jesus Christ. After we understand that we can begin to see how He establishes His church. He Himself gave some apostles and some prophets to the church. They were the unrepeatable foundation on which the church is built. Those offices are not held today. Yet, Christ still makes provision for the church as He gives some evangelists and some pastor/teachers. Evangelists establish churches and trouble-shoot for them. They are not always around, but pastors are locally resident. We have already seen in Acts 20 that God has given the church elders who are to shepherd the flock. They are first to take heed to themselves and then to the church. I have argued in the past that our English translations use five different words for one position. Elder, Pastor, Overseer, Bishop, and Shepherd are all terms that refer to the one office in the church that is responsible for the well-being of the whole church. This is a great responsibility mainly because the church was purchased with the precious blood of Christ. Men and women that we can also talk about as a gift to the church, not mentioned in this passage, are the deacons. They are to serve the church, mainly tending to the physical matters of the body, under the direction of Christ-the-Head and the Elders.

Preparing for Ministry (Eph 4:11-12)

The passage tells us that the Elders are to be preparing the church for ministry. You, the saints, are to be equipped for the work of ministry. The Elders and I are supposed to be equipping you for ministry and building you up in Christ. Whether you take advantage of them or not, we are constantly trying to offer you several opportunities to grow and serve one another and the community.

Promoted by Unity (Eph 4:13-14)

This work in the church is supposed to continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. We are aiming to measure up to the stature of the fullness of Christ. Disunity is one of the greatest enemies of individual congregations and the church as a whole. If we are going to be edified, there’s going to have to be some love. We are going to have to come here to worship together and much more. We are going to have to gather around the Word of God, we are going to have to serve one another, and we are going to have to reach out to our community.

“Christ is at once the One into whom all Christians grow and out of whom . . . the church [unites] itself in love” (Wood, 59).

What the Bible Affirms About...The Lord's Supper


We will continue our study of the major doctrines of the Christian faith today. Our next stop is to see what the Bible affirms about the Lord’s Supper. Our goal today will be to answer four questions on the subject (listed below).

READ Scripture- This is the Word of God (1 Corinthians 11:23-28)

What is the Lord’s Supper?

It is the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was inaugurated by the Lord on the night of His betrayal in the upper room. Now, we are not people that believe that these emblems are or becoming the actual, physical body and blood of the Lord. Jesus was not telling us to drink blood which was actually prohibited in the Mosaic Law and was against the teaching of the Apostles. We believe that the bread and juice represent the body and blood of the Lord. Partaking in these emblems signifies our devotion to and faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. It symbolizes our union with Him, as we consume the bread and juice. It also demonstrates our common bond, as we partake of the same bread and cup. We are one body all with the same Lord and Spirit. When we commune with the body and blood of the Lord, we remember the Lord’s death.

Why Participate in the Lord’s Supper?

We participate in the Lord’s Supper because Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” that is, continue to do this in remembrance of Me (1 Cor 11:24-25). First and foremost, we participate in the Lord’s Supper because we have been commanded by the Lord to do so.

Another reason we partake of the Supper is because we see that it was the practice of the early church (and I will show you more Scripture on this in just a bit).

A third reason we participate in the Lord’s Supper is because it is a means of grace. There is no power of grace in the elements themselves, but in the event of the church we receive grace. When we come together to remember and proclaim the sacrificial death of the Lord, we encounter once again the loving grace of God – forgiveness of sins, and the gift of eternal life.

Why Participate in the Lord’s Supper Every Week?

We participate in the Lord’s Supper every week because the Apostle said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26). The phrase “as often” could be taken to mean once a month, once a quarter, or once a year I suppose, but we make it our practice to take it as often as every first day of the week.

In (1 Cor 11:20) the Apostle says, “Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.” He then goes on to scold them for their conduct in the gatherings which tells me that the Lord’s Supper was the reason that they were supposed to come together.

(Acts 2:42) tells us of four devotional activities that the early church continued in. One of those things is the breaking of bread. The church was devoted to the Supper!

