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Visible, Local NT Church Biblically Defended! VIRTUAL "Church" Debunked!

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August 08, 2018, 02:38:10 am suzytr says: Hello, any good churches in the Sacto, CA area, also looking in Reno NV, thanks in advance and God Bless you Smiley
January 29, 2018, 01:21:57 am Christian40 says: It will be interesting to see what happens this year Israel being 70 years as a modern nation may 14 2018
October 17, 2017, 01:25:20 am Christian40 says: It is good to type Mark is here again!  Smiley
October 16, 2017, 03:28:18 am Christian40 says: anyone else thinking that time is accelerating now? it seems im doing days in shorter time now is time being affected in some way?
September 24, 2017, 10:45:16 pm Psalm 51:17 says: The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states: “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.”
September 20, 2017, 04:32:32 am Christian40 says: "The most popular Hepatitis B vaccine is nothing short of a witch’s brew including aluminum, formaldehyde, yeast, amino acids, and soy. Aluminum is a known neurotoxin that destroys cellular metabolism and function. Hundreds of studies link to the ravaging effects of aluminum. The other proteins and formaldehyde serve to activate the immune system and open up the blood-brain barrier. This is NOT a good thing."
http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-08-11-new-fda-approved-hepatitis-b-vaccine-found-to-increase-heart-attack-risk-by-700.html
September 19, 2017, 03:59:21 am Christian40 says: bbc international did a video about there street preaching they are good witnesses
September 14, 2017, 08:06:04 am Psalm 51:17 says: bro Mark Hunter on YT has some good, edifying stuff too.
September 14, 2017, 04:31:26 am Christian40 says: i have thought that i'm reaping from past sins then my life has been impacted in ways from having non believers in my ancestry.
September 11, 2017, 06:59:33 am Psalm 51:17 says: The law of reaping and sowing. It's amazing how God's mercy and longsuffering has hovered over America so long. (ie, the infrastructure is very bad here b/c for many years, they were grossly underspent on. 1st Tim 6:10, the god of materialism has its roots firmly in the West) And remember once upon a time ago when shacking up b/w straight couples drew shock awe?

Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
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« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2016, 10:12:16 am »

http://www.biblesprout.com/articles/church/

What is the Church of Jesus Christ?

The church was established by Christ (Matt. 16:18) to accomplish God’s redemptive purposes in the race. The church preaches the eternal message of God’s love for the world (John 3:16), supplies workers to accomplish the harvest (John 4:35), fulfills the obligation to teach doctrine and the biblical principles needed for a successful Christian life. And, finally, the church is an instrument to keep Christians consistent in the faith.

Entrusted with the message

The church is entrusted by God with the story of his love for mankind and his desire to save them. The history of the Bible shows that it was organized groups of Christians that collected the gospels and epistles and gave the Bible to both Christians and the lost. In spite of the tremendous opposition to it, the Bible has survived these many years, usually preserved by the church. Jesus said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). The “keys” is the message of redemption that was revealed to man from God by the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:29).

It is this message that looses man from sin; when it is rejected, man is bound in his sin. This promise, given to Peter, was tied to Jesus’ promise to “build my church” (Matt. 16:18). This authority was later given to all the disciples in the upper room (John 20:23). This group represented the church in its embryonic form. This did not give the church or leaders of the church authority to forgive sin, but rather acknowledged that only as the church was faithful in the proclamation of the gospel could people enjoy the assurance of salvation.

As the church faithfully preached and taught the Scripture, people heard and believed the gospel. If a church is not a witnessing church, it is as if it were locking the door to heaven, forbidding the members of their community the gift of eternal life.

An assembly of workers

Jesus told his disciples, “Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38). It is the desire of Christ that Christians be engaged in his work. One of the reasons God established the church was to assemble his workers into a team that could get the job of evangelism done. Some people think pastors, teachers, and evangelists are responsible for doing the work of God. While they are the leaders in the church, in another sense we are “full-time Christian workers.” We should all live for God at all times and serve him also at all times. The Book of Acts records that everyone, not just the apostles, were engaged in evangelism.

