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787. Choosing a Local Church

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
August 4, 2020 7:00 pm

787. Choosing a Local Church

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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August 4, 2020 7:00 pm

Dr. Brent Cook continues a chapel series entitled “Christ’s Body: The Church.”    Today’s scripture passage is Acts 2:42.

The post 787. Choosing a Local Church appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series about the role of the church called Christ's body, the church, today's message will be preached by Dr. Brent Cook of the Bob Jones University seminary. Let's go to accept or two in verse 42 we will find a record of the formation of the first church at Pentecost and we are going to find here an emphasis not on consumerism but on commitment asked to and verse 42, and Luke will tell us that the early church committed themselves to for things and they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers Simply examine these four things and see what it is that the earliest church committed to and I will spend the majority of our time with the first, what is the apostles doctrine. This is a term that doubtless refers to everything the apostles taught. But I believe that in this context. Luke has a much narrower meaning uses this term. He is actually focusing our attention on a central doctrine from which everything else is going to radiate.

Remember that at Pentecost. None of the New Testament has been written. Paul hasn't been converted yet.

In fact, is going to be another 15 years before he begins his public ministry and is going to be another 20 to 30 years before even have the majority of the New Testament.

The apostolic teaching of the church commits to it. Pentecost is Peter's sermon in the immediate context that understand the sermon we got to go back approximately nine months to the last summer of Jesus his public ministry to an event that's recorded for us in Matthew chapter 16 Matthew chapter 16 in Matthew 16 Jesus has journeyed to the north of Israel to a place called Caesarea Philippi. And Jesus has two great truths that he wishes to communicate to his disciples.

The first truth concerns his identity. Who is Jesus and so he put the question to them who do people say that I am and the apostle say while some people say you're John the Baptist, and some people say you're Elijah, and some so your Jeremiah. But then Jesus changes the question, who do you say that I am and Peter in a moment of triumph boldly response thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.

And that's the right answer. And so Jesus can move very quickly to the second great truth from that time forth. Matthew says he tells them. I am going to Jerusalem and I'm going to suffer and I'm going to die and I'm gonna come back to life in three days and Peter is caught off guard by this statement regarding Jesus's death.

This will never happen to you.

He says in Jesus response to Peter with the harshest rebuke imaginable. Satan Peter is profoundly mistaken about the purpose of Christ's incarnation now between these two true is this truth of Jesus is deity and the truth of his death and resurrection, Jesus will introduce to us the church for the first time. And here is the very first thing that he says about it. Matthew 16 verse 18.

I will build my church and the gates of hell. That's our word, Hades, or the grave shall not prevail against it. Now this phrase the gates of hell has been a source of much confusion throughout church history. Many believe it refers to some sort of underworld government ruled over by Satan trying to conquer the church.

But this is actually a medieval interpretation that's influenced by Dante's Inferno.

Do you realize that Satan has never been to hell, the lake of fire is his future judgment. It's not his present dominion. This term, the gates of Hades, the term gates refers to an entrance and then scan this case the entrance to the grave we have is identical phrase occur in the septage and translation of Isaiah 38 in verse 10, where Hezekiah is at the point of death, and he says I was about to go into the gates of Hades, or the grave.

But God gives him 15 more years of life so clearly what Jesus is referring to here is death. Death will not conquer the church death will not conquer the founder he's coming back in three days, and death and will not Congress followers if you lose your life you'll find it. So Jesus in his first mention of the church is claiming a whole community of people to participate in his resurrection life, Christ literally built his church on this great truth of the resurrection.

The halo of persecution would surround Christchurch for the first 300 years of its existence more than seven generation of martyrs will follow Christ to the death for the coming of Constantine, and there's only one way to explain that they believed that they were already resurrected in Jesus Ignatius of Antioch was thrown to the lions wrote a letter to the church of Rome in anticipation of his martyrdom and just listen to what he says when I suffer, I shall be the freed man of Jesus Christ, and shall rise again emancipated in him. Let's go back to accept or to where Peter preaches the inaugural sermon in church history is nine months later and I think that Peter is likely thinking about this incident. In Matthew 16 the notice in verse 22 the subject of his sermon, Jesus of Nazareth, a man verse 23 second half of the verse you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. This is exactly what Jesus told Peter what happened to him at Jerusalem. Verse 24 whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be holding up it Peter is here proclaiming what he didn't understand back it sees refill Caesarea Philippi. It was actually impossible for Jesus to stay in the grave and in verses 26 and 27. Peter will quote David in Psalm 16 as proof for the resurrection. He says my flash.

Notice the emphasis here on the body my flesh shall rest in hope because that will not leave my soul in hell. That's the very word, Hades, that we found back in Matthew 16. Neither will thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.

