2/22/2017 9:17:51 AM
Pastor Jim Thompson
The Local Church
It suddenly occured to me that the possiblity exist that most do not understand the term local church. While most churches exist to have a ministry to the community, and yes, the local church is a group of gathered people, it does not seem to be the focus of many Christians today.
As I study the New Testament, from the birth of the church, (Acts 2), we have the local church emphasized throughout. After chapter 2 in the book of Acts, the emphasis is on the local church, in fact, the rest of Acts, especially from chaper 13 on, is about planting local churches. Paul and Barnabas are sent out and we find Paul taking four missionary trips throught Asia Minor and Greece and eventually ending up in Rome. As we look at the rest of the New Testament, we find a letter to the CHURCH at Rome; to the CHURCH at Corinth; to the CHURCH at Galatia; to the CHURCH at Ephesus; to the CHURCH at Philippi; to the CHURCH at Colosse; to the CHURCH at Thessalonica. We find three letters written to two pastor of local church; Timothy at the CHURCH at Ephesus and Titus at the CHURCH at Crete. Even the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, has two chapters containing a letter to seven different churches.
So how does this fit in our culture today. As a pastor, I am all about the local church, which for me at this time is Wilton Bible Baptist Church. Everything I do, I do for the benefit of this local church. The thought process of many today is that as long as I go somewhere, it is okay. But, in reality, that is not good enough. Loyalty to a local church and its ministry is becoming a rare commodity today.
Before I became a pastor, I served in the local church as a layman for 10 years. I was a trustee and finally a deacon. I was not saved until age 19 but can honestly say, that after my salvation, I have always attended church, (except when sick or in hospital) and that meant Sunday School, AM worship, PM worship and Wednesday night. This was not something I started to do after I became a pastor, it has always been in my blood.
Today in our culture, going to church means attending when I can and that only on a Sunday Morning. The average Christian spends one hour in church each week. Is this really what the Lord had in mind when He commissioned Paul and all other missionaries throughout the ages? I don't think so.
Let's return to Biblically Thinking about the church and attend all the services and help the local church to have the greatest impact upon its community, by serving with a whole heart, because serving the local church is serving our Lord!