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Scripture Reading: Acts 14:21-28

Bible Authority, Part 9


The Local Church of Christ



1.  Failure to understand the church leads to many other errors, including denom., devaluing the importance of the church, and “choosing the church of your choice.”

2.  Many in churches of Christ do not understand the church, either. This leads to the liberal view that “whatever the individual can do, the local church can do” (loosing where the Lord has not loosed), and the factious view that “whatever the local church cannot do, the individual Christian cannot do” (binding where Lord has not bound).

3.  Review Part 8:  The church – Universal composed of individual Christians, not local churches (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23, 30; Acts 2:47; Rom. 12:4-5). 


I. THE LOCAL CHURCH, Rev. 1:11; 2:1. (Specific, Acts 8:1)

    A.        Independent, Autonomous Congregations of Christians, Acts 11:22, 26.

        1.        Local church is a relationship and a functioning organization; acts as a unit (collective work and responsibilities:  preach, edify and relieve saints).

        2.        Local church is just that – local; Not regional, national or int’l:

            a.     Local organizational structure, Acts 14:23 (Phil. 1:1).

            b.        Local oversight, 1 Pet. 5:1-2 (Acts 20:17, 28).

            c.     Local treasury to fund its work, Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 11:8 (Phil. 4:15-16).

            d.        Local church regulates its membership, Acts 9:26-28; 18:27; Rom. 16:1-2, 17-18; 1 Cor. 5:4-7.

            e.     An assembly of saints (“come together as a church,” 1 Cor. 11:18“in the church (assembly),” 1 Cor. 14:28).




Universal Church

Local Church

Added to by the Lord, Acts 2:47

Join oneself to, Acts 9:26-28

Entered by baptism, 1 Cor. 12:13

Accepted, received, Acts 18:27

None but the saved, 2 Tim. 2:19

Some sick, some “sleep,” 1 Cor. 11:30

Satan can’t prevail against, Matt. 16:18

Satan can prevail against, Acts 20: 29-31

Relationship of Christ with Christians, Eph. 1:22-23

Relationship of Christians with Christians,
Acts 15:22-23; Col. 4:12

No functional organization, no oversight and no treasury

Functional organization with oversight and treasury, Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 16:2; 1 Pet. 5:2

Distributive (individual) action,
Eph. 5:24

Collective (group) action, Phil. 4:15



1.  Denominations subdivide the church into groups that are never identified in the Scriptures.

2.  The universal church is all the saved without respect to time and place.

3.  The local church is a specific group of Christians in a given location. This group is organized and has work to do; if it is not done, that local church is no longer a church of Christ (forfeits identity and fellowship with Christ), Rev. 1:20; 2:1, 4-5.