In verse 31 Peter is going to interpret Psalm 16 and apply it to Jesus Christ himself, he that is David seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, Hades, the grave, neither his flesh or his body did see corruption. Peter is claiming that God not only took up body in his incarnation, but in his resurrection he kept it uncorrupted forever in the resurrection, my friends, Jesus becomes permanently incarnate so that we can be permanently united with him, and one Peter preaches this 3000 people believe in verse 3242 they commit themselves to the apostles doctrine.

What is it that they are committing to the permanent incarnation of Christ through his resurrection and his permanent identification with his church. Now let me give you several additional reasons why I think that Lucas particularly focused on the resurrection when he refers to the apostles doctrine and go to just glance over at accepter one and verse 22 apostles believe that it is necessary to replace Judas Iscariot. And notice how they put it, one must be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. This is how the apostles view themselves.

We are witnesses to the resurrection of Christ we see the same idea and asked to in verse 32 and again in chapter 3 in verse 15, where Peter will identify himself as a witness to the resurrection and accepter 10. Peter will tell Cornelius that God raised Jesus from the dead, and he commanded the apostles to preach the resurrection and that's why in chapter 3 we have a record of Peter's second sermon and guess what a second sermon is on the resurrection, and in chapter 4 we have a record of Peter's third sermon where Peter will defend his healing of a lame man and notice what he says by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him that this man stand before you what Peter is claiming is that this miracle only happened because the power of Christ is not buried in a tomb. That's why this miracle happened and Peter is not the only one that emphasizes the resurrection. You can find the same emphasis in Paul after his conversion Paul will journey to Jerusalem and he will tell us that he receives his doctrine straight from the apostles to make sure that he gets it correct and listen to what he says in first Corinthians 15 I delivered unto you.

You Corinthians that which I also received Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture.

He was buried, and he rose again the third day according to the Scripture and begin an accepter 22. We have a whole account here of several trials that Paul is going to go through.

Toward the end of his ministry in which he will defend himself and I just want to read to you. Selections from these trials and I think it will really make the case that Paul is centered on the resurrection asked 22 in verse 14, Paul says that he was chosen to see the resurrected Christ to hear the resurrected Christ and the preach him to all men, 23, verse six of the hope of the resurrection. Paul says I am called in question 24, 21, touching the resurrection of that I am called in question by you this day 28 2518 through 19. Feel access to a grip of the accusers had certain questions against Paul of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be a life 2660 rate, Paul says. I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God into our fathers why they should be thought anything incredible with you that God should raise the dead. Are you getting the point, one more 2622 through 23.

I continue to this day, witnessing both to small and great that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead. The apostles were constantly talking about this. Why is the resurrection so important I want to give you three reasons, among many others.

The resurrection authenticates Christ identity as God. Paul will say in Romans one in verse four that Jesus was declared to be the son of God with power by the resurrection from the grave.

Secondly, the resurrection authenticates the gospel. Paul will say in verse Prince 15 that if there is no resurrection. The apostles are liars and that your faith is vain and the dead are gone forever, and all of you Christians are the most miserable people in all the world and thoroughly the resurrection inaugurates the second half of the story of mankind on the earth. This is the new humanity that again Dr. McGonagle spoke of last week after his resurrection.

Jesus Christ claimed to his disciples that all authority has been given to me this is Matthew chapter 28 have you ever wondered what he does with all that authority that authority in heaven and in earth. It's all been given to him.

You don't have to wonder Paul tells us in first Corinthians 15 precisely what he does with that. This is Paul's great chapter on the resurrection, he says, for instance, for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive and listen to her. All of this is going, then cometh the end when he that is, Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the father when he shall put down all rule and all authority and a hall power. For he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. With the rolling away of the stone Jesus begins to rollback the curse and recover all that is lost in Adam, do you understand what we have been celebrating every Sunday morning, together with the apostles and with the martyrs and with the fathers and with the reformers and with the missionaries and with the saints from all ages for the last 2000 years. What have we been doing every Sunday morning. Jesus is alive and we are permanently united with him. There is a resurrection life. The story of Christianity, my friends, is the story of Christ continuing incarnation and his people, and it is not only the greatest story ever told. It is the greatest story that could ever possibly be told well that's the apostles doctrine. What about fellowship.

What is fellowship in chapter 2 and verse 42 this is the second thing the church commits to what when you and I think about fellowship. We are likely to think about food at somebody's house after church or pleasant conversation with friends, play dates for kids. Perhaps a Saturday morning Bible study. No, these are all very good things, but the first Christians were much more radical. We have a description of their fellowship in verses 44 to 45. Look at these words and all that believed were together and had all things in common and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. We are talking about a kind of ecclesiastical communism. What do you make of this politically careful in how we interpret historical passages. History tells us what happened.

But history is not always precedent-setting. Luke gives us no indication that this practice becomes the norm in the early church and Becky tells us in accepter five. The practice will actually prove disastrous for one couple but the same time. Let's not dismiss this passage as irrelevant.

