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Catfish: The Biblical Church

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This is my attempt at a thematic sermon outlining what the Church truly is as opposed to the things that people believe. I am using the TV show Catfish as a way to show that there are things that can be truly believed by people but may not be true.

Notes & Transcripts | Handout | Sermon Questions

Introduction

Catfish Video
For those who don’t immediately catch on explain to them that the idea is that deception of the masses can occur and that deception can be known as the “truth”.
lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona.
"he was being catfished by a cruel prankster"
If you were to ask 50 random people what the church was, it is very likely that you would get 50 different answers. But when speaking about the church in which you can find; salvation, truth, and God, certain standards must be met. Today we will look into God’s word to see exactly how church is defined in the Bible.

What Is The Church?

Church defined

When we see the word church in the Bible, in the original text it would be seen as ἐκκλησία (ekklesia).
ἐκκλησία - Assembly, gathering, community, organization, congregation, church
We also see that the word ἐκκλησία is a type of compound word.
ἐκ- Out of
καλέω- To Call, To Summon
So we see here that this word has multiple meanings. The context in which it falls will help to define what it is that we are talking about.
Matthew 16:18 NRSV
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Jesus promises to build a group of people who are called out of something. And nothing will be able to prevail against it! The roots of God calling people did not start here.
Genesis 12:1–3 NRSV
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God asked Abram (Abraham) to do something and he was obedient and full of faith. God then made him a promise that his descendants would be a great nation. And they would be a blessing to all people one day. God called Abram answered.
Exodus 6:7 NRSV
7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians.
The people would later grow into a mighty nation. They would be the called out people of God. They would be his people and Yahweh was their God!
Ephesians 1:3–6 NRSV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Eph 1:3-
God would later bring about the action of his son Jesus coming to this earth in the form of an Israelite man. Through the lineage of Abraham. It is through Him that all people could be adopted into this lineage as Children of God. As an assembly of believers with some things in common. Called out as the Israelites were called out of Egyptian bondage, we would be called out of the bondage of sin.

What do they have in Common?

Ephesians 4:5–7 NRSV
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. 7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
eph 4
Ephesians 4:1–5 NRSV
1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One Lord

John 14:6–7 NRSV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Matthew 16:18 NRSV
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Jesus is Lord. The church of the Bible has ONLY one Lord. Jesus Christ is the only avenue to God the father. Jesus builds the church on the fact that he is the son of God.

One Faith

The church of the Bible has a faith that is believed upon by the whole group. This faith is in the content of the Gospel. Evidence is found here..
Ephesians 4:7–10 NRSV
7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.” 9 (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)
eph 4 7
Ephesians 4:13 NRSV
13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.
eph 4
The belief in the son of God being Jesus, and fulfilling the Gospel must be believed for the body A.K.A to be the Church of the Bible.
1 Corinthians 15:1–3 NRSV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,
This faith, or blind trust, that we have is in the Gospel/Good News that Jesus died, was buried, and then rose from the dead. If you are the Church of the Bible then you must be united in this faith. The idea is that we all believe the same thing according to the Gospel content.
1 Corinthians 15:2 NRSV
2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 NRSV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.
The Gospel is also important because it saves.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 NRSV
8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1 Thessalonians 1:5–8 NRSV
5 because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it.
The Gospel is also important because it saves.

One Baptism

Root Word: βάπτω (Bapto)
The root word for baptism means to dip, submerge, or bury. Within context of the scriptures there are many baptisms spoken about. We must find the correct one for the Church of the Bible.
Acts 19:1–5 NRSV
1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
These people within this context had been a part of John’s baptism. Which was a baptism for repentance. Not one that would do what we as members of the Church of the Bible believe it to be.
Acts 2:38 NRSV
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The baptism that the church of the Bible has in common is that it is one for the remission of sins. But what are we buried/dipped/submerged into?
Romans 6:4 NRSV
4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
Acts 8:35–38 NRSV
35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
acts 8 35-
We are buried in water for the remission of our sins.
1 Peter 3:18–21 NRSV
18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
1 pet 3 18-
Baptism saves
The Church is a called out group of people who are of one mind.

