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Independent Churches - A Biblical Defense (Part 2) - Pastors Shouldn't be Busybodies in Other Churches

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Watch the video of this sermon on YouTube: Independent Churches - A Biblical Defense (Part 2) - Pastors Shouldn't be Busybodies in Other Churches

A copy of the outline can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

To listen to or watch the previous sermon in the series, click here: Part 1

For more info on why we aren't Primitive Baptists, click here: Why We Aren't Primitive Baptists

VI. The Bible knows nothing of one pastor or bishop having the rule over churches that have their own pastor.
1. A bishop is the overseer of a local church, not a "diocese" of congregations.
A. Bishop n. - 1. A spiritual superintendent or overseer in the Christian Church.
B. A bishop, an elder, and a pastor are three different titles for the same office (Tit 1:5-7; Act 20:17,28).
C. If a bishop is the overseer of a diocese of congregations, then why did the church at Philippi have "bishops"? (Phi 1:1 c/w Phi 4:15)
2. Each pastor receives a ministry from God (Act 12:25; Act 20:24; 2Ti 4:5).
A. A pastor's ministry reaches only as far as the people to whom God has sent him to minister (2Co 10:13).
B. A pastor is to take heed to the ministry that God has given him (Col 4:17) and not meddle in another man's ministry (2Co 10:14-15; Rom 15:20).
C. A pastor is to feed and rule his own church, as Peter exhorted elders to "feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof" (1Pe 5:2).
D. A pastor is also to do the work of an evangelist (2Ti 4:5), in which he would go into other places, preach the gospel, baptize converts, and form them into churches, as did Philip the evangelist (Act 21:8 c/w Act 8:5,12 c/w Act 9:31).
E. The only time a pastor can oversee more than one church is when he has done the work of an evangelist and started a new church and has not yet ordained an elder to take the oversight of it.

VII. Churches should not be corporations of the State but should be entirely independent of it.
1. The only head of the church is Jesus Christ (Eph 1:20-23; Eph 4:15-16; Eph 5:23).
2. The church therefore should not be made a creature of the State by incorporating itself as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit corporation or association, but should be entirely separate from the State (Mat 22:21).
3. If the church becomes a corporation of the State, the State becomes its creator and therefore its head.
4. "The church is not some two-headed freak show." - Stephen Beatty

VIII. One church can be a partaker of another church's charity, but not their communion or authority.
1. There was a time when there was a great drought in Judea and the saints in Jerusalem were in need (Act 11:28).
A. The disciples in other churches decided to send them relief, which they did by the hands Barnabas and Paul (Act 11:29-30; Rom 15:25-27).
B. Paul asked other churches to take up a collection to help the saints in the Jerusalem church and gave them instruction on how it was to be done, which they did (1Co 16:1-3; 2Co 8:10-15; 2Co 9:1-2).
2. Churches in the Bible also sent greetings to each other and were friendly with each other (Rom 16:3-5; 1Co 16:19-20).
3. But helping out another church in need, being friendly, and sending greetings is not at all the same as having authority over them or influencing and meddling in their internal affairs.
4. A church is similar to a family, which is why the members are called brethren (1Th 2:14) and are to relate to one another as a family does (1Ti 5:1-2).
A. It is perfectly acceptable for one family to send money or supplies to another family that is in need (1Ti 5:4), or to send them a card telling them they are praying for them.
B. But it is not at all acceptable for one family to show up for dinner at the other family's house and start telling them how many kids they should have, what should be for dinner, and what furniture they should buy.
C. The father would be usurping authority that was not his if he meddled in the affairs of another family.
D. So it is with churches: one church or group of churches has no authority from God to meddle in the affairs of another church.
5. A local church is likened to a human body in scripture (1Co 12:12-18 c/w 1Co 12:27).
A. It is honorable for one or more persons (human bodies) to offer acts of charity to another person who is in need (Gal 6:2).
B. But it is dishonorable for one or more persons to tell another person how to eat, dress, exercise, or style his hair, which is called being a busybody (1Pe 4:15).
C. A person or group of people meddling in another person's business is taking on themselves a responsibility that God never gave them.
D. So it is with churches: one church or group of churches has no authority from God to meddle in the affairs of another church.

IX. Objection: wasn't Paul like a pope, denominational leader, or an association moderator who had authority over many congregations?
1. The apostles had authority over many local churches (2Co 11:28; 1Co 16:1), but that is not true of men today.
2. There is no office of apostle today because no man currently living could meet the qualifications, which are:
A. First: Having been with the original 12 apostles for the entirety of Jesus' earthly ministry (Act 1:21-22).
B. Second: Having personally witnessed the resurrected Jesus Christ (Act 1:22).
C. The apostle Paul met the second qualification, having personally seen Jesus Christ after His resurrection (1Co 9:1).
D. Paul was an exception to the first qualification, being "one born out of due time" (1Co 15:8).
E. No one living today companied with the 12 disciples during Jesus' earthly ministry, nor has personally seen Jesus Christ. Therefore no man has the office of an apostle today.
3. The apostles had authority over multiple local churches because the word of God was still being written by them, and until it was complete, they needed to have the word of God personally given to them.
A. Jesus told the apostle Peter that whatever he would bind on earth would be bound in heaven (Mat 16:19).
i. "Shalt bind" is future tense and "shalt be bound" is the future tense passive voice which functions in the same way as the future perfect tense, which demands that the binding that Peter would do in the future on earth would have already been done by God in heaven.
ii. In other words, the decrees the apostles made on earth concerning doctrine and practice were first made in heaven by God before they were given to the apostles.
iii. If the future tense is confusing, then let's bring it into the present tense to simplify it.
a. Doing so would have Mat 16:19 read "whatsoever thou bindest on earth is bound in heaven."
b. "Bindest" is present tense and "is bound" is present tense passive voice which functions in the same way as the present perfect tense, demanding that the binding in heaven preceded the binding on earth.
B. The apostles delivered the word of God and made it binding on the saints on earth.
i. When the Pharisees had gone to the church at Antioch and taught the brethren that they had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses to be saved, the church sent the apostles, Paul and Barnabas, to the church in Jerusalem to ask the other apostles concerning the matter (Act 15:1-2).
ii. The apostles and elders came together to consider the matter (Act 15:6).
iii. The apostle Peter weighed in (Act 15:7-11) and then the apostle James who was the overseer of the church in Jerusalem gave his sentence that the Gentiles did not have to keep the law of Moses, save for a few items (Act 15:13-21).
iv. The apostles were all pleased with James' decision and they decided to send Paul and Barnabas with some other men to Antioch to apprise the church of the decree (Act 15:22-32).
v. Paul continued to deliver the decree throughout the cities where he had previously started churches (Act 16:4-5).
C. Paul would later write letters to the churches under the inspiration of God giving them commandments concerning their faith and order.
D. Once the New Testament was complete (Heb 2:3-4), there was no further need for apostles to write scripture or to have authority over the churches.
E. The scripture is able to throughly furnish the pastor of each local church with all that he needs to teach, instruct, correct, and reprove the church of which God has made him the overseer (2Ti 3:16-17 c/w Act 20:28).
F. One pastor alone can set in order all things that are wanting in a church, up to and including ordaining elders to oversee a church (Tit 1:5) which he started when doing the work of an evangelist (2Ti 4:5).

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