And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers
Welcome to week 5 of our Made for Community study. This week we are talking about the fact that we are made for the local church.
Someone once said that many Christians long to be in church but not of it. I would go even farther and say that many professing Christians don’t want to go to church at all. Many feel it is just a duty they need to perform. Some say it is boring, others don’t want to be around a bunch of hypocrites and others have a hard time feeling like they belong.
I am excited to have a special guest with me here today who will help us work through some of these issues.
Joe is a pastor who also happens to be my husband. I have decided to interview him regarding the Christian’s place within the local church. I hope it is helpful (and please excuse the interruption, not from my kids, but from our dog! 🙂
Here are some of the questions that I asked him.
What is the point of the local church? Why was it established?
The reason the church exists is that Jesus Christ has purchased a people for his own possession. The purpose of the church, or it’s mission is to make disciples through evangelism, preaching, teaching and instructing.
Why is it important to be a part of a local church?
There are two reason it is important to be a part of a local church.
1) You cannot be what you are called to be apart from the local church.
We are called to be Christians who are maturing in the faith, growing in grace, through the means of grace as an active member of the family of God.
2) You cannot do what you are called to do apart from the local church
Think of all of those “one another” passages. We are called to love one another, forgive one another, count one another as more worthy of honor, to exhort one another, rebuke one another, correct and support one another. We are suppose to mourn with those who morn and rejoice with those who rejoice. These commands can really only he fulfilled in the context of the local church.
Why are many hesitant to get plugged in?
Many people have been burned by unhealthy churches or cruel, unkind, and judgmental christians. Others are afraid to join a local church because it requires effort and vulnerability When you join a local church you should be all in serving and getting to know people as well as letting them get to know you. This means that we confess our sins to each other and are honest with each other about our struggles and our failures.
Others are hesitant to join a church because they are turned off by the church’s obsession with entertainment and programs and other superficial things.
In our verse it says that they (Christians) were ”committed to fellowship” or some translations say “to life together”. What does it mean to do life together?
It means that we reject living the life of a mere individual and a life of isolation and instead embrace a life of community and communion together through Jesus Christ. It means that we share our burdens, joys, sorrows, and failures and that we welcome people into our lives and are willing to step into other peoples lives.
How should someone go about finding a good church?
1. Look for a church that is confessional. That holds to a confession or has a clearly stated body of doctrine that can be evaluated to make they are evangelical and orthodox. If you are looking for a presbyterian church then you want to look for one that holds to the Westminster Standards, if you are non-denominational or Baptist then you want to look for a confession of faith .
2. For the preaching you want to look for a pastor who preaches expository messages, going through the text of the Bible and pointing people to Jesus.
3. You want to look for a church that has a plurality of elders that hold each other accountable and are accountable to the congregations. Plus you want to make sure that the leadership is approachable and transparent.
4. Look for the general temperament of the congregation. Are the people friendly and welcoming and are they involved in each others lives.
If you haven’t found a church home start actively looking for one.
If you belong to a church but have been remiss about attending regularly, commit to making this a priority in your life.
For those who attend a local church but aren’t plugged in, find out what your church’s needs are and get involved. Join a small group or start getting to know people in your church through practicing hospitality.
WEEK 5 Reading Plan
WEEK 5 Memory Verse
WEEK 5 Challenge
Looking To Jesus,