Church History # 1 - The NT Church


Church History # 1

Growth and Apostasy




1.         It is the purpose of these articles to give a brief outline of major events in the history of God’s people,              the church of the New Testament.

2.         This first lesson will be a simple review of some things that many of you are already well familiar with.  But I feel like it was be neglectful on my part to jump into the history of the church without reviewing God’s New Testament plan for His church. 

3.         Each of the points below could be given much more detail, but for our purposes here, I hope that this brief outline will be a beginning place for you in your study of the true nature of the Lord’s New Testament church. 


I.          The Church was in the mind of God from the beginning of time.

            A.         Eph. 3:10-11 “According to His eternal purpose”

            B.         1 Pet. 1:18 – the Lamb of God foreknown from the foundation of the world.

            C.         God had a plan! 

II.         The Plan was stated by way of promise and prophecy in the Old Testament.

            A.         The promises to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3)

                        * “In thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed”

            B.         Daniel 2:44 – The God of heaven to set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed

            C.         A king to sit upon the throne of David was coming (2 Sam. 7:12, Isa. 9:6-7).

III.        The Kingdom/Church Established

            A.         The kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2, 4:17)

            B.         Some living then would see the kingdom come with power (Mk. 9:1)

            C.         The kingdom came on the first Pentecost following the resurrection

                        Of Jesus (Acts 2) 

IV.        The church was in existence in the first century.

            A.         Local congregations existed throughout the Roman world.

                        (Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, Philippi, Thess., Corinth, Rome, etc.)

            B.         The Words of Christ and the Apostles Our Only Guide. 

                        1.         Scripture is inspired of God. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

                        2.         All things that pertain to life and godliness come through a

                                    Knowledge of Christ (2 Pet. 1:3-4)

                        3.         The faith was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)

                        4.         We are not to preach a different gospel (Gal. 1:6-9)

                        5.         Whoever goes onward, and abides not in the teaching of Christ, hath not

                                    God (2 John 9)

            C.         The church was built upon the teachings of Christ and the apostles

                          1.         The seed of the kingdom is the word of God (Luke 8.11) 

2.         “But ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19-20).                          

            D.        What did the church do in worship?

                        1.         Sing (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16).

                        2.         Pray (Acts 2:42, 1 Thess. 5:17, Phil. 4:6)

                        3.         Give liberally to gospel work (1 Cor. 16:1-2, 2 Cor. 9:6-7)

                        4.         Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 11:23-27)

                        5.         Teach, preach (Acts 20:7)

            E.         What did the church do in its work?

                        1.         Preach the gospel to the lost (Acts 8:4, 8:9-13, 8:26-40, 1 Thess. 1:8)

                        2.         Edify, build up one another (Acts 2:42, Eph. 4:11-16, etc.)

                        3.         Help needy saints (Acts 4:32-37, 6:1-6, 11:27-30, etc.)

            F.         How was the church organized?

                        1.         Christ is the only head of His church (Matt. 28:18, Eph. 1:22-23)

                        2.         Elders were appointed to oversee individual congregations, and they had authority to

                                     oversee ONLY those particular churches (Acts 14:23, Acts 20:28, 1 Pet. 5:1-4)

                        3.         Specially appointed deacons served under the oversight of the elders

                                    (Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:8-13).