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What does the word translated church mean?  The Greek word ecclesia is from ek meaning out of, from, and kalea meaning to call. It means to call out from. The historical context pictures citizens of a local area being called from their homes or businesses to assemble for a particular purpose, such as for a city-meeting or militia. From ecclesia we get the English word church, which are a people called out to assemble for a purpose. The word does not mean to call out in the sense of separation from others, nor does it mean to be called out to salvation. Clearly every ecclesia is not a church assembly, and every church assembly is not one of Christ’s ecclesia. 

Verse

Arguments for Church at Pentecost

Arguments for Church in Matthew

Matt 16:18

 

 

It was yet future when He said He would build His church.

 

 

Christ meant that He was in the process and would continue the process until His return. We know this because:
1. God gave authority to John to begin gathering “materials” from the Nation of Israel for the first church (Jn. 1:6). John passed this authority on to Jesus (Matt. 3:13-17), Who assembled  out of the Nation of Israel these called out ones.  These called out ones were then sent out to represent Christ.
2. Christ’s church had a Foundation (Matt. 16:13), and a Head (Matt. 16:18).
3. Christ’s church had a beginning (see #1)
4. Christ’s church had a purpose (Matt. 16:19)
5. Christ’s church had a method of discipline (Matt. 18:15-20)
6. Christ’s church had the ordinances (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 14:22-25)
7. Christ’s church had singing & prayer (Mk. 14:26, 38; Acts 1:14)
8. Christ’s church had authority & commission (Matt. 28:19)
9. Christ’s church had Christ’s presence (Matt. 28:20)
10. Christ’s church was in one accord, numbered, and named (Acts 1:15,17)
11. Christ’s church had the authority to set the standards & name its leadership (Acts. 1:22-25)

 

1 Cor. 10:32

It is distinct from Israel 

It is distinct from Israel

1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11; Eph. 2:11-19

It is made up of all believers without respect to race, gender, or class

(Remove the all and this statement is correct) 

 

Matt. 10:5,6 

 

He went only to the lost sheep of the tribe of Israel

He began with the lost sheep of Israel, but He never refused discipleship to the Gentiles (Matt. 15:24-30).  Where the early church began was not where it ended up!

Matt. 26:17-29; 1 Cor. 11:17-29

The Lord’s Supper was not established until just before His Crucifixion 

 

1. As the church was a change from the Temple, so the Lord’s Supper was a change from the Passover.  It was not entirely new, but an expansion/continuation of what had gone before.
2. The Gospels are transitional books, not the end of the story.
3. The Lord’s Supper was instituted before Pentecost, so the church had both ordinances.

1 Cor. 15:1-4

 

 

No group before Pentecost was proclaiming the message of Christ’s death, burial & resurrection.

 

 

1. It is true the disciples did not have a clear understanding of the suffering Servant of Isa. 53
2. But the “saving” Gospel of the Messiah was proclaimed throughout the O.T., in which the Jews were well versed.
2. John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God,” pointing to Jesus.
3. Jesus’ commission (Matt. 28:19-20) does not  directly include the preaching of the D.B.R., but it is apprehended in “making disciples.”
4. This is a transitional phase of their growth, so they preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is nigh.”
5. Jesus’ initial work was to convince saved O.T. Jews that He was the promised Messiah. (Jn. 1:31).

Acts 19:1-5 

 

Some who had been baptized by John’s baptism may have repented, but they had not believed fully in Jesus Christ.

1. So what’s new?
2. The apostles did not fully believe in Jesus.
3. Those baptized with John’s baptism were not all part of Christ’s beginning church.

Eph. 2:22

 

 

N.T. prophets were not on the scene until after Pentecost. They were part of the foundation of the church. A bldg. must first have a foundation.

 

 

1. A bldg. must first have materials!
2. The foundation was the Rock of  “Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16,18)
3. The foundation was the message of Christ the apostles and prophets proclaimed/taught, and/or the apostles/prophets were the beginning materials of the spiritual “habitation of God.”
4. Prophets spoke God’s Word before the N.T. was written. 1 Cor. 12:28 says the apostles were first, and secondarily the prophets.
5.We do find N.T. prophets mentioned in Matt. 10:41; 23:34.

Matt. 16:18; Acts 1:15-26 

 

They were not an organized group with their elected leaders.

 

1. That proves they were a Baptist church!!
2. “I say,” = the authority of their Leader (see Matt. 28:18-20 also)
3. Acts 1:15-26 disproves that statement, plus other references to the “inner 3”.

Eph. 1:20-23 

 

Jesus became Head of the church upon His ascension.

 

1. Jesus was always the Head of the “called out ones”
2. Jesus ascended before Pentecost.
3. Jesus was the Head in His earthly ministry, and Jesus is the Head in His heavenly glory. This is a transfer of place, not position.

1 Cor. 3:6; Jn. 14:17 

 

Believers were not indwelt until after Pentecost.

1. Jesus told the disciples that the Father would send the Holy Spirit upon them (Jn 14:16,18) at Jesus’ departure. 
2. In Lk. 24:49 they were filled “to tarry,” but then empowered at Pentecost.

Acts 20:28 

 

The Church had not been purchased until 50 days before Pentecost.

1. Right, purchased before Pentecost!
2. Right, purchased before the foundation of the world (Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8)

Conclusion is false, since the definition of church is the same throughout the N.T.
There is a divine parallel between the Tabernacle/Temple and the church.  But the Tabernacle/Temple did not become the Tabernacle/Temple because of God’s indwelling, but because of His purpose and plan.  God’s presence was manifest by His glory in both, and His presence empowered both for His service.  The confusion is between organization and empowering.
There are other arguments for the church in Matthew, but these cover the statements raised.

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