Constitution

Preamble

We the members of Grace Baptist Church, solemnly declare and affirm the principles contained in this Constitution to be sufficient for the governing of this body in an orderly manner as an autonomous local church.  We further declare and affirm that, while we will indeed faithfully and voluntarily submit ourselves to the principles and applications herein, we will only do so insofar as they are in accord with the clearly revealed truth contained in God’s Word.  In regard to matters not clearly revealed in the word of God, the liberties of each individual church member shall be preserved (Romans 14:1-23[i]; 1 Corinthians 10:23ff[ii].; 2 Corinthians 3:17[iii]; Galatians 2:4[iv]) until such time as we are, by God’s grace, led into greater knowledge of His truth.

Article I — Name

The name of this church shall be Grace Baptist Church, located in San Antonio, Texas.

Article II — Objectives

The primary purpose of this church is to glorify God through the faithful preaching and teaching of His Word for the edification of His gathered saints and their equipping for the ongoing work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12ff[v].).

Article III – Statement of Faith

We believe and affirm that the Bible, comprised of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament (66 books in total), is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience for the believer. Additionally, we hereby adopt the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 as a reasonable summary of that which we believe is clearly taught in the Word of God.  This Confession, however, is by no means to be viewed as an extra-biblical rule of faith and practice to which we are bound.

Article IV — Covenant

As a member of Grace Baptist Church, having been graciously led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and, on the profession of my faith, having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, enter into a covenant with the members of this church, as one body in Christ. I, therefore, agree, by the help of the Holy Spirit and with the Bible, the inspired Word of God, as my guide to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church; to promote spirituality; to sustain its worship, discipline and doctrine; to observe the ordinances of believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper; to contribute cheerfully, regularly, and sacrificially offerings to be used for the support of both the ministry of this church and the spread of the gospel to all nations.

I agree to encourage personal and family devotions; to educate my children according to my faith; to be just in my dealings, reliable in my responsibilities, and to set forth the example of Christ to those around me, abstaining from every appearance of evil (II Corinthians 6:3-10[vi]; Ephesians 5:15,16[vii]; Colossians 3:13-17[viii]; I Thessalonians 4:11,12[ix], 5:22[x]); to walk in Christian harmony and watchfulness, giving and receiving assistance with meekness and affection; to pray for others; to help them in sickness and sorrow; to be slow to anger; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and unrighteous anger (James 2:26[xi], 3:2-12[xii]; Ephesians 4:25[xiii], 5:7[xiv]; Colossians 3:3-17[xv]; I Timothy 5:5-11[xvi]; II Thessalonians 3:10-15[xvii]; I Peter 4:15[xviii]; Proverbs 6:16-19[xix], 8:13[xx], 26:20[xxi]) and to be eager for reconciliation when necessary, and mindful of the commandments of our Savior to secure it without delay (Matthew 18:15-17[xxii]).  I also understand that if I am overtaken in a fault, I will be subject to biblical discipline which seeks my restoration (Galatians 6:1,2[xxiii]; Romans 16:17,18[xxiv]; I Corinthians 5:1-13[xxv]; II Corinthians 2:6-11[xxvi], 7:9-11[xxvii]; II Thessalonians 3:11-14[xxviii]).

I further agree that, should I move from this area, I will as soon as possible unite with another substantially like-minded church where I can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the abiding principles of God’s word.

Article V — Membership

Section 1 — Requirements for Membership

Any person who professes repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, has been baptized by immersion upon profession of his or her faith, and who expresses substantial agreement with the collective body of doctrine, aims, and government of this church shall be eligible for membership (Acts 2:47[xxix],14:23[xxx],16:5[xxxi]; II Corinthians 3:1[xxxii]; Philemon[xxxiii]) on the basis of either of the following scenarios:

a. Confession of faith — Any person who meets the above requirements shall make a verbal request for membership to an elder. The elder(s) shall then fix a mutually agreeable time and place for a meeting with the applicant who will subsequently be examined as to his or her Christian experience, doctrinal beliefs, and seriousness of intention to wholeheartedly support the entire ministry of this church (II Corinthians 6:14-18[xxxiv]; Colossians 4:12[xxxv]).

b. By letter — Any person desiring to unite with this church via letter of recommendation from another substantially like-minded church shall present such a letter to the elder(s) and shall be examined concerning his or her Christian experience, doctrinal beliefs, and seriousness of intention to wholeheartedly support the entire ministry of this church (Acts 18:27[xxxvi]; Romans 16:1,2[xxxvii]; II Corinthians 3:1[xxxviii]).

c.  Concurrent with Baptism – Should a person come to faith in Jesus Christ while attending Grace Baptist Church, after subsequent examination by the elder(s) as to his or her testimony, doctrinal beliefs, and seriousness (see item a. above), said individual’s  membership will be effective concurrent with his or her baptism.

