Bible Questions

Bible Questions

Why belong to a church?

The New Testament takes it for granted that every Christian will join together with other Christians in the membership of a local congregation for only then can the implications of common membership of the Church of Christ find expression - that is to say, in fellowship, mutual care, submission to necessary discipline, the maintenance of spiritual unity, and the offering together of spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God - and the work of the Church be effectively carried out - that is to say, in the proclamation of the gospel and the making of disciples in a particular area.

The New Testament gives an essential place to the local church in the life of the Christian.

The local church is not to be despised by the Christian (1 Corinthians 11:22).

The New Testament refers to patterns of behaviour in the church, meaning the local church (1 Corinthians 14:19, 28, 35); and the directions given by the apostles were given in the first place to churches (1 Corinthians 16:1).

As the work of evangelism progressed in the first century Christians were gathered together as soon as possible into churches (Acts 13:1; 14:23; 15:41; 20:17; Revelation 1:11).

Usually, wherever Christians were to be found, elders were ordained (Acts 14:21-23), and a local church situation was incomplete where elders had not been appointed (Titus 1:5).

Christians were assumed to be in such a close relationship together that they acknowledged certain individuals as leaders (Hebrews 13:7), and the latter knew themselves to be undershepherds of the local company of Christians (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).

The New Testament takes it for granted that Christians living in the same locality will have regular fellowship, assembling together as a company of believers (1 Corinthians 1:2; 14:23; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:15).

Christians are instructed not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25).

Through church membership we are able to strengthen one another

The early Christians were in such an established relationship with one another that they could speak of some who 'went out from us' who 'did not really belong to us' (1 John 2:19).

Christians are to strive to excel in building up the local church (1 Corinthians 14:12).

The instinctive act of Paul after his conversion was to identify himself with the Christians in Damascus, and then with those at Jerusalem on his arrival there (Acts 9:19, 26).

The descriptions the Bible gives of the Church as a whole demand that Christians meet together as ordered congregations in their localities.

The flock of God gathers together under the leadership of the under-shepherds whom the Chief Shepherd, Christ, has appointed (Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:2-4).

The members of the body of Christ are members of one another and are intended, therefore, to be in the closest possible association together (1 Corinthians 12:24-27).

The picture of the church as the family of believers implies a close relationship (Galations 6:10).

A brick is only a building as it is together with other bricks, properly joined to them: so too with the Christian (1 Peter 2:4, 5).

To belong to a church is a practical demonstration of the recognition of our relationship in Christ to our fellowbelievers.

It enables us to live in fellowship.

The logical consequence of receiving the Holy Spirit is to want to live in fellowship with other Christians (Romans 8:9; Philippians 2:1, 2).

Constant fellowship is possible through the local church as in no other way (Acts 2:42).

The fellowship is to be so close that mutual encouragement can be given both to love and to do good works (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24).

It enables us to fulfil Christ's command to remember His death and its significance by means of the Lord's Supper.

To do this together is a vital part of Christian fellowship (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17).

The early Christians gathered together on the Lord's Day to break bread in remembrance of Christ's death (Acts 20:7).

Christians need to come together regularly in the local church for the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-34).

It enables us to get to know our fellow-believers and thus to care for one another.

We may do good effectively to the family of believers only as we know who they are by coming together in the fellowship of the local church (Galations 6:10).

By close association with one another Christian love is able to find the positive and practical expression it needs (John 13:35).

Through church membership we are able to strengthen one another (Luke 22:32), restore one another when fallen (Galations 6:1), and carry each other's burdens (Galations 6:2).

By means of the local church the exercise of spiritual gifts for the benefit of one another is made possible (1 Corinthians 12:14-28).

It shows our acceptance of the family discipline of the Church, expressed, as it can only be, through the local church.

The Lord Jesus Christ taught that the local church is essential for maintaining the right kind of discipline amongst God's people (Matthew 18:15-20).

It is taken for granted in the New Testament that all Christians will be so committed to a local church that they will be within the discipline of that church (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5).

Christians are to be in such an association of membership together that they can discipline members who bring dishonour to Christ (1 Corinthians 5:1-13).

It is a practical expression of spiritual unity.

Christians feel within themselves the desire to express the oneness they know and experience in Jesus Christ (Galations 3:28).

No effort of love or of tolerance is to be spared to preserve the unity that the Spirit gives (Ephesians 4:2, 3).

The common life Christians have in Christ brings a common care for unity (Philippians 2:1, 2).

It enables us to offer regularly the corporate spiritual sacrifices that honour God.

By means of the local church, Christians make their praise and prayers corporate (Acts 2:42, 47; 12:5, 12; Hebrews 13:15).

Through the knowledge Christians have of one another's needs, associated as they are in the local church, they are able to do good to one another and to share what they have with others (Hebrews 13:16).

They are able to fulfil their financial obligations too to the work of Christ's Church (1 Corinthians 16:2; Philippians 4:14-19).

It is the instrument God uses to proclaim the gospel of Christ in an area.

The testimony of the corporate life of a local church should be such a powerful influence for evangelism that the Lord adds continually to the number of His people (Acts 2:42-47).

The local church is the key instrument for theWord of the Lord to ring out to people everywhere (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 8).

It is the provision God has made for the instruction of believers that they should become mature disciples.

Christians are to be taught all that the Lord Jesus Christ requires of His disciples (Matthew 28:19): to this end God gives to local churches pastors and teachers, so that Christians may be fed and built up by the Word of God (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 2:2; 5:2).

The most important part of the elders' work is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God (1 Timothy 5:17).

Christians are expected to be in a situation where they will be contributing to the financial support of those who give themselves to preaching and teaching (Galations6:6; 1 Timothy5:17, 18).

The local church, faithfully taught, is one means God uses to preserve the pure teaching and preaching of the gospel (2 Timothy 2:2).