We need the weekly reminder of the Lord’s death. It should control our lives week after week. Why do you think that the Lord said, “Do this in remembrance of Me”? We are sinful people who are often weak, and we tend to stray. The Apostle John says in (1 John 1:8), “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We need to be reminded of the death of the Lord, and we also need to be confronted with our own sins. It is at the Table that we meet anew the grace of God in the person and accomplishments of Jesus Christ.

How Should we Participate in the Lord’s Supper?

We want to teach and practice what the Bible affirms concerning the Lord’s Supper.

[1] We are to eat and drink in a worthy manner, first examining ourselves (1 Cor 11:27-28). If there is anything clear from this passage in 1 Corinthians, it is that the sin that the church was guilty of was the neglect of brothers and sisters. You see, when you partake of the meal you are partaking with the person beside you, in front of you, behind you, all around you in the assembly. When you partake, you partake as a member of this congregation- intimately connected to all the other men and women here who have put their faith in Christ. Thus, examining one’s self must include your relationship to the entire church, not just personally. This involves searching your own heart, considering your own life, and reflecting on your Christian relationships with brothers and sisters and with God. If there is a wicked way found in us, we are called to confess it to God who is quick and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

[2] The Lord’s Supper is a time to give thanks. Remember that when Jesus took the bread and the cup, He first lifted it to heaven and gave thanks. We do the same, thanking the God for the life-giving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

[3] The Lord’s Supper is a time to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. When we put the bread and cup to our lips, we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ; God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


What is the Lord’s Supper? It is communion with the “body and blood of the Lord.”

Why do we participate in the Supper? Our Lord said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Why participate weekly? The Apostle said, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup.”

How should we participate? First examining, remembering, giving thanks, and proclaiming

What the Bible affirms about. . .Baptism

Introduction Things just work out beautifully, even when they are not exactly planned. I began this series of sermons without regard to holidays or special days, and I don’t think I could have planned a better subject for Mother’s Day than baptism. What Christian mother does not want to see her family saved? All Christian mothers want to see their children baptized. Another thought I had is that today we can bring together the two points that Jesus brings together when He teaches Nicodemus about the new birth. He told Nicodemus in John 3:5, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” In the very next verse the Lord says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Mothers introduces us to our physical life and (through the Holy Spirit according to the accomplishments of Christ) God gives us a new spiritual life.

            --“That which is born of the flesh is flesh” – Physical life by our Mothers (childbirth)

            --“that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” – Spiritual life by the Holy Spirit (baptism)

Every First-Century Believer was Baptized

Let me begin by making a few concise statements of what the Bible affirms concerning baptism:

1. The word baptism is a transliteration of a Greek word that literally means immersion

2. Every believer in the first century was baptized, and those who weren’t were commanded to

3. *The Bible affirms that baptism is our only guarantee of salvation

            Will someone be saved that was not baptized? I don’t know . . . Probably . . .

The Bible affirms in the book of Acts that there were some people who received the Holy Spirit that had not been baptized, but we must admit that they were/are the exception, not the rule. Let me explain why I teach that baptism is our only guarantee (and of course I am assuming that the baptized individuals that we are talking about are true believers who have repented of their sins and confessed Christ as Lord and Savior).

Eph 1:13-14 states what as the guarantee of our inheritance? The gift of the Holy Spirit

When does the Bible teach that you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Baptism Acts 2:38

Romans 6:1-4

In Rom 5:20 we can see that the Law was given that sin may be known. And it has been proven by the Apostle and by our experience that humanity is made up of sinners. Sin has abounded to the present time. But the New Testament teaches that grace has met every sin. Not only does grace reverse sin, but it does much more. The question now becomes, should we continue in sin that grace may abound? The answer is non-negotiable and firm – Certainly not!

The main point of chapter six and the chief concern for the Christian is that we are dead to sin. Why does the Apostle want to use the language of death on this point? First, it creates an immediate tie with the death of Christ. Second, it marks a decisive and final break in one’s state of being. Christians have a decisive break with sin. We are not only spared from the penalty due to sin, but we are no longer controlled by the power of sin.