Section 2 — Procedure for Receiving Members

When the elder(s) are satisfied that the applicant has met the requirements for membership, they shall announce to the congregation on two successive Sundays that said applicant has applied for membership.

Each member of the congregation will then be urged to pray for the applicant and to make any pertinent inquiry necessary to satisfy, in his or her own mind, the applicant’s qualification for membership. Barring any unforeseen issues, the elder(s) shall subsequently present the applicant to the congregation who will then express its desire with regard to the reception of the candidate by a three-fourths majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called congregational meeting.

Section 3 — Termination of Membership

Membership at Grace Baptist Church may be terminated for any of the following reasons:*

a. Transfer — Letters of transfer shall be granted to those who apply for them, provided they are in good standing and not subject to or under discipline at the time of application. When such letters have been granted, the relationship to this church shall be considered terminated. Conscious of our responsibility for the spiritual welfare of our members, letters of transfer shall be forwarded and given only to other substantially like-minded churches (Acts 18:27[xxxix]; Romans 16:1,2[xl]; II Corinthians 3:1[xli]).

b. Exclusion — If a member is habitually absent from the regular meetings of this church without just cause, is unwilling to settle differences with others in a Scriptural manner, or requests severance of membership, he or she may be excluded from the membership at the discretion of the elder(s), subject to the approval of the congregation (I Corinthians 12[xlii]; Ephesians 4:3[xliii],14-16[xliv]; Hebrews 10:23-25[xlv]).

c. Excommunication — It is right and in harmony with the Scriptures for the congregation, upon recommendation of the elder(s), to exclude from this fellowship any person who persists in holding false or heretical doctrines, obviously and persistently lives inconsistently with his Christian profession, walks in a manner so as to bring reproach upon the local church and, thus, Christ Himself, or persists in disturbing the unity and peace of this church (Matthew 18:15[xlvi]; Romans 16:17[xlvii]; I Corinthians 5[xlviii]; II Thessalonians 3:6-15[xlix]).

*Exclusion and excommunication, though very difficult (and, blessedly, infrequent) actions undertaken by the church, may indeed be the necessary ends of church discipline (Matthew 18).  Restoration, however, is always the object of discipline. It is the duty of the church to forgive and restore to membership those persons who give satisfactory evidence of true repentance. In such cases, the elder(s) shall recommend to the congregation the restoration of any person who has previously been either excluded or excommunicated.  As with votes concerning membership, a three-fourths majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called congregational meeting shall be sufficient for such restoration.

Article VI — Officers

Section 1 — General Statement

Jesus Christ alone is the Head of His church (Ephesians 5:29[l]; Colossians 2:19[li]). However, as Head, He has ordained that individual churches should be blessed with the spiritual rule of special office bearers (Ephesians 4:11-16[lii]). Therefore it is the duty of the church to seek to discover those to whom Christ has imparted the necessary gifts for office bearing, and having formally recognized such by congregational vote, to set them apart by united prayer and a recognition of the unique responsibilities of their respective ministries. Christ has ordained that the administration of local churches be by elders and deacons (I Timothy 3:1-13[liii]; Titus 1:5-9[liv]; I Peter 5:1-5[lv]; Hebrews 13:7,17[lvi]).  The officers of Grace Baptist Church, therefore, shall consist of elders and deacons (Philippians 1:1[lvii]; I Timothy 3:1-13[lviii]).  Members meeting the Scriptural qualifications for these offices shall have been a visible part of this local body for a period of at least one year before being nominated.  Nominations for officers will be submitted to the elder(s), who will in turn present them to the congregation for a vote. Consent must be secured from a nominee before his name is placed before the congregation. The corporate recognition of church officers shall commence with their election and ordination.