When the persecution in Jerusalem resulted in the death of Stephen, the Christians were scattered into other towns and cities. Only the apostles remained in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). As Christians and the apostles had been evangelizing Jerusalem, the practice of evangelism continued in their new towns. The Bible says, “Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). God still has a work to be done. The gospel story of the death and resurrection of Christ is the catalyst that draws the church together and is the power that sends it out to serve him. God gave the Great Commission and the responsibility to win souls to his church.

A place of Christ-centered education

The third benefit of the church from God’s point of view is to provide an educational institution to train Christians concerning the things of God. Part of Christ’s commission to the church included: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). When Barnabas went to Antioch to establish the church, he got Saul from Tarsus and “he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that for a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people” (Acts 11:26). The first church to be labeled “Christian” was a church that was characterized by training people.

The Berean church was identified for its nobility. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Bible study and teaching characterized the ministry of the apostles and the early church. The gift of teaching is one of the abilities that God gives to his pastors who lead the church (Eph. 4:11).

A place to build up believers

Because instability is so characteristic of our lives, God established the church to help us live more consistently. We often quote the first part of Hebrews 10:25 when we exhort others to church attendance but neglect the latter part of the verse and the purpose of church attendance. The complete verse reads, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb. 10:2,5).

The reason we assemble together is to exhort each other to keep on serving the Lord. The writer of Hebrews introduces this challenge by touching on the real problem, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” (Heb. 10:23). Many people will walk down the church aisle to be saved but comparatively few may The living for God six months or a year later. Those that are baptized and become faithfully involved in the church are more likely to “hold fast.” We need others’ encouragement to live for God which we receive in a church. The church is God’s way of providing stability in our lives.

The Church’s Purpose


Every institution can only justify its existence as it accomplishes the purpose for which it was established. The church’s purpose is found in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Often, the Great Commission is applied to foreign missions but neglected at home. Actually, the task of making disciples needs to be accomplished both at home by involved church mem­bers and abroad through the missionary outreach of the church.

At the heart of the Great Commission is the task of making disciples (Matt. 28:19). Therefore, evangelism is more than decision-making, it is disciple-making. Evangelism may be de­scribed as communicating the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to unconverted persons at their point of need, with the intent of effecting conversions and involving them in the church. Some people consider any Christian presence in society as an expression of evangelism.

Oth­ers define evangelism in the context of preaching the Gospel. While both of these are important, they are only steps in the process of persuading people to put their faith in Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord in the fellowship of His church.

Jesus described three steps which are necessary if the church is to be successful in fulfilling her mission.

    The church must take the Gospel to the people (Matt. 28:19). The goal of this step is to bring people to the point of making a personal decision for salvation.
    The next step is described by the verb “baptizing” (Matt. 28:19), which involves assimilating the new believer into the life of the church. The task of baptism results in bonding or identification.

Every institution can only justify its existence as it accomplishes the purpose for which it was established. The church’s purpose is found in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Often, the Great Commission is applied to foreign missions but neglected at home. Actually, the task of making disciples needs to be accomplished both at home by involved church mem­bers and abroad through the missionary outreach of the church.

At the heart of the Great Commission is the task of making disciples (Matt. 28:19). Therefore, evangelism is more than decision-making, it is disciple-making. Evangelism may be de­scribed as communicating the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to unconverted persons at their point of need, with the intent of effecting conversions and involving them in the church. Some people consider any Christian presence in society as an expression of evangelism.

Oth­ers define evangelism in the context of preaching the Gospel. While both of these are important, they are only steps in the process of persuading people to put their faith in Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord in the fellowship of His church.

Jesus described three steps which are necessary if the church is to be successful in fulfilling her mission.

    The church must take the Gospel to the people (Matt. 28:19). The goal of this step is to bring people to the point of making a personal decision for salvation.
    The next step is described by the verb “baptizing” (Matt. 28:19), which involves assimilating the new believer into the life of the church. The task of baptism results in bonding or identification.
    The task of teaching results in new believers being trained in the Christian life and witness (Matt. 28:20).

