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Summary: When invited to church many folks will reply with some variant of , "I don't need to go to church ...". And, that phrase is usually follow up with , "to worship" or "to get to heaven" or "to be a good Christian". What does the Bible say, True or False?

Before we get started today let's run over our newest memory Scripture and review one of our past memory Scriptures!

Romans 12:4-5 (new)

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Ephesians 2:8-10 (review)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Please open your Bibles to Romans 12:1-5 which we will read in a few minutes.

Last week we started to take a look at our new memory Scripture – Romans 12:4-5

This is an amazing Scripture of the interdependence that Jesus has built into the very fabric and nature of His body on earth; the church.

We also saw that the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul gave us the path to achieving that interdependence.

Step 1 – Romans 12:1 – Our lives should be devoted to the Lord – a living sacrifice

Step 2 – Romans 12:2 – Allow the Lord to transform our minds

Step 3 – Romans 12:3 – Be humble and not prideful

Today we’ll be taking a look at what the Word of the Lord says about the church, the Body of Christ.

With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Romans 12:1-5

OK, so our new memory Scripture says,

Romans 12:4-5

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Do you remember last week talking about how in America independence, individuality and self-sufficiency are highly regarded traits.

Phrases such as:

- I’m a self-made man

- Control your own destiny or someone else will …

- Above all, be the hero of your life, not the victim …

- “Freedom (n.): To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”

- “I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior ....”

This “it’s all about me” concept has ravaged the church in America.

How do we see that concept demonstrated among many who profess to be Christians?

One way is with sentences that start with

“I don’t need the church to …” or “I don’t need to go to church to …”

… be a good Christian

… worship

Those statements may be true if you are home bound or in a nursing home where no church service is available or if you are in solitary confinement in prison but what about a person who claims to be a Christian and who has the freedom to worship with other Christians; what about them?

As always, we look to God’s Holy Word; what does the Bible say?

First of all we see our current memory Scripture …

Romans 12:4-5

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

This same truth is revealed in many other Scriptures such as ...

1 Corinthians 10:17, 12:12-13, 12:20 - Ephesians 3:6, 4:4, 4:25 - Colossians 3:15

There is a distinct difference between the church and individual followers of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God on earth is made up of Jesus as the head and the church as the body and the church is made up of individual followers of Jesus Christ who are interdependent on the Lord and other believers.

What did the apostles do in every town, village or city where people came to know Jesus as their Savior?

1) They established a church

2) Stayed long enough to disciple those whom the Lord would call to be leaders

3) Ordained elders and deacons (overseers) to oversee the local church

OK, so they established churches and organized those churches with overseers.

Where were churches established in the New Testament?

Alexandria, Crete, Pella, Antioch (Pisidia), Cyprus, Philippi, Antioch (Syria), Cyrene, Ptolemais, Athens, Damascus, Puteoli, Babylon, Derbe, Rome, Berea, Hierepolis, Sidon, Capernaum, Iconium, Tarsus, Caesarea, Jerusalem, Thessalonica, Cenchrea, Joppa, Troas, Colosse, Lydda, Tyre, Corinth, Lystra

Those are only the ones that made it into the Bible.

OK, so they set up churches with overseers. What else did they do?

Well, they taught the churches how to be churches; they instructed them, encouraged them and corrected them as was needed through personal visits and letters.

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