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Back to the Basics: The local church

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Introduction

Continuing in our back to the Basics series tonight we are going to be examining the local church.
Remember the church isn’t a building or an organization is the people. We have buildings, logos, and organizations that represent the church to the world and different people but when we speak of the church that Christ died for it is the body of believers that make up the church.
We are going to see the importance of the church, what it is, and how God uses the church in our lives.

The Church is Precious

Ephesians 5:25 KJV 1900
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Church attendance does not save us or get us to Heaven it is very important to God and is a vital aspect of Christian growth.

Christ called out the church

The church began with Jesus when he first called out his disciples.
Matthew 4:18–22 KJV 1900
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
These were the first ones to be called out of the world to believe on Christ and following Him.

Christ Purchased the church

I’ve said this many times already in my short time here. This church doesn’t belong to the people, it doesn’t belong to the pastor, it belongs to Christ. It should be operated in accordance with God’s Word and with the focus on honoring Christ.
We may say things like “my church” in the sense that we are members of it but it belongs to Christ.
Acts 20:28 KJV 1900
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Christ Commissioned the church

We know this. We have heard this taught and preached but do we own it as individuals? Do we allow Christ last command to be our first priority?
Matthew 28:19–20 KJV 1900
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The church has one purpose, one mission, one focus: To see people saved, Baptized, discipled, and then see them make disciples.
How a church accomplishes this can look different from church to church.

Christ is to have the preeminence in the church

The ministries, the programs, the systems, the processes, the events, all of it should not be to serve ourselves. It should be to glorify Christ.
Colossians 1:18 KJV 1900
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
The church isn’t a man made idea and it isn’t an optional part of the Christian life.
It’s sad to hear people say they can worship God apart from a local church. They are disregarding God’s love and purpose for the local assembling of believers.
When people love and commit to the local church they are showing their love and commitment for that which is precious to Christ.

The Church is Distinct

We already said it’s more than a building. It’s a place where Christians meet together to grow in God’s Word, to glorify God, and to build lasting friendship with other Christians.
The church is not just a “universal” body of saved people. It is comprised of local assemblies that consist of saved, baptized believers.
The NT places an emphasis on the local church.
The book of Acts speaks of the first church in Jerusalem.
Acts 2:47 KJV 1900
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
And then we see how churches were established in other cities as the gospel spread
Acts 9:31 KJV 1900
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
Acts 15:41 KJV 1900
And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.
Acts 16:5 KJV 1900
And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.
The next 9 books of the NT after Acts are letters written to local churches
1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV 1900
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
The three epistles after these, the pastoral epistles, are written to local church leaders. So 12 of the 27 books of the NT are written to churches. They specifically deal with the organization, operation, and relationships within the local church.
What is the local church?
What are some ways you would describe the local church?

The local church is a called out assembly

Matthew 16:13–18 KJV 1900
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Ekklesia=called out assembly

The local church is patterned after New Testament churches

Ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly why we are in a series titles authentic on Sunday mornings. It is my desire that I start my ministry here on the right foot. I wanted to put us all on the same page as to what a church is, what it’s purpose is, and what our role is in it.
Lets talk for just a moment: We are an independent fundamental Baptist church. What does that mean? Let’s break it down.
What does independent mean?
Independent: ________________________________________
What does Fundamental mean?
Fundamental:________________________________________
What about Baptist?
B_________________ _________________________
2 Timothy 3:16 KJV 1900
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
A___________________
Because Christ is the head of the church, we believe that ever local church should be independent of a hierarchal type framework or outside governmental structure.
Ephesians 1:22–23 KJV 1900
And hath 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.
P____________________ _____ ____________________
We have direct access to God through Jesus. Not a priest or any other sinful man.
1 Timothy 2:5–6 KJV 1900
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
T________ ________________
There are only two offices in the church. Pastor and Deacon. The words elder and bishop are mentioned in scripture as other ways of describing a pastor and the role he plays.
Philippians 1:1 KJV 1900
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
I______________________ ____________ _______________
We believe each person must make the personal decision of repentance and faith in Christ. Parents do not make this decision for their children and the government cannot make it for its people. Additionally, each person is responsible before God in matters of holiness and conscience.
Romans 10:13 KJV 1900
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
S____________________ _____ _______________________
Although Christians should be law abiding citizens, the state should have no power to create a state religion or intervene in the free expression of religious liberty
Acts 5:29–31 KJV 1900
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
T_______ _______________________
These are ordinances and not sacraments. They have no part in salvation and only serve as a pictures of what Christ did for us. Both of them should only be performed under the authority of the local church.
S____________ and ________________ _______________
Christ ultimate sacrifice demands our complete consecration, and we desire that our daily living would reflect the holiness of our great God. We should live a life distinct from the world.
2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV 1900
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
1 Peter 1:16 KJV 1900
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
These 8 beliefs are a top end picture of the basic teaching and practices of church in the New Testament.

The Church is Vital

It should not be simply an add-on to the Christian life. Something you fit in when you have time. It should be something we make time for.

It is the guardian of truth

The church is the pillar and ground of the truth

1 Timothy 3:15 KJV 1900
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Christians are to contend for the faith

Jude 3 KJV 1900
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

It is God’s plan to reach the world

I can’t say this enough. When we speak of the gospel and our job to get it out, it can never become “old hat” or sound like we are beating a dead horse.
It is under the umbrella of the local church that the gospel should be propagated.
Para-church organizations are nice but they were not given the promise the church was given when it was told “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”

It is God’s place to nurture the Christian

Notice these purposes for the local church that help you grow in your Christians walk:

To preach the word of God

Bible preaching works in our hearts and helps us grow into spiritual maturity
Acts 13:5 KJV 1900
And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
Romans 10:17 KJV 1900
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

To provide fellowship

It’s the place where we meet other people and serve God together.
Acts 2:42 KJV 1900
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

To provide oversight

Christ is the head of the church but He has designated the pastor as an undershepherd who provides spiritual leadership. Pastor Paul Chappel wrote “Your pastor is a gift, given to encourage, edify, and equip your life for spiritual growth and fruitfulness. A wise Christian will establish a strong relationship and maintain spiritual accountability with their pastor.”
I pray I can meet those needs for you and be the pastor God would have me to be in order to draw you closer to Him.
Hebrews 13:17 KJV 1900
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

To restore sinful members

The church is to be a place where we not only receive grace but also extend it to others. who have fallen into sin and want to be restored to fellowship with god and their church family.
Galatians 6:1 KJV 1900
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

To disciple new beleivers

Through the services, bible classes, and discipleship program Christians should be taught to live for Christ and serve Him on a day to day basis.
Ephesians 4:11–12 KJV 1900
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

To Mature new Christians

Christians growth doesn’t stop after we trust Christ as Savior. That is just the beginning. At church we learn how to grow to be more like our Savior.
Ephesians 4:15 KJV 1900
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

To bring glory to God

God deserves our glory, honor, and praise. It pleases Him when Christians gather together to worship Him.
Ephesians 3:21 KJV 1900
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
All of this and more…no wonder we are told not to forsake the assemblies of ourselves at church!

Conclusion

So what do we do?
Decide to be faithful in Attendance
Decide to be accountable to leadership
Decide to be committed in your involvement
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