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

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."
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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Author Topic: Visible, Local NT Church Biblically Defended! VIRTUAL "Church" Debunked!  (Read 6617 times)
Psalm 51:17
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2016, 11:05:16 pm »

What About “Local” Church Membership?

“Is a person required to be a member of a local church?Can he not be just a Christian, without a ‘church’ affiliation?”

Before we address this question specifically, let us lay a broader foundation concerning the use of the term “church” in the New Testament.

The English word “church” is derived from the Greek kurikon, meaning “belonging to the Lord.”The actual word in the original New Testament text that stands behind the modern rendition, “church,” is ekklesia, signifying “called out.” It is now generally conceded that the basic sense of the term is “assembly” or “congregation,” while still retaining the suggestion of a “called out” assembly, i.e., God’s assembly.In a non-religious sense, the word was used of a public assembly (see Acts 19:32, 39-40).

In a spiritual sense, ekklesia is employed in the New Testament in three major ways, with serious responsibilities associated with each usage.

(1) “Church” is used of the people of God universally.This organism was equivalent to the “one body” (Mt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18) for which the Lord died (Acts 20:28). When one is immersed in water for the forgiveness of his sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), he automatically is “added” to that body of saved people who constitute the “church” (Acts 2:47; 1 Cor. 12:13).There is no such thing in the Christian age as being “saved,” and not being a member of Christ’s spiritual body, the church. In Ephesians 5:26, Christ is described as the Savior of the body, which elsewhere is identified as the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, 24).Some religionists refer to “the church invisible,” but that is a non-biblical concept.The church consists of people, and they are not invisible.

(2) In the New Testament ekklesia alsorefers to the Lord’s people in a certain locale, e.g., in Jerusalem (Acts 5:11), in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2), or in some other city, such as the seven congregations mentioned in the early chapters of the book of Revelation (cf. 1:4,11).When Paul and his companions traveled about, preaching the good tidings regarding Jesus, wherever men and women surrendered to the truth in gospel obedience, local churches were established (cf. Acts 14:23).These new Christians banded together for the purpose of corporate worship and fellowship in serving their Master.This was not some optional plan improvised by the whims of the missionaries; it was a divinely orchestrated pattern of organization.

(3) The term “church” also may be employed of a body of people who have been brought together at a certain place and time for the purpose of worshipping God in the company of one another (1 Cor. 11:17ff; 14:34; 3 Jn. 10).Christians are admonished not to neglect these meetings if they would encourage one another toward love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25).

A Sharper Focus

In view of the question submitted, we must focus more closely upon the second usage of “church,” as sketched above.

It is a bit difficult to understand why the question would ever be raised – “Must I be a member of a local church?” – in light of the abundant information on this theme in the New Testament.Think about the following considerations relative to the local church.

(1) In the early chapters of Acts, following the establishment of the church, there are numerous references acknowledging the “togetherness” of the early saints (2:42,44,46; 4:23-24,31-32, etc.).God never intended for Christians to function as isolated “islands” in a sea of worldly-oriented people.The body is not “one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:14).It would be very difficult to miss Paul’s point of emphasis when he spoke of the spiritual body of Christ as being “fitly framed and knit together through that which every member supplies.”He takes note of the cooperative efforts of individual Christians “according to the working in due measure of each several part” for the increase of the body “unto the building up of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16-17).This divine goal can hardly be achieved if children of God meander about with their congregational membership in their pocket!

It is not without significance that when Paul came to Jerusalem, following an escape from a dangerous circumstance in Damascus, he immediately attempted to “join himself to the disciples” of that city.And once their initial fear of him was alleviated, he was accepted (Acts 9:26ff).

(2) Various New Testament texts make it clear that the early disciples assembled together as a body of people for the purpose of worship on the Lord’s day (Acts 2:42; 20:7-12; 1 Cor. 11:17ff; 14:1-40; 16:1-2).How could a Christian ever be admonished for forsaking an assembly (Heb. 10:25), if he is not even obligated to be a part of a local church?

(3) God structured the individual congregation around an organization plan.Christ is the head of his church wherever it exists (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18), and so, ultimately, he is the head of his church in every city throughout the world.Further, however, in local churches, where qualified men exist (1 Tim. 3:1ff; Tit. 1:1ff), the group is supervised by “elders,” known also as bishops/overseers or pastors/shepherds.

The members are to submit to their overseers in matters of expediency (1 Thes. 5:12; Heb. 13:17), and regard them highly for their work’s sake.While these shepherds are prohibited from arrogating themselves to the position of “lords” over their flock (1 Pet. 5:3), their exemplary leadership is to be revered and followed.

Serving under these men, in special areas that implement other important tasks, are deacons, teachers, evangelists, etc.If Christ did not intend for his people to be a closely-bonded Christian family, why did he organize the local body in such a fashion?

Why Do Some Resist Local Membership?

Occasionally there are those who are not affiliated with any local group of saints.There may be, under unusual circumstances, some rationale for this. Frequently there is not.

(1) It may be the case that a Christian has moved into an area where there is no local congregation of the Lord’s people.In that event, where such is feasible, he may need to drive to a city of reasonable proximity where he is able to locate a good church.

If one is not able to pursue that procedure, he should worship on the Lord’s day in his home, and then seek to win others to the truth, thus establishing a new church in his town as soon as is possible.The same plan may have to be initiated if there is no faithful church nearby, i.e., one with whom he can worship and work conscientiously.

(2) Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find maverick disciples who simply do not wish to identify with any local church.Reasons for this neglect may be varied.

Some folks are so inflexibly opinionated that they cannot tolerate being in proximity with any Christian who does not yield to their every dictum.Leave such to themselves; it is better that they are isolated.

Not infrequently is the reality that some do not wish to be held responsible for their conduct.They desire to come and go at will.They do not want to be accountable for faithful attendance, consistent giving, or any other responsibility.The do not intend to have their lifestyle monitored.They repudiate the idea that they should be under the oversight of elders.

In a word, they want the “name” of being a Christian, but without the commitment that goes with such.And perhaps most of all, they do not intend to be in an environment where they might be subject to the discipline of the local congregation.

Such folks may entertain the illusion that they are serving God; they are not, however. Such ones have failed to comprehend one of the most fundamental aspects of Christian service.
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