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.
• 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 13:1In 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.
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.