Part 1: The Local Church
First off, what is a church? It’s the place you go on Sunday, right? The term is certainly used that way by many. However, the term’s use in the Bible would be more accurately defined as a calling out. A calling out to what? And who is called? Well, that depends on which church we’re talking about. The first church we’re called to is the church, the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12,27). All of mankind is called to that church (1 Tim. 2:4). The only qualification for membership is that you trust that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins.
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
What about all the churches I see around me? Which one is the right one?
We can know by the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that we are expected to gather together (1 Cor. 5:4) for edification and to worship. And we know that we aren’t to divide into sects/denominations (1 Cor. 1:12-13). We also know that if any man, or as it applies to our study, church, preaches any other gospel other than that which Paul and his followers preached, they are to be cursed (Gal. 1:8-9). The gospel Paul preached is referred to in multiple ways but the “gospel of the grace of God” seems most fitting (Acts 20:24).
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
When you look at those instructions compared to the majority of churches today, it’s easy to see why there is so much confusion. Instead of having one large church, the body of Christ, and local assemblies that act as a pillar of truth (1 Tim. 3:15), Christianity today is divided. Some relying on tradition, others on appeal, but if they don’t preach the gospel of the grace of God, it leads to a lack of spiritual growth. Don’t be tossed to and fro. Instead, abound in knowledge and be without offence.
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
Join us for our weekly Bible study to learn more about the local church and your role in it.
Wednesdays - 5:30pm in the Rhinelander Goodwill Community Room