Specific church policies with regard to elders and deacons serving Grace Baptist Church are as follows:

Section 2 — Elders

a. Elders are responsible for the spiritual ministrations of the church, the implementation of church discipline and, as those who must give an account to God (Acts 20:28-31[lix]; Hebrews 13:17[lx]),  watchcare over the souls of the members. They shall also exercise oversight of the church in all of its ministries and functions (I Peter 5:2[lxi]).

b. Anyone desiring the office of elder must evidence the personal, domestic and ministerial qualifications as set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7[lxii] and Titus 1:5-9[lxiii].

c. Elders must seek to discharge their duties as set forth in the Scriptures, particularly such passages as Acts 20:17-20[lxiv]; I Peter 5:1[lxv]; and Hebrews 13:7,17[lxvi].

d. Anyone called to the office of elder must be able to conscientiously affirm his agreement with the articles of faith and constitution of this church. Should he at any time move from a position of substantive agreement, he is under spiritual and moral obligation to make this known to the church (Hebrews 10:23[lxvii]; I Timothy 4:16[lxviii]).

e. It shall be the solemn responsibility, duty, and privilege of the elders of this church to be diligent and faithful in attendance in regular and special elders meetings and at the regularly scheduled services of the church.

f. The elders shall have the responsibility for the serving of the Lord’s Table, for the preaching and teaching ministry of this church, and for any special programs which they deem useful and edifying to the congregation (Hebrews10:24-25[lxix]; Acts 20:28[lxx]; I Corinthians 14:40[lxxi]; I Peter 5:2-3[lxxii]).

g. The unanimous assent of the entire membership will be sought in the appointment of elders.  When voting for elders and deacons, every “no” vote must also be accompanied by the Scriptural reason substantiating the negative vote.  If there is any dissent in such a decision, efforts will be made to deal with any problems raised, and to arrive at unanimity of heart and mind. Should such a unanimous decision be impossible, a “yes” vote of no less than a 90 percent majority of the membership shall be required for the election of an elder (Acts 2:46[lxxiii]; I Corinthians 1:10[lxxiv]; Philippians 1:27[lxxv]).

h. If an elder’s life or preaching should ever violate the standards of Scripture, and the other presiding elders (if serving at the time) so recommend, the services of said elder may be terminated pending approval by a 90 percent majority of those members present and voting.

i. If at any time, an elder shall make application to be released from his office, the relationship between elder and church may be terminated immediately without the necessity of a formal vote by the congregation.

Section 3 — Raising Up of Elders

a. The appointment of elders for office within the church is the responsibility of the congregation and should only be undertaken as they are so guided by the Holy Spirit.  The Lord’s appointment of qualified men to the eldership is recognized both by the inward conviction of the individual involved, and by the approval of the church members who recognize that the candidate is indeed in possession of those gifts and graces required by Scripture for the office. The congregation should prayerfully consider which men it recognizes as possessing the necessary gifts and graces for eldership (Acts 1:24[lxxvi]; 13:2[lxxvii]; 6:3-5[lxxviii]; Galatians 1:1[lxxix]; I Timothy 3:1-7[lxxx]; Hebrews 5:4[lxxxi]).

b. Individuals should approach these persons privately to ask if they are willing to be nominated for eldership.

c. The person offering the nomination should subsequently submit to an existing elder, in written form, the name of the elder nominee.

d. The elder(s) will then meet with the elder nominee for the purpose of counseling him and determining the validity of his call to the eldership.

e. A waiting period of not less than one month, and not more than two months, will then be observed by the congregation for the purpose of prayer and fasting.  This time should also be utilized as an opportunity for private conversation should any unresolved issues exist between the member and the nominee.

f. Any unresolved concerns about nominees shall be brought to the attention of the elders prior to the election.

Section 4 — Deacons

a. Deacons shall be elected by the congregation according to the qualifications outlined in Acts 6:3[lxxxii] and I Timothy 3:8-13[lxxxiii].

b. Although they are not defined as “leaders” in the strictest sense (diakonoi refers to those who serve), deacons shall have general executive responsibility for the administration of all business affairs and benevolent concerns of the church. Their duties are to be discharged with spiritual grace in cooperation with, and in submission to, the elder(s) so that the elder(s) may devote themselves wholly without distraction to their spiritual duties (Acts 6:3-4[lxxxiv]).

