Series: A Sound Church
Article 1: A continuing Kingdom
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And now the third and final word that we are going to focus on is “continuity. So far we have discussed humility and authority, and now we need to address the importance of continuity.
Transition from Apostles to Church
As we consider Paul’s authority, we must recognize that we are in a period of church history in which the apostles are beginning to fade away through death. It is important, however, that the authority of Christ through his apostles continues in the life of the church. We are in a transitional period where the apostles are building the Church, but they will eventually pass away, and the Church must continue. This is because the kingdom does not end with us.
Authority is the Bible
In building and laying the foundation of the Church, the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to write the scriptures. These scriptures serve as the foundation of the Church and provide the authority by which it can function. It is crucial to recognize that the continuing authority of Christ through His apostles remains in the Church through the Scriptures, or as we call them, the Holy Bible.
In the continuity of the Church, the authority of Christ is communicated through apostolic teaching. That is why we study the Bible, and we must all come under the authority of the Scriptures.
To summarize, the head of Jesus is the Father, and Jesus is the head of the Church with all authority. He chose these men to be apostles and gave them His authority to represent Him, and that authority continues in the life of the Church through their teachings in the Bible.
Therefore, when we come to the Bible, we must realize that we are not just coming to the best book, but to the very words of God and man. Despite what Voltaire said, it has become the best selling book because it is the very words of God in the very words of man.
Faith of Gods elect
And so God continues to build His church today through the teaching and preaching of the gospel and the building up of the saints in the faith as we find it in the Bible.
Paul had all of this in mind; he understood that he had a very specific role in God’s redemptive-historical plan that extends through the ages.
And so we come to the rest of his description. We’re going to take it piece by piece. He says, “All this is done according to the faith of God’s elect.” (Titus 1:1)
On the other hand, we can say that he has in mind the body of doctrine that we’ve been talking about – the apostolic doctrine that the early church continued in and after the apostolic era. And he’s talking about God’s people when he says “God’s elect. It reminds us of the Old Testament description of Israel, which is a way of describing God’s people.
Gods eternal selection
And it describes God’s people because that is what God has done for His people. He has chosen them or, in Paul’s words, elected them. On the one hand, we could say that he has in mind the perfection of faith by which we are justified through the blood of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, Paul says that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. He’s talking about God’s eternal selection of His people before the beginning of time.
He’s also talking about the idea that there is a historical experience of God’s people throughout the history of the Bible, whether it’s Israel or the church. And so he says, “I am doing this,” and all of this is part of God’s grand plan of electing people.
When we come to the doctrine of election, we’re reminded of several things. First, the doctrine of election is a biblical doctrine, even though it is sometimes confusing to us. Second, it is given to comfort us by letting us know that God had our salvation in mind before time began and brought it to pass. Finally, doctrine is given to comfort God’s people.
You can go and philosophize about the different ways that our responsibility works out, but I’ll tell you, I don’t think the Bible is trying to answer that for us. It just tries to get us to embrace it and accept it.
Come to faith and Grow up
And then Paul says that his purpose is to see God’s people come to faith. As Jesus said, “There are sheep that are not here, they are in another fold, and I must call them also, for they will hear my voice and come” (John 10:16), reminding us that the kingdom doesn’t end with us, does it? There are other sheep that need to hear the gospel and they need to come.
And Paul not only wants people to come to faith, but he wants them to mature in their faith, to grow in discipleship and in power. So he wants them to have sound doctrine.
Part of a continuing kingdom
And then, again, we want to emphasize that this reminds us that as a church we’re part of something much bigger than our own little lives. We can put it this way: the existence of Keith Fortenberry and Heidelberg, as much as Keith Fortenberry wants it to be about him and tries to make it about him, is not about him. I’m not important. There is a kingdom that God wants to expand, and I have to be a part of that exodus.
As we consider our stewardship and the guidance of Grace, we realize that Calvary Chapel Heidelberg is not just a place for us to sit in these chairs. We belong to something much bigger than ourselves, something that will continue to grow even in the midst of the challenges of immigration. This was the heart of Paul, and it should be the heart of the church.
That is why we are reaching out to this generation and then pouring into the next generation, so that this generation will come to faith and then the children under our care will come to faith.
My goal is to share the gospel with those in our homes and in our church so that they can become worshipers and followers of Christ. As we share the gospel with them and they become worshipers, they can then pass it on to their generation, who can then pass it on to the next generation, and so on. This is a repeatable process that has always been part of the story of God.
Go to next page: The Importance of Truth and Godliness
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