How important is a
good local church in my new Christian Life?

Follow-up Memory Verse: Hebrews 10:25

'The local church is full of hypocrites!', 'the church is old-fashioned!', 'the church has lost its influence in the world today!' these are comments we hear today about the church. Are they true? If they are, perhaps I shouldn't be a part of any church but should go on alone with the Lord. This brings us to the question..."How important is a good church to a new Christian’s life?" Shouldn't it be a part of my new life?

Some churches do contain hypocrites some are old-fashioned and some have caused the church as a whole to lose some of its influence in the world. This does not mean we should shun or separate from the church but that we should seek to find and attend a church where the Lord is truly working and the church is moving ahead. This church will be shepherd by a pastor who knows Christ as his Savior and is teaching the word of God in its fullness as Paul states in Acts 20:27, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God". His main interest will be teaching the Word of God to his congregation, The Word of God will also be taught in all the classes of the Sunday School and throughout the entire ministry and program of the church as well. The church will also have a concern for the unsaved and a real missionary vision, supporting and even sending out missionaries.

Let's back up for a minute and define what the church is and it's purposes. The church has been ordained of God for His children and is a local assembly of believers who meet together to receive instruction, guidance, spiritual food and fellowship with other believers. It is a vital part of every Christian's life and once saved, one should seek out the kind of a church that we have just been discussing. There will also, perhaps be some unsaved within a local church, and for this reason the Gospel should always be presented in every phase of the ministry of the church so that these people will have the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior. But, generally speaking, the main ministry of the church is to the believers.

God has given pastors to the church and their job is to provide the instruction, guidance and spiritual food we need (Eph. 4:11 , 12). In addition to this, the fellowship that is provided is important and should be cherished (Hebrews 10:25). If we have accepted Christ, we are members of God's family and as such should fellowship together. A natural or earthly family spends time together, particularly when the children are younger. So it is important for the Christian family to spend time together, particularly when the Christians are younger in the faith, they need the nurturing and encouragement that a Christian family, ‘the church’, can provide, and we might use here the illustration of a fish. A fish out of water soon dies, and Christians who do not attend a church where they are fed spiritual food soon "die" in their spiritual life: They stop growing and become stagnant and ineffective Christian. Therefore, be sure to attend a sound, fundamental church wherever you are.

A fundamental church places proper importance upon correct Biblical doctrine. Among the doctrines emphasized are the following: The verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible, the virgin birth, absolute deity, sinless life, atoning death, and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, His high-priestly work in heaven, salvation by grace through faith, the reality of Satan and his work, the person and work of the Holy Spirit, the pre-millennial coming of Christ for His church, a period of great tribulation on earth kingdom, the judgment and eternal doom of the lost, and the eternal reward of the saved.

Another important feature to look for in a church is whether or not they are heeding Paul's admonition to Timothy to "rightly handle the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). This is called dispensational teaching, "Dispensation" is a Scriptural Word (I Cor. 9:16,17; Eph. 1:10 , 3:2; Col. 1:25) meaning - "House management" and has to do with the way God manages His household during the different administrations, synonyms - economies or dispensations.

Attend the services faithfully, listen attentively and enter into the worship and praise of God wholeheartedly. Expecting and seeking a blessing from God and you will be sure to find it. Don't stop at the Sunday morning service but also attend evening services the mid-week Bible and prayer meeting, and other special meetings throughout the year as well.

Take an active part in the church too, instead of simply being a pew-filler-upper. If the church has an active program they need help with Sunday School teaching youth, Boys or Girls program, etc. Perhaps you don't have the ability to teach, but there are many other things with which you will be able to help. God has given each of us talents or abilities and, should put them to use in serving Him (1 Cor. 12:4 -18; Rom.12:11). We will be discussing this idea of service in our next lesson.

One last word - do not expect perfection in a church, many people expect an ideal Church with no problems or trouble's. This may be theoretically possible, but it just is not so in practice. There should be, and there can be: love and harmony among members. But, remember too, that these people are human and subject to, faults and shortcomings and will sometimes fall short. This is true of the pastor as well. He is not some super human individual, but is also human and will sometime fall short. We must allow for failure. We do it ourselves and we must do it with others too.

We have' seen, in this lesson then, what the church is, its purpose, and its importance in our life. Be sure to attend a church and be sure to attend one that faithfully teaches the Word of God and fulfills the other qualifications we have discussed. Then attend, faithfully and take an active part in it by helping to serve.

Last of all, remember that people are human so don’t expect perfection in the church you attend.

Follow-up WORK SHEET

Find the answers in the above reading and the scriptures found in the follow-up lesson

1. Why should we not shun or separate from the church simply because some contain hypocrites, etc.?

  Eph. 2:1-11

2. What should we do instead of shunning or separating from the local church?

1 Cor. 1:1-3, Eph 4 Gal. 5:1,13-15

3. What are some of the characteristics of a good church?

Romans 10:8, 2 Timothy 4:2

, 2 Cor. 5:18-21

Psalm 96:9, John 4:24

1 John1:9-2:2

4. What is the pastor's responsibility in regard to the Word of God?

  Acts 20:27

5. Who or what group is the main ministry of the church directed toward?

Eph. 4:11 , 12.

6. What are some of the things the church is to provide for believers?

Hebrews 10:25 , 2 Tim. 2:15

2 Timothy 4:2,

7. What are we exhorted to do regarding gathering together for fellowship with other believers?

  Hebrews 10:25

8. What happens to those who forsake this fellowship?

Heb. 5:11-14, 1 Cor. 3

9.  List some of the doctrinal beliefs of fundamental churches.

2 Timothy 3:16

Romans 3:25, Heb 2, 1 Cor 1:17-18

Eph 2:8-9. 1 Thess. 4:13-18, Eph 1:13, 4:30,
2 Corinthians 2:11

Hebrews 9:27
, Acts 17:31, Rev 20:11-15

10. What does Paul admonish Timothy to do in 2 Tim. 2:15 ?

11. What does "dispensation" mean?

12. Where is our position today found that relates directly to the Body of Christ?

 Eph 3, Eph. - Heb.

13. Does God expect us to do anything in the local church?

1 Cor. 12:4-18; Rom.12:11

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