Discipleship Lesson #8 Local Church

Discipleship Lesson #8 Church CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO

What is the church?

The church is the body of Jesus Christ according to Romans 12:4-5 & Ephesians 5:30.  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 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.  

How does the local church accomplish this purpose?

The local church accomplishes God’s purpose for her by doing eight things found in Acts 2:41-47.

  1. Become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts      2:41)
  2. Continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine      and fellowship (Acts 2:41-42)
  3. Continue steadfastly in the breaking of bread (Acts      2:42)
  4. Continue steadfastly in prayer (Acts 2:42)
  5. Minister as a Member of the Body of Christ (Acts      2:43)
  6. Prefer Other Members Before Yourself – Live      Charitably (Acts 2:44)
  7. Provide for the Physical Needs (Acts 2:45)
  8. Be a Witness for the Lord (Evangelize) (Acts 2:47)  

What am I suppose to do?

The eightfold work of the local church will also serve as an outline for what God will have you to do now that you are a part of the body of Christ.

  1. 1.      Become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41)
    1. RECEIVE THE WORDS OF GOD – 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14
    2. WATER BAPTISTM – Covered in another lesson 
  2. Continue steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship (Acts 2:42)
    1. FAITHFULLY ATTEND TO HEAR THE WORDS OF GOD PEACHED AND TAUGHT – In time you will grow and mature spiritually to be able to handle responsibilities, but first and foremost after you are saved is to attend to the preaching and teaching of the words of God.
    2. STUDY THE WORDS OF GOD – 2 Timothy 2:15  
  3. 3.      Continue steadfastly in the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42)
    1. LORD’S SUPPER – Covered in another lesson
    2. SHARING MEALS – Another form of breaking of bread is simply getting together either at church or house to house with brothers and sisters in Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 & Hebrews 10:24-25).
  4. 4.      Continued steadfastly in  prayer (Acts 2:42) – Covered in another lesson
    1. PERSONAL PRAYER – 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Philippians 4:6-7
    2. CORPORATE PRAYER – Acts 12:5-16, many local churches have a designated prayer service, midweek, weekend
  5. 5.      Minister as a Member of the Body of Christ (Acts 2:43)
    1. SPIRITUAL GIFTS – When you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit makes you a member of his body and therefore will serve a function that ministers to other members.
      1. GIFTS – Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10
      2. VOLUNTEER – (Acts 6:1-4) This will happen after a period of faithful growth.
    2. OFFICES – Pastors and Teachers
        1. The pastor feeds the flock of God (Acts 20:28-35) by the ministry of the word of God and prayer (Acts 6:1-4).
        2. He will give an account of his care for the flock so God says your responsibility to him is in Hebrews 13:7, 17.
        3. Pastor’s qualifications are in 1 Timothy 3
        4.                                                 ii.      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.
  6. 6.      Prefer Others Above Yourself – Live charitably (Acts 2:44)
    1. 1 Corinthians 8:1 – charity edifieth – and edification is the purpose of the church
    2. The bond of charity – Colossians 3:14, 1 Timothy 1:5, and John 13:35  
  7. 7.      Provide for the Physical Needs (Acts 2:45)
    1. GIVING – provides for the physical need of the local church
    2. The principal 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)  
  8. 8.      Be a Witness for the Lord (Evangelize) (Acts 2:47)
    1. We have come full circle from the Lord adding to the church in verse 2:41 (Romans 1:8, 10:13-15)
    2. This leads to sending out missionaries as the local church in Antioch did with Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:2-4.

Review Questions:

  • Is the church a religion? Why or why not?  Give scripture.
  • What does edify mean in your own words? Give scripture.
  • Name the 8 things a local church does to accomplish God’s purpose for it.  Give scripture.


  1. How do I join a local church?  If you have already received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior then simply speak with the pastor about joining the local congregation.  If you have not been baptized since receiving the Lord Jesus Christ then this would be a good opportunity to join and make a public profession of your faith.
  2. How do I find the local church God wants me in?  First, the church should be fulfilling God’s purpose for it by carrying out the      seven goals in Acts 2:41-47.  After they have met that criterion, go to the church where you are fed from      God’s words, and after diligent prayer, have been clearly fit into the congregation.  God WILL NOT lead you into a local church in order to “straighten it out.”