Church Creeds

Church creeds, such as the Apostle’s Creed, are simply statements (confessions) of basic Christian beliefs. Christian creeds include the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. These creeds are summaries of the most fundamental beliefs held by the Christian church which made the Christian faith different from Judaism, from pagan religions, and from the religion of the Roman state (emperor-worship).

The creeds were generally developed from confessions of belief used wherever a person had declared his faith publicly and was baptized. In fact, the word “creed” comes from the Latin word credo, meaning “I believe.”

The Apostle’s Creed is the earliest and best known of all the Christian creeds, not because it was written by the apostles, but because the early church believed it summed up the apostle’s teaching. The earliest creeds were known to have been used at the end of the second century (Eerdman’s Handbook To Christian Belief, pages 19-21).

It should be noted that no formal creed, such as the Apostle’s Creed, is to be found in the New Testament. The creeds were formalized by the early church fathers and were integral ingredients in church liturgy, known as creedal authority. The Apostle’s Creed was recognized as a basic statement of faith by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and by the Anglican (English) Reformers (ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA, Volume VIII, page 169).

The Greek word ekklesia, translated “church” in the New Testament, was widely used in the first century to describe a group that was called out from the larger community for a specific purpose. In this general way, the word is used to describe a trade guild (Acts 19:32, 39, 41), a general gathering as in Israel in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), and a synagogue meeting (Matt. 18:17). But the word is also used in a more technical way to describe the gathering of the early Christians.

Ekklesia – Church “a group of called-out ones”


    Called from the former life
    Called for a purpose

A local church is more than just a gathering of Christians.

It must assemble for the right purpose, have the right authority, reproduce itself, have the right organization, and have the seal of God on its existence. A church may be described as an assembly of professing believers in whom Christ dwells, organized to carry out the Great Commission, administer the ordinances, and reflect spiritual gifts under the discipline of the Scriptures.

A local church needs to be organized to accomplish its function.

The nature of church life is described in the experience of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 2:41-47). These functions can be described using the acrostic WIFE which stands for Worship, Instruction, Fellowship, and Evangelism. An easy way to remember this is to recall that one of the biblical pictures of a church is that of a bride. Every bride wants to be a good wife, therefore, every church should be organized to accomplish these functions.

The Functions of the Church – W.I.F.E. (Worship Instruction Fellowship Evangelism)
Worship


The early church was a worshipping church, constantly engaged in “praising God” (Acts 2:47). Many evangelical churches today describe their Sunday morning service as a “worship service.” When we worship God, we seek to serve Him with our praises thus inviting Him into our midst in a unique way (Ps. 22:3). Worship also helps us by meeting our needs with God’s sufficiency.

Instruction

The early church was involved in instructing people in the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42). Today, churches organize to accomplish this function through a Christian education board or discipleship training ministry. Such organizations help insure the church’s success in instructing its members.

Fellowship

Fellowship was the third significant activity of the early church (Acts 2:42, 44). God has recognized from the very beginning that people need people (Gen. 2:18). One of the unique functions of the church is to provide opportunity for Christians to interact with one another informally as a means of motivating one another in their Christian life (Heb. 10:25).

Evangelism

Evangelism was the fourth function of the early church. This church began with an evangelistic thrust in which three thousand people were saved (Acts 2:41). Evangelism continued to be an integral part of church life resulting in others being converted to Christianity daily (Acts 2:47). Before long, their aggressive witness for Christ “filled Jerusalem” (Acts 5:28) and turned their world upside down (Acts 17:6). They believed in using every available means to reach every available person at every available time with the Gospel.

Obviously, not all of these functions can be accomplished in the same way. In the New Testament, the church met in smaller cells to accomplish ministry (Acts 12:12) and larger gatherings for celebration (Acts 3:11). This pattern has been followed throughout church history by growing churches. Today, many churches gather in a large worship service for celebration, but also gather in smaller Bible study groups such as Sunday School classes, home Bible study cells or specialized ministry teams for personal growth and ministry.