Who Established the Church?

Matthew 16:15–18 NRSV
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Jesus promised to build this group of people based on the fact that he was the son of God.

Who make up the church?

Acts 11:26 NRSV
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”
Who makes up the Church?
Church = Disciples = Christians

Who are the leaders in the church?

Acts 14:21–23 NRSV
21 After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. 22 There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.” 23 And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.
act 14 21-
Elders are a biblical appointed part of leadership.
Acts 6:1–5 NRSV
1 Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. 2 And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, 4 while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” 5 What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
Acts 6:1–6 NRSV
1 Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. 2 And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, 4 while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” 5 What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
1 Timothy 3:8–13 NRSV
8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; 9 they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. 11 Women likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well; 13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
1 tim
Deacons are an office of the Church of the Bible.
2 Timothy 4:1–2 NRSV
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching.
2 tim 4 1-
Here Timothy as minister is instructed on what to do.
Titus 1:5–9 NRSV
5 I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: 6 someone who is blameless, married only once, whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. 7 For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; 8 but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 9 He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
Titus as minister is instructed on what he is to do.
No where in a mature NT biblical church does it name any others in church leadership. People may speak of other things but Paul discussed the things that will last and things that will cease upon maturity of the Church.
1 Corinthians 13:8–13 NRSV
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 cor 13 8-13
The mature Biblical Church is made up of the Elders, Deacons, Minister, and Christians. They are the “Who” of the church.

When Was The Church Established?

The Biblical NT Church was established on the day of Pentecost.
Word derived from the Greek word pentēkostē (fiftieth) which stood for the festival celebrated on the 50th day after Passover. In the OT this festival, called Shavuoth (Weeks) in Judaism, is referred to as the Feast of Weeks (; ) because it occurs 7 weeks after Passover.[1]
[1] Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Pentecost. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1639). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Acts 2:1 NRSV
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
This is the place where the Gospel message is first preached to the masses.
Acts 2:22–24 NRSV
22 “You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
acts 2 22-
People ask how to respond to what they have just heard.
Acts 2:37–38 NRSV
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
acts 2 37-
Acts 2:41 NRSV
41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
acts 2
On this Jewish festival 3,000 people were added to the CHURCH.
The time would have been around A.D. 29-33
Biblical Church Establishment A.D. 29 - 33
Catholicism Establishment
The 1st use of Catholic Church was not used until 110 A.D by Ignatius of Antioch
Islam Establishment 610 A.D.
Lutheranism Establishment 1517
Baptist Establishment 1609-1612
Jehovah’s Witness Establishment 1870
If we all are worshipping the same God
How can all of these be the Church of the Bible?
How can these come after and be the first?
Somebody is right and someone has been Catfished!

Where was the Church of the Bible Established?

Jerusalem
Acts 2:1 NRSV
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
Acts 2:5 NRSV
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.
Christianity was not born in America or in Europe as some suppose. And it was not forced on American slaves. Christianity made it to Africa well before the slave trade.
Acts 2:10 NRSV
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
There are plenty of people being catfished at the moment stating that Christianity was CREATED to control black slaves in America. It may have been misused in that manner but Christianity was in Africa long before 1776.

How Does One Become The Church of The Bible?

Baptism

Matthew 28:18–20 NRSV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

“...make disciples of all nations...”
Jesus is essentially saying make disciples=Chrisitians=Church of all nations. It is done through this method and this method only! REMEMBER nobody can get to God unless they come by Jesus. Jesus says you make them through ...
“…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”
I see no other method of making the Church after the Day of Pentecost in the NT. People may speak of prayers and belief only but God, through the Bible, says Baptism.

Belief Only?

Acts 16:30–33 NRSV
30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.
Even though it is only said that the man must believe to be saved at this point in the life of the NT Church of the Bible the two things of Belief and Baptism were synonymous!
Mark 16:16 NRSV
16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.
That’s not a hard idea to grasp! Belief + Baptism= Salvation. The Church will be saved.

Conclusion

There is a lot of confusion as to the who, what, when, where, how, and why of the Biblical Church. I hope that this lesson has cleared up the muddy waters of this dilemma.
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