Choosing a Pastor
By Bill Fallon
Church Leadership in the New Testament, Part 1
The New Testament Church
The Meaning of the word “Church”
In modern English the word “church” is used in several ways:
1. A building designated as a place of worship.
2. A denomination or particular sect, i.e. Baptist, Methodist.
3. The Body of Christ; the universal church composed of all believers from Pentecost to the Rapture.
4. The local church, a geographically limited assembly of believers who meet in a specific location composed of members of the universal church.
Only the last two of these are recognized in the New Testament. The Greek word translated “church” in the N.T. is “ekklesia, ().” It literally means “a called out group or assembly.” It was used of the nation of Israel while in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) but not while they were in the land. It is also translated “assembly” and used of a gathering of citizens in a public meeting place (Acts 19:32, 39, 41). These two uses of the word are in striking contrast to the N.T. Church that Jesus said that He would build (Matt. 16:18). He was referring to what is commonly called the “universal” church, “the church, which is His body” (Eph. 1:22, 23) which He “purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). You cannot join this one. You must be spiritually born into it by belief in Christ (John 3:3, 16).
The Origin of the Church
The church was a mystery (something previously not revealed) in the Old Testament
(Eph. 5:32). It was first prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 16:18, “...thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church... .” There is a Greek play on words in
this prophecy. Thou art Peter (petros, ), literally a stone or a rock), and
upon this rock, (petra, , literally a rock-
When did the church begin? The Bible does not specifically give that answer. Based
on the facts given to us in Scripture, the Day of Pentecost seems to be the most
reasonable answer. (1) Shortly before His crucifixion Jesus reassures his disciples
that after He is gone that the Comforter will come, the Spirit of truth (John 14:16,
17; 16:7). After His resurrection and immediately before His ascension He tells them
more specifically to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father. They
were there to be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:3-
The Purpose of the Church
The ultimate purpose of the church is to bring honor and glory to its Head, Jesus Christ. It fulfills this purpose by obedience to Him as found in God’s word. This goal is specifically achieved by our compliance to some commands that Jesus left for us:
Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Matt. 28:19,20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
These commands include telling others of the good news of salvation through belief in Jesus, discipling, baptizing, and teaching others to obey Christ. (In verse 28, the first rendering of the word “teach” literally means to “disciple”).
To accomplish this task, the church needs some tools. I Cor. 12 and Rom. 12 speak of spiritual gifts or enablements that God gives to believers as He pleases. These gifts are varied and essential (I Cor. 12), they are to be exercised in divine love (chap 13), and they are to be used for the edification of the body which brings honor to the Head (chap 14). Note how many times variations of the words, “know” or “understand” occur in this “edification” chapter.
Notice the balance of the text. These men are given for the maturing or completing of the saints, for the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body of Christ, for ensuring sound doctrine, spiritual growth, promoting the speaking of truth in love, and much more.
The Pastor/Teacher has a great responsibility. What does the Bible say about his
requirements? Hint: Study I Tim. 3:1-
(1). It had to be after the statement Jesus made in Matt. 16:18, “…I will build
my church.” It also had to be after the crucifixion of Christ; Eph. 2:11-
(2). Contrary to some prevalent doctrine, God’s word nowhere tells us to be baptized in/by/with the Spirit. Believers of this age are already baptized into His body. All the references to Holy Spirit baptism (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16; I Cor 12:13) are in the indicative mood (not imperative as in a command). The commands to the believer in reference to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 4:30; Eph. 5:18; I Thess. 5:19) have to do with yieldedness and obedience, not seeking a baptism which we already have (I Cor. 12:13).
Back Index Home Forward
|Spanish-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|French-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Russian-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Chinese-Am I Going to Heaven?|
|Divorce and Remarriage|
|David and Bathsheba|
|Sin - Index|
|Repentance Word Study|
|Confession of Sin|
|Lukewarm Rev 3|
|4 Soils End Notes|
|Revelation Church Chart|
|Telling the Gift of God|
|1 Corinthians 12|
|1 Corinthians 13:8|
|Handbook of Personal Evangelism|
|Chinese PE Book|
|Spanish PE Book|
|Church Marquee Signs|
|Dead To Sin|
|Bible Knowledge Quiz|
|Lessons from Noah's Ark|
|Noah and the Government|
|Parody of Footprints|