Church

Fortner: The Need to Join a Local Church

By |February 8th, 2018|Devotional|0 Comments

‘Saul assayed to join himself to the disciples’

Read Ephesians 4:1–16

Saul had been converted by the grace of God on the Damascus Road. He had publicly confessed faith in Christ at Damascus, both by personal testimony and by public baptism. Then he came to Jerusalem and ‘he assayed to join himself to the disciples’. That is to say, he applied for membership in the church at Jerusalem. The despised church of God, which Saul once hated above all people upon the earth, he now loved above all people. No sooner did he return to Jerusalem than he found the place where God’s people met in the name of Christ and publicly identified himself with them by uniting with the congregation there.

Saul joined the church voluntarily. He was not recruited in a “church membership drive”. No one put any pressure on him, or even asked him, to join the church. Being a believer, Saul wanted to be numbered with God’s people. He considered it a privilege and an honor. ‘To be joined to a church is to become an open subject of Christ’s kingdom, a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem, one of the family of God, and a member of the body of Christ visibly’ (John Gill).

Saul was fully qualified to unite with the church at Jerusalem. It is true, he had been a blasphemer and a persecutor, and his former reputation was well known. But God had forgiven him, cleansed him in the blood of Christ and received him. Therefore he was accepted by the church as a brother, beloved in Christ. He professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and was baptized as a believer. Nothing more was required to qualify him for membership in the church, and nothing less could be accepted. Church membership is for baptized (immersed) believers only.

By uniting with the local assembly at Jerusalem, Saul publicly demonstrated his commitment to those people, to their Lord and to the gospel they were commissioned of God to preach. Uniting publicly with a local assembly, the believer says, ‘My heart is joined to you in Christ by the grace of God.’ If you are a believer, it is both your privilege and your responsibility to confess Christ by baptism and unite with his people.

 Donald S. Fortner, Grace for Today: Daily Devotional Readings, (Danville, KY: Grace Baptist Church of Danville, 1986), 36.

Adrian Rogers: Jesus Loves His Church

There are many people who say, “I believe in Jesus, but I just don’t believe in the church.” That is like saying, “I believe in football, but I just don’t believe in stadiums, the gridiron, goal posts, and shoulder pads.”Jesus loves the church. He gave His life for the church. If you are ever going to be victorious in the spiritual battles of life, you must realize that Christianity is not a “Lone Ranger” religion. The church is here to bind together and win the battle together. Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the famous hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers.” One stanza really stands out in this regard: “Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, But the church of Jesus constant will remain. Gates of hell can never against that church prevail; We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.” (www.lwf.org)

Adrian Rogers: Faithful to the Fellowship

By |November 6th, 2014|Devotional|0 Comments

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Do you know what is happening in America today? People who claim to be Christians are not getting involved and becoming faithful to a church — the local fellowship of believers. Such a thing was unheard of in the Bible. If you were a Christian, you were faithful to the fellowship. You attended when everyone gathered together. If you stopped attending, they assumed that you were an apostate. What is more important than the local visible expression of the body of Christ? It is the way we stay “plugged in” to the needs of the body of Christ. It is the way we show honor to Him in worship. It is simply the way.

E. Allen Griffith: A Need for Church Attendance and Membership

By |July 22nd, 2014|Devotional|0 Comments

I suppose I have addressed this topic previously, but the more we travel and observe the average Christian family, as well as the average church, the more concerned we become about the lackadaisical attitude of Christians toward worship and broader involvement in the local church. Years ago when I was a pastor. There was the “Jesus Movement”. Their mantra was, they had done an end run around the church and gotten back to Jesus. They were wrong. There is no doubt that many churches have weaknesses and sometimes have less to offer than some families want, but dare we ignore the local church? The Church is the body of Christ and while some differ on the full role of the local church, none would deny that it is the visible representation of that body. There is no doubt that the local church plays the primary role in the work of the Lord in this age. The Apostles went everywhere preaching the Gospel. When they saw people get saved they gathered them together to start a local church. Paul sent his epistles to local churches. The Scriptures teach, that God ordained leaders (pastors and deacons) for local churches (I Timothy 3). Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus to discuss order in local churches. Paul himself had been ordained to ministry by the local church in Antioch (Acts 13:1-2), and when his first missionary journey was over, he returned to that church to report on his work (Acts 14:26-28). We live in the Church Age. It started on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 and it will end on the day of the Rapture. We must carefully consider the challenge given in the book of Hebrews.

In Hebrews 10:23-25 we read, Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering: (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more, as ye see the day approaching.

The reader must ask – as we see what day approaching? To get an answer we must work our way back through the letter to find that day. When we get back to Hebrews 9:28 we read, So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. When we read ahead in Hebrews 10, we find these added words in verses 36-37, For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. The approaching day is the day our Lord Jesus returns at the Rapture. The challenge in verse 25 of Hebrews 10, is that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. The assembling is clearly a reference to the worship and activities of the local church.

The local church was not originated by people. It is the primary organizational tool of the Lord for this age. We should be faithful members of our local church. Our spiritual activities should be centered in the ministry of our local church. Our social life and fellowship should be built around our local church. If your church is not all you wish it would be – get involved. Be faithful at all the services. Volunteer when workers are needed. The Lord designed the local church for people to minister to each other. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to reach out to you. Talk to people, invite others over, greet visitors, host guest speakers, serve in the nursery, teach a class, be an usher, serve on committees, mow the grass, go out on visitation, sing in the choir. We should not withdraw from the church, we should make it the best it can be. Attend on Sunday – Sunday School, AM service, PM service. Get there for the mid-week activities. You need your local church and your local church needs you! – Biblical Family Ministries

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