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“Do I need organized religion?” What is the local church, and why should I be a member?

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Presentation on theme: "“Do I need organized religion?” What is the local church, and why should I be a member?"— Presentation transcript:

1 “Do I need organized religion?” What is the local church, and why should I be a member?

2 The need for organized worship Do the scriptures require “ organized religion ” ? –Group worship, attendance –Common “ creed ” –Accountability –Treasury What is the local church ’ s responsibility –To other churches? –To the acceptance or rejection of “ new ” members –To the behavior of its own members?

3 Relationship between local churches? Common doctrine ought to lead to same decisions by local churches Variations appear as they do not violate scriptural authority Variations based on decisions made locally by eldership, brethren Local works may offer inspiration to one another, share information and association, but no central leadership Whether an eldership is present or not, the brethren locally require leadership

4 Integrity of the local church What is the church ’ s responsibility in safeguarding itself? –From worldly influences from outside the church, II Cor. 6:14-18 (the purity of God ’ s temple) –From those seeking to join the local church who do not properly regard the word of truth, Acts 15:1, 24 (Judaizing teachers) –From those who disrupt the church from within by their words or deeds, I Cor. 5:1-2

5 Guarding from the world’s influence How do we guard against external influences from the outside world? –1 John 2:15-17 – “ Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. ” –1 Peter 2:11 – “ Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. ” –II Peter 1:4-8, 12-14 – have to replace worldliness with spiritual values

6 Guarding from the world’s influence Where should we find those reminders? –The local church ought to be our primary source of edification, teaching “ The pillar and support of the truth ”, 1 Tim 3:15 1 Cor 14:26 - “ What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. ” Heb 12:12-13 – “ Therefore,strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. ” –If we don ’ t receive strength from the church, we will not receive it at all!

7 Guarding from influences from those within the church Warnings to the church –1 John 2:18-19 – “ even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us …” –2 Cor 11:13-15 – “ For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness …”

8 Guarding from influences from those within the church Truly knowing our brethren allows us to see those who are: –False teachers, 2 John 7-12 – “ this teaching ” refers to v. 9? Notice description in II Peter 2:1-3 –“ Unlearned ” brethren who may teach error Are all teachers who teach error “ false teachers? ” Acts 18:23-26 We will have “ ignorant ” brethren - II Tim. 2:23, Heb. 5:1- 2 James 3:1-2 – the responsibility of teaching accurately

9 Guarding from influences from those within the church Church strife isn ’ t always about doctrine! –Those who are divisive, self-willed, Titus 3:9-11 Do we argue over that which avails nothing? Is our motivation pure or are we a Diotrephes? (3 John 9- 10) What was causing the Corinthians ’ issues with the Lord ’ s Supper? (I Cor. 11:17-22) An “ unlearned ” brother can quickly fall into this category The local church has a responsibility to guard against allowing these influences into the assembly!

10 Guarding from influences from those within the church Two telling characteristics to watch: –Respect for the scriptures 1 John 4:5-6 – “ They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. ” Am I living by the word? Do I teach only the word? –Love of the brethren Rom 14:15-17 – “ For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; ” Are my differences more important than my brethren ’ s souls or the unity of the church?

11 Guarding from influences from those within the church How do we receive “ new members ” ? –No specific pattern – judgment, application of principle Obligation to the church ’ s integrity – “ a little leaven ”, I Cor. 5:6 Balance with the opportunity to teach (as with Apollos) Teaching reveals love of scripture, of brethren If doubts present, seek a witness (review Acts 9:26-28) –If a teacher, there is a greater responsibility 1 John 4:1 – “ Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. ” No pattern other than the Bereans in Acts 17:11

12 Next week: Does the local church have the right to disciple?

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