LISTEN: The Importance of the Local Church, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldiers #100 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

Our key Bible passage today is 1 Corinthians 12:27: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Our lesson today is titled “The Importance of the Local Church, Part 1”

In our last lesson series we saw God’s great plan—how He is calling out people from Adam’s sinful race and uniting them into one spiritual body—the Body of Christ. We learned that all believers are members of this one Body, which is called “the Church.” The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:32, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”

God has purposed that this universal Church, the Body of Christ, should be expressed here on earth. In each locality, believers are to assemble regularly with other believers for prayer, worship, fellowship, and teaching from God’s Word. These assemblies of believers are called “local churches.”

Thus, we see that the Bible uses the word “church” in two ways. It can refer to:

1. The Universal Church, which is composed of all believers from the day of Pentecost until the end of this age;
2. The local church, which is an assembly of believers here on earth.

Now let us see what the Bible says about the first local churches.

On the day of Pentecost, there was only one local church—the church in Jerusalem. Later on, we find that there were churches in many cities. Because of persecution, the believers in Jerusalem were scattered into other cities and nations. Wherever they went, they preached the gospel. The Apostle Paul was sent on several missionary journeys to preach the gospel. So the gospel spread, and many people believed and were saved.

When a number of people in a city were saved, they became the church in that city. Thus the Bible speaks of “the church in Antioch” and “the church in Corinth” and “the church in Ephesus.”

Each of these local churches was a true expression of the one universal Church. Christ was the Head of each church, and the believers formed His body. Thus, in each locality, Christ was able to express His life through the church in that place.

As the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus gave spiritual gifts to certain men in each local church. These gifts enabled them to teach, to preach, and to have the spiritual oversight of the Lord’s people. These men were called elders. Thus the churches were strengthened and increased in number. The Bible says, “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”

The believers met in one another’s homes. The place where they met was not considered to be of great importance because they knew that the Lord Jesus Himself was there with them. He had promised, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”

The believers met on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. Acts 20:7 tells us, “On the first day of the week…the disciples came together to break bread…” In the Old Testament, the Jews were commanded to observe the seventh day, Saturday, as a holy day. The New Testament tells us that, as Christians, we are to regard every day as holy; however, we meet on Sunday, the first day of the week, because the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on this day.

We honor Jesus Christ when we meet with other believers who live around us. The local assembly is a great way for every believer to remember that they are not alone in their Christian walk. The local church also gives us an opportunity to live out the Christian life and use our spiritual gifts for the glory of God and the benefit of our brothers and sisters in the faith. God is pleased when we gather together to worship, serve, and glorify Him.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Until next time, May the Lord Bless You!

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.