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Why the local church is important


EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–Today millions of Americans carry a Triple-A roadside assistance card. It’s worth its weight in platinum when you blow a tire or run out of gas on a darkened road. The church also exists, in part, so its members can encourage each other by lending a hand. God planned for His local churches to offer roadside assistance.

The church does that primarily by providing the uplift of worship. In the Gospels, the disciples gathered behind locked doors on the evening of the first Easter, insecure and uncertain. But Jesus suddenly appeared among them, and they saw Him with 20/20 vision; for John 20:20 says, “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”

“Glad” is a great description of the church in worship. The psalmist said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord'” (Psalm 122:1).

When we walk through the doors of our church, we’re there to focus on who Jesus is. He’s alive, and we are glad. We can be joyous people, worshippers who stand and sing His praises, and who sit at His feet to hear His word.

That’s why there’s exuberance in our services. Sunday morning is a time of celebration. The church is a house of happiness, rejoicing because Jesus is among us and we are glad. It’s not manufactured joy, but a natural, normal response to who He is. We lift up Jesus first and foremost, and when we lift Him up, we get excited and we can’t help but rejoice.

As we lift Him up, we receive the uplift of praise. We encourage one another with the contagious joy of the Spirit. We dare not miss that. Hebrews 10:25 warns against neglecting “the assembling of ourselves together.” The book of Acts says the early Christians gladly received the Gospel, were baptized, were added to the church, and “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42).

FRIENDSHIP

That suggests another element of roadside assistance: friendship and fellowship. The church is a place where people get together — they assemble. The very word “church” is a translation of the Greek term “ecclesia,” meaning those who have been “called out” of the world and into a gathering of God’s people where we can assemble and find commonality.

If we’re going to have congregations that make a difference, we must focus more on people than on programs, and more on relationships than on rituals. We’re going to have to find ways of bringing people together in small groups, support groups, Bible studies, ministry teams and fellowship circles.

The church needs to be a place that knows how to hug. Love is manifested and relationships are built in church.

PARTNERSHIP

The church also assists us by providing opportunities to partner with Christ in accomplishing the greatest work in the world. It’s a place where you can influence others for Christ. We can change the world one person at a time.

One of the problems with today’s church in America is that we’ve become consumer-based. We want to take in, but we’ve forgotten that the purpose of getting is to give out. Yes, the church is here to meet our needs, but if we turn our attention simply on ourselves and are always thinking about what we can get out of church, then our whole philosophy and purpose is wrong.

We’re called to be partners together with God, and sometimes that involves hard work. God has a ministry for you in His church, and finding it adds a sense of purpose and fulfillment to your life.

Cities and societies are built up and torn down, but the church remains steadfast through the ages to assist God’s people along the road of life.

Don’t neglect your roadside assistance. Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together. Be in church Sunday and discover the worship, fellowship, and partnership of being part of a group that says, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.'”
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David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of San Diego Christian College (formerly Christian Heritage College). For more information on Turning Point, visit www.TurningPointOnline.org.

    About the Author

  • David Jeremiah
    David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.Read All by David Jeremiah ›