In my years as a Christian, I have seen many people who are adrift from any local church fellowship. I know how easy it is to drift a little more and a little more. When Christians are disconnected from the community of believers, our spiritual lives suffer.
When I felt God was taking me out of the church that had been my home for 23 years, my main prayer was, "Lord, plant me quickly." He answered that prayer in a wonderful, powerful way. For nearly four years, I’ve been part of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Boise, and I’m so grateful to God for planting me there.
Anyway, reading yesterday’s passage in Acts 2 was a great reminder of the importance and benefits of being part of a local church body.
And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (NASB, Acts 2:42-47)
Church participation brings us the benefits of (1) teaching/instruction, (2) fellowship, (3) observing communion, (4) praying with others, (5) outreach, (6) a common cause, and (7) ministering to and assisting one another. Elsewhere in the Bible we learn it also brings us the benefits of (8) worship, (9) discipline, (10) pastoral oversight, and (11) obedience to God’s command. [Open Bible study notes.]
A Christian needs to participate in a local body of believers. It isn’t an option. God tells us to be there. Americans really value our independence, but God wants us to be dependent upon one another.
In the grip of His grace,