Summary: God has established the theocratic pattern of government for His people. In every case where man allowed God to govern as He saw fit, there was peace, prosperity, and stability among the people of God.
The Purpose of the Local Church
Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
God has established the theocratic pattern of government for His people. In every case where man allowed God to govern as He saw fit, there was peace, prosperity, and stability among the people of God.
In the Old Testament, God’s people were known by various names such as:
* the assembly
* chosen people
* a community
* a congregation
* the flock of God
* a holy nation
* the holy ones
* a holy people
* a kingdom of priests
* the ransomed of the Lord
* servants of the Lord
* sheep of God’s pasture
* His treasured possession
* the redeemed of the Lord
In the Old Testament, individuals and families came together in prayer and worshipped God.
On occasions, they would come to the temple in Jerusalem for the rituals of sacrifice, which were performed by the priests.
The temple was destroyed and the people taken captive to Babylon. It was while in captivity that they began to gather in groups to pray and study God’s Law, which saw the birth of the Jewish synagogue.
In the times of Jesus, the temple had been rebuilt by Herod, but synagogues were common and quite well established as places where the people gathered together on the Sabbath to pray and to study the Scriptures.
The synagogues helped the Jews to keep their faith wherever they went.
It was not until after Pentecost that the disciples and believers began to gather as a community group in homes that the church really began. When the believers gathered together at Antioch, they were the first ones to be called ‘Christians’.
From this, church leadership developed with some providing spiritual oversight and others providing practical administrative functions. Here was born the idea of elders and deacons.
In the New Testament, the word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia”, which means “those called out.” It refers to a group of people who are brought together for some special reason. In the religious sense, the word refers to those people who have been brought together by God.
The local church is a group of believers in Christ that meets at a specific location under the ministry of the church leadership who provide spiritual guidance in the things of the Lord. The assembly is local, visible, organized, and constituted.
The foolish things of God
1 Corinthians 1:20-24;27 - Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.
The things of God’s Spirit cannot be processed by the human mind because it is beyond human understanding. Speaking in tongues may sound foolish but it invokes the power of God.
There are four foolish things of God which releases the supernatural power of God.
1. The gospel message
Paul tells us that preaching the message of Jesus Christ is a foolish gospel, but it is the power of God to save sinners from eternal death.
2. The tithe
It is sometimes difficult for Christians to understand that when it comes to tithing, 90 is greater than 100. When applied, it releases the power of God’s provision
3. The local church
Many Christians do not join a local church because they think the institution is foolish and unnecessary. However, nothing of spiritual value will be added to your life outside the local church. Submitting to the leadership of a church activates the power of God for our individual destinies and purposes.
Speaking in tongues sounds so foolish and it is for that reason many Christians do not speak or pray in tongues. However, it activates a power that unfolds the secrets and mysteries that God has in His heart for each and every one of His children.
Characteristics of a local church
The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul's ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel Individual Christians were part of local churches. These churches were viewed as distinct from one another and each church acted independently from the others.