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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012

Let Us Restore The New Testament Church August 5, 2007


Sermon of the Week #200731 – August 5, 2007

Let us restore the New Testament Church. Perhaps a better way to put it would be, let us restore the people to the New Testament Church. Actually the New Testament Church has been here since fifty days after the resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost, when the gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was first proclaimed, and 3,000 souls were added. Jesus said that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. So it has always been here since that day, and we need to restore people to it.

A question often asked is, “Which one of the New Testament Churches do you want to restore?” How about the one at Sardis, it was dead? How about the one at Laodicea, it was lukewarm? How about the one at Ephesus, it had left its first love? How about the churches in Galatia, they were legalistic? How about the one at Corinth, it was full of division? Which one of the New Testament Churches shall we restore?

Perhaps it is hard to see the entire Church from looking at one of the New Testament congregations, but if we take a look at several of them, the composite of the many will give us an idea of what the Church was really like. Let us restore the New Testament Church.



If you had gone to Rome in the first century and inquired for the location of most any denomination, either Protestant or Catholic, the members of the Roman Church would have been confused. They would not know what you were talking about. But if you had said Church of Christ that would have been a familiar name, because Paul had written to the Roman Church and said in Romans 16:16, “All the Churches of Christ salute you.”  The Church at Ephesus according to Acts 20:28 would have understood the name Paul used at his meeting with their elders, “The Church of God which he purchased with his own blood.” God the Son is the One who purchased the Church with His blood. The church at Corinth in First Corinthians 14:33 would have recognized the term Churches of the saints. We know that a saint is a Christian because Paul referred to the Christians as saints in Ephesians 4:12 when he said, “The Lord has given us pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering.”

Any name found in the scripture is a scriptural name. Is there anything that sows the seed of division any more than denominational names?

I heard of a Christian traveler who went to Japan from America, and had need of filling out papers. The Japanese clerk asked about his nationality, his place of birth, his business, and wanted to know, “What is your religion?” The traveler said he was a Christian. The Japanese clerk said, “American, I know you are a Christian, but what damnation do you belong to?” Let us restore the New Testament Church as far as a name that was familiar to the Churches of the New Testament.



Acts 20:7 tell us the Church of Troas met together on the first day of the week to break bread. Paul stayed at Troas for seven days. If he could have taken the Lord’s Supper during the week, perhaps at a Thursday night candlelight service, he would have done so. He waited for Sunday, so he could meet with the congregation.

Sunday was called the Lord’s Day in the first chapter of Revelation. For many who wear the name Christian today, Sunday could be called anything but the Lord’s Day. The dominant sound on Sunday today is not “Praise the Lord!”, but, “That ball is outta’ here!”

Jesus arose from the dead on Sunday. He made many of His appearances after the resurrection on Sunday. The Apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit on Sunday. The first gospel sermon was preached on Sunday. The Church began on Sunday. The first converts were immersed on Sunday. The disciples at Troas gathered together on Sunday for the purpose of the Lord’s Supper observance.

There are some today who observe the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night because they think Troas was on Jewish time. Whatever time system was used at the city of Troas at that time is of no consideration. There is no way you can take the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night today in the good Ole USA in the twenty-first century, and call it Sunday. So let us restore the New Testament Church by restoring the Lord’s Supper of the Church at Troas.



Now let us restore the emphasis on the preaching of the Church at Thessalonica. In Acts the 17th chapter we are told how Paul started the Church at Thessalonica. He entered into the synagogue and for three Sabbath days had preached the same message; opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and rise again the third day, and that this Jesus whom said he, “I proclaim unto you is the Christ.” In First Corinthians 15, Paul identified the gospel as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the preaching of that message resulted in the charge against them that these who have turned the world upside down have come hither also. The preaching of that message today is the only thing that can turn the world upside down and leave it right side up. We need to restore this aspect of the New Testament Church. So, let us restore the New Testament Church by restoring the preaching of the Church at Thessalonica.



And now let us restore the Bible study of the Church at Berea. At Berea it is stated that they were nobler than the people in Thessalonica in that they searched the scriptures daily whether these things were so. The Church at Berea was formed, not so much in influence of the miracles of Paul, but from the testimony of the Word of God. These folk did not take the word of the Apostle Paul for the truth until they had compared what he said with the Word of God. We need to do the same today.

There is a lack of concern about the Word of God today. About sixty years ago, a Church of Christ Polish missionary was preaching to an assembly of people in Poland. As he read out of the Bible the people clamored for a copy of the Bible. He had none, but the one he was using. So, he began to tear his Bible apart page by page, and pass it out with the instruction to read that page, and then pass it around to others, as they pass their page to you.

Many of you have several Bibles in your homes, and never read them. Those Polish Christians will rise up in the Judgment with this generation and condemn it for they examined the scripture daily whether these things were so, even though all they had was the Old Testament, and we have the Old and the New.

Many times I have told you about the plan of salvation, and many other things of the Word, but did you ever check it out for yourself? If these people checked up on Paul and were called noble for doing it, you will not only be called noble for checking on me, you will also be noble, fantastic, and wonderful. Let us restore the New Testament Church by restoring the Bible study of the Church at Berea.



