The local church
I COR. 1:2-3 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.“
The local church has been around for about 2000 years from the time Jesus gathered the first numbering 12 men. Out of them came 70 then 120 and on the day of Pentecost 3,000 and eventually possibly as many as 250,000.
The purpose of the local church was very simple, as stated in Acts 2:14 where we see the first sermon preached to that local church by Peter in the hearing of thousands that resulted in many accepting his word, (Vr. 41) that is, they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah, Savior. Upon accepting Christ Jesus, each one who believed were baptized at the hand of that first church. Then in the purpose of the church that is found in Vrs. 42 we find that they sit under the teaching of Christ by the 12 Apostles, the first elders/pastors of the church. They came together for fellowship, encouraging each other; they broke the bread of life together, the Lord’s Supper; and had had many prayers together. The church grew strong together. Note the word “together” in Vr. 44. They had a common faith in Jesus Christ which enabled them to love each other and be available to the aid of each other (Vr. 44).
They were a community-minded organization according to Vrs. 45-47.
The local church should be a gathering of every Christian every week to worship, learn of God and plan on how to go out house to house and meet the needs of every house.
The local church should be the central cause of community unity and love. It can’t just go into a building once a week or three times a week. It must get out and seek the needs of those around them, especially their need of Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The church should be a place of compassion and love that is acted out from their front door out. What do people say about your church as they drive by it every day? Do they see a local representation of the Lord’s church, but fail to see the life of the Lord exercised out into every facet of the community?
There was a church in the last town I pastored that you could not call into by phone at any point of a day or night without knowing the passcode to punch in on your phone. Do you think that church is a church of outreach? They had grown to be very small and about to go out of existence. The local church…God’s outreach to a lost world.
Charles Empey is the Pastor of Cove Baptist Church in Orange, TX.