THE CHURCH OF GOD
Article aB 1989
Note article bB much more extensively considers this subject.
Note the writer in writing this article had much confidence in various beliefs which he had been taught and likely herein too much simply promoted teachings which he had been taught without carefully searching things out. Yet for various reasons this writing has been included in this book. Those who want to study this subject should read article bB as it is much more carefully and thoroughly researches this subject.
God's church on earth can be divided into the parts of God's invisible kingdom and visible church. God's invisible kingdom includes all those who in truth are mindful of, and faithful to their creator, and thus it consists of all the saved which thus have their names written in the Lambs book of life. God's visible church consists of a visible and Holy organization to whom God has given particular Holy ordinances and doctrines. God's visible church includes all those that have fulfilled those requirements and ordinances which God has ordained to be necessary to become a part thereof. Within God's visible church are those who are not in His invisible kingdom. Within God's invisible kingdom are those who are not part of His visible church. It is of more importance to be within God's invisible kingdom than to be in God's visible church, yet such as are within God's invisible kingdom will desire to be within God's visible church if knowledgeable thereof. aB-1
God has ordained the visible church for the purpose of helping men to be mindful of and faithful to their creator, through helping one another. God has ordained the visible church for His purpose of promoting a Holy people on earth, upon whom He could bestow His goodness. God's church in the period of time from Adam till Abraham, generally consisted only of God's invisible kingdom. Although God with Abraham then began and established His visible church, God's invisible kingdom, yet existed, and will exist throughout all time. Abraham was a man of faith, was mindful of and faithful to God, and thus is called the father of faith. God called Abraham to separate himself from his family who served false gods, and go a land whereof God would show him, and there be the father of a special people of God's. In time God gave this special people of His, many ordinances and laws through the instrumentality of Moses. These special people of God continued until the time of Christ. God's visible church was often symbolized by Jerusalem, Jerusalem in this respect was held very dear to the Bible patriarchs of old. aB-2
Because of the workings of Satan and man's depravity, in the period of time between Adam and Abraham, often times few were mindful of and faithful to their creator. In this time because of men's wickedness, God with the flood destroyed all men, except faithful Noah and his family. The visible church which began after Abraham or Moses, was during the period of time from Moses till Christ, ordained and called to be a Holy nation of this world and to carry out God's vengeance on evil nations. And again, because of the workings of Satan and the depravity of man, God's visible church during this period of time, was most generally in a condition of great need and decay. Yet their were times of faithfulness and thus of great blessing. aB-3
The unfathomable beauty of God's church lies in that she connects to that which is Holy and to those things which far supersede things of transience. True Holiness so far exceeds the corruption that is in the world, that the world is unworthy to contain such as are mindful of and faithful to their creator and thus partakers of God's Holiness (Heb 11:38). God's Holiness and Man's depravity are as contrasting as heaven and hell, thus our righteous God has created the eternal contrasts. God's people are called of God to be Holy as He is Holy. God's people are called to be a people above all people of the earth. They are called promote the priceless eternal pearl of Holiness and salvation upon the earth. May all grasp the depth and vastness of God's Spiritual Jerusalem, and grasp the weightiness of it's calling and responsibility and be moved as was the church at Pentecost. Oh Jerusalem, if ought but thee is my chief joy, ".. let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth...", Oh Jerusalem if I forget thee, "...let my right hand forget her cunning (Psa 137:5-6). May all possess a vision of Holiness and of heavenly things which will cause them to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem...", "Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem (Psa 122:6, Psa 51:18). aB-4
God's visible church of the New Testament is not permanently one with, any particular individual or group, but is only one with such as abide by the ordinances and doctrines which God has established for His visible church. The key or foundation doctrine of God's visible church of the New Testament, is that of her members possessing a living faith, in Jesus being the Son of God, caused by a revelation from God Himself as had Apostle Peter (Matt 16:16-18). Upon this Apostolic Peter revelation, God's visible church receives fervency, inspiration, and power, and firmly believes in Christ's teachings, and thus builds her doctrines upon the teachings of Christ as being one with the Word of God. God's Word is God's supreme authority on earth, while God's church is and encloses those who uphold God's Word in Spirit and truth. It is with respect to this that the Church of God, is God's further supreme authority on earth in speaking on issues not clearly spoken of in God's Word. Apostle Paul said the church of God is the pillar and ground of truth, this goes much hand in hand with it being God's supreme authority on earth. Yet God's visible church is not a pillar and ground of the truth in that it cannot err. God's church is the pillar and ground of the truth in the respects that it will by God's washing be cleansed from that which defiles and that it will continue till the end of time. God in time removes from it such as reject His cleansing, symbolically removing their candle stick (Rev 2:5). At times in history only few have allowed themselves to be cleansed by God, thus only a remnant carried on God's church. The faithful of God can always be found and known by their abiding within the standard portrayed in God's Word for His Church. Apostle Paul did not portray a pleasant and easy church life but rather said, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone day and night with tears" (Acts 20:29-31). John clearly revels a condition where church excommunication was carried out wrongfully(3 John 1:10). Confidence in God is not one with confidence in His church, in the respect that things are well therein, for differences can arise therein and the church in general can drift into lukewarmness. One may question, if God's church cannot be counted to be of a greater security than this, how than can her members be taught to properly respect and fear her and her workings. It then must be remembered that the foundation of God's church is not a fear of Jerusalem but a fear of our heavenly Father and His Son caused by a revelation from God Himself. The emphasis of God's church dare not be the fear of Jerusalem but rather a fervent fear of God who is the King of Jerusalem. Such as are taught and know the true fear of God will have great concern for the welfare of Jerusalem, will fear and respect her workings, and earnestly pray for the peace thereof. aB-5
Christ and His church are like to a complete body. Jesus is the head and His church is His body. As members of a human body are in living contact with, in subjection to, and motivated by the head and it's reasonings, so the members of God's church are to be in subjection to and motivated by their head which is Christ. It is true that the members of Christ's body are to be open minded one to another and can learn from one another. They are to work together as the hand does with the arm and foot does with the leg. Yet as body members cannot get direction without the head, such as the hand cannot get full direction from the arm, and the foot from the leg, so members of the body of Christ cannot get full direction, conviction, and inspiration without a personal contact with their head. The head is the body members most important source of direction. Jesus concerning the members of His church body said, "...all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven" (Matt 23:9). Concerning the added personal enlightment made possible in the New Testament era through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Hebrews 8:11 reads, "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest". One's contact with the head is only complete when one's faith in Christ being the Son of God is caused by a revelation from the Father, if one's faith in the Sonship of Christ is only based on human teaching, his faith is dead. aB-6
The New Testament church of God is a Holy Nation with Holy laws. The Holy laws of this nation are for the protection of it's citizens. To exist and have order, nations of this world must be united in their laws and corrective discipline. How much more would not God ordain that His church be united in her laws and corrective discipline for the welfare of men's never dying souls and for the protection of righteousness within His Holy nation? Jacob the Chandler a martyr of 1569 wrote that without church discipline and excommunication, the hedge about the vineyard of God's church would be completely broken down permitting the wild boars to come in and uproot the Lord's vineyard. It is sad that many churches have lost the vision of church discipline and the power to perform it and the wild boars are unrestrained. Yet what is of greater dreadfulness is that such wild boars are not recognized as such by themselves or by the fallen church. "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim 3:13). In closing may all pray for the peace and strengthening of Jerusalem, may all at Christ's return be found a faithful member of Christ's visible body, and may many that are not privileged to be a part thereof be found within His invisible Kingdom. aB-7
(Count 1892 2/17/01)