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“Attend the church of your choice.” This statement was on a sign in a local grocery store. How do we know which one to attend? With all the conflicting messages, how do we know which one is right? This Bible-marking topic will begin a series that will help us know how to identify the Lord’s church.
In the front of your Bible, write “The Lord’s Church.” As a sub-title underneath, write the name of this first study, “It’s establishment,” and next to it, write Dan. 2:44.
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
Underline “God of heaven will set up” and circle “shall never be destroyed.” Double-underline “it shall stand forever.” The passages which follow will show when and how this passage was fulfilled. At the of the verse write Matt. 16:18,19.
And I say to you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My father who is in heaven. 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.
In Matthew 16, Peter has correctly identified Christ. In response, Jesus speaks of His church. Underline “My church” in verse 18. Notice that it is in future tense. Circle “I will build.” You will also notice that He uses the word “church” (v. 18) and “kingdom” (v. 19) interchangeably. Jesus is living at that future time of which Daniel spoke, and talking about the establishment of that future kingdom. But when would it come? The same context answers the question. At the end of verse 19, write v. 28. (We’re staying in the same book, same chapter.)
Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
At the very end of the same discussion, Jesus speaks of that kingdom coming very soon. Underline the verse. It was going to come in the lifetime of some of those standing there. At the end of verse 28, write Mark 9:1.
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”
This is Mark’s parallel account of the events in Matthew 16. Mark includes a few very important words of Jesus that is not included in Matthew. Underline “They will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” We see not only when it would come, but how it would come– “with power.” At the end of this verse, write Acts 1:8.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
By the time Luke writes this, Jesus has been crucified, buried, and resurrected. After being with the apostles forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (see 1:3), Jesus tells them what will happen. Underline “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” This is the power that was mentioned in Mark 9:1. At the end of verse 8, write Luke 24:49.
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.
The apostles obeyed the Lord’s command. Underline “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke tells us not only what was going to happen, but where it was going to happen (Jerusalem). At the end of this verse, write Acts 2:1-4.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Here Luke puts all of this together for us. Underline when it would happen. “When the day of Pentecost had fully come.” Circle who it would happen to– “they.” To show who “they” is, underline “the apostles” in Acts 1:26, and then draw a line from “the apostles” to “they.” Now notice what was going to happen. Put brackets around verses 2-4. This is the fulfillment of Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8. Underline verse 4, which shows what happened when they were filled with that power from above. At the end of verse 4, write v. 47.
…praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
When the people in Jerusalem heard the apostles speak to them in their own language, it gave the apostles the opportunity to preach Christ. In response, the crowd asked what they should do. In Acts 2:38, Peter tells them. In Acts 2:41, we see that the glad recipients were baptized and added to them. In verse 47, underline “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” From this context, we see that the power Jesus promised came on Pentecost. This demonstration got the people’s attention and allowed Peter to preach Christ. Obviously, preaching Christ included the message about His church. Luke shows us that those saved (see 2:38,41) were added by God to the church. The church promised is now established. After Acts 2:47, the church/ kingdom is spoken of as already being in existence. (See 2 Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 12:28–compare to Daniel 2:44).
Next month, we will continue this series by looking at illustrations of the Lord’s church.