Beleiver's Bible Chapel
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved
through faith, and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
1Th 2:14 For you, brethren, became imitators
of the churches of God which are in Judea in
Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same
Mat 16:18 And I also say to you that you are
Peter, and on this rock I will build My church,
and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Mat 18:17 And if he refuses to hear them,
tell it to the church. But if he refuses even
to hear the church, let him be to you like a
heathen and a tax collector.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which
was given to me, as a wise master builder I have
laid the foundation, and another builds on it.
But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration
of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2Ti 2:25 in humility correcting those who
are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant
them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
Gal 3:26 For you are all sons of God through
faith in Christ Jesus.
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel
of Christ, for it is the power of God to
salvation for everyone who believes, for
the Jew first and also for the Greek.
2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together
with unbelievers. For what fellowship has
righteousness with lawlessness? And what
communion has light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 And what accord has Christ with
Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 2Co 6:16 And what agreement has the temple
of God with idols? For you are the temple of
the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell
in them and walk among them. I will be their
God, and they shall be My people."
2Co 6:17 Therefore "come out from among them
and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch
what is unclean, and I will receive you."
2Co 6:18 "I will be a Father to you, and you
shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
1Jo 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we
declare to you, that you also may have fellowship
with us; and truly our fellowship is with the
Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
Col 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the
church, who is the beginning, the firstborn
from the dead, that in all things He may
have the preeminence.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Act 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in
the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the
breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Act 20:7 Now on the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break
bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day,
spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
Act 2:41 Then those who gladly received his
word were baptized; and that day about three
thousand souls were added to them.
Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he
preached the things concerning the kingdom of
God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men
and women were baptized.
Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we
continue in sin that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 Certainly not! How shall we who died
to sin live any longer in it?
Rom 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us
as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized
into His death?
Rom 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him
through baptism into death, that just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have been united together
in the likeness of His death, certainly we
also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was
crucified with Him, that the body of sin might
be done away with, that we should no longer be
slaves of sin.
Rom 6:7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Rom 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe
that we shall also live with Him,
Rom 6:9 knowing that Christ, having been raised
from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has
dominion over Him.
Rom 6:10 For the death that He died, He died
to sin once for all; but the life that He
lives, He lives to God.
Rom 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves
to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in
Christ Jesus our Lord.
Act 20:17 From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and
called for the elders of the church.
Act 20:18 And when they had come to him, he
said to them: "You know, from the first day that
I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived
among you,
Act 20:19 serving the Lord with all humility,
with many tears and trials which happened to me
by the plotting of the Jews;
Act 20:20 how I kept back nothing that was
helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught
you publicly and from house to house,
Act 20:21 testifying to Jews, and also to
Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Act 20:22 And see, now I go bound in the
spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things
that will happen to me there,
Act 20:23 except that the Holy Spirit
testifies in every city, saying that chains
and tribulations await me.
Act 20:24 But none of these things move me;
nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that
I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry
which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify
to the gospel of the grace of God.
Act 20:25 "And indeed, now I know that you all,
among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of
God, will see my face no more.
Act 20:26 Therefore I testify to you this day
that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
Act 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare to
you the whole counsel of God.
Act 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves
and to all the flock, among which the Holy
Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd
the church of God which He purchased with
His own blood.
Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my
departure savage wolves will come in among
you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30 Also from among yourselves men
will rise up, speaking perverse things, to
draw away the disciples after themselves.
Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember that
for three years I did not cease to warn
everyone night and day with tears.
Act 20:32 "So now, brethren, I commend you
to God and to the word of His grace, which
is able to build you up and give you an
inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Act 20:33 I have coveted no one's silver or
gold or apparel.
Act 20:34 Yes, you yourselves know that these
hands have provided for my necessities, and
for those who were with me.
Act 20:35 I have shown you in every way, by
laboring like this, that you must support the
weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus,
that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than
to receive.' "
Act 20:36 And when he had said these things,
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
Act 20:37 Then they all wept freely, and fell
on Paul's neck and kissed him,
Act 20:38 sorrowing most of all for the words
which he spoke, that they would see his face no
more. And they accompanied him to the ship.
Heb 13:7 Remember those who rule over you,
who have spoken the word of God to you, whose
faith follow, considering the outcome of their
Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and
be submissive, for they watch out for your
souls, as those who must give account. Let
them do so with joy and not with grief, for
that would be unprofitable for you.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there
is neither slave nor free, there is neither male
nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Heb 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually
offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is,
the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
1Pe 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being
built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a
royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special
people, that you may proclaim the praises of
Him who called you out of darkness into His
marvelous light;
1Co 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
1Pe 4:10 As each one has received a gift,
minister it to one another, as good stewards
of the manifold grace of God.
1Pe 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as
the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let
him do it as with the ability which God supplies,
that in all things God may be glorified through
Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the
dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1Co 14:16 Otherwise, if you bless with the
spirit, how will he who occupies the place of
the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of
thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silent in the
churches, for they are not permitted to speak;
but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
1Ti 2:11 Let a woman learn in silence with
all submission.
1Ti 2:12 And I do not permit a woman to teach
or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
1Co 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover
his head, since he is the image and glory of
God; but woman is the glory of man.
1Co 11:15 But if a woman has long hair, it is
a glory to her; for her hair is given to her
for a covering.
1Co 11:10 For this reason the woman ought to
have a symbol of authority on her head,
because of the angels.
1Co 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ,
and members individually.
Eph 5:30 For we are members of His body, of
His flesh and of His bones.
Rom 15:7 Therefore receive one another, just
as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
Rom 16:1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister,
who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea,
Rom 16:2 that you may receive her in the Lord
in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her
in whatever business she has need of you; for
indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
Heb 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of
ourselves together, as is the manner of some,
but exhorting one another, and so much the more
as you see the Day approaching.
1Pe 4:10 As each one has received a gift,
minister it to one another, as good stewards
of the manifold grace of God.
Heb 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be
submissive, for they watch out for your souls,
as those who must give account. Let them do so
with joy and not with grief, for that would be
unprofitable for you.
1Co 16:1 Now concerning the collection for the
saints, as I have given orders to the churches
of Galatia, so you must do also:
1Co 16:2 On the first day of the week let each
one of you lay something aside, storing up as he
may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.
2Co 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in
his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for
God loves a cheerful giver.
Heb 13:16 But do not forget to do good and to
share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
3Jo 1:7 because they went forth for His name's
sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles.
Eph 3:8 To me, who am less than the least of
all the saints, this grace was given, that I
should preach among the Gentiles the
unsearchable riches of Christ, Eph 3:9 and to make all see what is the
fellowship of the mystery, which from the
beginning of the ages has been hidden in God
who created all things through Jesus Christ;

