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Church - 4


By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

Introduction:-. Some consider church as a continuation of Israel and as a result apply those scripture portions intended for Israel to Church. That naturally leads to much misunderstanding. The New Testament very clearly differentiates between the church and Israel. Cf. 1Cori 10:32. A study on the origin or the formation of the Church will clear this confusion.
A mystery Eph. 3:4, 5, 6, 9.
True, in God’s point of view Church was formed in eternity itself! In His eternal program, God saw church even before the foundation of the world. But as far as man is concerned it was a hidden mystery.

What is mystery? That which was hidden to the Old Testament saints, God has chosen to reveal now. Church is a mystery which was not known to the Old Testament believers. Cf. 1Peter 1:10 –12. Cf. Colo 1:26, 27; Rom 16:25, 26; 1Cor. 15:51 etc. All these verses are related to various aspects of this mystery – the church.
      Gentiles and Jews in one body. Cf. Eph. 3:6
      Christ indwelling every individual. Cf. Col. 1:26, 27.
      Rapture of the church. 1Cor. 15:51
Old Testament saints – Israel - had no idea about such truths related to church.

Church- first mentioned. Cf. Matt. 16:18
There was no church existed when Christ spoke this verse. “I will build my Church”. That means He was not talking about Israel. But from Act 2:47 we understand that now church existed, for we read, “And the Lord added to the Church”.

So, when was the Church formed?
Paul refers to an incident when church was formed as one body. Cf. 1Cori. 12:13. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized in to one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether salves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Sprit.” It was the baptism of the Holy Spirit that formed people from different background, status in to one body – The Church.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit
So, we can conclude that the day when the Baptism of the Holy Spirit took place is the day Church was formed. Cf. Matt. 3:11b, 12; John 1:33c – John the Baptist spoke of it.

Before His ascension the Lord also spoke of it as something going to happen very shortly. “Not many days from now”. Acts 1:5:- Ob. John the Baptist spoke of a ‘baptism of fire’ also in Matt. 3, but not found in John 1 or Act 1. Why? Fire baptism speaks of future judgment; whereas Spirit baptism referred to the formation of the Church.

Day of Pentecost.
Apostles were waiting as the Lord commanded them. “Tarry ….until your are endued” Cf. Luke 24:49. Now on the day of Pentecost Spirit comes upon 120 believers as He promised. Cf. Acts. 1—4.
‘Pentecost’ = ‘fiftieth’ – refers to the feast of the weeks.

Seven feasts: - cf. Lev. 23.
     a. The Passover. 14th day of first month. Jn. 1:29; 1Cor 5:7; 11:23—26 – Christ the lamb.
     b. Feast of the unleavened bread – All leaven put away. 15th day of first month. 1Cor. 5:8 – Separation from sin and feeding on Christ.
     c. Feast of first fruits. 22nd day of first month. – Cf. 1Cor. 15:23 - Christ.
     d. Feast of Pentecost. – 50 days from the first fruits. Acts. 2:1ff. The coming of the Holy Spirit. - Day of Pentecost is exactly 50 days after Christ’s resurrection.
     e. Feast of trumpets. – Seasons of gathering. – Isa 27:12, 13; Mtt. 24:29—31; 1Thess. 4:13—18 – Refers to the gathering together of God’s people.
     f. Feast of Atonement. – cleansing of Israel. Zech. 13:1, 2; Rom 14:10.The future cleansing of God’s people.
     g. Feast of Tabernacle. At rest. Zech. 14:16—21. – refers to millennium.

Supernatural / spectacular events
Formation of the Church on the day of Pentecost was associated with supernatural events. The Spirit of God came upon them with spectacular signs. Inauguration is always unique and magnificent!

It was a historical incident. It is the birth day of the Church. Spirit comes to dwell permanently. Cf. Luke 24: 49

Work of Holy Sprit in the OT.                     In the NT.

Came upon believers & unbelievers to accomplish God’s purposes Indwells every true believer to make them God’s dwelling place.
An individual act of God. Spirit unifies all believers.
Temporary. Till glorification. Jn. 14:16

Thus, as a historical event it does not repeat. Think of any inauguration - opening of a bridge, building etc. So, what happened on the day of Pentecost does not repeat.

Three more places where Spirit came with signs:
      a. Act 8:14ff. Among the Samaritans – a mixed race- untouchable.
      b. Act 10:44 – 48. Gentiles.
      c. Act 19: 1ff. John’s disciples – a distinct group who only took baptism of repentance given by John the Baptist.
With these four incidents in Act 2, 8, 10 and 19 the Lord brought together 4 distinct groups of people in one body.

Church was formed on the day of Pentecost. The three other incidents could be considered as signs to the church that God has accepted these three unique groups also in to the Church. Door of the church was opened to them. It is interesting to notice that just as the Lord spoke of the key of heaven given to Peter, he used the keys in three of these occasions. Cf. Matt. 16.

120 people went in to a room and tarried for the Sprit of God, when that happened they came out as one body by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. That’s how the church of Jesus Christ was formed on the day of Pentecost.

Along with the formation of the Church we also see some other interesting events taking place.

a. People spoke / understood other tongues. . At Babel God ‘confused’ their language. They could not understand the language of each other and that resulted in their scattering. Cf. Gen. 11:7. Here the apostles spoke in others language. Act 2:6.
b. Three thousand were saved. Act 2:41. At the giving of law, 3000 had to die as they broke the law. At the beginning of the church - declaration of the grace of God – 3000 were saved. Act 2:41 cf. 2Cori 3:7, 8.
c. Feast of Pentecost was completely fulfilled. Lev. 23:15. Day of Pentecost in Lev 23 is a type. Act 2 is the antitype. 7 Sabbaths + 1 = The Lord’s Day. First day of the week is the resurrection day. In Lev 23 two loaves of leavened bread made one offering by pouring oil. In Act 2 two becomes one - Jew & Gentile - by the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. Act 2:18. Thus we see a fulfillment of Pentecost in Act. 2.
d. Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled partially. Joel 2:28 –32 cf. Act 2:16—21. Israel as a nation did not turn to God. Rom 11:26. Ob. Not all of Joel 2 fulfilled here. Joel chapter 2 is not a promise to Gentile believers. It was a sign to Jews. Cf. 1Cor 1:22ff.

So, this is the birth day of the Church -The founding day. By the baptism of the Holy Spirit people from different background were united together as The Church of Jesus Christ. 1Cor 12:13.

This historic incident does not repeat. Today each one, as being saved enters in to the blessing of this historic incident. – including the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But he / she need to enjoy that life by being filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Cf. Eph 5:18. The body of Christ born on the day of Pentecost is still growing.

Are you a part of the Church of Christ? Do you have an experience of personal salvation?
Do we have that Church life of the first centaury, that oneness and unity? Cf. Act 2:46.




Related topics:-
     Some Unique facts about the Church
     What is Church?
     ‘Church’ vs. ‘Assembly’

Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You are free to use it for your personal study. You can also reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and
reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT gmail.com
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