These are my notes from a message by Pastor Russ Sukhia of Liberty Church PCA on Ephesians 4:1-16.
Two-thirds of Americans believe churches are irrelevant…this is evidence of the growing apostasy in today’s churches. For this reason, a fair question facing most of America is: can we worship God apart from corporate worship? Why do churches exist?
Local churches exist…and corporate worship is necessary and essential because:
God commands us to gather in local churches (ecclesia) to worship Him. God commands corporate worship! Ecclesia = “the called out ones”…we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
The apostles planted organized churches…we see the biblical truth of corporate worship throughout the NT. God lays out the specific responsibilities for church leaders, the operation of the church and disciplining the flock. Deacons are responsible for the material needs of the flock; Pastors/Elders are the spiritual leaders and teachers of the flock.
The early NT churches were connected with one another. The term presbytery means the collection/body of elders from local churches in a given region.
Since the LORD provides much information about local churches and their organization, they must be important to Him. So why have a local church? Because this is God’s idea…and man is not wiser than God!
A local church is where we corporately worship God as a body of believers as He commands us…worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth
A local church is where we are taught the Scriptures…where we hear the Word of the LORD. Local churches teach and edify the flock…and God gives spiritual gifts to believers to accomplish this.
A local church provides fellowship, communion and accountability…to share/bear each other’s burdens. The term koinonia means fellowship of believers.
A local church is for service…to equip the saints for the work of ministry. Each believer is to serve Christ with his/her spiritual gifts. We are not to be mere spectators, critiquing the service…we are commanded to edify one another.
No earthly church is without error…but doctrine is important since we live in a fallen world filled with false teachers
The earthly, universal church is important to God because it is Christ’s bride.
To God Be The Glory!