Understanding The Purpose of the Church

Every institution can only justify its existence as it accomplishes the purpose for which it was established. The church’s purpose is found in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20). Often, the Great Commission is applied to foreign missions but neglected at home. Actually, the task of making disciples needs to be accomplished both at home by involved church mem­bers and abroad through the missionary outreach of the church.

At the heart of the Great Commission is the task of making disciples (Matt. 28:19).Therefore, evangelism is more than decision-making, it is disciple-making. Evangelism may be de­scribed as communicating the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to unconverted persons at their point of need, with the intent of effecting conversions and involving them in the church.

Some people consider any Christian presence in society as an expression of evangelism. Oth­ers define evangelism in the context of preaching the Gospel. While both of these are important, they are only steps in the process of persuading people to put their faith in Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord in the fellowship of His church.

Jesus described three steps which are necessary if the church is to be successful in fulfilling her mission.

    First, the church must take the Gospel to the people (Matt. 28:19). The goal of this step is to bring people to the point of making a personal decision for salvation.
    The next step is described by the verb “baptizing” (Matt. 28:19), which involves assimilating the new believer into the life of the church. The task of baptism results in bonding or identification.
    Third, the task of teaching results in new believers being trained in the Christian life and witness (Matt. 28:20).

Church Ordinances

God has given the church two symbolic rituals to increase our understanding of our relationship to Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now I praise you, brethren, that ye … keep the ordinances [traditions], as I delivered them to you” (1 Cor. 11:2). Part of the traditions was clearly the Lord’s Supper but it probably included also the meaning of baptism (Rom. 6).

Baptism

The first ordinance of the church is baptism. It was practiced by the church with every believer, as far as we know. As people were baptized, they were symbolically identifying with the church (Acts 2:41) and their Savior (Rom. 6:37; Gal. 2:20). Usually baptism was an evidence to their friends and neighbors that they were serious in their decision to follow Christ. It became known as a “badge of discipleship.”

Lord’s Supper

On Jesus’ final night with his disciples, he observed the Passover and ate the Passover meal. After dinner, he gathered his disciples around to initiate the second ordinance of the church. The Lord’s Supper is practiced by a church as a constant reminder of Christ’s death on Calvary. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26).

The observance of this ordinance also provides an opportunity for self-examination (1 Cor. 11:28). God provided this ordinance as one means whereby he could keep his church pure and separated from the world.

Finding a Church Among Denominations


It is true that the various denominations and churches across America can be confusing to any people. This is especially true when each one claims to be the true church and all others false.

To help unravel this confusion, we need to understand what the Bible says about the church. The word “church” is used in the scriptures in two senses:

    The universal sense
    The local sense.

In the universal sense the church consists of all those who, in this dispensation, have been born of the Spirit of God and have by that same Spirit been baptized into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13).

The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply His death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins and our justification before God (I Corinthians 15:3,4). The blood of Jesus Christ actually cleanses an individual from his sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14, 20-22; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:12-14; I John 1:7). When an individual believes the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invites Jesus into his heart as his personal Savior by faith, that person automatically becomes a part of the universal church.

The second sense in which the word “church” is used in the Bible is in the local sense. That is, a local church is a group of professed believers in any one locality. We use the definition that a local church is a group of born again believers who have been baptized and have banded together to carry out the Great Commission. Thus, we read in the Bible of the church at Ephesus, the church at Corinth, the church at Galatia, the church of the Thessalonians, the church in Jerusalem, and so forth.

In other words, once an individual accepts Jesus Christ into his heart as his personal Savior, it is God’s plan that that individual joins a gospel preaching, soul-winning, local church in his own area. This teaches us that Christians all around the world are a part of the universal church which the Bible describes as being the body of Christ or the bride of Christ or sometimes uses the expression “building of God.” Yet, at the same time, the Lord wants us to unite with a good local church in our area.

Problems with Denominations that Cause Confusion

There are two major problems that have developed which have caused confusion to those who do not know the Bible.

First, those people who have genuinely accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, interpret certain passages, excluding those concerning salvation, in a way different from other Christians. Therefore, they have started their own denominations.

