God instituted marriage and ordained it to be between one man and one woman for life. It is not lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at one and the same time.
Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:5, 6.
Marriage is for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind in accordance with His laws, and for the prevention of immorality.
Gen. 1:28; 2:18; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9.
Marriage is ordained by God both for believers and unbelievers, yet Christians are to marry only Christians.
Neh. 13:25-27; 1 Cor. 7:39; 1 Tim. 4:3; Heb. 13:4.
God has ordained not only marriage but the nature of the relationship between a husband and a wife. By God’ s design, a husband and a wife are to compliment one another. The husband is to be a loving servant-leader and the wife to be a completer. The husband-wife relationship should reflect the nature of the relationship of Christ and the Church.
Eph. 5, Gen. 1; 2
The universal church is invisible in respect of the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace. It consists of the whole number of the elect who have been, who are being, or who yet shall be gathered into one under Christ who is the church’s head. The church is the wife, the body, the fullness of Christ, who ‘fills all in all.’
Eph. 1:10, 22, 23; 5:23, 27, 32; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23.
The purest churches under heaven are liable to be troubled by confusion and error, and some have so far degenerated as no longer to be churches of Christ at all. Nevertheless, Christ always has had a kingdom in this world of such as believe in Him and profess His name, and He ever will have such a kingdom to the world’s end.
Ps. 72:17; 102:28; Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12; Rev. 2:3; 12:17; 18:2.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church. By the appointment of the Father, all authority requisite for the calling, establishment, ordering and governing of the church is supremely and sovereignly invested in Him.
Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 4:11, 12; Col. 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:2-9.
In the exercise of the authority which has been entrusted to Him, the Lord Jesus, through the ministry of the Word and by His Spirit, calls to Himself out of the world those who are given to him by his Father, that they may live in His sight, rendering Him the obedience prescribed by Him for them in the Scripture. He commands those thus called to form particular societies or churches to promote their common welfare, and to engage in the public worship which He requires them to carry on while they continue in the world.
Matt. 18:15-20; 28:20; John 10:16; 12:32.
The members of these churches are saints by reason of the divine call, and in a visible manner they demonstrate and declare, both by their confession of Christ and their manner of life, that they obey Christ’s call. They willingly consent to hold fellowship together according to Christ’s instructions, giving themselves to the Lord and to one another as God wills, and yielding full assent to the requirements of the gospel.
Acts 2:41, 42; 5:13-14; Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 9:13.
To each to these churches thus gathered according to the divine will made known in His Word, the Lord has given all the power and authority requisite for the carrying on of the form of worship and discipline which He has appointed for their observance. This extends to the provision of such commands and rules as are needful for the rightful and proper use of the power conferred on the churches.
Matt. 18:17, 19; 1 Cor. 5:4, 5; 5:13; 2 Cor. 2:6-8.
A local church, gathered and fully organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of elders, deacons and members. By Christ’ s appointment the elders and deacons are to be set apart by the church as called and gathered. It is their special responsibility to arrange for the carrying out of what the Lord has ordained, and to use the powers entrusted to them for the execution of their duties; and such arrangements are to continue in the church until the world ends.
Acts 20:17, 29; Phil. 1:1.
By Christ’s appointment, any person who has been qualified and given the necessary gifts by the Holy Spirit for the work of elder in a church, must be chosen and called to that office by the church itself. He must be solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with the laying on of the hands of the existing eldership, if there be such. Similarly, deacons are to be chosen by the church, and set apart by prayer and the laying on of hands.
Acts 6:3, 5, 6; 14:23; 1 Tim. 4:14.
Elders are required to give constant attention to the service of Christ in His churches; they are to be engaged in the ministry of the Word and in prayer, and to seek the welfare of men’s souls as those that must give account to the Lord. It is imperative that the church to which a fulltime teaching elder ministers should give him, according to the churches’ ability, not only all due honor, but such abundance of this worlds material good as will enable him to live in comfort, without the need to entangle themselves in secular employment, and which will also suffice to enable him to exercise hospitality towards others. Such an arrangement is required by the law of nature itself, and by the express command of our Lord Jesus, who has decreed that ‘they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel.’
Acts 6:4; 1 Cor. 9:6-14; Gal. 6:6, 7; 1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17, 18; 2 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 13:17.
