WHY THE LOCAL CHURCH?
I visited an acquaintance in hospital recently, I didn’t realise he was so close to death. He passed away just a few hours after I was there. He confessed he had a faith in Jesus, but had not darkened the doors of a church for many years. By the time I had finished praying with him he had nodded off.
I mentioned to a friend of his later that I could not understand why the man was not part of a local church, his response surprised me, he said, it is not that important !!!!!!
Rev. Tim Keller (born 1950) was the founding Pastor of the great Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, his ministry in preaching and writing has been a great blessing to multitudes of people, He said:
There is no way you will be able to grow spiritually apart from a DEEP involvement in a COMMUNITY of other believers.
Some would say, I grow spiritually because of my relationship with the Lord, as I daily pray and read the Word, of course these are keys to growth, but you are an UNBALANCED Christian if you are not part of a local church, and your growth will also be questionable.
Psalm 92:13 uses the word PLANTED for the Righteous who are involved in the House of the Lord. What a great picture, we must put our roots down deep, our commitment must be strong and we gather to worship, and to serve and to have real FELLOWSHIP with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Even a tornado should not be able to uproot us.
In 1 Cor.12:18 says believers are SET in the body (local church, set like concrete, meaning it is very difficult to remove yourself.
There are few Biblical reasons for leaving a church, there are excuses like:
I am not being fed, we must learn to feed ourselves, we cannot live on the teaching from the Sunday morning sermon for a week. Pray for your Minister.
I don’t like the music, there are many different “styles” of worship expression in a local churches, but worship is the language of the heart, and I have learnt personally in any local church style, as I have prepared my heart I can press in and worship the Lord.
I was hurt by someone, well sadly, these things are part of life, we must learn to forgive, and respond to the hurt. If we harbour unforgiveness we are the loser, it has been said, that unforgiveness is like taking poison hoping the other person will die !!!!! You leave the church and go to another one, there will be someone (or more) who could and probably will hurt you. It shouldn’t happen but it does, remember all things work together to them who love the Lord Rom.8:28.
Employment that causes you to move to another area should be one of the few reasons why you can legitimately leave a local church. Teaching wrong doctrine could be another, but you need to be sure you are interpreting what you hear correctly. Don’t be an amateur Theologian, or reject the teaching because it doesn’t suit you.
The local church is and will always be imperfect, because it is made of people like you and me. If there are things you are not happy about, is it simply STYLE, is it that it is not your PREFERRED way of doing things. What an opportunity to make it a matter of prayer, so often things we think are so important, are really often very unimportant in the scheme of things.
If it is a leadership issue, again we must pray for our leaders, they are human and can make mistakes, but sometimes it is a SUBMISSION issue, Hebrews 13:7 calls them rulers, verse 17 says we are to obey those who rule over us. Of course a leader could become a dictator, but let us not “throw the baby out with the bathwater” God had delegates authorities over us and we must recognise this and submit unto the Lord.
To many people treat the local church like a restaurant, and simply pick what they want on the menu, you cannot go from one preacher to another you will not get a balanced diet, we sure don’t naturally have steak every day, sometimes it is simple stuff, but overall it is balanced.
The Church was born in eternity past, the Apostle Paul called it a mystery, God Church is expressed in tens of thousands of local community of believers around the world. if you are not part of one get planted, if you are press in deeper. IT IS GOD’S PLAN.
Your response is always appreciated. God bless you as you are committed to a community of believers.