The main question today is, when can we say that we died to sin? The Apostle says in baptism.

As sin has the power to control us, so does the death of Christ. His atoning work has the power to save us from the wrath of God.

Something Special

When I was baptized, and I can probably safely assume that when you were baptized, we didn’t know exactly everything that was taking place. We had a good idea of what God was doing, but as we have grown in Christ we have a better idea today. There are many that claim that baptism is nothing more than an act of obedience. I beg to differ! Something special happens at the time of baptism. The New Testament affirms the continual practice of baptism and it describes the significance of it. The great Reformer, Martin Luther, said, One is baptized so that he “may receive in the water the promised salvation” (Cottrell). God meets us in the water to do a mighty work in our souls. Baptism is neither a work on our part nor on the part of the minister, but it is a work of God Almighty.


You may be surprised to find out that, “. . . the entire Christian world for the first 1,500 years of its history was in agreement: water baptism is the God-appointed time when he first gives saving grace to sinners” (Cottrell). The common view of baptism today began around A.D. 1523. What is it that we usually hear from denominations on the subject? Something to the effect of, baptism is an outward sign of an inward work. Most denominations today claim that baptism is not necessary for any part of salvation. The only importance that it has is its representation.

Yet, we want to teach and practice everything the Bible teaches about baptism. We are not interested in making it more important than Scripture does, but we are not going to “water it down” either (excuse the pun). Therefore, baptism is not simply for church membership, or obedience, or to illustrate new birth (it does all those things), but it is primarily to unite us with Christ Himself. Baptism is the extraordinary moment when we break with sin and become united with Christ as His Spirit comes to dwell within!

As you stand in the waters of baptism with a repentant heart- you die with Christ; as you are immersed in the watery grace of baptism- you are buried with Him; and as you come out of the water- you are raised to a new life in the likeness of His resurrection. If you believe, but have never been baptized, then let’s do it today. Give your self to Christ and receive life.

What the Bible affirms about. . .The Holy Spirit

Throughout the centuries, Christians have struggled to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity. In the first sermon of our new series we discussed what the Bible affirms about God. We said then that the Bible reveals God in three distinct personalities, yet they inseparably are one. The Bible never uses the term, but Christians for centuries have called that doctrine the “Trinity.” In the third sermon concerning Christ we said that Jesus Christ is divine, and we looked at several verses from the New Testament that call Him both Lord and God. This morning, I must say the same thing concerning the Holy Spirit. He is divine. Maybe we need a little better understanding of the Trinity although we may not have a complete understanding. If we could completely understand the complexities of God, I seriously doubt that He would be God. Augustine of Hippo, a Christian theologian from the 4th century said something to the effect of if you can get your mind around it, it cannot be God (McGrath, 244). Thus, we must acknowledge that we are finite and God is infinite; all we have to work with are words which are seriously limited. I would like to give you a few analogies that have been used by Christians to understand God a little better. These are simply analogies and are imperfect, but maybe you can choose one of them and it can help you.

1. Patrick, the evangelist to Ireland (St. Patty’s Day), is said to have used the shamrock to illustrate the Trinity. The clover is a single leaf with three elements.

Gregory of Nyssa, a theologian during the 4th century, used several analogies:

2. A fount and a stream of water flow from one another, and they both have the same substance, water. Different aspects of the water may be distinguished, but they cannot be separated. We may distinguish the three persons of God, but not separate His unity.

3. There are many links in a chain, and to be connected to one is to be connected to them all. For example, if someone encounters the Holy Spirit, they have also encountered the Father and the Son.

4. When we see a rainbow, we can distinguish different colors, yet there is only one beam of light. God’s glory shines in the persons of Father, Son, Spirit, but they blend seamlessly into one another. (These are taken from McGrath, 252-253).