Although it is the duty of the elders or pastors of the churches, according to their office, to be constantly active in preaching the Word, yet such a work is not to be regarded as confined wholly to them, for the Holy Spirit may qualify others for the same work by giving them the necessary gifts. In this case, when such men are approved and called to the work by the church, they may and ought to perform it.
Acts 11:19-21; 1 Pet. 4:10, 11.
All believers are under obligation to join themselves to local churches when and where they have opportunity to do so. It follows that all who are admitted to the privileges of church fellowship also become subject to the discipline and government of the church in accordance with the rule of Christ.
1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15.
Any church members who have taken offense at the behavior towards them of other church members, and who have obeyed the instructions laid down in Scripture for dealing with such cases, must refrain from disturbing the peace of the church, nor should they absent themselves from church assemblies or the administration of church ordinances on account of their being offended by certain of their fellow-members; but they must wait upon Christ in the further proceedings of the church.
Matt. 18:15-17; Eph. 4:2, 3.
All members of each local church are engaged to pray continually for the good and the prosperity of all churches of Christ, wherever located, and upon all occasions to assist all other believers, within the limits of their own areas and callings, in the exercise of their gifts and graces. It follows, therefore, that churches should seek fellowship one with another, so far as the providence of God provides opportunity for the enjoyment of such benefits.
Ps. 122:6; Rom. 16:1, 2; Eph. 6:18; 3 John 8-10.
When difficulties or differences occur in respect of doctrine or church government, and peace, unity and edification are at risk, one church only may be involved, or the churches in general may be concerned. Again, a member or members of a church may be injured by disciplinary proceedings not agreeable to truth and church order. In such cases as these it is according to the mind of Christ that many churches in fellowship together should meet and confer together through their chosen representatives, who are able to give their advice on the matters in dispute to all the churches concerned. It must be understood, however, that the representatives assembled are not entrusted with any church power properly so called, nor have they any jurisdiction over the churches themselves to exercise discipline upon any churches or persons, or to impose their conclusions on the churches or their officers.
Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 25; 2 Cor. 1:24; 1 John 4:1.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SAINTS
All saints are united to Jesus Christ their head by His Spirit and by faith. But this does not mean that they become one person with Him. Yet they have fellowship in His graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory. Also, as they are united to one another in love, they enjoy fellowship in the gifts and graces one of another, and are under obligation to render such services, public and private, as promote their mutual well-being, in both spiritual and temporal matters.
John 1;16; Rom. 1:12; 6:6, 7; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 12:7; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 4:15, 16; Phil. 3:10; 1 Thess. 5:11, 14; 1 John 1:3; 3:17,18.
By their profession of faith, saints are committed to the maintenance of a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God and in the performance of such other special services as promote their mutual well-being. They are also bound to relieve one another in their temporal concerns according to their various needs and abilities. According to the rule of the gospel, this type of fellowship, while it particularly applies to the family and church relationships of saints, is to be extended, as God gives opportunity, to the whole household of faith, that is to say, to all who in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus. At the same time, however, it must be understood that such a sharing one with another as saints, does not deprive any man of the title and proprietorship which he has in his own goods and possessions, nor does it infringe such title.
Acts 5:4; 11:29, 30; 1 Cor. 12:14-27; Eph. 4:28; 6:4; Heb. 3:12, 13; 10:24, 25.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
Baptism and the Lord’s supper are ordinances which have been explicitly and sovereignly instituted by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, who has appointed that they are to be continued in his church to the end of the world.
Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:26.
It is the pattern that these holy ordinances are to be administered within the context of a local church and by those to whom Christ commissioned.
Acts 2:42-45, Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 4:1.
Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ. It is intended to be, to the person baptized, a sign of his fellowship with Christ in His death and resurrection, and of his being engrafted into Christ, and of the remission of sins. It also indicates that the baptized person has given himself up to God, through Jesus Christ, so that he may live and conduct himself ‘in newness of life.’
Mark 1:4; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12.
The only persons who can rightly submit themselves to this ordinance are those who actually
profess repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, being willing to yield obedience to Him.
Mark 16:16; Acts 2:41; 8:12, 26, 27; 18:8.
The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, in which the believer is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 8:38.
Immersion, that is to say, the dipping of the believer in water, is the Biblical pattern for the due administration of this ordinance.
