This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).
Jesus had said that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18), and that it would be in the world but not of the world (Jn. 17:5-21). In fact the Greek word for church is related to and a derivative of another word meaning to call out. So as these two portions of Scripture indicate, Jesus is calling out of the world a group of believers that He calls The Church. It is important to notice that He does the calling and the building, and no one can enter this Church except through Christ Jesus who is the door. There is no person, institution, or anything else that can keep you out of or place you into this Church; only God has that ability, and He does it when we place saving faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
Jesus said that this Church would be different from worldly institutions in that the leaders would not be overlords, but servants (Luke 22:24-26). Those who lead and minister to the body of Christ do so for the good of the whole assembly, not for any personal benefit (1 Cor. 12:12-27), and in 1 Corinthians 14:26-40 we are given instructions on how to conduct our services when we gather together. Individual churches were to be supervised or overseen by men called bishops and/or elders (1 Tim. 3:1-16; Titus 1:5-9), men of highest Christian integrity who have proven themselves faithful and capable in managing their families, and also worldly affairs. The functions and authority of the first century apostles and prophets were gradually transferred, but to a diminished degree, to the bishops and elders.
This then was the solid foundation that God, by the Holy Spirit, laid for the beginning of His Church. For the Scriptures say, "You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself the chief Cornerstone" (Eph. 2:20). Together with the verbal and written instructions of the apostles and the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit, God expected His Church to evangelize the world. With this basic structure in place The Church, the Body of Christ, or His Bride entered into the second century.
Unfortunately, man has a strong natural tendency to exalt himself rather than to serve as Jesus instructed, and as a result the Church began to deteriorate. Bruce L. Shelley states on page 74 of his book, Church History In Plain Language, that "By the year 220 it was evident that the Christian churches, together with their bishops and clergy, were no longer what they had been."
Never before, in the history of mankind, have there been so many and varied themes and schemes for distracting and conforming or shaping the minds of men, that mold or shape our character, or the person that we become. While these various means can have a drastic effect upon our lives there is only one person who is capable of being all things to all people, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s desire is that we commit ourselves to His plan for the development of our soul and spirit. The following passages of Scripture will help us to better understand this plan.
2 CORINTHIANS 3:17-18.... Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). [Isa. 61:1,2.] And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
JOHN 16:13-14.... But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
Here then, in seed form, is God’s ultimate plan for our development: As we commit ourselves to a daily and prayerful study of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will direct each individual so as to fashion them to function as a particular part of Christ’s body – the Church (1 Cor. 12:4-31). Thus, collectively we are "transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18). When we grow and function together as we should, we honor and glorify Christ.
Too often, however, God’s straight and narrow plan is neglected and the broad-way plans of men are substituted instead. We can bypass most of God’s preparation and procedures by just learning a few teachings and practices from some denomination or person and follow them, but who would you rather have as a teacher, them or the Holy Spirit? Whenever we fail to learn and apply the whole of God’s Word to our lives, we become bogged down by tradition, and it becomes very hard if not impossible for us to grow and be alert to the dangers that surround us (2 Peter 3:17-18). This does not mean that we can’t learn from other Christians, but that we should keep in mind that the Godhead is our ultimate source, "But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven. And you must not be called masters (leaders), for you have one Master (Leader), the Christ. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matt. 23:8-11).
Another thing to keep in mind is that, "A pupil is not superior to his teacher, but everyone [when he is] completely trained (readjusted, restored, set to rights, and perfected) will be like his teacher" (Luke 6:40). So who would we rather be like or fashioned after, a mere man or the Son of the living God, which keep in mind, is God’s desire and plan?
ROMANS 8:26-30.... So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will. [Ps. 139:1,2.] We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being].