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Sermons & Study Guides

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government Pt. 1 - The Preface

James Dodson

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government

The Preface

Jesus  Christ,  upon  whose  shoulders  the  government  is,  whose name  is  called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace1; of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end; who sits upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever; having all power given unto him in heaven and in earth by the Father, who raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, far above  all  principalities  and  power,  and  might,  and  dominion,  and  every  name  that  is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all: he being ascended up far above the heavens, that he might  fill  all  things,  received  gifts  for  his  church,  and  gave  officers  necessary  for  the edification of his church, and perfecting of his saints.

Question 1.—Is the government upon the shoulders of Jesus Christ, whose name is called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace? Answer.—Yes. Isa. 9:6.  Jesus Christ, our Mediator, has the government (both of the Church and all things for the Church) laid upon his shoulder.  Thus do they err who deny a jus divinum or jure divino—a divine right—in this matter of government.  They are confuted for the following reasons: 1.) The psalmist tells us that the Father sent Christ, and so set him his King upon his holy hill of Zion—which is the church, Ps. 2:6.  2.) No one can say its my Church, but he who is the King of the Church, but so says Christ, Matt. 16:18.  3.) That he bears the government of this Church is made evident by his giving of the keys of the kingdom to whom he will, Matt. 16:19.  4.) Isaiah tells us that the key of this kingdom has been laid upon the shoulder of Christ, Isa. 22:22.  5.) The apostle declares that Christ is the head of his body the Church, Col. 1:18. Question 2.—Of the increase of Christ’s government and peace shall there be no end; and does He sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever? Answer.—Yes. Isa. 9:7.  Glorious things are here spoken of Christ’s government: 1.) That it shall be an increasing government, Ps. 2:8.  It shall be multiplied; the bounds of his kingdom shall be more and more enlarged, Dan. 2:35, 44.  The lustre of it shall increase, and it shall shine more and more brightly in the world, Isa. 60:1-5.  The monarchies of the earth were each less illustrious than the other, so that what began in gold ended in iron and  clay,  and  every  monarchy  dwindled  by  degrees;  but  the  kingdom  of  Christ  is  a growing kingdom, and will come to perfection at last, Dan. 2:32-34; Ps. 72:8-11.  2.) That it shall be a peaceable government, agreeable to his character as the prince of peace, Isa. 11:6-9.  He shall rule by love, shall rule in men’s hearts; so that wherever his government is there shall be peace, and as his government increases the peace shall increase, Ps. 1Isa. 9:6,7. 2Matt. 28:18-20; Eph. 1:20-23; compared with Eph. 4:8,11 and Ps. 68:18. 
122:6-8.  The more we are subject to Christ the more easy and safe we are, Matt. 11:30; Phil. 3:1.  3.) That it shall be a rightful government, Ezek. 21:27; Gen. 49:10.  He that is the Son of David shall reign upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, which he is entitled to.  God shall give him the throne of his father David, Luke 1:32, 33.  The gospel church, in which Jew and Gentile are incorporated, is the holy hill of Zion, on which Christ reigns, Ps. 2:6.  4.) That it shall be administered with prudence and equity, and so as to answer the great end of government, which is the establishment of the kingdom: He shall order  it,  and  settle  it,  with  justice  and  judgment.    Every  thing  is,  and  shall  be,  well managed, in the kingdom of Christ, and none of his subjects shall ever have cause to complain, Jer. 33:15-21.  5.) That it shall be an everlasting kingdom: There  shall  be  no end of the increase of his government (it shall be still growing), no end of the increase of the peace of it, for the happiness of the subjects of this kingdom shall last to eternity and perhaps shall be progressive in  infinitum—for  ever, 2 Sam. 7:16; Ps. 89:35-37. He shall reign henceforth even for ever; not only throughout all generations of time, but, even when the kingdom shall be delivered up to God even the Father, the glory both of the Redeemer and the redeemed shall continue eternally, 1 Cor. 15:24, 27, 28; Dan. 7:14, 27. Question 3.—Has  all  power  been  given  unto  him  in  heaven  and  in  earth  by  the  Father, who  raised  him  from  the  dead,  and  set  him  at  his  own  right  hand,  far  above  all principalities  and  power,  and  might,  and  dominion,  and  every  name  that  is  named,  not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all? Answer.—Yes. Eph. 1:20-23.  That all authority and power in heaven and in earth for the  government  of  the  Church  has  been  committed  unto  Jesus  Christ  our  Mediator  is made  plain  by  the  following  considerations: 1.)  The plain  testimonies  of  the  Scriptures continually affirm this truth, Isa. 9:6,7; Matt. 28:18, 19; Luke 1:32,33; John 5:22, 27; John 3:35; Rev. 3:7.  2.) The princely titles ascribed to Jesus Christ point to this, Matt. 2:6; Heb. 13:20;  1  Pet.  2:25;  Heb.  3:6;  Jer.  30:9;  Rev.  19:16.   3.)  The  primitive,  fundamental, imperial acts of power and supreme authority in the government of the Church: a.) Giving of laws to his Church, Gal. 6:2; Acts 1:2; Jas. 4:12; Isa. 33:22.  b.) Constituting ordinances whereby  the  Church  shall  be  edified;  preaching,  Matt.  10:7;  1  Cor.  1:17;  administering sacraments, Matt. 28:18, 19; 1 Cor. 11:20, 23; dispensing Church censures, Matt. 16:19; 18:15-18.  c.) Ordaining and appointing of his own Church officers, 1 Cor. 12:28; 1 Thess. 5:12; Acts 20:28.  d.) The dispensing of Christ’s ordinances in his own name, Acts 4:17, 18; John 14:13, 14; 16:23; Matt. 28:18, 19; Acts 19:5; 1 Cor. 5:4. Question  4.—Has  he,  being  ascended  up  far  above  the  heavens,  that  he might  fill  all things,  received  gifts  for  his  church,  and  give  officers  necessary  for the  edification  of  his church, and perfecting of his saints? Answer.—Yes.  Eph.  4:8,  11;  Ps.  68:18.    Scripture  declares  what these  gifts  were,  the institution of a gospel ministry and the qualification of men for it, both which are to be valued  as  the  gifts  of  heaven  and  the  fruits  of  Christ’s  ascension.    By  virtue  of  his mediatorial office, Jesus Christ has received both a Church and the officers necessary for its edification and the perfecting of his saints.