- Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 14:22-23; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2 with verses 13-17; 1 Thess. 1:1 with vv. 2-10; Acts 2:37-42; 4:4; 5:13-14
- Acts 2:41-42; 5:13-14; 2 Cor. 9:13
The members of local churches are saints by calling or as paragraph 2 puts it, “visible saints” who are visibly manifesting and evidencing their faith and obedience (Rom. 1:5-7; Acts 2:37-42). Notice how they evidence their obedience unto that call of Christ unto Himself. It is not because the Elders of the church could see into their hearts, but it is in and by their profession and walking, which is the only way in which we can judge if one is a Christian or not, albeit a fallible judgment. Those saints by calling do willingly consent to walk together in obedience to Christ’s command and thereby giving up themselves to the Lord, and one to another. They do not only commit themselves to the Lord, but also to one another as a local body of Christ to serve and obey Him and also to serve each other. Furthermore, they profess subjection to the ordinances of the Gospel (Acts 2:42), which are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
The saints of God show themselves to be of God in the church, where they do what the Lord Jesus commands them through His Word. They have been called to be saints, i.e., set apart for the purpose of God, and thus to act like that toward each other (1Cor. 1:2; Rom. 1:7). We should willingly be eager to serve each other and to do that with joy and as service to our Savior. We should as brothers and sisters encourage each other to serve the Lord and to help each other in serving the Lord (1Thess. 5:11; Heb. 3:13). It is not the intention of God that believers be lone-rangers, rather, they should be in a church and thus grow in their faith and serve each other. When we show love and render loving service to each other, then the love of Christ will manifest itself amongst us. This is the mark of Christians which the Lord wants them to have (John 13:34-35).
- To each of these churches thus gathered, according to his mind declared in his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is in any way needful for their carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands and rules for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power. 1
- Matt. 18:17-20; 1 Cor. 5:4-5, 13; 2 Cor. 2:6-8
Christ hath given all that power and authority for these local churches...for carrying on that order in worship and discipline, which He hath instituted for them to observe (Matt. 18:17-20). Christ has given them power and authority to obey and follow Him and His ways. He has not given them the power and authority to invent ways of worshipping Him or ways how they are to govern the church contrary to His Word. He has given commands and rules in Scripture of how that power is to be executed.
Power, Authority, And Worship
God has granted authority to the officers in a local church to govern their church in accordance to the Word. He has not granted absolute power and authority, but only as the paragraph says, “in any way needful for their [the churches] carrying on that order [His mind declared in His word] in worship and discipline”. The Lord has not given the church freedom to invent ways of worshipping God but has given them the authority to order their worship in the way that God prescribes. This is the...