What Is A Local Church?
A local church is a group of believers who consistently gather together in one place for the common purpose of carrying out the will and work of God and to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:23–25
The Formation Of The Local Church
- Every person who repents and believes automatically becomes part of the church in general. The church is also called the “body of Christ,” with Jesus being the Head. Although all believers are part of the body of Christ, Jesus carries out His will through local churches. The local church started with Jesus and His disciples, and it was established when they received and were filled by Holy Spirit.
Matthew 16:13–18; John 20:22; Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18
- Today, a local church exists when believers: regularly gather for edification in the Word of God desiring to obey it, are willing to baptize new believers as a testimony of their faith in Jesus alone for salvation, and eat the Lord’s Supper together in remembrance of His death, looking forward to His return.
Acts 2:38; 4:31; Colossians 1:24–26; 1 Corinthians 11:20–26
- Therefore, the local church is not a building, nor is it a group of believers who only meet together to study the Bible. A local church is a group of believers who consistently meet together obeying what the Bible has taught about the purpose and work of a church.
The Function Of The Local Church
- The local church worships God together. Believers are the “praise of God’s glory.” We express our reverence and adoration for God through proclaiming the Word, singing songs, making melodies, giving offerings and giving thanks.
Acts 13:1–3; Ephesians 1:11–14; 5:15–21; Colossians 3:16–17
- The local church edifies each other. We love each other and treat each other like family. We speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We are constantly preaching, teaching, and warning each other so that we might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. We are unified in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.
Ephesians 4:11–16; 5:19–27; 1 Timothy 5:1–2; Colossians 1:28
- The local church exists to evangelize the world. Jesus commanded believers to be witnesses of Him to the entire world. Each local church should be involved in preaching the gospel to their local area and sending missionaries to preach the gospel in all parts of the world. Together we can pray, give and go.
Matthew 28:18–20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46–48, John 20:20–21; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:13–15
- The local church does good works. As believers we show our love through the preaching of the Word, works of compassion, works of mercy, and caring for the poor. We are to do good to all men, but especially to those in the church.
Luke 6:35–36; Acts 4:32–35; 11:29; Galatians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 8:4; 1 John 3:17–18
The Health Of The Local Church
- A healthy church teaches the Bible correctly and obeys it. Every local church is not the same. They may be a “real church” if they are preaching the “real gospel,” but they might not be a “healthy church” if they are not fully obeying the Bible’s commands. Every believer should desire to be a member of a healthy church that does right according to the Bible.
Galatians 1:6–9; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 13:7–9, 20–21; 1 John 5:2; Revelation 22:18–19
- A healthy church has proper leadership. Jesus is the Founder, Builder, and Head of the church. A church has two main offices: pastor and deacon. The leadership should meet the Bible’s requirements and lead by example. The church should take financial responsibility of the pastor. Women are not to be in positions of lead teaching or offices of authority in the local church. The government has no authoritative role in the church.
Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Corinthians 14:34–35; 1 Timothy 2:11–14; 3:1–13; 5:17–19; 1 Peter 5:1–4
- A healthy church practices church discipline. Jesus gave the church instructions on dealing with believers who have fallen into sin. The goal is to restore and reconcile the believers and purge out those who are the unrepentant or not real believers.
Matthew 18:15–17; 1 Corinthians 5:6–7, 12–13
- A healthy church is unified. The members of a local church should be unified in their purpose, functions, and core beliefs. There are many members and gifts, but we all work together for the same goal.
1 Corinthians 12:12–26; Ephesians 4:4–6
- A healthy church does things decently and in order. When the members of a local church meet together, everything they do should conform to the standards of the Bible. There should not be chaos or unruliness.
1 Corinthians 14:23–25; 33; 40
- A healthy church understands and exercises spiritual gifts properly. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to each believer as He wills. Each are to be used for the common good or to build each other up. All gifts should be used in love. Also, some gifts, such as tongues and healing, have ceased along with the office of an apostle.
1 Corinthians 12:1–11; 13:2, 8; 14:1
- A healthy church has active members. As a Christian, you should find a local church as described in this lesson and join its membership. As a member, you should assemble when they do; you should be learning, worshipping, and growing in the Word of God; you should take part in the work of God through spreading the Gospel and serving others.
2 Timothy 2:2; James 1:22–25
- Who is the founder and builder of the church?
- Is the local church a building? Why or why not?
- What are the functions of a local church?
- What are some characteristics of a healthy church?
- Are you a member of a local church?