Whom God adds to the church let no one take away: what produces life-long participation in a local church?
1. Introduction Explaining the title This message arises from…… Some observations
2. Bible Translations – Acts 2:47 NIV - And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. KJV, NKJV – the church GNT, TCEV – their group ESV, RSV, NRSV – their number DARBY, YLT – the assembly
3. Commentaries – Acts 2:47 The Message of Acts The Pulpit Commentary The IVP New Testament Commentary
4. Why do Christians ‘fall out’ from local churches? 1.Not saved in the first place 2.Poverty of Biblical insight 3.Being ‘takers’ only, and not ‘givers’ 4.Harmed by sexually or financially deviant church leaders 5.Harmed by cultish, controlling, and doctrinally extreme church leaders and churches
4. Why do Christians ‘fall out’ from local churches? (Continued) 6.Side-lined over relational issues 7.The influence of loved-ones 8.My job is too demanding 9.Trapped by money and possessions 10.Sport assumes god-like significance 11.Not agreeing with all that the church believes or teaches on matters other than essential core truths 12.Preferring the new to refreshing the old
5. What is a local church according to the Bible? Acknowledgement to Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church, Seattle, Washington, USA Definition : The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments (ordinances – my addition) of baptism and communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and scatter to fulfill the great commandment and the great commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy.
5. What is a local church according to the Bible? (Continued) Let’s check out the components of the definition: 1.Regenerated church membership 2.Qualified leadership 3.Gather for preaching and worship 4.Sacraments (ordinances – my addition) rightly administered 5.Unified by the Spirit 6.Disciplined for holiness 7.Obey the great commandment to love 8.Obey the great commission to evangelize and make disciples
6. For evaluation: 1.Am I a Christian according to the Bible’s description? 2.Which church am I a part of, and is this the one for me? 3.What does it mean to me to be part of my local church? 4.What challenges need to be overcome for me to be a meaningful part of my local church? 5.How can my local church be a benefit to me? 6.How can I serve and bring benefit to my church and its people? 7.How can I own and be part of my church’s mission? 8.How can I show Biblical honor to the leaders of my church and help them in their work?