Matt. 3:16; John 3:23.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by the Lord on the same night in which He was betrayed. It is to be observed in His churches to the world’ s end, for a perpetual remembrance of Him and to show forth the sacrifice of Himself in His death. It was instituted also to confirm saints in the belief that all the benefits stemming from Christ’s sacrifice belong to them. The Lord’ s supper is also a bond and pledge of the fellowship which believers have with Christ and with one another.
1 Cor. 10;16, 17, 21; 1 Cor. 11:23-26.
In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor is any real sacrifice made in any sense of that term for remission of sin of the living or the dead. The supper is only a memorial of the one offering up of Christ, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all. It is also a lifting up of all possible praise to God for the once-for-all work of Calvary.
Matt. 26:26-28; 1 Cor. 11:24; Heb. 9:25, 26, 28.
The outward elements in the Lord’s supper - bread and wine - bear such a relation to the Lord crucified that, in a true sense although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, namely, the body and blood of Christ, even though, in substance and nature, they will remain truly and only bread and wine.
1 Cor. 11:26-28.
Every believer should search his soul for sin and repent thereof before partaking of the body and blood of the Lord. All persons who participate at the Lord’ s table unworthily are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and their eating and drinking brings them under divine judgment. It follows, therefore, that all unregenerate persons, being unfit to enjoy fellowship with Christ, are similarly unworthy to be communicants at the Lord’s table; and while they remain as they are they cannot rightly be admitted to partake of Christ’ s holy ordinance, for thereby great sin against Christ would be committed.
Matt. 7:6; 1 Cor. 11:29; 2 Cor. 6:14, 15.
There were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles' message and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man's message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message. Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers. The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification. No one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted.
Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 13:8-12; 13-14:12; Revelation 13:13-14 Romans 12:6-8; Luke 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Corinthians 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15
THE STATE OF MAN AFTER DEATH AND THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
The bodies of men after death return to dust and suffer decay, but their souls which neither die nor sink into a state of unconsciousness - they are inherently immortal. The souls of the righteous, whose holiness is at death perfected, are received into the presence of God, where they are with Christ, looking upon the face of God in light and glory, and waiting for the full redemption of their bodies. The souls of the wicked are cast into Hades, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Souls separated from their bodies are in either in the presence of God or Hades, for the Scripture speaks of no other dwelling of the departed.
Gen. 3:19; Eccles. 12:7; Luke 16:23, 24; 23:43; Acts 13:36; 2 Cor. 5:1, 6, 8; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12:23; 1 Pet. 3:19; Jude 6, 7.
At the rapture, saints then alive on the earth will not die, but be changed. By the power of Christ, He will raise the bodies of the righteous to honor, for they will be refashioned after the pattern of His own glorious body.
Job. 19:26, 27; 1 Cor. 15:42, 43, 51, 52; 1 Thess. 4:17.
At the final judgment by the power of Christ, the bodies of the unrighteous will be raised to judgment.
John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; Phil. 3:21.
THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH
There will be a personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven year tribulation to translate His church from this earth and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works.
1 Corinthians 3:11 15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-5:11
THE TRIBULATION PERIOD
Immediately following the removal of the church from the earth the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world, and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth. At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged. This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy. The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign.
John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 12; Revelation 16; Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4- 6; Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:15-31; 25:31-46.
After the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth. During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth. This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world.
Matthew 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:10-11; 2:29-30; Revelation 20:1-7; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel 7:17-22; Revelation 19:11-16; Daniel 7:17-27; Revelation 20:1-7
The kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience. The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing.
Isaiah 65:17-25; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Zechariah 8:1-17; Matthew 21:43; Romans 11:1-26; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:22-32; Romans 11:25-29; Deuteronomy 28:15-68
This time of our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life, and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan.
Isaiah 11; 65:17-25; Ezekiel 36:33-38; Revelation 20:7
THE JUDGMENT OF THE LOST
Following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ, Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven. Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men, will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment.
Revelation 20:7; Revelation 20:9; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10; John 5:22
This resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment, they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire.
Romans 14:10-13, Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15
After the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers, the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells. Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another. Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever.
2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15, 2 Peter 3:10; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15, 21-22; Revelation 21:2; John 17:3; Revelation 21, 22; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; 1 Corinthians 15:28