Sermons

Summary: Part 7B under Functions in the New Testament church deals with those functions that Paul styles as first, second, and third; that is, apostles, prophets, and teachers. What are their functions, and were they only for the earliest Christians, or all ages?

This 13-part series of classes has been many years in the making. About 25 years ago I began in earnest to examine the features, character and characteristics of the church as it existed in its earliest years. As I sometimes do, I kept my notes all along the way, and this series of classes is to a large extent the product of those years of on-and-off studying the subject. Several things in my experience contributed to my interest in making this 25-year study which I will mention along the way, and those go much further back.

There may be some difficulty in using the individual parts of this series separately, although viewer are free to do so if it serves their purposes. But to those whose interest is in knowing what the church was like in its earliest years, I recommend starting with Part 1 - Introduction to the Church of the New Testament and proceeding through the parts consecutively.

I have prepared some slides that I used in presenting the series in a classroom setting before adapting it to use as sermons. I have left my cues to advance slides or activate animations in the notes as posted on Sermon Central. If anyone is interested in having the PowerPoint files with the slides, I will be happy to send them. Send me an Email at sam@srmccormick.net and specify what part(s) you are requesting. Be sure that the word “slide” appears in the subject line. It may take me several days to respond, but I will respond to all requests.

THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

OUTLINE OF THE STUDY

I. Introduction

II. The Origin of the Church

III. What is the church?

IV. The First Christians

V. Authority in the First Century Church

VI. Problems in the New Testament Church

VII. How the Church Functioned

A. Introduction to Functions

B. Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers

C. False Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers & Various Gifts and Functions

D. More Gifts and Functions

E. Evangelists, Preachers, and Ministers, Servants and Deacons

F. Pastors, Elders, Bishops, etc.

VIII. How the Church Worshiped

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THE CHURCH OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

OUTLINE OF THE STUDY

I. Introduction

II. The Origin of the Church

III. What is the church?

IV. The First Christians

V. Authority in the First Century Church

VI. Problems in the New Testament Church

VII. How the Church Functioned

A. Introduction to Functions

B. Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers

C. False Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers

D. Evangelists and Preachers

E. Pastors, Elders, Bishops, etc.

F. Supplying Christians’ Needs

VIII. How the Church Worshiped

1. APOSTLES: An apostle is one sent with a mission, having the credentials and the authority to accomplish the mission. The New Testament shows the apostles of Christ to be men who were set apart and empowered with special gifts which they could impart to others, to perform their apostolic mission (Acts 8:18, 1 Tim 4:14).

The apostles were the twelve disciples who accompanied Jesus in his ministry, minus Judas Iscariot, plus Matthias and Paul. The apostles appointed attaches', or hand-picked associates, and the Holy Spirit empowered them with gifts to carry on parts of the work assigned by the apostle. Two such aides we know of are Timothy and Titus. These aides were given powers of healing, etc., like those the apostles possessed (1 Tim 1:18; 4:14), and were sometimes called "apostles." Barnabas is one example (Acts 14:14). We know little about Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7), but they appear to be in this group. There is no biblical basis for the idea that the apostles, in the usual New Testament usage of the word, established a line of descent to later generations. When they died, the work of the apostles was done.

It was essential that the apostles be recognized as apostles of Christ. Paul defended his apostleship vigorously against skeptics, not because he craved prestige and glory, but because his authority, and the fact that it exceeded the authority of other first century Christians, had to be recognized for his work to succeed (2 Cor 11:1; 12:12).

2. PROPHETS: The Greek word for prophet is prophetes, which is derived from the Greek pro meaning before, or advance, and phemin, meaning say, or declare.

Consistent with the literal meaning of the word, we associate a prophet with prediction of future events, or declaring revelations given to them by supernatural means; i.e., by inspiration from the Holy Spirit. However, revelations did not always pertain to future events, but other information or instruction as the Holy Spirit revealed them.

Prophets demonstrated the phenomenon of foretelling future events to confirm that they were directly connected with God.

The word “prophesy” and its associated forms is also used in reference to those declaring the word of God in a non-miraculous way—simply expounding truths previously revealed by others. But our purpose today is to focus on the function that did involve miraculous revelations.

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