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Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:18-24

The Local Church



1.  Without a Scriptural understanding of the church of Christ, Christians are doomed to repeat the history of division and apostasy that has plagued God's people through the ages. Hosea 4:6; 1 Tim. 4:1; Jude 3-4

2.  Revive our understanding of the church to the glory of God, Eph. 3:21.



  A.  The Church Belongs to Jesus, not Us. ("Our church", etc.)

    1.  He is its Builder, Matt. 16:18.

    2.  He purchased it with His blood, Acts 20:28.

    3.  It is His body and fullness, Eph. 1:22-23.

    4.  It is His bride, Eph. 5:23-24. (Christ's bride does not belong to you!)

    5.  He is its Savior, Eph. 5:23.

  B.  How "Church" is Used in the NT. (ekklesia: "Called out" ones)

    1.  Universally (generally), Matt. 16:18; Heb. 12:23.

      a.  Kingdom (Matt. 16:19); Temple (2 Cor. 6:16); House (1 Tim. 3:15).

      b.  Not organized or activated into a functioning entity.

    2.  Locally (specifically), 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Ths. 1:1; Gal. 1:2; 1 Cor. 4:17.

      a.  Organized and functional, with overseers and deacons, Acts 14:23; Phil. 1:1.

      b.  A congregation (gathering) of saints, 1 Cor. 14:23, 26.

    3.  There is no functioning organization smaller than or larger than the local church in the NT. (cf. Denominations)



  A.  Is Not the Building. (We do not "go to church;" we are the church.)

    1.  The church has a place of assembly (synagogue, "a bringing together"), Jas. 2:1.

    2.  Christians come together "as a church", in one place, to eat the Lord's supper, worship and be edified, 1 Cor. 11:18, 20; 14:26.

    3.  The building is a tool or aid to expedite the "together" activities commanded by the Lord, Heb. 10:25.

  B.  Is Not a Business.

    1.  A business is an economic endeavor with profit/loss, cost-benefit analysis, hiring and firing, adapting, evolving and changing to market condition and the vision of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, etc. 2 Thess. 3:10

    2.  That kind of thinking, when applied to the local church, completely corrupts it:

      a.  Corrupts the leadership (elders): Viewed as operating a business.

         -These kinds of elders survey the members to "get the pulse of the church" instead of leading the church in the way it should go, Heb. 13:17; cf. 2 Tim. 4:3.

      b.  Corrupts the view and use of the treasury, Acts 4:34-35.

      c.  Corrupts its view and treatment of preachers. Professional preachers who are "hired" and work for the church. cf. hirelings, Jno. 10:12-13. (Fellowship in the gospel, Phil. 1:5)

  C.  Is Not a Social Center.

    1.  The home is the social center, not the local church, 1 Cor. 11:22, 34.

    2.  The line between the local church and the home has been erased with church sponsored recreation, meals, etc.

    3.  Call it "fellowship" or a "ministry" and it becomes OK.

    4.  NI churches are blurring the lines, with church-advertised potlucks and other (individually-provided) recreational activities.

  D.  Is Not a "Sister Congregation" in a Family of Churches (regionally and internationally defined).

     1.  This sort of apostasy in organization led to RCC.

     2.  International Church of Christ (ICOC): A Family of Churches (early 1990s, by 2002 had 135K in 96 countries). Crossroads Church of Christ...The Boston Church (Kip McKean); Now about 610 cong, 98K in 148 countries.

     3.  North Sound Church of Christ (Bellingham WA): Supported by Seattle CoC (ICOC).

     4.  Independent churches with separate organization and work, Acts 14:23; 1 Pet. 5:2. (Rev. 2-3)



1.  We reflect our respect for the head of the church by our respect for His church.

2.  Every local church of Christ is under the authority of Christ, revealed in His word.



By: Joe R. Price

Posted: March 10, 2016