Series – Nature of Church
Review – studies so far
We began with Matt 16: 13 – 28
From the passage we noted the following pillars of Church
- Personal questions – what do you think?
- God prepares us with message of repentance (John) / prophecy (Elijah/Jeremiah)
- But we need the revelation of Jesus as the Christ
- Has to be given by the Father
- Christ builds his Church
- The Gates of Hell will not prevail – (we storm the gates / Hell’s strategies fail)
- Keys of the Kingdom are given to the Church (To bind and to loose)
- Strategic silence (knowing when to speak and when to wait for God’s timing)
Development of the early church
In our first Early Church Bible Study, we skipped Church Version 2 (Jerusalem) and looked that the Church in Antioch. (Acts 11).
We looked to see evidence of the above pillars. What do you remember?
We saw how persecution had caused the spread of believers, and as the Church became established in Antioch, Jerusalem sent Barnabus to them. Then Barnabus looked for Saul/Paul.
Barnabus was full of the Holy Spirit AND faith.
Prophets give guidance and trigger practical actions (Agabus)
Giving is organised each according to his abilities.
Acts 13:1 – 3 Prophets and Teachers. Setting apart.
Early Church Version 3. The Church in Ephesus
Acts 19:1-12 (ESV Strong’s)
1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
8 And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.
Which of the pillars from Matthew 16 are evident here?
What is the process of growth?
- How many does Paul start with?
What are the three meeting venues they progress through?
- When and why do they move?
- How long does it take for the whole of Asia to hear the Gospel?
How was that possible?
- What else do we know about the organisation/nature of the church in Ephesus?
- e.g. Acts 20:17 (ESV Strong’s) 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
- 1 Corinthians 15:32 (ESV Strong’s) 32
What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
- 1 Timothy 1:3-4 (ESV Strong’s) 3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.
Where else could we look to understand more about the church there?