And next we need to restore the baptism of the Colossian Church. In verse twelve of chapter two, Paul tells us, “Having been buried with him by baptism wherein ye were also risen with him through faith in the working of God who raised him from the dead.”

We need to restore this aspect of the New Testament Church. They were buried with the Lord in baptism. According to one report in church history back in the 1830’s, a Bible society employed a preacher to distribute Bibles to the Cherokee Indians in Arkansas. One young Indian who could read English fluently was given a copy of the Bible and told to read it, believe it and do what it commands. The next summer the Indian attended a camp meeting in the neighborhood of the preacher who gave him the Bible.

As they talked, the Indian told the preacher to come with him to the river. The preacher said, “Why do you want me to go with you to the river?” The Indian said, “I want you to baptize me.” The preacher said, “I can baptize you without going to the river.” The Indian anxiously said, “Where?” The preacher said, “Right here.” The Indian looked around about him in surprise and said, “How can you baptize me where there is no water?” The preacher said, “We can have water brought to you for that purpose.” The preacher saw that the Indian was confused and began to tell him how it could be poured on his head.

The Indian listened carefully until his instructor was finished. Finally he said to the preacher, “Is that baptism?” The preacher said it was. The Indian paused for a moment and said, “Well, IF THAT 1S BAPTISM, YOU GAVE ME THE WRONG BOOK. Ladies and Gentlemen, I must have been using the wrong book on this radio program for over forty years. Let us restore the baptism of the New Testament Church.



And now let us restore the Church of the New Testament by restoring the giving. Paul speaks of their giving as a grace of God. He says in II Corinthians 8:2, “How that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded into the riches of their liberality. For according to their power and beyond their power they gave of their own accord.”

We all know people who are living beyond their means. Inflation being what it is makes it easy to do. But here were some people who were not living beyond their means; they were giving beyond their means.

Paul does not put them down for doing it. Rather he commends them. He tells us in the fifth verse how they were able to do it. He says they first of all gave themselves to the Lord. People who give themselves to the Lord will not have any difficulty in the matter of giving beyond their means. Not only did they give beyond their means, but he commends this practice to the Corinthians also. He tells them in the seventh verse to abound in this grace. Also, if we are going to restore the Church of the New Testament we will have to learn to abound in this grace.



And now let us restore the faithfulness of the Church at Jerusalem. They continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ teaching, and fellowship in the breaking of bread and the prayers. They were steadfast in all of these things. Of course, they did not have a copy of the New Testament at that time, so the only way they could be steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles would be to go where the Apostles were teaching and preaching. They were, it seems, in services at every possible opportunity.

When a person accepts Christ as his Saviour he automatically commits himself to faithful attendance for the rest of his life. All of his Lord’s Days are reserved for the Lord’s Supper and the teaching of the Apostles. Let us restore the New Testament Church by restoring the faithfulness of the Jerusalem Church.



The eldership of the Churches on the island of Crete also needs to be restored. Paul had left Titus for the purpose of setting in order the things that were wanting. He told him to ordain elders in every city. Not only did he refer to them as elders, he called them bishops. We need to restore this office to the New Testament Church. In those days a bishop and an elder were both one and the same. Today when we think of a bishop in the denominational sense, we think of a man who rules over many congregations, but in the apostolic days there was a plurality of bishops, or elders over each congregation.

If Paul had been speaking of a bishop in the denominational sense, he would have told Titus to ordain a bishop over the whole Island of Crete. One would have been enough. In what Church of the New Testament do we find a bishop who ruled over many congregations?

Another foul-up on the New Testament plan of elders and/or bishops is the violation that Paul gave to women elders and preachers. He said to Timothy in words that cannot be misunderstood, “I permit not a woman to teach or to usurp authority over the man.”  I must apologize for Paul because he was not politically correct. If he had lived today he would have modified the qualifications of the elder and/or bishop.

He would have said to Timothy, “If a man or a woman or one of another sexual preference desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband or the wife either one, of one husband or wife, whichever the case may be, vigilant, sober of good behavior given to hospitality, apt to teach. Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his, or her own house in all gravity. For if a man or a woman either one know not how to rule his, or her, own house, how shall he, or she take care of the Church of God?” Let us restore the New Testament Church by restoring the eldership of the Churches on the Island of Crete.



Then last, we need to restore the evangelism of the Church at Antioch. That Church was the first congregation to send evangelists to foreign soil. In Acts chapter thirteen, we are told, “There were at the Church in Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, the foster Brother of Herod and Saul; as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

The Church sends out preachers. But let the Church send out preachers that will preach the words of the Holy Spirit, the Bible. Would the Holy Spirit send out one man to tell people to bow their heads and ask Jesus to come into their hearts, and then send another to tell them what Peter said on the Day of Pentecost? The world is getting a mixed message.

When I was a young man a preacher told me that the Lord needed me. The Church sent me out. They sent me out to tell people that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that He was raised from the dead and that they needed to believe it, repent and be immersed for the remission of sins. If Churches today don’t send out preachers to preach the message of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible, then who will? I don’t know how many Churches of the New Testament are out there, but let us send out preachers and restore the New Testament Church.