Next Steps: Our Church

“Why do we need the Local Church?”

What is a “Local Church”?

1. The Church Global

“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent”.

Colossians 1:18 ESV

The reference here is to the one, singular, unified church. The passage does not say Christ is the head of “the bodies” or “the churches.” Paul is indicating there is one, singular, global, or universal church.

2. The Church Local

“. . . to the churches of Galatia”

Galatians 1:2 ESV

The reference here shows that Paul made the distinction that within the region of Galatia, there were separate churches (plural). In Revelation 2–3, Jesus addresses letters to seven different churches within the area of Asia Minor. This shows that believers during the era of the New Testament embraced the church as a singular, unified body that included all the different people groups and geographical locations. At the same time, they recognized the existence of multiple local churches distinct from one another.

Marks of the Local Church

1. Qualified Leadership

“I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you”.

Titus 1:5 NLT

Paul left Titus in Crete because the community of believers was growing, yet there was no leadership to care for the church. The new group of believers was unorganized, and in order to maintain health and provide protection, Paul told Titus to appoint elders in the towns where there were believers.

2. Sound Teaching

“He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong”.

Titus 1:9 NLT

In the early church, it was the spiritual leader’s responsibility to teach and instruct the community God had entrusted to him. This was done regularly when the church gathered. One of the main functions of the local church is to provide a place where God’s people can receive sound biblical teaching. In a world where there are a lot of opinions and truth is seen as something that people can adjust to their liking, it is important to have spiritual leaders who are given to the study and teaching of Scripture (Acts 6:4).

3. Regular Gathering

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near”.

Hebrews 10:24–25 NLT

Weekly gatherings at Bethany are important because when believers get around others who love Jesus, there is a contagious encouragement to walk in faith. God created human beings as social creatures that are significantly influenced by community.

4. Growing Community

a. Number of People

“And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved”.

Acts 2:47 NLT

God wants Bethany Church to grow as people turn to Jesus. The size of a church does not matter, but a healthy church has a growing number of believers being added to it on a regular basis. Also, God wants to use all who are saved to be part of reaching people for Jesus and seeing people added to His church. At Bethany we exist to bring all people into the Life, Family and Purpose of God! This is a team sport!

b. Maturity of People

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love”.

Ephesians 4:11–16 NLT

God has gifted the body of Christ with people within the local church who lead believers to full maturity in Jesus. God’s desire for all His children is that they become more and more like Jesus. This is not a solo job—it is a group project. Bethany Church needs one another to grow into the people He has called us to be!

Why Some Avoid Church:

  1. Wrong Information
  2. Lack of Priority
  3. Bad experiences

The local church is not just a religious tradition or some man-made invention. From the moment Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and make disciples, and gave them the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to do so, the local church has been God’s design as a vital part of the believer’s growth and stability.

The Message Meaning Behind this Week’s Next Steps

To listen to the heart of why we believe in the local church, feel free to dive into Pastor Jonathan’s messages from “The Real Church Series” below.

"Is Led By the Spirit" "Is Spreading" "Is Together" "Is Devoted"

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