c. Deacons shall exercise administrative oversight for the ministries of compassion within our church family, in the community, and around the world. They shall ensure that the sick, the sorrowing, the aged, and those in difficult providential circumstances receive spiritual and temporal comfort (Acts 6:1-6[lxxxv]; 8:26-40[lxxxvi]).

d. It shall be the duty of all deacons to be diligent and faithful in attendance at regular and special deacons meetings and at the regularly scheduled services of the church.

e. Deacons shall be responsible to alert the elder(s) of the needs of members of the congregation.

f. Deacons shall be nominated and elected by the congregation at any duly called meeting of the church.

g. The principle of unanimity shall be sought in the same manner as pertains to the election of elders. (See section 2g.)

h. Two considerations shall govern the number of deacons elected: 1) the number of men who fit the spiritual qualifications for the office and 2) the needs of the congregation (Acts 6:3-6[lxxxvii]).

i. If, at any time, a deacon’s ministry or life is not in full accord with the standards of the Scriptures, and the elders so recommend, his services as deacon may be terminated immediately following a congregational meeting at which his dismissal has been approved by a 90% vote of those members present and voting.

j. If, at any time, a deacon shall make application to be released from his office, the relationship between deacon and church may be terminated immediately without the necessity of a formal vote by the congregation.

Article VII — Ordinances

Baptism

We believe that there are two ordinances that Christians are directed to observe in Scripture:  baptism and the Lord’s Supper. While we do not believe that baptism has any saving merit we do believe that, after one’s salvation, baptism (by immersion) is the next prescribed step in showing the world that the professing believer is now identified with the Lord Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and rose again.  Any person who professes repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (and whose life lends credibility to that profession), desiring to be baptized shall make application to the elder(s) to participate in this blessed ordinance. The elder(s) will meet with the applicant to examine his or her testimony in the light of God’s word as well as to ensure a complete understanding of the ordinance of baptism (Matthew 28:19,20[lxxxviii]; Acts 10:47[lxxxix]).

The Lord’s Supper

Whereas baptism is to be observed once and is both a sign of identification and a testimony to one’s professed newness of life, the Lord’s Supper is to be viewed as both commemorative and declarative and is to be frequently observed as a memorial to the broken body and shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 11:23-26[xc]; Matthew 28:19-20[xci]; Acts 2:38-42[xcii]).  The Lord’s Supper shall, under normal circumstances, be celebrated by the membership of the church on the last Lord’s Day of every month. In the interest of fellowship, good will, and love for the family of God at large, Grace Baptist Church will also extend an invitation to those non-members who, providentially, find themselves among us providing that they profess Christ as their Lord and Savior and are presently members in good standing of a church of like precious faith.

Article VIII — Business Meetings

a. The elder(s) will call and conduct all business meetings of the church whenever necessary to take care of business matters.

b. Business meetings will be announced at Sunday services for at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

c. Business meetings will be for the membership, the congregation.

d. Because it is our concern to provide as much information as possible to the Lord’s people to enable their prayerful consideration of the issues to be discussed, every effort will be made to distribute information concerning the agenda prior to the business meeting.

e. All members have a voice and vote. However, to guard the order of the business meeting, we will observe Biblical order as we do in all of the meetings if the church.

f. Any routine business requiring a vote by the congregation must be passed by a two thirds majority of voting members present.

g. Any children who are members, must give demonstrate, to the elder(s)’ satisfaction, their maturity and wisdom for making sound, Biblical decisions before being allowed to vote.

Article IX — Amendments

This constitution may be amended, modified, or rescinded by a two thirds majority of church members voting at any regular or special meeting being conducted for business purposes. Any such amendments must be submitted to the church membership at least four weeks prior to the next meeting, and a public and written announcement must be made for at least three Sundays preceding the meeting. Any considerations for by-laws will follow the same procedure.

Article X — Dissolution of the Church and Its Properties

In the event of dissolution, any remaining funds and/or assets of Grace Baptist Church shall be used first to dispose of all church-related liabilities and, to the extent that assets exceed liabilities, the remaining assets shall be donated to another church of like faith and practice as designated by the trustees (elders and deacons) of this Church.

