Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
We have looked at the foundation and purpose of the church as well as what makes the church great. Let’s look at “what is the church”. I’m talking about the local church.
(1) It is a community. What is this? It’s a family. First Timothy 5:1-2 states Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. The most important element in a family is love. In our natural family, we love each other. Value is placed because you are part of the family. We’ve all had family members who didn’t do right. If you kicked all out who didn’t, there would be no family. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t kick us out. Even in the midst of it all he still loves us. It’s been said that no one will ever go to hell not being loved by God. No. You rally behind them. We are told to esteem the weaker brother. THE CHURCH is the body of Christ, those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ. We’re part of a church family. We often refer to each other as brother and sister. You’d tell me quickly who your natural brothers and sisters are. When we get saved we become brothers and sisters to each other. Our love for each other is important. God loves. Why shouldn’t we? God forgives. Why shouldn’t we? In First Corinthians 12:27 Paul said Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. In verses 12-27, he uses the word body 18 times. A body has a head. The head of the body of Christ is Jesus Christ. If he ceases to be the head, we’re in a mess. The church is not a hierarchy. There is not a democratic headquarters that is head. It’s certainly not Eddie Foster. The head is Jesus Christ. Romans 12:4-5 tells us For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. We’re to be a unified body. We don’t tell our body parts we don’t need them. Our eyes don’t say to our ears “we don’t need you” or to our feet “we don’t need you.” We do need it all. We’re all members of one body. We are not to say to one another “I have no need of you.” We are bonded together spiritually. Do you know that your body pretty much does what your brain tells it to do? It’s a proven fact that most illnesses are psycho systematic. I can get myself to feeling worse because I keep thinking about how bad I feel. Your body does this: garbage in, garbage out. If you put good info in, you’ll get good info out. Our brain is a tremendous computer. And you cannot feed it impure things and worldliness and expect purity to come out. Since Jesus Christ is our head, don’t you think it wise to listen to him?
(2) The church is a cause. There is an enemy out there. It’s not you. It’s not me. An arch enemy is after us–the devil. If we’d fight him and not each other, we’d be better off. The lost need to be rescued. We’re in a battle. Soldiers have protective gear. The reason we lose is we don’t have the proper gear. Ephesians 6 tells us how to gear up. Get on the right armor to resist the devil. You, in yourself, are no match for the devil, but John tells us greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. The one inside me is bigger than the devil. Look at verses 11-16 of Ephesians 6. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. I like this: and having done all, to stand. Stand. Put on this armor and you can withstand the onslaught. There is a cause and community and sacrifice is premier. The Great Commission is our cause. The main focus is to reach lost souls for the cause of Christ. Win people to Christ and you grow the church.
(3) The church is a corporation. There is a business aspect of the church. Wouldn’t it be super if we didn’t have to be concerned with business. But it’s important. If we get caught up in community and cause without paying attention to the corporation, we’ll get behind. Finances have to be dealt with. Without corporation there is no facility to house the community. We are called to be good stewards individually and then as a community. We have it backwards. Remember all we have belongs to God, not just 10%. Our home, car and money are all His. If we don’t have corporation, there is no way to do the cause. Do you see how it works.
These three are each different. In community the main thing is love. Love one another. People won’t always make you happy but you love them anyway. Stop finding fault. Each of us have enough to deal with concerning our own faults. There is only one person you can control–yourself. The cause is community and sacrifice. If we’re willing, God can use us for the cause. In corporation the main thing is our effectiveness. These are the local church.