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Why Join A Local Church?

1.  Too often you find people who see no need to belong to a local church. Over the next 10 months I want to give every believer 10 reasons for belonging to a local church. The New Testament emphasis is on the local church. In Scripture there are 109 references to the local church and less than 10 about the "universal" church.

Most of the New Testament letters and the seven letters in Revelation 2 and 3 are written to local churches. God's emphasis should be our emphasis. Jesus wants to "build" His church and we should too. You cannot help build it like you should if you are not a part of a local church. Every believer should join a local church and help build it so he makes a bigger impact on his community and the world. Remember that the Lord Jesus is where two or three are gathered in His name. Be a part of it.

2.  The church is to carry out the great commission and administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper (Matt. 28:19,20). Baptism is part of the great commission and one of the first steps of discipleship. To do a good job of discipleship, Churches should urge people to follow the Lord in believer's baptism after being saved.

3.  Sheep need a shepherd. The most natural thing is for a sheep to go astray. He needs a shepherd to lead him. Sheep need to be led to food and water. Sheep need a shepherd for provision. Sheep are helpless prey to the wolves. Sheep need a shepherd for protection. A pastor is a shepherd. Pastors are commanded to "feed the flock of God - taking the oversight - being examples to the flock," (1 Peter 5:2,3). That great pastor, Paul, said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." We are the sheep of His pasture. Sheep need a shepherd. People ought to join a local church so they can have a spiritual shepherd as God taught.

God admonishes, "Obey them that have the rule over you, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account" (Heb. 13:17). That is an awesome responsibility. Every believer needs a pastor to have the "oversight" over them just like God says.

4.  A pastor has no spiritual authority over nonmembers and many love it so. God says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, for they watch for you, as they that must give an account" (Hebrews 13:17). This is an awesome responsibility. "No man takes this honor to himself." When I was a pastor I felt the depth of this and realized I was going to have to give an account for every person who walked into our church. People need a pastor to have "oversight" over them just like God says. Pastors are not to be dictators over them but to shepherd and care for them like sheep. Every sheep needs a pastor to lead them and provide them spiritual food and directions for life.

5.  Nonmembers feel no obligation to the local church. It is not their church and they really couldn't care less. Most of these, who come even regularly, seldom get involved. They come for what they can get rather than what they can give to build a strong and effective local church. They need to be members to motivate them to invest themselves here and for eternity.

6.  All believers should belong to a local church to exercise their spiritual gifts and talents. They must become deacons, teachers, and workers as they are commanded to do. Preachers and churches have learned through heart-breaking experiences that you cannot put people in responsible places of teaching and leadership unless they are in agreement with and belong to their church. They must not hide their light under a bushel but put to use (occupy) what God has given them. What a horrible waste not to do so. They are needed. They must know from us how much they are needed and wanted. How terrible that a hand or foot is not working in the body of Christ. Think of what they are missing by not being used of God! Think of the loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat Of Christ! Jesus said, "I will build my church." Every Christian needs to get involved and help Him do what He said He was going to do!

7.  Every believer should belong to a local church so he can exercise his spiritual gifts in the body of Christ. Every Christian has talents and abilities that can be used for the Lord in His church. He must not hide them under a bushel. To become a deacon or teacher or worker he should belong to a local church. It just does not work to make someone a teacher or worker if they do not belong to your church. If they do not believe in your church scripturally or spiritually they can cause more problems than you can straighten out in years.

God said we are to "occupy" or put to use what He has given us. What a terrible waste when someone who is "born again" does not get involved and use his gifts to the glory of God in a church. Remember the books of the Bible that were written to local churches. God places great emphasis on the local church. They for sure were not perfect but God wants all of the body of Christ to be functioning. How terrible for a hand or a foot not to be working in the body of Christ. Think of what they are missing by not being use of God. Think of the loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

8.  The need to "belong" is a vital and valuable reason to belong to a local church. Every person needs the feeling of being included. We all need to feel a vital part and not an outsider of our family, our neighborhood, our city, our country, our jobs and our church if we are going to get anything out of it or put anything into it.

This is especially true of our relationship to a church. As long as you are not a member you will have an incomplete feeling, a feeling of being an outsider, of not belonging. It is not your church. You feel no responsibility nor will you take nay responsibility for what happens there. You need to belong. You need to put your life in service for the Lord in a local church. All the instructions in the Bible for Christians are to local churches. Join today, You "belong" in a local church. That also means we who belong must make those who join us feel a vital part of the church and do not have cliques. That welcome in the bulletin must be in the believers.

9.  Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. Stop looking for the perfect church. It doesn't exist. The church is a hospital with obstetrics, nursery, pediatrics, feeding, operating rooms and out patient clinics. It is for everyone. Churches must spiritually wipe dirty noses and faces: bandages up wounds and sores and feed hungry hearts. There is a danger of the church not welcoming new babes and looking out for them but instead, want them to "grow up" before taking them into their fellowship. Believers are to "grow" and "exhort one another", "love one another", and "edify one another." If one member suffers the whole body suffers. You need to be in a church to invest your gifts to help other Christians and then to have a place to be ministered to when you get sick as well.

10.  Christ loved the church and we should too. He said, "I will build my church and we should too. "Christ gave himself for the church and we should too, but not die for it but live for it. 

If your hand or foot or eye does not function properly, you are hindered, you are handicapped. So is the body of Christ if you do not function in His church as you should and as you are designed and gifted to do. You are a hand or foot or some part of the Body of Christ and need to function in the local church so it can make a better impact on the world for God and for good. The church needs you and you need the church. Why not join now if you haven't already and put to use the gifts God has given you. What a good way to start the New Millennium.


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