Together in the Christian Life
Charles F. Stanley
Memory Verse: Hebrews 10:19-25
I. Introduction: Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (emphasis added). It’s true that some people can’t attend church due to physical limitations and others have no Bible-believing congregations in their area. But aside from those exceptions, everyone who wants to maintain a vital, growing relationship with Jesus Christ needs to be involved in a local body of believers.
II. Who originated the concept of church?
A. Scripture clearly teaches that the church was established by our Savior Himself (Matt. 16:16). He’s the Savior of the world, humanity’s only hope. This truth is the foundation upon which Jesus established the church, and no evil force can prevail against it.
B. Throughout history, all kinds of movements have come and gone. In contrast, the church—also called the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27)—has thrived for centuries and in our generation is growing quickly all over the world.
C. Why has the church survived despite changing times? Because it belongs to God, not to men and women. Jesus is the originator and sustainer of the church. Today He ministers to both believers and unbelievers through His body.
III. When Christians claim they don’t need church, what does that imply?
A. If we can walk closely with God without the fellowship of other believers, then assembling on Sunday morning is a waste of time. Those who believe this would say we don’t need other Christians for support, encouragement, or prayer.
B. If believers can maintain an intimate relationship with God apart from church involvement, then Jesus made a big mistake. After all, the church was His idea.
C. Of course, our Lord didn’t make a mistake when He established His church. You and I need other believers, whom God commands us to love as ourselves—a mandate second only to loving Him whole-heartedly (Matt. 22:37-39). It is in the context of community that we exercise our spiritual gifts, find encouragement to follow God’s will, and learn how to properly interpret Scripture.
IV. Why should believers assemble together as a church?
A. To worship: Worshipping Him lifts our spirits and strengthens our souls. Many of the songs are full of theological truths that educate us about the blessings we have in Him.
B. To learn the Word of God: In church, we often have the opportunity to learn from those with special biblical training or deep spiritual maturity. Be ready to check any teaching against the whole counsel of Scripture, since pulling verses out of context can lead to doctrinal errors.
C. To fulfill the Great Commission: As the body of Christ, we can send missionaries to far-off places. We support them through our prayers, letters or e-mails, and financial support. Together we fulfill the command to share the good news with the nations (Matt. 28:18-20).
D. To protect themselves: When someone stops attending church, it is almost inevitable that he or she will begin to drift away from God. Hearing scriptural truth each week helps in holding believers accountable to high moral, ethical, and spiritual standards.
E. To exercise spiritual gifts: These supernatural blessings, such as administration, organization, and mercy, are to be used “for the common good in the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 12:7).
F. To develop an atmosphere of support: The New Testament is full of advice on how to relate in love to one another.
G. To strengthen and broaden the Christian impact on the world:When believers are committed to a local fellowship, the influence of that church is greatly multiplied. God works powerfully through churches where each person sees himself or herself as making a valuable contribution to the ministry’s work.
V. Conclusion: Commitment to a local body of believers is the way to participate in fulfilling God’s purposes. There, you can receive solid instruction in the Word of God, participate in corporate worship, and find opportunities to exercise your spiritual gifts. Find a Bible-believing church in your area, and make an effort to get involved. Your life will never be the same.
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