The Holy Spirit is divine. The Holy Spirit has been involved in the world from the beginning of history. The Scripture says in Genesis that the Spirit hovered over the waters at creation. The Old Testament shows that the Holy Spirit moved the prophets to proclaim and write the word of God. He also came upon the first kings of Israel to anoint them for a great responsibility. He has always been involved in the world, and He has continued His work today. This morning we will find out what the Bible affirms about the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our current world.

We should differentiate between the Spirit’s two ministries. He works in both the unbelieving world and the lives of Christians. We can talk about His ministry of conviction on the one hand and His ministry of regeneration and sanctification on the other. We can also talk about the gifts that He bestows to individual believers to benefit the church as a whole. To conclude today’s sermon we will attempt to answer how we can know that the Spirit of God is in us.

We must acknowledge that the Spirit is divine. He was involved in creation and He saves us.

Ministry of Conviction (John 16:8-11)

The Spirit will specifically convict the world of three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment. The word “world” must not mean “all people on earth” as it sometimes does because of the context. Jesus has already determined the meaning of “world” in the discourse when He contrasted the world with the disciples. The “world” must be unbelievers who by nature hate the Christ and His people. Thus, the Spirit’s ministry of conviction is spoken of here as being carried out in the world of unbelievers. People must be convicted of their sin of unbelief in order to repent and come to faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit seeks to do just that.

Regeneration and Sanctification

Not only does the Spirit convict us of our sin, but He is the One that brings the initial cleansing and renewal in the repentant person (John 3:5-6). He welcomes us into the kingdom of God. One must be born again to enter the kingdom, born from above by the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, I see no better time for a repentant person to be born again by water and the Spirit than in baptism. When someone repents, believes, and is baptized, God the Spirit meets them there at the water. The Holy Spirit starts a new work in the person. There He makes us new creatures, the old has gone the new has come.

The Holy Spirit is also the One who continues to sanctify us (Romans 8:13-14). The Spirit wills and works in us to bring our sin to its end. He wants to put sin to death in our lives. If we continue to follow the flesh (that is, the sinful nature), then we will die; but if we follow the Spirit’s lead, we will slowly-but-surely be changed and we will live. This is called transformation or sanctification. What is the verse that we all know about transformation? The Apostle says to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. It is the Spirit who does this according to the accomplishments of Christ in the atonement and in accord with the Word.

Spiritual Gifts

Let us first notice from (1 Corinthians 12:11) that it is the Spirit who gives to each Christian a gift for the uplifting of the church. Next, we can look at a few examples of the gifts that the Spirit gives to us (Romans 12:5-8). Therefore, we may summarize a few things about gifts of the Spirit:

1. Gifts are not for private use, but for the body

2. We do not all have the same gifts

3. Gifts are to be used in a biblically ordered manner

4. Gifts are a godly responsibility

How can I know the Spirit is in me?

The Holy Spirit is very busy in the lives of Christians today. He convicted us of our sin, He welcomed us into the kingdom of God, He is putting to death the deeds of our flesh, and He is gifting each of us so that we may build up the church. There is no question that we need Him to minister in each of us. False teachers claim all sorts of wild things for the Holy Spirit which the Bible does not affirm. The Spirit never acts to either glorify Himself or us. He lives to continually bring glory to Christ. He wants to make Christ look great. Some have falsely insisted that He will cause all Christians to speak in a heavenly tongue. They claim that a person is not a true believer if they have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit, apart from immersion, and if they have not spoken in tongues. The Bible never declares that the gift of tongues is something given to all believers. It is never considered a sign or seal of salvation.

There are many Scriptures that force us to question whether the Spirit of God is dwelling in us (Romans 8:9). Why is it important for us to ask ourselves this question? (Ephesians 1:13-14) tells us that the Holy Spirit is our seal of promise, and He is the guarantee of our inheritance. In contrast to the claims of false teachers and in light of what the Bible affirms, I will propose three ways that you can know that the Holy Spirit is in you:

            1. Baptism (Acts 2:38)

            2. The fruit of love (Galatians 5:22)

            3. His Spirit tells your spirit (Romans 8:16)