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For more information and to purchase the full version of this book by Colin Urquhart visit the Kingdom Faith Resource Centre: http://www.kingdomfaith.com/ResourceCentre


TRUE

Church

C o l i n Ur q u h a r t


Kingdom Faith Resources Ltd. Roffey Place, Old Crawley Road, HORSHAM West Sussex, RH12 4RU Tel: 01293 851543 Fax: 01293 854610 E-mail: resources@kingdomfaith.com www.kingdomfaith.com First published in Great Britain in Oct 2002 by Kingdom Faith Kingdom Faith Trust is a registered charity (no.278746) Copyright © 2002 Colin Urquhart All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher. Short extracts may be used for review purposes. Unless otherwise stated, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder and Stoughton Limited.

ISBN


CONTENTS

NEW TESTAMENT DESCRIPTIONS

7

THE PEOPLE OF GOD

13

ONE CHURCH

37

OPPOSITION TO THE TRUTH

45

REVIVAL IN THE CHURCH

55

GLORY IN THE CHURCH

65


TRUE CHURCH • 7

1 NEW TESTAMENT DESCRIPTIONS The Church as we know it today is a far cry from the Church that Jesus Christ established as a result of His ministry on the earth. For hundreds of years Christians have started new churches intending them to be an expression of the true Church, the Church as Jesus meant it to be. Sadly, what often begins from a move of God can become as lifeless as the congregations these new churches were meant to supersede! Many churches do not even begin out of a move of God and are influenced from their inception by the unbiblical prejudices of those who start them. Others start well, only to desert the biblical principles that once governed them, allowing traditions to replace the truth. We need to understand what Jesus intends His Church to be, without making any judgments on what we see, or on our experience of “church”. When we know what God expects of His Church, then it should be obvious to any discerning reader what changes need to be made, so that a particular congregation or network of churches can become what He intended.


8 • TRUE CHURCH

This may seem idealistic, but we should never settle for anything less than the will of God. After all, the Church is His Church! There is a sense, then, that the Church is to seek continually to become what it is: a viable manifestation or expression of the Body of Christ in the world. There are several ways in which the Church is described in the New Testament. THE TRUE VINE Jesus spoke of Himself as the True Vine and the disciples as branches of this Vine. They have been incorporated into Him by virtue of their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. They are to live, to remain, to abide in Him; literally, to “go on continually living in Him.” I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) Being part of the Vine causes us to understand church in terms of relationship. Each believer is to be in personal relationship with the One in whom he or she lives. At the same time, the branches will need to be at one with the other branches, so that the sap of the Holy Spirit can flow through the branches, enabling the fruitbearing process to take place. The purpose for every branch is to bear fruit – not simply produce showy leaves! This fruit-bearing process can only take place by abiding or remaining in the Vine, by remaining in relationship


TRUE CHURCH • 9

with Jesus and the other branches. Jesus says that fruitless branches are cut out of the Vine, piled up and burned; they are fit for nothing else. The true purpose for every branch is to bear fruit! The true believer who lives in Christ need not fear, for by remaining in the Vine he will certainly be fruitful; the Holy Spirit will produce fruit in him: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:7-8) Not only are the branches, the individual disciples, to be in relationship with Jesus Christ and with one another; they have a specific purpose. God the Father has grafted them into the True Vine to fulfil that plan. Jesus explains: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:16-17) THE BODY OF CHRIST Paul describes the Church as the Body of Christ, commissioned to continue the ministry of God’s Son here on earth. Speaking to the church at Corinth, he says: Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Cor 12:27)


10 • TRUE CHURCH

Christ is the Head of the Body, each disciple like a body part with his or her distinctive function. The thinking behind this imagery is similar to that of the True Vine. Every part of the Body needs to be in a healthy relationship with the head, and with the other parts or members of the Body. No part can function either independently of the Head or the other members. Paul explains that each part is to fulfil its distinctive function without striving to be like the other parts that have a different function, or thinking that any disciple does not need the other parts. You may be a hand, but you need the eyes! If I wish to move one of my fingers, something has to be transmitted from my brain, through various parts of the body to the finger. If the brain was damaged, or something wrong with the nervous system, then my finger may not be able to move, even though there is nothing wrong physically with the finger itself. Every part is expected to fulfil the purpose for which it was grafted into the body by the Lord. From the moment of his new birth when he becomes a Christian, the believer is placed in Christ and in relationship with the other branches and members of Christ’s Body. A LIVING TEMPLE These truths are also clear in Peter’s description of the Church as a spiritual house or temple. The Biblical understanding of church is definitely NOT a building, but a group of people: living stones, in a living temple!


TRUE CHURCH • 11

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 2:5) Jesus is the “chosen and precious cornerstone” of the temple (v6). Stones in a house have to be built together. A pile of stones or bricks does not make a church! No, the individual stones have to be joined together in such a way as to fulfil God’s desire to have a living temple able to fulfil His purposes. This temple has a number of functions, as we shall see; but it is the unity between these living stones that makes these functions possible. So there are three main questions that need to be answered:

… THE INDIVIDUAL STONES HAVE TO BE JOINED TOGETHER IN SUCH A WAY AS TO FULFIL GOD’S DESIRE TO HAVE A LIVING TEMPLE ABLE TO FULFIL HIS PURPOSES.

• What kind of relationship should exist between Jesus Christ and the individuals in the church? • How are the members to relate with one another? • What is the purpose for this body of believers? From these three descriptions of the church, it is clear that Jesus Christ did not come to earth to create a religious system. His concept of the Church is not a group of people simply coming together for services and meetings. Neither is the Church a place or building. Jesus sees His Church as people in living, personal relationship with Him and with one another, equipped to fulfil His purposes


12 • TRUE CHURCH

for them in the world. Every believer is to be fruitful in fulfilling his or her part in that purpose, and by so doing will bring glory to the Father. So the Church does not exist for the benefit of its members, but to fulfil the purpose of the One whose Body it is. It is not a building, nor an institution, nor a religious system, but a body of people who live in Christ and in whom He lives! What does this mean in practice?


TRUE CHURCH • 69

The True Series will comprise the following titles: TRUE ANOINTING TRUE APOSTLES TRUE AUTHORITY TRUE CHURCH TRUE COVENANT TRUE DELIVERANCE TRUE DEVOTION TRUE DISCIPLES TRUE FAITH TRUE FREEDOM TRUE GRACE TRUE HEALING TRUE HOLINESS TRUE JUDGMENT TRUE KINGDOM TRUE LIFE TRUE LORD TRUE LOVE TRUE MISSION TRUE PRAYER TRUE SALVATION TRUE WISDOM TRUE WORSHIP All these books by Colin Urquhart and a catalogue of other titles and teaching materials can be obtained from: Kingdom Faith Resources, Roffey Place, Old Crawley Road Faygate, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4RU. Telephone 01293 854 600 email: resources@kingdomfaith.com


For more information and to purchase the full version of this book by Colin Urquhart visit the Kingdom Faith Resource Centre: http://www.kingdomfaith.com/ResourceCentre


True Church