The Coming of the Church
The Church of the Bible, Lesson 2 of 13
The church did not happen overnight. It was planned, prophesied, and established. The Bible shows all of this clearly.
First, the church existed in the mind of God. Paul says this to the saints at Ephesus: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:3-6). Please note that he is talking to the church at Ephesus. He says God had chosen them before the foundation of the world. That means that God was thinking about the church even before the world was created. That is, He was planning it at that time. It had its beginning in the mind of God. How terrible it is to say that God did not plan the church from the beginning! Second, the church was spoken of in prophecy several times. Isaiah said, "And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it" (Isaiah 2:2-3). Joel stated, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit" (Joel 2:28-29). Then Daniel pointed out, "And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44). Now let us draw some conclusions:
1. The kingdom would be established in the last days.
2. It would be established in the mountains.
3. All nations would flow to it.
4. The Lord would pour out His spirit upon all flesh.
5. It would be established in the days of the fourth world empire.
6. It would consume all other kingdoms and stand forever.
Now, where is all of this fulfilled? Read Acts 2!
Third, the church was promised. John said it was at hand (Matthew 3:2). That means it was nearby, or would soon be established. Christ promised, "And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). "Verily I say unto you, There are some here of them that stand by, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come with power" (Mark 9:1). "And he said unto them, Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Ye are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:46-49). Now observe these facts:
1. The kingdom was near.
2. Christ promised to build it in spite of death (hades).
3. Some of those who were with Christ would still be living at the time of its establishment.
4. It would come with power.
5. Repentance and remission of sins would be preached in His name among all nations.
6. It would begin in Jerusalem.
7. The apostles would be given power from on high in the city of Jerusalem.
Please keep all these points in mind as we come finally to the establishment of the church and you will see all of this unfold. Turn now to Acts 2. Upon doing so, read it carefully several times. All Bible scholars admit that the church was established at this time. The place was Jerusalem. The time was the last days. These were the days of the kings of the Roman Empire. The power came. Repentance and remission of sins were preached to all nations. The church has been in existence ever since. The church that God had in His mind was established. The prophecies about it were fulfilled. The promises about it were kept.
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