Secondly, there are any people who have added other books to the Bible and have completely changed God’s Word, including what the Bible teaches concerning salvation, and have therefore started their own “church.” These types of “churches” are referred to as cults and they always claim to be the one true church. However, these people substitute the teachings and doctrines, of men for the teachings and doctrines of the Word of God. Though they refer to themselves as the church, and perhaps lead clean, wholesome lives, they, nevertheless, have no part of the body of Christ.

There are True Christians in Many Denominations

It is possible to have genuine, Christian fellowship with people from other denominations who are, themselves, Bible-believing, soul-winning Christians, and who believe the great fundamental truths of God’s Word, such as the verbal inspiration of God’s Word; the deity, virgin birth, and sinlessness of Jesus; the substitutionary death and bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus; the premillennial return of Christ; the reality and everlasting, conscious torment in Hell for all those who die without Christ; and direct creation rather than evolutionary development.

Let’s stand together with our fellow believers and LIFT UP, not tear down.

Finding a Church


The Bible exhorts us to attend a church where we can be blessed and in which we can serve the Lord.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Hebrews 10:25).

It is important to find a church true to the Bible’s teachings, active soul-winning, and one which gives you the spiritual food you need.

In Acts 2:41 and 47, the Bible says God Himself added to the membership of the church at Jerusalem. As people were saved, they were added to the congregation. As a Christian, it is a duty as well as a privilege to become a member of a good, fundamental, Bible-believing, soul-winning, Bible-preaching church.

There are a few guidelines which may be helpful when we are trying to find God’s will with respect to membership and service in a church.

Guidelines for Finding a Church

    Is the church under consideration a Bible-believing church? Does the leadership in that particular church preach and teach the verbal inspiration of God’s Word; the deity, virgin birth, and sinlessness of Jesus; the substitutionary death and literal resurrection of Christ; the return of Christ; the reality of Hell where all will spend eternity in conscious torment if they die without Christ; and the errors and fallacies of evolution.

    In addition to the doctrinal position of a church, it is very helpful to know the position of the church with regard to a separated, dedicated, Christ-like life. Most churches being greatly blessed of the Lord take a loving, but firm, stand against, dancing, tobacco, alcohol, immodest dress, and other types of worldliness which would grieve the Spirit and harm their influence. The Christ-like position is not to be negative only, but to be against those things which the Bible is against and to be for those things which the Bible is for.

    Is this a strong, evangelistic work of Christ? It is important to train those who are already saved, aid to mold and motivate them for Christ. However, it is also very important constantly to be on the outreach for others, to bring them to know Christ as Savior and Lord.

    Finally, is the leadership as a whole (pastor, deacons, staff workers, Sunday School teachers, and other workers) setting the pace of dedication, doctrine, and fruitfulness? Are the youth of the church being motivated to go out for Christ? Are there adequate facilities for the children and all age groups among the adults?

The Meaning of Church Membership

The doctrine of the church is not some abstract teaching which has little or no relevance to the Christian life. Rather, the church ought to have a central place in the life of every believer. Often, people come to faith in Christ through a church-related ministry. As the new believer struggles to grow in his or her new life in Christ, church ministries and individual church members play a key role in helping him or her experience success. The church is where we find ministry opportunities that enable us to use our spiritual gifts to touch other lives.

Church membership is an expression of belonging

When people join a church, they are telling others they feel at home in that church and want to be a full participant in the life of the church. Therefore, church membership involves more than just adding your name to the role. It is an expression of your desire to be enfolded into the church family. It provides you with the opportunity to be involved in the lives of others.

For many, church membership has lost its meaning. The Bible teaches that every Christian is “baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). This refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit by which all Christians are one in Christ. But the Bible also uses the expression “body of Christ” to describe the local church (1 Cor. 12:27). Therefore, when Christians are baptized and join a church, they demonstrate outwardly what has already happened inwardly. Because they be­come a part of the body of Christ by receiving Him as Savior (John 1:12), they want to become an active member of a local church which is a local expression of the body of Christ.

When a Christian moves into a new community and begins to worship at a new church, it is only natural for him or her to want to change church membership. Just as people change their address and phone number when they move, so they should also change their church membership (their spiritual home) when they move.

