Today, I continue with the list I began yesterday on the reasons that I love the Local Church. I am using 1 Thessalonians 1 as a template.
4.) Because the local church loves the word and the Holy Spirit works through the Word.
“because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…” (1 Thess. 1:5).
By God’s grace, I love the Word of God. I love how God changes minds and hearts and lives through the Word. I have come to love the church because of the love that the church has for he Word of God. It is in the local church that the Word of God is central. We gather for the Word. We preach the Word. We study and memorize and teach the Word. And I love that.
5.) Because I have found the greatest examples of godliness in the local church. (1:6-7)
When I think of the Local Church I am immediately confronted with the examples of godliness of men and women in the church. These people will never be memorialized through a book or T.V. show. You don’t know there names but you know their character. These are men and women who’ve heard and believed and practiced the word. They are not perfect, but they are saved. And only within the Local Church do we find these examples of godliness.
6.) Because the local church is God’s chosen vehicle for evangelizing the world (1:6-8)
God has not ordained and organization for the evangelization of the world, He has ordained an organism–the Local Church. That is God’s plan. And it is in the local church that I have seen the most vibrant, living, effective ministry of the Word to the ends of the earth. These are, for the most part, the “small” churches that take the call very seriously. They pray and they give and they work and they send and they go for the sake of the spread of grace to the world. That is true ministry. It doesn’t take mega-church muscle to accomplish the work of missions…it simply requires the Local Church!
7.) Because it is in the midst of the local church that I am learning to focus my life on Christ…His death, burial, resurrection, and for the coming of Christ (1:10).
Praise the Lord for the Local Church! It is in the context of the Local Church that I am continually reminded to ground my life in Christ.
8.) Because it is in the local church that I’ve found partnership in the midst of the raging battle (1:9-10).
I love the Local Church! Time after time I have been rescued from the fangs of temptation and sin by my partners in the faith. And this is only in the Local Church!
9.) Because the local church is the manifestation of the ark of God’s rescue from His wrath (1:10).
And I love the Local Church because it is a vivid display of the rescue that has been granted from the white-hot wrath of God. I am reminded Sunday after Sunday and meeting after meeting by way of the testimony of God’s people that salvation is in Jesus Christ and in Him alone. Where else could I find this?
I love the Local Church. In eternity we will forever be joined together—this present joy is simply the appetizer to heaven!