Organization of the Lord

The Organization of the Lord Part 3

In the historical development of Christianity, the apostleship is next to the life, teaching, miracles, sacrificial atonement, and victorious resurrection of Jesus the Christ more than any others. This is the complement of the ministry among men of our Lord, and is essential to complete that which He “began to do and to teach”. Jesus instituted the apostolic office with great care, and buttressed it with His own personal choice and education of the men to fill it on the one side, and with the special endowment of the Holy Spirit on the other.
This office is the sole means of bringing the incarnate life and the death of the Son of God into contact with individual minds and hearts from the day of His ascension to the remotest ages, even to the end of time. From Jesus these men “received grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among all nations for His name.” Romans 1:5; 16:26 The Apostles were/are the specially endowed ambassadors of Christ who were given the “ministry of reconciliation”. 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20 To them was given the plenary authority to transact business in this world for the King in the Heavens, in the inauguration of His kingdom on earth and the establishment of it, so that it might be an everlasting kingdom, break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and by peaceful conquest work its way to universal dominion!!
From its origin, the apostolic office was and is extraordinary, of the highest rank and dignity, and was the office designated to establish all other appointments of Christ’s kingdom on this earth. A clear conception of it lies at the foundation of a correct understanding of the Gospel, the church, and its polity!! As is usual, without question, these men Met certain qualifications none else could meet.
The word “apostle” means one who is sent, a missionary. It was used in referring to Christ, of those sent by Christ, and of those sent by the church. Hebrews 3:1; Matthew 10:2; Acts 4:14; Philippians 1:25 Limited to the apostolic Office, there were fifteen men given this appellation. They were appointed by Christ, Himself, with absolute power to govern His church; to lead by the keys given them with authority to admit or exclude; they were also guided by His perpetual inspiration, so that ALL their moral and religious teachings was absolutely and infallibly true; there are NO apostles living, needed, or directing His church, today!! The apostolic office represented the ONLY monarchial office in the Churches of Christ and no parallel can be found!! Their authority is the exact counterpoise to that democratic tendency which runs rampant in the Church, today!! They had no successors!!
The apostles were the witnesses!! In order to be a witness, one must have personal knowledge of the things concerning which they bore testimony. They must have seen, heard, handled, been instructed and commissioned by Christ; particularly, they must have seen Him after He was known to be dead, that they might be witnesses of His resurrection. Acts 1 and 2 They had to be so fully supervised and controlled by the Holy Spirit so NO mistake in “handing down the word of truth” could ever be found. Every utterance, teaching, remembrance, expression of truth into which they were guided by the Spirit demanded signs, wonders, and mighty deeds to approve their message!! John 14:26;16:13; 2 Corinthians 12:12 The assumption of apostolic authority is the germ of the most dangerous ecclesiasticism possible and the most intolerant tyranny ever to afflict the church of the living God, in the past and today!!

