The Local Church and the Family
What is the church?
The church is the body of Jesus Christ according to Romans 12:4-5 & Ephesians 5:30. It is also the pillar and ground of the truth according to 1 Timothy 3:15. A person becomes a member of the body of Christ when he or she receives God’s righteousness by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit according to Romans 6:1-3 & 1 Corinthians 12:13, 27. It is a spiritual transaction that results in your life being hid with Christ in God according to Colossians 3:3.
What is the purpose of the local church?
The purpose of the local church is to perfect the saints, do the work of the ministry, and edify or build up the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:11-16. It is the continuation of Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry while he is in heaven. Notice verses 9-10 talking about Jesus Christ’s ascension.
How does the local church accomplish this purpose?
Identify followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41)
- Followers of Jesus Christ have received the words of God – 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14
- Acts 16:31… and thy house…
- 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 believing sanctifies the unbelieving, providing an a vessel in the house that God can work through
- Water Baptism to identify the believer publicly
Continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42)
- Steadfastly (faithfully) attend preaching and teaching of God’s words
- Study the words of God – 2 Timothy 2:15
- You have all you need to be successful
Continue steadfastly in fellowship (Acts 2:42)
- Hebrews 10:25 – Small groups mobile, low maintenance, momentum easily lost. Large group, slow moving, high maintenance, momentum hard to lose.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, A natural social structure
Continue steadfastly in the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42)
- Lord’s Supper – 1 Corinthians 11
- Remembrance of what the Lord has done for you, self examination
Continued steadfastly in prayer (Acts 2:42)
- Personal Prayer – 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Philippians 4:6-7
- Corporate prayer – Acts 12:5-16, many local churches have a designated prayer service, midweek, weekend. Gives you an opportunity to pray for others and have others pray for you.
Minister as a Member of the Body of Christ (Acts 2:43)
- Spiritual gifts – You serve a purpose in the body of Christ. Find out what it is. The quicker your children find their identity in the body of Christ the harder it will be to remove them.
- Gifts– Romans 12:4-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, Ephesians 4:16
- Volunteers – (Acts 6:1-4) This will happen after a period of faithful growth.
- Offices –
- Pastors and Teachers
- Deacons – Acts 6:1-4 Carry some of the burden so the pastor can dedicate his time to the ministry of the words of God and prayer.
Prefer Others Above Yourself – Live charitably (Acts 2:44)
- 1 Corinthians 8:1 – charity edifieth – and edification is the purpose of the church
- The bond of charity – Colossians 3:14, 1 Timothy 1:5, and John 13:35
Provide for the Physical Needs (Acts 2:45)
- Giving – provides for the physical need of the local church
- The principle of giving in response to spiritual provision being made is in Genesis 14:20 and in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 9:13-14 – ministers live of the gospel (See also 2 Corinthians 9:7, Luke 6:38, Malachi 3:10)
Be a Witness for the Lord (Evangelize) (Acts 2:47)
- We have come full circle from the Lord adding to the church in verse 2:41 (Romans 1:8, 10:13-15)
- This leads to sending out missionaries as the local church in Antioch did with Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:2-4.