CONTRIBUTED BY HENRY AND MARIAN HAMELINK
For our last borrowed blog post for April, here is one from Jesse Johnson. Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, USA. Jesse writes here about the reasons that we should belong to a local church.
40 REASONS TO BE PART OF A LOCAL CHURCH – BY JESSE JOHNSON
When things get really hard and discouraging in life, distance yourself from the local church. This is a sure way to boost your misery. On the front end, it promises things like rest, rejuvenation, and a needed break. But that mentality is like a soldier out in combat who concludes that, because the battle is taxing and wearying, he shouldn’t take time to drink water and eat food. Man shall not live on bread alone (Matt. 4:4), nor solitary alone (40 one anothers).
Some of the most hazardous times to pull back from God’s church are when you feel hurt by someone at church, have normal relationship battles, or feel spiritually too taxed to go. The wearied animal needs its herd most when it is sick. Again, we will reap what we sow.
Is it possible to live a faithful Christian life without being a faithful part of a local church? I’ve heard many people make the argument that it is indeed possible—especially if there are no good churches around. I disagree.
At the bare minimum, there are forty different commands in the New Testament to live life in some sense with other believers. While certainly it is possible to do some of these with Christians in general, the weight of this list should convince you of the necessity of having on going relationships with other believers.
And those relationships are only strengthened by the fellowship of the local church. In fact, I submit that some of this list is simply impossible to obey if you do not have the kind of ongoing and ever increasing fellowship with other believers that only comes through ministry in a local church:
- Stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
- Confess your sins to one another (James 5)
- Build up one another (1 Thess 5:11)
- Be of the same mind as one another (Romans 12:13,15)
- Comfort one another in the face of death (1 Thess 4:18)
- Employ your spiritual gifts in serving one another (1 Peter 4:10)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:5)
- Encourage one another (1 Thess 5:11)
- Greet one another (2 Cor 13:12)
- Don’t become boastful in challenging one another (Gal 5:26)
- Be kind to one another (Eph 4:32)
- Abound in love for one another (1 Peter 1:22)
- Live in peace with one another (1 Thess 5:13)
- Love one another (2 John 5)
- Fervently love one another (1 Peter 1:22)
- Have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)
- Don’t judge one another (Romans 14:13)
- Take communion (the Lord’s Table) with one another (1 Cor 11:33)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Regard one another as more important than yourself (Phil 2:3)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)
- Admonish one another (Rom 15:14)
- Serve one another (Gal 5:13)
- Do not lie to one another (Col 3:9)
- Bear with one another (Col 3:13)
- Forgive one another (Col 3:13)
- Teach and admonish one another (Rom 15:14)
- Care for one another (1 Cor 12:25)
- Cloth yourselves with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)
- Be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9
- Do not complain against one another (James 5:9)
- Show forbearance to one another (Eph 4:2)
- Speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19)
- Give preference to one another (Rom 12:10)
- Don’t bite and devour one another (Gal 5:15)
- Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
- Seek the good of one another (1 Thess 5:15)
- Don’t forsake assembling with one another (Heb 10:25)
That last one brings the whole list full circle. If being a Christian means nothing more than making a decision about Jesus Christ, then none of this matters. But if being a Christian means stepping into a life altering world, where God desires your sanctification and gives you the means to grow and the commands to follow, then it is simply impossible to do that outside of the context of a local church.