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My Relationship to the Local Church (Session 42)

Purpose: The purpose of this session is to help the disciple understand that his relationship with the local church is important and desired by Christ.

Objectives

1. The disciple will understand that the church is the local expression of the body of Christ.

2. The disciple will understand conditions for membership in this local body.

3. The disciple will understand the value of fellowship and his own contribution to the local church.

4. The disciple will understand the value of a united effort on earth to carry out the Great Commission.

Scripture Memory

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Matthew 16:18

Agenda

1. Mutual sharing and accountability.

2. Prayer.

3. Discuss session material.

4. Share Scripture memory.

5. Discuss possible new terms.

Introduction: You and the Local Church

I. Every Christian should be a faithful member of a Bible-believing church.

A. The Bible teaches it, Acts 2:41,47.

B. For the sake of our testimonies we should be united, Romans 12:4-5.

C. For the sake of our submission and willingness to submit to the discipline of the body, 1 Corinthians 5:4-5.

D. For the sake of our service.

(1)The Great Commission was given to the Church, Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8.

(2)For the basic exercise of our spiritual gifts which enable the Body of Christ to function efficiently, Ephesians 4:7-12.

E. For the sake of our sharing, contributing ideas and understanding.

F. For the development of support groups and fellowship which we all need in this present evil age.

II. Every Christian should be faithful in church attendance.

A. Scripture command it, Hebrews 10:25.

B. Jesus gave us the example during His lifetime, Luke 4:16, 1 Peter 2:21.

C. Christ in uniquely present the midst of the Church, Matthew 18:20.

D. Christian fellowship is valuable; we give and receive, Romans 1:12.

E. There is power in united prayer, Acts 1:12-14.

F. Because of the value of regularly hearing the Word, Romans 10:17.

III. Conditions for local church membership.

A. Regeneration—a true experience of "new birth".

B. An open profession of faith—a willingness to make open acknowledgment of Christ, Romans 10:9; Psalm 66:16.

C. Evidence in the life and a willingness to submit to the pastoral leadership and authority, 1 Timothy 3-4.

Worksheet

It is extremely important that the disciple be involved in a local church where he can serve and be identified with a body of believers. All too often the church is considered unimportant, or important only in the sense of the importance attached to a school, lodge, or some other organization. This study will deal with the importance and significance of membership in the local church. If you are not already associated in this way with a body of Bible-believing people, we hope you will make it your priority to do so in the near future.

Let's first look at the value of faithful involvement (attendance) in a local assembly. Perhaps the most compelling reason is stated in Hebrews 10:25 where we are encouraged to _________ _________. We might even state that this is more than encouragement. It is a ___________! We need to remember that this is a mark of __________ ___________ the Savior, John 14:21. Therefore I might say that faithful involvement in a local _________ is a mark of my _________ and therefore of my love for _______________.

Another approach to regular involvement can be seen in the example of Jesus. 1 Peter 2:21 tells us that we are _______________________________. Following His example is not an easy thing to do. It can never be done without the Holy Spirit's control of our lives. But there are things we can emulate. What did He do regularly?___________________________ Luke 4:16. What statement in this verse seems to denote regularity in the attendance at the house of God? _________________________________________________________

Matthew 18:20 speaks of something unique about the gathering of Christians. What is stated about this gathering? _____________________ _________________________________ What seems to constitute the conditions for the presence of Christ in a local assembly? See Matthew 18:20 once again. ______________________________. What divine attribute of Christ is taught in Matthew 28:20______________. What bearing does this have on the statement in Matthew 18:20?

Another aspect of the Christian life is found most fully when we are in relationship with the local body of Christ. Romans 1:12 says that when we are together we are __________ __________ by the faith of each other. This is really nothing more than koinonia (fellowship), and we should attempt to help each other experience it in the local ___________. If the church serves the purposes destined by Christ, we will experience significant when we meet together as a body of believers called the ____________.

Three things take place regularly when the church meets that are essential for continued efficient functioning both personally and corporately. They are found in Acts 1:12-14 and in Acts 20:7. What are these three things?

Both prayer and preaching have power. United prayer is extremely important and the house of God is to be known as a house of __________. Faith comes by __________, and hearing by the ______ ___ ______, Romans 10:17. So regular attendance in the house of God can strengthen our _____________.

Conditions for Membership in the Local Church

To be a biblical church, there are certain qualifications necessary for those who are the members. Membership is truly important and biblical. Acts 2:47 states that the Lord __________to their number ____________those who were being . What qualification seems most important in this passage?

Surely if the Church is the Body of Christ, and the local church is a local expression of the Body of Christ, all members need to be "born again". This would infer that regeneration is an absolute necessity for being a member of the _________ __________ and none who have not experienced new birth should be admitted to membership until this experience becomes a reality.

What does Romans 10::9-10 say about our willingness to be open about our relationship with Jesus?  

How do we express our willingness to be open about our relationship with Jesus?

What does Psalm 66:16 say we should be willing and able to do?

There is one further consideration. There should be a willingness to give testimony to one's faith through ___________, Acts 2:41 (See also Acts 2:38). This was baptism following regeneration—baptism that spoke of death, burial, and resurrection. This baptism seems to be by ________________________, and might be called believer’s _________________.

To summarize my relationship with a local church, let's look at reasons for involvement once again.

1. To whom was the Great Commission given, Matthew 28:19-20?

2. How can regular participation in the local assembly increase our under standing of the Scriptures, Romans 10:17?

3. Who exercises discipline for believers, Titus 1:5-9?

4.What does involvement with other believers do for us, Psalm 55:14?

5. Regular attendance gives a picture of __________________ that Christ prayed for His own in the Garden, John 17:11, 21-23. We are not to be fragmented, but rather one.

Evaluate your relationship with your local church. If you are not attending regularly, plan to do so. Become a member, if that has not already happened. Every believer needs to be active in the local church, which is the expression of the Body of Christ on earth.

Questions for Review and Discussion

1. Analyze the following often given reasons for not being involved and arrange them in rank order in terms of their importance as reasons for continuing to be a non-involved individual. Also, react to each of these excuses in your own words.

a. "The church has people in its membership who don't live up to what they profess. Most members are hypocrites. "

b. "I really don't have enough time to do the things I want to do."

c. "The church wants every member to give money, and I am just not able to do that at this time."

d. "I don't find what the minister is saying really important to me."

e. "I want to be active, and there isn't anything for me to do in the church."

Summary: What are your own attitudes toward baptism and local church membership?

Related Topics: Discipleship