Church Study - God's Grace Structures the Local and Extended Church
This page is a resource that we use for Christian bible study. We have developed some of the information on this page and we have borrowed information from other studies which are freely available. Our intent is to provide a study resource that we can access when traveling. We do not disagree with anyone's personal interpretation of scripture and our thoughts are not offered as an argument for the perspective from our understanding of this revelation. Please feel free to read or use the study material if it is of help. Thank you // JL|©
Luke 17; 20-21 ... "The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed nor will they say, 'Lo here it is or there' for behold the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you" ... though the Greek could also be translated as "within you".
All Christians deal with the balance of finding God's purpose for the personal profession of their faith. Does our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, require evangelical promotion of Christianity .. or ... sharing its personal meaning for our individual lives ... both levels of action represent a spiritual opportunity to grow in this relationship as, over time, we reflect on what Jesus Christ has done for me, for you, for everyone.
Of course the answer is both for everyone, with a qualification that at certain times in our life there may be a stronger focus toward one or the other. The Church, both local and extended, supports an individual in this journey through grace that is provided by the Holy Spirit. This study looks at one view of the logical structure which God's grace creates within the local and extended Church.
An interesting contrast of revelation in the Old Testament with revelation in the New Testament is that God's interaction with people was changed dramatically. In the Old Testament, God's on-going revelation was provided to select individuals who then became God's medium for communication and grace. In the New Testament, in our current time, the sacrifice that Jesus made for all men created the Church and, by removing our sin, permits God's communication/grace to come to us through the medium of His Holy Spirit.
The difference is remarkable. While a person can certainly understand the honest concern folks have for the fragmentation of Christian denominations, the process reflects this wonderful simplicity and the flexibility with which God's word and grace is provided to people of faith through the Holy Spirit. Venues of faith, both within and outside of Christianity, can become burdened with rigid dogma, certainly that has happened over and over in Christian history ... though in one way or another revelation continues to occur and people continue to seek a more complete expression of their faith.
Each local church group and each extended church group is supported by the Holy Spirit. Individuals seek fellowship in Church because the community is supportive to their faith and intuitively represents "home". Isaiah 60 is a good place to define the Church:
Isaiah 60: 1-3, 21-22
Arise, shine; for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you ... the Lord will arise upon you and his glory will be seen upon you ... and nations shall come to your light ... and kings to the brightness of your rising ... your people shall all be righteous, they shall prssess the land forever ... the shoot of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified ... the least one shall become a clan, the smallest one a mighty nation ... I am the Lord ... in its time I will hasten it.
This study of spiritual structure within the Church uses: Matthew 5 and 1Cor. 12; 28 ... scripture verse is listed in sequence ... the question we bring up in bible study is: Was Jesus, in Matthew 5, talking about the same thing Paul addresses in 1Cor. 12; 28 ?
The Church functions of 1Cor 12; 28 may represent the singular vocation of an individual ... or ... perhaps also the required situational grace provide by the Holy Spirit as a Christian group (Church) deals with the issues of every day life.
|1Cor. 12; 28||Matthew 5 - Who||Matthew 5 - Attribute||
Comment for interpretation of Role in the Church
|Apostles||poor in spirit||Kingdom of Heaven||the individual members of the Church require the witness of Christ ... the role of an Apostle is to share the personal meaning of Jesus Christ in her/his life|
|Prophets||mourn||be comforted||the role of a Prophet is to reflect and share perspectives on the gap between God and His people|
|Teachers||meek||inherit the earth||the "earth" as an image of the world at large represents those who need to learn of Jesus Christ ... the primary definition of meet is: enduring injury with patience and without resentment|
|Workers of Miracles||seek righteousness||be satisfied||the primary definition of righteousness is: acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin ... it's interesting how that is linked to miracles which has as its primary definition: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs|
|Healers||merciful||obtain mercy||mercy begets mercy ...the primary definition of mercy is: compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender|
|Helpers||pure in heart||see God||A Church needs people of clear vision regarding spiritual goals and values ...|
|Administrators||peace makers||Sons of God||to whom much is entrusted ... much is required|
|Speakers in various kinds of tongues||persecuted for righteousness||Kingdom of Heaven||elevation of prayer in the Church community|