7. History Of The Early Church

   
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7. HISTORY OF THE EARLY CHURCH

THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH

1. The crucifixion scattered the followers of Jesus to the four winds. It was their belief in the fact of the resurrection that finally brought them together at Jerusalem.

2. How, when, and why they gathered in Jerusalem—we do not know. We just find them there.

3. On the day of Pentecost we find 120 believers assembled in an upper room at Jerusalem. Acts 1:15.

4. The promised Spirit comes, and they go out to preach—Peter taking the lead.

5. The “speaking with tongues”—glossolalia—was utterance of certain arbitrary sounds—not a definite language. Paul is supposed to have had this “gift.”

6. Joel had foretold of this “pouring out of the Spirit.”

7. This day marks the birth of the Christian church, with its thousands of baptisms.

8. Organization was simple. The resurrected Jesus was Lord—and would soon return. This belief in the second advent was the main reason for their giving up all private property.

9. They had no creed—each believer was free to make his own interpretation of the gospel.

10. The creed was simple—”Jesus is Lord”—Paul recognized this. See Rom 10:9. I Cor 12:3. Phil 2:11.

11. They had just two sacraments—baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

12. Jesus had not insisted on baptism—but since he was baptized by John—it became a rite of the church.

13. Remember: They expected Jesus’ return—any day, week, or month.

14. But trouble developed. Jesus’ coming was delayed. The “common property” was exhausted, Poverty stared them in the face.

15. Presently, the new church had to separate from Judaism. The Jews began persecutions.

16. The Jerusalem church was largely composed of Hellenized Jews—many from all about the Roman Empire.

17. There was serious trouble between the native Jewish Christians and the Hellenist converts. Stephen was leader of the Greeks.

18. Stephen was dragged out during his trial and stoned to death. Paul saw all of this. Acts 8:1.

19. While the Jews allowed the native Christians to remain, they drove the Hellenists out of Jerusalem. Thus they carried the gospel all over the gentile world.

20. There were large churches at Antioch, Damascus, and Rome. Paul was on his way to Damascus when he saw his vision.

21. The Jews confined their labors to Palestine. They could not get away from the notion that Jesus would return soon. They, in error, kept repeating a supposed saying; “You will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.” Matt 10:23.

22. Agrippa (A.D. 42) began the persecution of Christians. James was put to death.

23. Peter was yielding leadership to James, the Lord’s brother. Paul and James held opposite positions regarding the gentiles. Peter tried to stand between them.

24. But friction persisted. Finally Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem for a finish fight. They finally reached a compromise. Paul was allowed to “go his way”, and preach his gospel. The two accounts of this meeting don’t fully agree. Acts 15. Gal 2.

25. For many years the church went forward in two camps. The Jerusalem church became poverty stricken and Paul took up collections in his gentile churches to help them.

26. As the revolt against Rome agitated Jerusalem, the Christians were very unpopular as they resisted the war-fever. Before the end they all fled to Pella.

27. The Jerusalem church was short lived, but it assembled and preserved the writings which later on became the New Testament.

28. It is unfortunate that we have so little of record concerning the latter days of the Jerusalem church. But they did render a valuable service during the formative period of Christianity.

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