Some Christians have not yet taken the very natural step to become a member of the church. When Paul described the church as a body, he reminded us that each of us is an important part of that body. We use terms such as handicapped, disabled and disadvantaged to describe a physical body which is missing an eye, ear, arm or foot. These terms could also be applied to many churches which are lacking parts because of the reluctance of some Christians to become involved.

Joining a church places us under the discipline of the Scriptures – the Word of God. God gave us the Bible to help us grow spiritually (1 Peter 2:2), achieve victory over sin (Ps. 119:9­11), see our prayers answered (John 15:7), develop strong character (1 Cor. 3:3), and grow in our ability to believe God (Rom. 10:17). As we hear the Word of God preached and study the Scriptures with others in small groups, we can begin to experience these benefits in our own life.

God made us to need relationships with others

Becoming a part of a church provides us with the opportunity to encourage others and be encouraged by others (Heb. 10:25). In the New Testament, those who received Christ as Savior quickly chose to become part of the church (Acts 2:41). As they interacted with each other on a regular basis, they were able to build a steadfastness into their life in various spiritual disciplines (Acts 2:42). Becoming ac­tive in the life of a church is one way of insuring personal success in your Christian life.

Evangelical Christians look to the New Testament to determine what is involved in join­ing a church. In the New Testament, church membership was related to four conditions. First, no one joined a church until they had first received Christ as personal Savior (Acts 5:13-14). Second, Christians were baptized as a profession of their faith prior to joining a church (Acts 2:41). Third, Christians remained members of a church only as long as they remained in agree­ment with the church’s doctrinal beliefs (Titus 3:10). Fourth, church members were responsible to live moral lives so as to not hinder the corporate testimony of the church (1 Cor. 6:9­11).

Just as the parts of your physical body work together in harmony to enable you to do things, so church members need to work together to enable the church to accomplish its min­istry. There are several ways church members can invest in their local church. They can make a special effort to give time to church services and ministry projects (Eph. 5:16). They can use their spiritual gifts as ministry tools in the church (Eph. 4:12). They can consistently give to the church to underwrite the costs associated with the church’s ministry (1 Cor. 16:2). They can help build others in the church (Heb. 10:25). They can use their influence to help others receive Christ as Savior and become a part of church life.

Joining a church is more than adding your name to the membership list

By joining a church, you indicate your desire to be involved in the life of the church, and to have others in the church involved in your life. You become part of a family. As such, you are entitled to all the privileges associated with family life and assume the responsibility of making that family work.

The subject of eating and serving dinners in a church is dealt with in 1 Corinthians 11.

In the early church, the Lord’s Supper was commonly preceded by a fellowship meal, later known as the Agape Feast. Eventually, so many problems accompanied these feasts that at the Council of Carthage (AD 397), they were strictly forbidden. And such was the case at Corinth. The Apostle Paul noted that in their coming together, they were not eating together; hence it could not be called a communion, as their behavior was so dishonoring to the Lord, it could hardly be called the Lord’s Supper. Some were actually getting drunk in the church.

The Apostle Paul’s indictment to the Corinthian believers was actually twofold.

    They disgraced the Lord’s house
    They embarrassed the poor in their midst who were not invited to participate in the fellowship dinner.

The Apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthian church in order to correct these abuses. His statement, however, should not be taken as a prohibition against eating any food at all in the church (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. II, pp. 448-449).

It should be understood that church fellowship dinners may be allowed within the church sanctuary (a fellowship hall, cafeteria, or any place other than the sanctuary itself). The intent of the fellowship dinner served within a church should be to promote the Christian love and fellowship for each other. Thus, the fellowship dinner may indeed be to the glory and honor of Christ. In this sense, a fellowship dinner is advisable for churches.

It should be recognized that the real mission of the New Testament church is to not only provide edification and fellowship for the believers, but is to be used in reaching the world with the Gospel of Christ. God has entrusted the church with the story of His love (the Gospel) for mankind and his desire to save mankind. The mission of every local church is to share the good news of salvation and to set the example of righteous living within their community.

 
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