Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Volume 02, Number 24
church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker HWY
P.O. Box 30821
Bellingham, WA 98228
Bible Classes..........9:30 AM
Bible Classes.........7:00 PM
Mt. Baker church
In this issue:
THE CHURCH: THE ETERNAL
PURPOSE OF GOD
Premillennialism says that the church was
an afterthought. God, they tell us, intended for His Son to be King over
His Kingdom, but because of the extreme wickedness of mankind, and because
the Jews rejected Jesus Christ, God was forced to build the church as a
backup plan until the Kingdom of God can be built at the end of time.
Millions of people in the world believe this to be true. Here is what Paul
said about the plan of God for the church:
"to the intent that now the manifold
wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and
powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He
accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Ephesians 3:10-11).
We learn some very important things from this text:
First, we learn that the wisdom of God is
manifested by the very existence of the church. Some believe that Paul was
teaching the mission of the church is to evangelize with this statement.
While evangelism is certainly the mission of the church, this text says
something else. It says that the very existence of the church manifests the
wisdom of God. The church in all of its parts shows His wisdom.
Second, we learn that this was God's
intention and purpose from eternity. The church was not a secondary plan,
it was the plan of God all along! Jesus came to establish His church (Mark
9:1), and He succeeded in it. Premillennialism makes God and Jesus Christ
failures. There is no way to sugar coat this fact. If God sent Jesus to
establish His kingdom, but He could not do it because men were too wicked ,
then the plan of God was imperfect, and Jesus was not strong enough to
persuade men to follow Him into His Kingdom.
Question: Since the church is the eternal purpose of God, what elements of
its current existence was planned by God? Answer: All of it! Everything
about the church that we currently know and appreciate was in God's eternal
purpose. It was conceived in the beginning. The church designed in the
mind of God in the beginning. Its worship was decided from the beginning
(John 4:24). Its doctrine was from the beginning (Acts 2:42). Its mission
was established at the start (1 Timothy 3:15). The plan to send the Messiah
to save the church originated in the beginning (Acts 20:7). None of this
was an afterthought. Nor was there anything about its design that was left
to be figured out by mere men once the church was established. God planned
the church from the beginning to be exactly what he wanted it to be.
It was God's eternal purpose that Jesus be
the head of the church and the King of the kingdom. The first prophecy
given in the Bible refers to Jesus and his coming into the world to defeat
the devil - Jesus would crush his head when the devil bruised Him (Genesis
3:15). Daniel foretold the coronation of "One like unto the Son of man"
(Daniel 7:13-14). This One would have the government upon His shoulder
It was God's purpose that the church be
God's temple. The Hebrew writer spoke of Jesus Christ as the High priest of
a "greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is not of
this creation" (Hebrews 9:11). He also said that The tabernacle and its
various ministries were "copies of the things in the heavens" and "copies of
the true" (Hebrews 9:23-24). That means that when the earthly tabernacle
was in use, the things that were done in it foreshadowed the church of
Christ and the work of Jesus, our High Priest. The purpose of Christians
today is to offer up "spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God" (Romans 12:1).
It was God's eternal purpose that the
church be built on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 33. Isaiah said that the
"mountain of the Lord's house" would be established in the last days on the
tops of the mountains and above the hills (Isaiah 2:2-3). Daniel said that
a kingdom belonging to God would be established "without hands" in the days
of the Roman Empire (Daniel 2:44-45). Joel foretold that the last days
during which the church would be established would be when the Holy Spirit
was poured out upon men (Joel 2:28-29). Peter confirmed that Joel spoke of
the day of Pentecost when he preached the first gospel sermon (Acts
It was God's eternal purpose that the
saved be added to the church. The way Premillennialists tell it, God
devised the church to be a sort of holding place for those who would someday
be worthy of entering into His eternal kingdom. But, according to Acts 2:47
those who gladly received the word of God and were baptized were added by
God to the church. Joel foretold that those who called on the name of the
Lord would be saved (Joel 2:32). On Pentecost, for the first time, men did
that very thing (Acts 2:21). When they gladly received his word and were
baptized (Acts 2:41), they were calling on the name of the Lord, just like
God since eternity intended for them to do.
It was God's eternal purpose who would be
the saved who would constitute the church. Paul said of the saved: "just
as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before Him in love," (Ephesians 1:4). The saved were
predestined to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ, according to the good
pleasure of His will (vs. 5). This proves that it was God's intentions all
along that the church and the people who would be in it was God's plan all
It was God's eternal purpose that the
church worship in His appointed way. In our modern age, it seems like
anything is fair game in the churches of men. Anything can be called
worship, apparently. Yet, Jesus said that our worship must be in spirit and
in truth (John 4:24). The worship that God approves of is what the early
church practiced. They continued steadfastly in the apostlesí doctrine,
fellowship, breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42). Question: Where
in the eternal purpose of God can we find instrumental music in worship?
Where does the Bible teach that God is pleased by worship that perverts the
Lords' supper into something other than a spiritual meal?
It was God's eternal purpose that members
of the church be called Christians. Early disciples were called Christians
(Acts 11:26). There were other names people were called if they followed
men other than Jesus Christ. Paul said, some said they were of Apollos, and
some of Cephas, and others of Christ. Yet, the only thing that ever meets
the approval of the scriptures is wearing the name of Christ.
The Lord's church is entirely unique on
the earth. It is not a man-made body and it does not subscribe to human
laws, nor is it arranged by human design. It was designed perfectly by
God. It was not a last minute, last-ditch plan to put in place in order to
await a more opportune time for the Lord to come again. God planned and
built the church of Christ as He saw fit, and it was his eternal purpose to
The church of Christ deserves the respect
and reverence that God placed upon it. It is not a hindrance, it is not a
nuisance, it is Christ's body, and God wanted it this way.
Lead Me in Your Righteousness
Psa 5:1 To the Chief
Musician. With Flutes. A Psalm of David. Give ear to my
words, O LORD, Consider my meditation.
Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will
My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct
to You, And I will look up.
For You are
not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the
bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; Make Your way
straight before my face.
For there is
no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is
destruction; Their throat is
an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them
out in the multitude of their transgressions, For they have rebelled against
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout
for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be
joyful in You.
For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him
Created by Chuck Sibbing, last updated.
The Mount Baker Beacon is a
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA.
Send all questions, comments to the editor, John Bass at (360) 325-5149