Vol.XII No.XII Pg.1
February 1976

Character Notes

Robert F. Turner

The identifying marks of the N.T. church usually presented are its name, terms of admission, government, work, and worship. This is a useful study, and includes many points that need clarification in this denominational world. But if we stop here we will have overlooked the very elements that make the Lords church what it is —- that make these people concerned about work and worship. Important character traits are identifying marks of those who are the church.

They are people of FAITH; People who have ceased to rely upon themselves but trust in Jesus Christ as Lord. They are often designated simply as those who believe (Acts 2:44 4:32, 5:14, etc.). Christ is Savior specially of those that believe. In a real sense, all they did was prompted by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11: 6).

And these believers were TOGETHER. The first thing said about the first converts is they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers (Acts 2:42). Verse 44 says they were together, and had all things common. Acts 4:32 says they were of one heart and of one soul, so much so that in time of need they sold their possessions and shared. This kind of oneness stems from an initial fellowship which they had with God (1 Jn. 1:5-7, 2 Cor. 8:4-5).

They were SAINTS (set-apart ones), CONSECRATED to the Lord. Peter called them peculiar — a people for Gods own possession (1 Pet. 2:9). Such sanctification is not experienced. It follows work on our part. One must purge himself of iniquity, false teachers, etc., in order to be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the masters use (2 Tim. 2:16-f). The saints in Christ Jesus which were at Philippi, made up the church there (Phil. 1:1); and todays city-without-saints, is a city without the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, when we begin to define the Lords church, lets not stop with a few outward marks, however important. These ought ye to have done (Matt. 23:23); but without the other, our efforts are meaningless.