BIBLE ORGANIZATION AND SERVICE
Andrew N. Dugger
The most famous Church of God, Seventh Day, leader in the twentieth century.
- What comparison does the Lord make with His church on earth, showing that it is an organized body, with all members working together?
"For as the body is one, and hath many members and all the members of that one body, being many are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him," I Corinthians 12:12-18.
- Has the Lord placed governments in His church?
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, government, diversities of tongues," I Corinthians 12:28.
- What divine command was given to organize, or set in order the things that were disorderly, or wanting?
"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee," Titus 1:5.
- What is said about rendering honor to certain ones who have the rule over churches?
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine," I Timothy 5:17.
- What command is given to the laity of the church respecting the ones in authority?
"Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you," Hebrews 13:17.
NOTE: Other references worthy of consideration are, Romans 12:8, and Hebrews 13:7, 24.
- As everything needful to the church is outlined in the gospel, do we have a record of conferences where the leading brethren conversed together?
"And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses," Acts 15:1, 2, 4, 5.
- In handling business problems for the general need of the body, do we have instruction to appoint committees?
"Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business," Acts 6:3.
- Did not someone exercise the authority to call the disciples together in appointing this committee? Who was it, and were there many disciples that heeded the call?
"Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables," verse 2.
- For what purpose was this committee of seven appointed?
"And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas and Nicolas, a Proselyte of Antioch," verses 1-5.
NOTE: There are some who misunderstand this scripture, thinking that it only applies to a distribution of money and necessities to the poor, but the word "widows" here refers to the wives of the apostles, and their families. The term "widow indeed" applies to women whose husbands are dead, without any near relatives to support them. See I Timothy 3:5, 16. The statement in verse one of Acts 6, that "when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmur of the Grecians against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration," The cause given for the widows being neglected, was the number of the apostles increasing, showing that it was the wives of the apostles referred to and confirming much other evidence that this was the case. Brethren sold their possessions and laid the money at the apostles' feet, which was distributed among the wives and families of the ministering brethren, and this is the way the Church of God carries on its financial business today. They had a store house then where the surplus was held until distribution was made, and so there is now.
- Did certain apostles exercise the authority to send evangelists to points from where calls came for help?
"Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John," Acts 8:14.
- What is to be done with those who cause division and offense?
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them," Romans 16:17.
- Should a brother or sister fall away, and do things that are not right in the sight of God, what is the course to pursue?
"How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily, I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto them as an heathen man and a publican," Matthew 18:12 to 17.
- If they refuse to hear those who have come to them, and also the church, then how is the church to treat such an one?
"But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican," last part of verse 17.
NOTE: Notice that the church is to consider them outside, and not a part of the body. It is a church affair before God, and to have disobedient people not walking as they should in the church, causes others to also live loose, careless lives, as well as bringing reproach from the outside. The church officials should see carefully that all members walk worthy of their calling.
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