Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 10, 1969
NUMBER 48, PAGE 1-2a

The Pattern Of Authority (II.)

Roy E. Cogdill

As we pointed out in an earlier article — what the Bible does not teach in not divinely authorized. The pattern of God's will about anything is the sum total of what the Bible teaches about that thing and this constitutes the exclusive pattern of the divine will. It is not possible for us to respect the Bible and its claims as the complete, inerrant, and final revelation of God to man without accepting the finality of its authority also.

Since the mind of God can be made known only by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:11), either the Holy Spirit's revelation of the mind of God is confined to the Bible or the claims made by the Spirit in the Bible are false. (Jude 3; II John vs. 9-11; Gal. 1:6-8; II Tim. 2:15-17) If the mind of God about anything is revealed outside the Bible, then it is impossible to know God's will today amidst all the confusing and conflicting claims of "later revelations" and what the Bible reveals is not the mind of God at all!

The pattern of the temple of God and the worship and service conducted therein in the Old Testament and the New Testament are radically different though the old is the shadow of things to come. (Heb. 10:1) In the Old Testament God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle for His dwelling place among His people. (Ex. 25:8-9) God gave the complete pattern for it and demanded of Moses, "See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." (Heb. 8:5)

Later on God gave David a pattern for the temple and Solomon was the builder of that temple. He built it according to the pattern which God had given to his father David. (I Chron. 28:11-12,19) God chose the city of Jerusalem in which to dwell among His people and His name was recorded there and the temple was built there. (I Kings 11:13; II Chron. 7:12-16)

In the New Covenant there is no earthly city that is made holy by God's dwelling in it, not even Jerusalem or Rome, nor is there any geographical place where the name of the Lord is recorded and where the people of God must bring their sacrifices as was true in the Old Testament. Jesus explained this to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well. (John 4:19-26) He told her that "the hour cometh" when worship to God would neither depend upon its being in Jerusalem or the mountain of Samaria but acceptable worship could be offered to God anywhere if it is in "spirit and truth."

Today the name of the Lord is recorded in the assembly of His people for he said, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20) Moreover, the assembly of the people of the Lord constitutes the "House of the Lord." This is where spiritual sacrifice can be offered acceptable unto God. (I Peter 2:5) The church, consisting of the saved of God (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 1:2) is the spiritual temple which is God's dwelling place and where God is to be worshipped and in which the purposes of God are to be served. (Eph. 2:19-22) God planned it as a part of His eternal purpose. (Eph. 3:9-11) Christ built it according to that divine purpose and plan. (Heb. 8:2; Matt. 16:18) God does not dwell in temples made with man's hands and he cannot be honored, worshipped, or served "in temples made with man's hands and he cannot be honored, worshipped, or served "in temples made with men's hands: neither is worshipped with men's minds, as though he needed anything." (Acts 17:24-25)

People talk today about the "Lord's sanctuary" as if God had made holy some earthly temple or cathedral and could only be found therein. Some of these people think that they must go to such a place to pray or that prayer has some special power or purpose in such a place as though God can be contacted only there. Jesus made the church holy, sanctified it by his blood, not the church building. Hence the church building, even though built by the people of God out of the money from the Lord's treasury and set aside for the purpose of worshipping and serving God, yet the presence of God is not confined to it but God can be worshipped anywhere His people come together in the name of the Lord. The presence of God and worship to Him cannot be cathedralized.

God is the supreme architect of the church. It must be built according to His divine purpose and plan. (I Cor. 3:9-11) Jesus Christ cleanses the church by His blood through the water in accordance with the word and made it sanctified — or holy. It is a spiritual body, temple, house, made up of spiritual stones and is where God dwells among His people. It is built by a divine pattern. The blue-print of God's church is given by the Holy Spirit upon the pages of the New Testament. We must build, work, worship and glorify God by our sacrifice and service therein in harmony with the revelation of His will.

All we know about what the church is, should be, or do in order to glorify God and accomplish His purposes is revealed upon the pages of the New Testament and what the New Testament teaches is the exclusive pattern of God's will concerning the church. When men think they can live with God, worship and serve Him, in some church built by human will and wisdom, they do not believe God's Word.

The Bible tells us about the name the people of God are to wear. It is not the name of some humanly devised name. God has also revealed what His people are to believe and speak. They are all to believe and speak the same thing. There is but one faith and message for those who serve God aright. (Eph. 4:4-6; I Cor. 1:10; II Cor. 4:13) There is a divine mission for the church to serve upon this earth and God has assigned it. It is the exclusive purpose for which God has built the church and we dare not turn away from it for things profane and thus prostitute it to serve our own designs and aims. The pattern of the worship to be offered to God in the church built by Christ is revealed in the Holy Spirit's revelation of God's will and to bring anything profane or human into its worship is to profane the temple of God and come under His condemnation. So also has God given the design for the government or organization of His church and the plan for the organization of the church in the New Testament revealed is as exclusive as God's will is about anything else. When men adopt human names, creeds, organizations, it is self evident that they do not believe the Word of God and are not willing to be guided by the divinely revealed pattern of God's will.