Page 125 - Church of God Publications

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The Old Testament sacrificial laws and ceremonial rituals
were a mere
temporary substitute
for Christ and the Holy Spirit.
When the reality carne, the substitute was ended - but the basic
SPIRITUAL LAW- the law of LOVE, codified in the Ten Command–
ments - continued. But the CHURCH was required, having the
Holy Spirit, to obey them not merely according to the strictness of
the letter but according to the spirit - or principal, or obvious in–
tent, of the law (11 Cor. 3:6).
Now we cometo the purpose and function of the Church of
Immediately after the foundation of the Church, the apostles
Peter and John performed a sensational healing of a well-known
cripple - after which Peter preached to the crowd that was at–
tracted (Acts 3: 1-26). But immediately the priests, captains of the
temple, and Sadducees threw the apostles into prison overnight
(Acts 4: 1-3). And the next morning the apostles were brought be–
fore the high priest and his family beside other rulers and digni–
taries. They were severely THREATENED and commanded to cease
preaching in the name of Christ.
These apostles were human. This experience was unnerving!
They went immediately to a company of CHURCH MEMBERS for
encouragement, prayer and morale strengthening (Acts 4:23).
These loyal Church brethren "lifted up their voice to God"
(Acts 4:24), in united prayer, petitioning God for inspiration and
divine power, that the apostles might continue boldly proclaiming
the Message.
Notice here an important function of the Church. The
Church Iay members did not go forth with the Message - they
backed up,
unitedly, the apostles who were charged with THE
GREAT COMMISSION. Notice: "And when they had prayed, the
place was shaken where they were assembled together" (Acts
These Church brethren were able to stand solidly and loyally
back of the apostles, because they "were of one heart and of one
soul [mind]" (verse 32).
Later, when the savage persecution had set in, the apostle
James was martyred, King Herod also had Peter cast into prison,
with the intent probably of killing him also (Acts 12: 1-4).