The church is Christ’s plan for His people (Mt. 16: 18). The Greek word for church is Ekklesia, and simply means ‘called out’. Some make the distinction between the local church and the universal church, but actually they are both one and the same. You cannot belong to one without belonging to the other. Most of the letters in the NT were sent to local churches, as in 1 Cor. 1: 2 ‘To the church of God in Corinth’. This shows that the letter was initially sent to a specific church in a specific location – to a local church, not to the ‘universal’ church, and yet it belongs to all Christians because it’s in the bible.
The universal church is really a spiritual idea rather than a physical idea. It consists of every born again, bible believing person who has ever lived, is alive today or will ever live. From the time that Jesus died on the cross up until He returns in glory. When Jesus said, “I will build my church”, in Matt. 16 He was talking about the universal church. For all the times that church is mentioned in scripture, 90% refers to the local church. This emphasis shows the importance that God places on local church. Only 10% refers to the universal church, yet this is what people who don’t want to go to the local church say they belong too.
There are important reasons why we should belong to a local church, and it is these reasons why the devil doesn’t want you to go there.
Firstly, it’s where God places you. 1 Cor. 12: 18 ‘But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.’ When we remove ourselves from the body to go where we please, who are we pleasing? Man or God?
Secondly, It’s where the world gets to know we belong to Christ. Jesus says in Jn. 13: 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If we don’t belong to a local church, if we drift from one place to another, or don’t bother to go at all, how can we show the love of Christ to one another? How will the world know we belong to Him?
Thirdly, it’s only in the local church that we prosper and grow. Psalm 92: 13-14 ‘Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,’ Pretty self-explanatory really.
There are many other reasons why should be committed to and belong to a local church, and we would love it if you joined yourself to us. But wherever you go, put down roots in a local church. YOU CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT BELONG TO A LOCAL CHURCH!