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Sermon: Tarentum, by Robert Johnson

Cloning The New Testament Church:
I. Planting Seed With The Original Pattern (DNA).
II. Membership In The Original Church.
III. Organization Of A Cloned New Testament Church.
IV. Characteristics Of Worship Of A Cloned New Testament Church.

A. One of today’s most controversial issues is cloning: Taking DNA from one person and inserting that DNA into a fertilized egg to form an exact physical replica of that person.
1. In my mind this only becomes a problem when the babies are creating for research or for the purpose of supplying organs for others (They are created to be destroyed).
2. While it may be possible to give a person certain physical characteristics, it should be noted that God gives each person an individual spirit which is not a result of their DNA. (God is the “Father of spirits” Heb 12:9).
B. Scientists have discovered that all our physical characteristics are a result of a certain code found in our DNA: Hair color, eye color, size, shape and even the genetic predisposition to certain diseases such as cancer and heart failure.
1. Plants also have a code for what they will become physically in their DNA.
2. Genetics (from word “genesis”, beginning) is the study of our origins.
C. The history of the church is much like a family tree with the genetic traits being the beliefs and teaches of men being inherited by those who followed them.
1. Jesus originally established one church, which was thoroughly equipped with truth.
2. Over the years the teachings and beliefs of that church were altered by men’s ideas and passed on to others (This has been going on for 2,000 years).
3. From the original church was formed the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.
4. When the Roman church became so corrupt that even priests like Martin Luther could not accept its teaching and practice, many attempted to “reform” the church (The Reformation).
5. Out of the Reformation came the roots of most of today’s hundreds of denominations such as the Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.
6. The things that make denominations distinct and different from one another today are the ideas and teachings they have inherited from men, not from God’s Word.
7. Fact is, that not one of today’s denominations can be found in the Bible and many of their teachings actually contradict the inspired teachings and practice of the original church.
8. To put it simply there is the church created by Jesus and then there are the churches created by and inherited from men.
D. The scriptures place a great deal of emphasis on the idea that there is only one church, one faith and one body and that this original faith must be maintained indefinitely.
1. Jesus prayed that all His disciples from then to now be one as He and the His Father were one:
John 17:20-21: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
2. Paul condemns divisions among the disciples and told them to all be of the same mind.
1 Cor 1:10: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
3. John warned the first church of those who would change the church and exhorted them to earnestly contend for the original faith they had received.
Jude 1:3: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
a. He reminds them of how Israel was delivered from Egypt, only to die in the wilderness and how some of the angels failed to remain in their first estate (Jude 1:4-6).
4. Can we be satisfied with “many” when Jesus prayed for “one”?; Can we accept divisions as pleasing to God when Paul said there must be none?; Is it God’s will to accept many “faiths” when Jude said we must earnestly contend for the original?
C. Anyone who is serious about salvation and pleasing God must have as their highest goal the restoration of the faith and worship of the original church.
1. We know they received their teachings by inspiration: (2 Tim. 3:16,17).
2. We know their worship was approved and pleasing to God.
3. We know that they received salvation according to God’s plan.
4. How can any serious believer ever say, I know what my church teaches is not in the Bible, but....?
D. I cannot help but think about how the process of cloning is like the restoration of the Church of the New Testament.

I. Planting Seed With The Original Pattern or DNA:
A. I am not trying to belittle your intelligence, but what do you get when you plant an apple seed? An apple tree or an orange tree? (Always after its own kind- Gen. 1:11).
B. According to the Bible, the seed of the kingdom is the WORD of God (Luke 8).
1. When the Word of God is planted in a good heart it will always produce the
same thing, a Believer, Disciple or New Testament Christian.
1 Pet 1:23-25: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."
C. In order to get anything more than just a Christian, one would have to genetically alter the seed and plant something different in person’s heart.
1. Where is the Biblical seed (DNA) that produces Lutherans, Pentecostals or any other “brand” of Christian?
2. Where is the origin or authorization for any denominational organization found in
the Bible?
3. Where is the Westminister Creed, the Apostles Creed, The Nicene Creed or any
other modern rule of faith found in the Bible?
D. If we want to clone the original church, we must plant only the Word of God found in the New Testament.

II. Membership In The Original Church:
A. If you want to become a member of a denomination today, you must comply with the terms and conditions they have devised.
1. You might be required to take a series of classes.
2. You might be required to confess and give your loyalty to some man made creed.
3. In many cases you would be told you are saved by faith only and must prepare
yourself for baptism at some later date.
B. If you happened to ask a clone of the original church how to be saved and become a member of the church, here is what you would be told.
1. To be saved:
Mark 16:15-16: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Acts 2:37-38: "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

2. To become a member of the church? Be saved and God adds you!
Acts 2:41: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Acts 2:46-47: "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

C. The original church might then point out several things that happen when you have enough faith to be baptized in the name of Jesus.
1. Your sins were washed away (Acts 22:16).
2. You were buried and joined to the death of Christ and raised to walk in a new
life with Christ. (Rom. 6:3,4)
3. You were put “into” Christ (Gal. 3:27).
4. Your sins were spiritually circumcised from you as you were buried (Col 2:11-13).

III. Organization of a Cloned New Testament Church:
A. Like the original, the only “head of the church” would be Christ:
Col 1:18: "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."
1. Each individual congregation was autonomous with elders in subjection to the head.
B. Since Christ is the head and all authority is His, then the only headquarters of the original church would be in heaven:
Mat 28:18-20: "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
C. In the original church there were different offices to be held by the leaders with certain qualifications for each office.
1. Apostles: Inspired, eye witnesses of resurrection of Christ (none today).
2. Prophets: Inspired teachers of Word till complete knowledge was revealed (1 Cor. 13).
3. Teachers: Preachers: Evangelists:
4. Elders (Bishops or Pastors): Husband of one wife, believing children, not new to the faith, given to hospitality, not given to wine, not violent, apt to teach, etc. (Tit 1; 1 Tim 3) NOTE: Always a plurality of qualified men, never a single “pastor.”
a. Note a preacher or evangelist was not necessarily a “Pastor” or “Elder.”
5. Deacons: Husband of one wife, rule own house well, etc.

IV. Characteristics Of Worship Of A Cloned New Testament Church:
A. Teaching and Preaching Word of God:
1. Careful to test the spirits and stand against false teaching.
2. Sermons known to last until midnight????????
1 Pet 2:2: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
B. Prayer offered to God the Father in Jesus Name:
Luke 11:1-4: "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil."
1 Th 5:17-18: "Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

C. Singing and Admonishing Each Other With Words (not instruments):
Eph 5:18-19: "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"
Col 3:16-17: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

D. The Lord’s Supper Every First Day of the Week:
Acts 20:7: "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."
1 Cor 11:23-26: "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come."

E. Giving as prospered on first day of week: (1 Cor 16:2; 2 Cor 9:6,7).

Conclusion: There Is No Substitute For The Original:
A. Original Seed + Good Heart = New Testament Christians and New Testament Church.
B. Let us not forget LOVE: John 13:34,35!!! Spirit and Truth!!

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