Our Part in Edifying the Body of Christ
God Ordained Local Churches
The New Testament church was made up of a universal body of redeemed saints. But all of those saints located in identifiable, local, geographic gatherings that were deeply connected at every level: spiritually, emotionally, financially, and relationally.
The New Testament believers were not taught to drift around to find the best program for their kids, or for the one church that fit their schedules, or for a church that better matched their music tastes.
New Testament believers were taught that God wanted them to stay put in their local church, and pour out their lives into one group of people day after day, and week after week. Next, we need to realize: If Christ had only wanted us to only be a part of the universal church then we could all just drive around each Sunday and visit a different church.
We could all be well rested, never exhausted by ministry, never in a hurry to get everything done that needs to be accomplished, and just come at the posted time, take in the service, get blessed, and leave. That form of detached, uninvolved, "free as the wind" type of church going was never a part of Christ's plan!
By the way, if being anonymous, dropping in, and staying detached has become your habit to it is a BAD habit, and an ungodly one.
If staying uninvolved with the lives of the people who are sitting around you is what you choose to do—then you do not really know or obey what God expects from your life He purchased by Christ's own blood.
An unattached believer is a disobedient, unrewarded, and unspiritual part of Christ's church. God wants us equipping/mending others so that they can be edified/built up in God's Word.
Hitting a Bible study during the week, or being a part of some non-local church but Bible-based ministry is NOT the same as being a partaker of Christ's plan for His Church. Jesus sent out His apostles to start local, visible groups of believers that lived life together as Christ's family.
God did not design the drive-in-theater type of church that has a parking lot of unconnected individuals all watching the same show. He designed Christ's family as a group that shares life.
When we were saved we each became a vital part of Christ's Church, with a specific job description. Please listen with me to the voice of Jesus from Ephesians 4:11-16.
Paul is here sharing with us the plan Jesus gave him, to keep His saints all doing what He designed them to do. Listen to His plan as we hear the voice of God speaking out from His Book as you follow along as I read God's Word.
Ephesians 4:11-16 "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping [preparing, perfecting] of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." NKJV
Mending and Building Up Lives is
God's Plan for all of us
Now let this picture God's Word gives to us, sink into your heart and mind.
An equipping/edifying church is all about helping people from where they are to where God wants them to be. We all need help, and we all are to help each other. Now plug those images into the purpose of Christ's church as we meet.
Mending lives so that those lives can be engaged as tools in Christ's hands building up, helping, exhorting, and discipling others.
We each sustain some degree of damage through struggles at work, conflicts at home, and temptations nagging us everywhere, and fears assaulting us when we are alone.
But now comes the wonderful part. This truth is what has strengthened Christ's church through all these centuries since Pentecost—when we gather obediently as Christ's church, He is present; and when Christ is present He uses us to do his work of repairing one another from the injuries of life's struggles.
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