Scripture References

[i] Romans 14:1-23 – As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.5One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.10Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11for it is written,“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”12So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.13Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.20Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble 22The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
[ii]1 Corinthians 10:23-33 – “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” 27If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— 29I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? 31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
[iii] 2 Corinthians 3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
[iv] Galatians 2:4 – Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery…
[v] Ephesians 4:2 – with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
[vi] 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 – We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
[vii] Ephesians 5:15-16 – Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
[viii] Colossians 3:13-17 – bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
[ix] 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 – and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
[x] 1 Thessalonians 5:22 – Abstain from every form of evil.
[xi] James 2:26 – For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
[xii] James 3:2-12 – We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
[xiii] Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
[xiv] Ephesians 5:7 – Therefore do not become partners with them;
[xv] Colossians 3:3-17 – For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
[xvi] 1 Timothy 5:5-11 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
[xvii] 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15 – For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. 13And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right. 14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
[xviii] 1 Peter 4:15 – But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 
[xix] Proverbs 6:16-19 – There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. 
[xx] Proverbs 8:13 – To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
[xxi] Proverbs 26:20 – For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
[xxii] Matthew 18:15-17 – “If your brother sins against you go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses’ 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
[xxiii] Galatians 6:1-2 – Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
[xxiv] Romans 16:17-18 – I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
[xxv] 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 – It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
[xxvi] 2 Corinthians 2:6-11 – For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
[xxvii] 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 – As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 11For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
[xxviii] 2 Thessalonians 3:11-14 – For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.
[xxix] Acts 2:47 – praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
[xxx] Acts 14:23 – And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
[xxxi] Acts 16:5 – So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
[xxxii] 2 Corinthians 3:1 – Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?
[xxxiii] Philemon – Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: 3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. 8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. 21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you. 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
[xxxiv] 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 – Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
[xxxv] Colossians 4:12 – Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
[xxxvi] Acts 18:27 – And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed
[xxxvii] Romans 16:1-2 – I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
[xxxviii] 2 Corinthians 3:1 – Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?
[xxxix] Acts 18:27 – And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed
[xl] Romans 16:1-2 – I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.
[xli] 2 Corinthians 3:1 – Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?
[xlii] 1 Corinthians 12 – Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. 4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 12For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
[xliii] Ephesians 4:3 – eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
[xliv] Ephesians 3:14-16 – For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being
[xlv] Hebrews 10:23-25 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
[xlvi] Matthew 18:15 – If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
[xlvii] Romans 16:17 – I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
[xlviii] 1 Corinthians 5 – It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 6Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
[xlix] 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 – Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
[l] Ephesians 5:29For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church
[li] Colossians 2:19 – and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
[lii] Ephesians 4:11-16 – And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
[liii] 1 Timothy 3:1-13 – The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
[liv] Titus 1:5-9 – This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. 
[lv] 1 Peter 5:1-5 – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
[lvi] Hebrews 13:7, 17 – 7Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith…17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
[lvii] Philippians 1:1 – Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons…
[lviii] 1 Timothy 3:1-13 – The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
[lix] Acts 20:28-31 – Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.
[lx] Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
[lxi] 1 Peter 5:2 – shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
[lxii] 1 Timothy 3:1-7 – The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
[lxiii] Titus 1:5-9 – This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
[lxiv] Acts 20:17-20 – Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house…”
[lxv] 1 Peter 5:1 – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:
[lxvi] Hebrews 13:7-17 – Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. 17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
[lxvii] Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
[lxviii] 1 Timothy 4:16 – Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
[lxix] Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
[lxx] Acts 20:28 – Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
[lxxi] 1 Corinthians 14:40 – But all things should be done decently and in order.
[lxxii] 1 Peter 5:2-3 – shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
[lxxiii] Acts 2:46 – And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts
[lxxiv] 1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
[lxxv] Philippians 1:27 – Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel
[lxxvi] Acts 1:24 – And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen
[lxxvii] Acts 13:2 – While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
[lxxviii] Acts 6:3-5 – Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
[lxxix] Galatians 1:1 – Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead
[lxxx] 1 Timothy 3:1-7 – The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
[lxxxi] Hebrews 5:4 – And no one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
[lxxxii] Acts 6:3 – Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.
[lxxxiii] 1 Timothy 3:8-13 – Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
[lxxxiv] Acts 6:3-4 – Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
[lxxxv] Acts 6:1-6 – Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
[lxxxvi] Acts 8:26-40 – Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” 34And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
[lxxxvii] Acts 6:3-6 – Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
[lxxxviii] Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[lxxxix] Acts 10:47 – “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
[xc] 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is fore you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
[xci] Matthew 28:19-20 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
[xcii] Acts 2:38-42 – And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

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