What the Local Church is Not

The local church is not a religious club or group where we can discharge our religious duties and/or obligations. It is not, in one sense of the label, a worship center, although worship should be done by those assembling there. If that happens, worship will have been going on prior to arrival. Group worship (only done by the redeemed) will be the outflow of private worship that has been going on daily. The church is not a “spiritual entertainment” center. We don’t go to be entertained. To gather with the brethren for wholesome entertainment, occasionally, is not wrong, as long as it is not a major component of the church’s activity). The church is not a place to go through thoughtless routine unengaged, awaiting the clock’s announcement of the noon hour. It is not a place for a dramatic display of the Pastor’s homiletical skills.  In Ephesians 4:11-13, we have Paul’s inspired explanation of Jesus’ plan for the church: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” In the hymn, “Jesus, Where’er Thy People Meet,” William Cowper has shared vital truth: “Jesus, where’er Thy people meet, there they behold Thy mercy-seat; where’er they seek Thee, Thou art found, and every place is hallowed ground. For Thou, within no walls confined, inhabitest the humble mind; such ever bring Thee when they come, and, going, take Thee to their home. Dear Shepherd of Thy chosen few, Thy former mercies here renew; here to our waiting hearts proclaim the sweetness of Thy saving name. Here may we prove the power of prayer to strengthen faith and sweeten care, to teach our faint desires to rise, and bring all heaven before our eyes. Lord, we are few, but Thou art near;  nor short Thine arm, nor deaf Thine ear: O rend the heavens, come quickly down,  and make a thousand hearts Thine own!” Selah! Let’s not lose sight of “substance” in the overshadowing of “form!”   Ron

Questions? E-mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com




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