The Organization of the Lord Part 2

The church is a city, state, and empire, or a world of fallen humanity and as such MUST have an organization that has the power of abstracting from the mass of mankind materials to promote its healthful growth as a community. The power consists mainly in such an organization as brings to bear upon that community its whole moral and spiritual force. Salvation itself is attainable only in virtue of this institution. Jesus Himself commenced His kingdom, and those who attached themselves to Him became its citizens. Jesus Himself made known the great moral principles which were to regulate His subjects. The church did not begin until after the descent of the Holy Spirit signaled the completion of Christ’s marriage vows on Pentecost. The church was mentioned, briefly in prospect, before it came. Men could be admitted into the kingdom of Christ as soon as they were willing to submit to His authority, and to conform to the life which He lived and taught; but they could not be formed into a church until they believed in Him as the Son of God, the Savior of those who received Him by the justifying righteousness of His life and the atoning sacrifice of His death, and the impartation of the Holy Spirit. The future judge of man gave no indication as to the government of His “chosen race” before He ascended. Changes, however slight, are the most dangerous, for they creep in unnoticed and without debate and before they are noticed are woven deep into her fabric.
The church of the apostolic period is the only church in which there is found an authority justly claiming the power to set up and regulate Christ new bride. And such authority is found in this church, not because it was possessed of a truer or purer constitution, or a more primitive antiquity than belong to succeeding ages, for neither antiquity, nor purity of form, nor catholicity confers right to govern or command; but because it was under the immediate rule and guidance of the apostles, and it is their infallible judgment alone, as exhibited in this church, we find a legitimate claim to our submission. At first, the entire government of the church was in the apostles, and their personal supervision continued while they lived. They made provision, however, for a continual personal supervision of the affairs of the church after their demise. The government of the church is still under the rule and guidance of the apostles, as their directions are embodied in the teaching of the New Testament, and affairs of the church are now to be managed in harmony with their instructions.
Christians are placed under a Christocracy. The rights of God and rights of man are safely lodged in the hands of our King, who is the peer of the eternal God and the peer of glorified man. His spiritual kingdom is the church. He is head over all things for its sake. He claims only the regenerated, sanctified and redeemed sons of men as His holy nation. They are spread over all nations but united in one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one hope, and one church!! No social system can perpetuate itself, extend its influence, or make its means and instrumentalities available, without a confederative organization. There is always need for government and discipline in the church of Christ. These are indispensable to good order and usefulness.
The supremacy of the Holy Scripture, the main current of church opinion on all questions of polity and practice, has for a very considerable time been setting strongly towards the ecclesiastical system of the third and fourth centuries, to the neglect strongly the work of the evangelist which carried the church quietly along the tide of years knowing only Christ revealed of the shore to which it was wafting them.

The Organization of the Lord

Jesus Christ has established a kingdom upon the earth. This kingdom is also called a church, an ecclesia. This ecclesia consists of persons called out from the world to be disciples or subjects of Christ. For the mutual helpfulness, and for the spread of the Gospel at home and abroad, it is necessary for Christ’s followers to unite together in some organization and under some form of government. What shall this organization be? What is the form of government for Christians? Has the Lord Jesus Christ established a system of organization and government, or are Christians at liberty to make their own arrangements and adopt their own form of government? What saith the scriptures??
The scriptures clearly establish the following: Jesus Christ is King of His kingdom and Head of His church. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. He is Lord and Christ, the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; He is the Head of the church, which is His body; He is the Chief, the great Shepherd and Bishop of the souls of His followers.
Jesus Christ has established laws for the government of His kingdom or church. He is our Prophet or Lawgiver; we are commanded to hear Him; we are under law to Christ, and it is our duty to observe whatever He has commanded.
Jesus Christ has appointed officers for the regulation and administration of the affairs and interests of His church or kingdom. “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues.” 1 Corinthians 12:28 “And He gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers.” Ephesians 4:11 Comparing the two passages, we have the following order: first, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, evangelists; fourthly, pastors and finally teachers. Under Christ, the apostles stand first among the officers of His kingdom.
The apostles are Christ’s representatives or ambassadors, chosen, instructed, sent forth by Him, and inspired by the Holy Spirit to represent Christ’s authority upon His chosen, and establish His kingdom in the world. Therefore, the apostles of Christ, as His master builders or architects, established the foundation of Christ’s church or kingdom, and others are to build upon this foundation according to the apostles, and them ALONE!!
The system of church organization and administration established by the apostles of Christ for the government and regulation of Christ’s church is binding on this said body of believers to the end of time. Where the apostles bind us, we are bound to observe their directions; where they have left us free, we are free to make our own arrangements according to the law of expediency, no matter what college or self-appointed group of men think otherwise!! Matthew 28:28:18, 20; 1 Timothy 6:15; Ephesians 1: 20-23; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Corinthians 12: 28; Ephesians 4:11; John 15:26; Luke 22:29; 30; Matthew 18:18; and John 13:20 We are under Christ and His apostles, not men!!
At first, the entire government of the church was in the apostles, and their personal supervision which continued while they lived. They made provision, however, for a continual personal supervision of the affairs of the church after their departure. The government of the church is still under the rule and guidance of the apostles, as their directions are embodied in the teaching of the New Testament, and the affairs of the church are now to be managed in harmony with those instructions!!
The commission of Jesus to His apostles is the vital LINK between the crowned Head on high and His body on earth!! He alone, reigns supreme in all matters.