A Word of Explanation

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to meet with the first Christians?

One of the greatest blessings this side of heaven is to gather with others who take God and His Word seriously. We are a group of believers saved by grace through faith in Christ and His finished work ( Eph. 2:8-9 ) who meet simply around the Lord Jesus, seeking to follow only the directions given in the New Testament. We believe that the church is God's idea. Christians do not meet in congregations merely because it is desirable or helpful, but because the Lord has ordained it ( 1 Thess. 2:14 ).

Our Lord Himself first spoke of the church when He declared that He was its builder and would establish it on a sure foundation ( Mt. 16:18 ). He also first spoke concerning the local gatherings of believers ( Mt. 18:17 ).

There may be some things about a local church like this that would be different to you. We would appreciate a few moments to explain how we meet and why.

By the way, there are many who meet like this.

You may have heard of names like George Muller, the great man of faith; H. A. Ironside, the famous Bible expositor; Jim Elliot, the intrepid martyr of Ecuador; or W. E. Vine, author of the well-known Dictionary of Expository Words. These met simply according to the pattern found in the New Testament, as thousands do worldwide. There is no division between "clergy" and "laity" in our meetings, because there is no such division in the New Testament.

We want to gather simply as Christ's ones in His name,1 recognizing no names that would divide God's people.2 To be gathered in His name is to meet by His authority, submitting to His Lordship, and following His Word.

Does the New Testament provide a pattern?

If you suggested changing any other doctrine—salvation by faith in Christ, the deity of the Lord Jesus, or the inspiration of Scripture, for example—it would invite strong reaction from Bible-believing churches. But somehow many feel we are free to redesign the church any way it suits us. Yet we have no more right to make a new way of meeting than a new way of salvation.