I think what Lucas communicating to us here is that the early church responded to the resurrection of Jesus by becoming suddenly charitable with their possessions. That's a lesson for us when you get a hold of the truth that Jesus Christ is alive and that his resurrection body is merely the seed of a whole new world to come. You begin to hold your possessions a little more loosely for the sake of Christ Church for my entire life. I've known a man in India was the founder and president of a Bible college.

He told me many years ago that he would be quite content to die without a dime in his pocket. This man is poured his whole life is resources all of his abilities and to train men for the ministry and within the context of my life. His students have planted more than a thousand churches across India. That's the fellowship of the resurrection welcome again to ask two in verse 42. Let us look at the third item that the church committed to what is the breaking of bread, while Luke in the book of Luke chapter 22 in verse 19 will use a similar phrase to describe the institution of the Lord's supper. The breaking of bread and the cop were to be permanent testimonies of Christ's suffering and his death, but they were also permanent testimonies to Christ resurrection and his second coming, because Christ told the apostles that he would eat this meal with them again in the kingdom.

So regular communion is the means by which we keep ourselves centered in the incarnation life of Jesus. Regular communion was so vital to the early church in many cases they practiced it every Sunday and it was the means again by which they keep themselves centered in the new life of Jesus.

Paul will tell us in Colossians chapter 3 that believers have already died. We learned about that yesterday may have been crucified with Christ. They have been arisen with Christ, but nevertheless they are capable of enormous sin. Dr. Pettit spoke yesterday of our need to mortify our flesh to put to death our flesh.

So how is it that we evaluate whether we are living centered in this new life in Jesus Christ know we have many answers to this question from spiritual checklist to self-help books and accountability partners.

These are all good things. No doubt, but for me personally.

None of them were quite so well as the means that Jesus instituted regular communion. Paul tells us in first printed 11 that a primary purpose of communion is self examination and he tells us that I could actually end up very sick or even quite dead for taking communion unworthily. That's a frightening thing is in not when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17. My doctors gave me all the medical explanations as to the origins of cancer but I had asked myself a very serious question. Did my cancer result from taking communion improperly. That was alive option for me as it should be for you.

I was really cautious. We are never to go around evaluating other Christians who have some sort of physical ailment and wondering if somehow they've taken communion unworthily. The Bible is very clear that some of God's greatest saints are permitted to go through trials and tribulations as a testimony to all of us. Paul says that we have to examine ourselves and by examine ourselves.

We keep ourselves centered in the resurrection life of Christ.

So what is the fourth thing the church committed to will in verse 42 it's prayer and notice the Greek text here reads the prayers and prayers. Is plural.

We are talking about regular scheduled times of prayer.

We are talking about the deliberate cultivation of corporate prayer in the church is very interesting to read to the book of acts, and to notice the kinds of things that people actually pray for they will certainly play pray for the advancement of the gospel of the resurrected Christ and what you will notice is a striking absence to the kinds of petty consumer a stick self interested concerns that so easily occupy our prayers. There's an emphasis here on the advance of the good news that Christ is alive so let's go back to our question. What should we be looking for when choosing a church three years ago I met a man on a cross-country flight was born on Christmas day and so his mother named him Jesus had a wonderful opportunity of sharing the gospel with Jesus and three weeks later, he emailed me and told me that he had run into some Christians down in Florida and they had communicated the identical gospel the identical good news with him and that he had been born again and here's what he wrote to me.

I believe my birthday is not 12:00 AM December 25, 1985. Any longer.

Instead, it's 12:45 PM January 9, 2011. This is a new life and I don't know what the share at the moment, other than I found a great Christian church to go and worship Christ. That's exactly the spirit of the early church.

They thought of themselves as part of this resurrection community that was coming together to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and they kept coming back Sunday after Sunday after Sunday and we been doing that for 2000 years and notice in Jesus's letter. There is not a hint of consumerism, its commitment so friends you need to find a church preaching the apostles doctrine where you can celebrate your resurrection life in Christ, you need to find a church that expects you to fellowship by sharing your wealth, your resources, your abilities, your talents for the sake of Christ Church and you need to find a church that expects you its commitment that expects you to examine yourself through regular communion and that expects you to mortify your flesh so that you can stay centered in the resurrection life of Christ and you need to find a church that expects you to be a regular and consistent participant and praying for the advancement of the good news that Jesus Christ is alive, would you all just answer this very simple question is Jesus alive if he is, then shouldn't you take ownership in the story of his resurrection life and is continuing incarnation in his people are father we thank you for Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was very much alive today, we thank you for his church. We thank you for the wonderful privilege that we have, to be a part of that church and I pray that every student that graduates from Bob Jones University would commit themselves to your church for their entire life. Pray this in Christ name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University. Dr. Brent Cook, which is part of the study series about the church, titled Christ body, the church join us again tomorrow for the conclusion of the series here on The Daily Platform

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