Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Loving the Church Jesus Loves

Summary: Remove a grape from the cluster and it soon shrivels up. Remove Christians from their local churches, and they may soon dry up. Come look with me at a number of compelling reasons to be actively part of a bible-preaching, Spirit-filled local church.

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Psalm 102:6  I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert.

•• Being an active member of a local church keeps me from living like “a pelican of the wilderness.”

•• In my early years as a young adult Christian, it was the local church that plugged this solitary man into a family.

•• Psalm 68:6  “God sets the lonely in families.”
• As a young Air Force officer, I was stationed in Sacramento, California. As a new Christian, I strongly sensed my need for fellowship, so I actively sought out a bible-preaching local church.

• In 1971 I completed my Air Force tour, became a civilian again, and returned to Alaska. There I found Abbott Loop Community Chapel, a vibrant church on the outskirts of Anchorage. And there I found a spiritual family! To this day, several decades later, I remain in contact with people in that church.

Matthew 16:18  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

•• The church — and its existence as millions of local churches — makes me part of something that hell can’t overcome!
• That is a great comfort in a world of increasing terrorism and moral decline.

Acts 12:5  So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

•• The local church in Jerusalem was diligently praying for Peter. I need that. I need and appreciate people praying for me. Often those who do so are in your local church.
• I tell my grown-up children, “We pray every night for you.” And that blesses them.

• Church people tell me, “You are in our prayers,” and that blesses me.

Acts 13:1  In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.

•• I need to draw on ministries unlike my own.
• In the Antioch church, prophets spoke the rhema, teachers taught the logos.

• Personalities unlike ourselves can invigorate us.

• And notice that these varied ministries (“...prophets ... teachers...”) were found “in the church at Antioch” — a geographically local church.

Acts 20:17  From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church.

•• I am personally strengthened by the elders of the church”.
• I love our church’s elders’ meetings (I too am an elder). I sense the strength and wisdom of spiritual men around me. I am encouraged and motivated by them.

James 5:14  Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him...

•• Without the local church, which elders would I call if I were sick?
• Elders of the local churches are a God-given source of prayer for physical healing.

Romans 16:1  I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.

•• In the local churches you get to know true “servants” such as you rarely meet in society at large.
• I find our South Valley Church to be a congregation full of saints with sincere servant hearts.

1 Corinthians 1:2  To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ — their Lord and ours.

•• The local church is where you find holy people — “to those ... called to be holy...”
• I feel a sense of well-being around people that I know are desiring “to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).

1 Corinthians 12:28, 14:26  [12:28] And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.... [14:26] When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

•• The local churches are places to hear God’s word, to participate with others in worship, and to be strengthened by spiritual gifts and anointed ministries.
• You’ll not find these things at work, in the neighborhood, at the bowling alley or the ball game.

• These divine gifts and ministries are placed by God “in the church” [vs. 28]. I love church services where the Holy Spirit's gifts and a variety of anointed ministries are manifested.

1 Timothy 3:15  ...you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

•• The church is “the pillar ... of the truth.”
Not the university ... not the newspapers or the Six O’Clock News ... not Hollywood ... not the Democratic party or the Republican party.

• The church — and there are hundreds of thousands of local churches in America — represents the pillar of truth that God has placed on earth.

Summary: Why I love the local church —

• It plugs me into a spiritual family and prevents me from becoming a Christian loner.

• It makes me part of something even hell can’t overcome.

• It puts people in my life who will pray for me.

• It provides ministries unlike my own.

• It encourages my soul having strong elders around me.

• It encourages my soul having true servants around me.

• It encourages my soul having holy people around me.

• It gives me a place to experience with others the worship of God, the Word of God, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and God-given ministries.

• It locks me into the pillar of truth on the earth — “the church of the living God”.

For all these reasons, I love the local church!

A related sermon may be viewed at The Local Church Is Under Attack.

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©2003, James H. Feeney.
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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.