"At the very outset of the New Testament it is striking that the Lord Jesus and the apostles labored to establish only one institution—the local church.3 Paul stated, 'As a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon' ( 1 Cor. 3:10 ). The local church lies at the heart of God's program today. Indifference to the doctrine of the church is certainly indifference to the plan of God."4

Francis Schaeffer writes, "The church did not sit there as a group of believers with no form. The New Testament form is commanded by God. These norms are not arbitrary—they are God's form for the institutional, organized church and they are to be present in the twentieth century as well as in any century."5

A New Testament assembly takes the Bible as authoritative and complete.

We believe firmly in the historic doctrines of the church. However, rather than subscribing to man-made creeds, rules, and constitutions, we find the Word of God to be the only infallible statement of Christian faith and practice ( 2 Tim. 3:16 ). The Scriptures should be appealed to directly in a gracious and humble spirit ( 2 Tim. 2:25 ) to settle all disputes, give directives to the assembly, and provide the basis for all public and private ministry.

A truly scriptural assembly should be composed only of true believers.

By this we mean people who, believing the gospel, have experienced the miracle of new birth, and know themselves to be "children of God by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" ( Gal. 3:26 ). We are "not ashamed of the gospel" ( Rom. 1:16 ) and seek to share it with others.

Unconverted people cannot truly participate in worship or other holy activities of the church, nor could they be expected to support its testimony by holy living. Christians are exhorted not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers ( 2 Cor. 6:14-18 ), although we should do good to them and show them by our lives that we belong to the Lord Jesus.

Christ is the gathering center.

Although a local church is a gathering of like-minded believers, no fellowship based on people will work. "Truly our fellowship," said John, "is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" ( 1 Jn. 1:3 ). Matthew 18:20 states: "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."

It is so easy to be distracted from Christ, to find ourselves gathering to a preacher, a set of doctrines, a sacrament, or form of church government. This is very different from being gathered to Christ. We want to recognize His headship ( Col. 1:18 ) in our assembly practically. We believe He deserves this, for it is His church: "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it" ( Eph. 5:25 ).

The Lord's Supper occupies a central place.

As the early Christians did, we come together on the first day of each week to "break bread" ( Acts 2:42 ; 20:7 ). Being a divine appointment, it should never be relegated to a secondary place, or treated as a matter of occasional obedience. It is to be a time of calling our Lord to mind and declaring His death for us. It is observed not as a sacrament administered by a clergyman, but celebrated as described in 1 Corinthians 11. The prime purpose of this time is not to minister to the saints, as in other meetings of the church, but to minister to the heart of God through appropriate reading of scriptures, worshipful hymns, and prayers expressing to God the worthiness of our Saviour.

What about baptism?

The word "baptism" is the English form of the Greek word baptizo, which means to submerse or immerse. All converted people in New Testament times were baptized before taking their place in a local church (see Acts 2:41 ; 8:12 ). Christ had commanded that this should be done ( Mt. 28:19 ). The same pattern is observed by scriptural assemblies today. Converts should be taught that baptism is the symbol of their being buried with Christ, and rising (as He rose) to walk "in newness of life" ( Rom. 6:1-11 ).

The Holy Spirit represents Christ on earth.

Of course, it is not enough to recognize the truths of Scripture if we do not act on them. Many claim to be Bible-believing churches, and we thank God for that. But we must seek also to be a Bible-obeying church by the work of the Spirit of God in us. It is of the utmost importance that the Holy Spirit be given His place in the local assembly. His power is the only power for worship, ministry, or evangelism. It is easy to displace Him by substituting human arrangements. It is common in many congregations to have one man to preside as minister or pastor, with activities under his control. However it is the Spirit who is to direct the saints in their meetings (1 Cor. 12 & 14).

For the guidance of the assembly, elders are appointed by the Spirit.

From Acts 20:17-38 , we see that the terms "elders" (v. 17) and "overseers" (bishops, see margin, v. 28) are used of the same individuals and are applied to those who "take the flock" (v. 28). In other words, elders, overseers (or bishops), and pastors (or shepherds) are all describing the same workers in the church. Elder emphasizes their maturity; overseer emphasizes their responsibility; shepherd emphasizes their ministry—to heed, lead, and feed the local flock. These men (the words are always used in the plural) are to fulfill the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Our elders are to be respected, prayed for, and obeyed ( Heb. 13:7,17 ).

There is no difference in value between men and women, but there are distinct roles.

