Posted On November 15, 2017

Yes Christian, You Need the Local Church

by | Nov 15, 2017 | Featured, The Gospel and the Christian Life

It happens to be one of the more popular traps along the journey of faith—the idea that somewhere along the path of righteousness we somehow outgrow our need for the church. Perhaps you’ve met someone who was too busy for the church.  Maybe you’ve encouraged someone who thought they were too important for the church. What was once the central aspect of their life has now turned into an occasional hobby. We all need a healthy reminder from time-to-time that we need the church in all seasons and successes of life.

We Need the Church for Worship – Not Entertainment or Performance

When the early church is pictured in the early pages of Acts (Acts 2:42-47), we see the picture of a worshipping church. Centered around the Word of God, the people responded to God with a life that reverberates with the rhythm of worship. You don’t see people searching for their type of music. You also don’t see people using the church for a performance outlet to satisfy their narcissistic appetite to be seen, heard, and to perform. You see a people who are gathered to worship the sovereign God who spoke the universe into existence from nothing and rescued them through the blood of Christ. Often times in my experience of church life and ministry I’ve found that less is more. More focus on God and less pragmatism is always a much more healthy diet for a church.

We Need the Church for Spiritual Development

In the first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul explains the calling of the church to live holy and God exalting lives (1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:12). It requires the church laboring together in this effort to sharpen one another (Proverbs 27:17) and to hold one another accountable. Certainly, it must be said that spiritual development in the church also requires a people who are committed to church discipline (Matthew 18). The Word of God points out that God’s will is never for the Christian to develop spiritually in a vacuum or on a lonely island. Through the community of a local church, God’s people exercise their spiritual giftedness together which results in spiritual development. Everyone in the church matters! The church is not a building; it’s a people who are called out for God’s glory. It’s impossible to be a part of God’s church without immersing yourself in a local body of Christ followers.

We Need the Church for Christ-Centered Friendship

As we read through Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, we see the need for companionship along the journey of faith. We are not intended to hike our way to the Celestial City alone. Christ has graciously given us fellow pilgrims, and it would be a soul damaging decision to attempt life without Christ-centered friendship. This is true for all members of the church – including the pastors who lead the church. Christian friendship enables us to seek advice, receive accountability, stay grounded in the faith, and spur one another onward to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We Need the Church for Biblical Leadership

The self-guided tour of Christianity doesn’t exist. It’s not an option for the true believer. God has sovereignly designed His church with leaders who are called to shepherd the church faithfully (1 Peter 5:1-11 and Hebrews 13:17). Just as it would be utterly foolish for the inexperienced data analyst to leave his cubicle in New York and set out on a self-guided summit of Mount Everest, so it is with those who think they can navigate through this harsh and fallen world without submitting to their pastors. In a day where YouTube and Google serve up whatever recipe or how-to video we can imagine, we must be reminded that God has not called Google or YouTube to serve as our pastors.

We Need the Church for Missions

As Christ was leaving the sod of this earth, He provided some extremely important words to His followers.  He said:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The Great Commission is not a great suggestion. It’s a command given to us by Christ, but we must likewise remember that it cannot be accomplished alone. Even a lone ranger Christian (which is an oxymoron) cannot accomplish the Great Commission by merely utilizing para-church organizations. If a single Christian is to engage properly in the Great Commission, it must be through the context of a local, tangible, New Testament church.

The church is not an option for some Christians; it’s a mandate for all Christians. To be a Christian involves participation in the local church. Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “Nobody can do as much damage to the church of God as the man who is within its walls, but not within its life.” As we pass through various seasons of life, we must avoid the arrogant and self-dependent ideology of spiritual autonomy. It doesn’t end well.

This article first appeared at Josh’s website and is posted here with his permission.

Related Posts

Dave and Sarah Jenkins- What It Means to Love One’s Neighbor

Dave and Sarah Jenkins- What It Means to Love One’s Neighbor

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Sarah Jenkins consider the meaning and purpose of the Great Commandment, what it means to love our neighbor, the dangers of the social gospel and how to avoid it, and the meaning and purpose of Christian conscience,...

Perfectionism

Perfectionism

The day that I married my husband was, up to that point, the happiest day of my life! We had seven months from the night he proposed until the day that we walked down the aisle, and we made the most of it. We spent hours upon hours working through wedding details. We...

God’s Servant for Our Good

God’s Servant for Our Good

Romans 13:3-4, “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he...

The Christian and the Government

The Christian and the Government

Romans 13:1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will...

The Meaning and Purpose of Reverence for God

The Meaning and Purpose of Reverence for God

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What does it mean to have reverence for God?” What you’ll hear in this episode The unchanging nature of God. Redemptive history. Why reverence and awe are vital to the Christian. Subscribing, sharing, and your...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share25
Tweet2
Reddit
Email
Buffer