The work of Christ has removed all human distinctions of privilege ( Gal. 3:28 ). And every believer, whether male or female, is a priest to God ( Heb. 13:15 ). As holy priests ( 1 Pet. 2:5 ) and royal priests ( 1 Pet. 2:9 ), we can worship and witness all we desire.

But as in the home, men and women are given distinct roles in the church. Church order, like chronological or alphabetical order, has nothing to do with importance. It has been established by God so "all things [are] done decently and in (according to the) order" ( 1 Cor. 14:40 ).

Men are to come to church meetings prepared to function publicly as the Spirit leads, representing God to the assembly in the ministry of the Word ( 1 Pet. 4:10-11 ) or representing the assembly to God in prayer and praise. This is to be done carefully so everyone can add "Amen" ( 1 Cor. 14:16 ). The women are free to speak to the Lord all they wish, however they must do it silently. (They are only silent as far as we are concerned—God hears them, as He does the men who are praying silently). Thus the women have free access to pray and worship as the men do, but are not to usurp authority from the men or act in the church as a representative ( 1 Cor. 14:34 ; 1 Tim. 2:11-12 ).

Why do the women wear the head covering?

God's glory is to be seen alone in the assembly of the saints. In order to do this, the men remain uncovered by not having long hair and by removing any head coverings, because the man is "the image and glory of God" ( 1 Cor. 11:7 ). Any covering on the man would veil God's glory. The women, however, are the stewards of the coverings.

There are two competing glories in the church. "The woman is the glory of the man" (1 Cor. 11:7). And "if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her" ( 1 Cor. 11:15 ). Because there are two symbolic glories to be covered, there must be two coverings. The first covering (Gk., peribolaion) is the woman's long hair (v. 15b) to hide the glory of the man (the woman herself). The second covering (Gk., katakalupto} is to hide her glory—her own hair. In this way, God's authority is declared in the church. By it the men are reminded that, in their ministry, their glory is to be hidden. The angels are also instructed by it ( 1 Cor. 11:10 ).

What about membership?

Strictly speaking, the only church membership spoken about in the New Testament refers to the act of placing a new believer into the Body of Christ. This happens the moment one is saved ( 1 Cor. 12:27 ; Eph. 5:30 ). We have no member's list, but do receive into fellowship those whom Christ has already received ( Rom. 15:7 ; 16:1-2 ). The whole assembly is happy to receive all who i) confess Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and Lord; and ii) have a consistent Christian life and testimony.

Being received into this fellowship means you are ready to embrace the privileges of local church life and willing to accept your responsibilities with us. These include regular attendance at the meetings of the church ( Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25 ), the exercise of your gift for the upbuilding of others ( 1 Pet. 4:10 ), submitting to one another, especially in obedience to the elders ( Heb. 13:17 ), and sharing as the Lord enables you in the financial needs of the assembly ( 1 Cor. 16:1-2 ; 2 Cor. 9:7 ) as an act of worship ( Heb. 13:16 ). You will notice that funds are not solicited, especially not from unbelievers ( 3 Jn. 1:7 ).

But there is so much more!

Obviously in a paper like this it is not possible to deal fully with all the issues involved in church life. But as we seek the truth in God's Word, the Holy Spirit delights to show us more. The Apostle Paul stated the two-fold wonder of God's blessings to the human race: "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ" ( Eph. 3:8-9 ). May the Lord help us all to enter more fully into these twin treasures: what we have in the cross of Christ and what we have in the church of Christ.

  • 1. Mt. 18:20; 1 Cor. 5:4; see Mt. 23:8 as to who the "brethren" really are—every true believer in Christ.
  • 2. See Cor. 1:10-15;1 Cor. 3:3-5
  • 3. See Cor. 4:17; 7:17; 11:16; 14:33; 14:34
  • 4. Uplook, Jan. 1998, pp. 27-28
  • 5. F. Schaeffer, The Church at the End of the 20th Century, Downers Grove, IL, InterVarsity, 1970, p. 66

Much of this material adapted from A Scriptural Assembly by Andrew Stenhouse.

The preceding has been copied with permission from the original author

All pop-up verses from the New King James translation.

Feel free to contact us with your questions.

Believer's Bible Chapel | Farm Bureau Building | 1925 S Meridian Rd, Rockford, IL 61102 | Phone: (815) 978-4109