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Tuesday, 17 December 2013 22:00

The Spirit and the Local Church Featured

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Jesus Christ said, "I will build My church"

Obedience  as a building block

The Church is being built on Church members dedicated to obedience. Jesus set out certain expecations for Church membership to adhere to.  One sentence enbraces these expectations:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself".  

What is  expected

The scriptures state that the membership of the Church are to be obedient. The expected level of the obedience of the  membership is called out in the scriptures. Simply stated : 

The  members must obey their pastors

….” Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God.”...1

  This is not a suggestion! This  is a command. Probaby  the prime jobs that a pastor has is to watch out for their flock, the members of his local church.  This is one of the tasks  the Holy Spirit empowered pastors to do. Many  so called ”Christians" make this a difficult job, to say the least.                                                                     

Instructions From The Holy Spirit

In accordance with instructions from the Holy Spirit, the Spirit filled pastor issues instructions and observations from time to time adressing a developing situtation in his local church.  Tje instruction will depend upon the severaty of the condition  developing in the midst of the  congregation. Spirit filled members of  local church also have the  responsibility ito  realize that their leaders have the responsibility to  to issue commands from time to time, no matter what form they may be.

 Members must realize that if the local church is doing it’s job and doing it in an efficient manner, producing results for the Kingdom, then the Church will be under constant attack from the Devil. Church leaders  must identify these problems and  confront the developing situtation.  If these problems are not challenged, they will end up  worming their way into the congregation.

The way problems show up

These problems have various ways of showing up. Sometimes certain  individuals are  easily offended by comments at social events  or even sermons from the pulpit   Disapproval from the congregation comes across as the Roll of the eyes, the raising of the eyebrows and a smirk on the face. These attitudes and issues and worm their way through the congregation in such a way that the local  church will be crippled in its mission. .  The members must realize that the pastor, under the direction of the Holy Spirit,  must address  this infiltration by the Devil.

Pride And Self-righteous Attitudes

Another very common is attitude toward races. This  racial  judgment becomes an evil influence.  Again the  pastor, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit,  must address this and other similar  problems.  The nature of this problem is a marker  for pride and self-righteous attitudes.   Churches have been split  over these attitudes.  The split occurs when individuals  refuse  to accept the solution the Holy Spirit puts forth through the administration of the pastor

 Marks of a church with a capital "C"

The gospel is preached. The gospel, aka,  “good news”, is the communication of God to man. The Good news is that God provided a solution to  our sinfulness and the keeping of the law. The penalty  of sin is death.  Jesus died for our sins. Any other message is a  false gospel and it is not from God.  Acceptance of a false gospel leads to condemnation, not to reconciliation. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might become the children of God through faith alone in Christ alone. Not faith in Jesus plus some added doctrine   Jesus fulfilled the law handed down by God. 

The Gospel

The Gospel is  the message delivered by the Person and Work of Christ.
The gospel message  is the power of God unto salvation.  If  the  Church clings to the message of the Gospel  it founds its’  foundation are solid and lasting

You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News  but is not the Good News at all….2                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The real gospel of justification by faith alone

False Teachers

False teachers, those who present an invalid message have certain characteristics. They exhibit:

  •   The feeling that their accomplishments are because of their own effort, and a source of justified pride.
  •   Greed for popularity because popularity is  seen as power and satisfies the self centered life.
  •   Self-centeredness  instead of God centered
  •   Sophistication reasoning for their definition of the Gospel

Membership and Ordinances

The word Ordinance implies that it came by the authority of God, for God’s pleasure.
Ordinances are ordained by the authority of God. The local church strives to  faithfully administer the ordinances that were given by God.  There are two God given ordinances:

  • Baptism
  • Communion.

Demostrations Of Faith

Simply put, these are  simply demonstration of faith. They in no way save a person and if a person does not partake they do not lose their salvation, just lose blessings.

....Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,3

...there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for all of us share that one bread….4

Membership And Discipline

The local church is responsible to administrator discipline to  those who need it.  Discipline is not punishment.  Rather, the discipline administered by the local church is an learning experience.  Church discipline holds  individual members accountable  for actions  for which they have received repeated warnings.  Discipline is not enjoyable for anyone involved.  But it is necessary.  Discipline has the authority of the scriptures standing behind it;

 …. If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private...5

The goal of dicipline is the train and restore the person.  This is what Jesus expects from us.  Sin unrepented removes our communion with Jesus.   Sin in the church to be confronted.  The church is not to allow sin to  flourish  within it’s walls.

...Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds...6

Pitfalls of neglected  discipline

The  church that does not discipline in accordance with the scriptures may result in the following consequences.  If discipline is neglected:

  • The attendance probably will fall
  • It is an indication that the Holy Spirit is being ignored.
  • The falling attendance will result in Financial problems
  • The leadership will become discouraged
  • The church's  income is on the line. 
  • Repairs and maintenance must be put off.
  • The likelihood that younger families will seek other congregations
  • Families may leave due to the atmosphere  of Infighting and complaining increases.
  • There will be power-struggles issuing from the congregation.
  • The likelihood of an atmosphere of low marol and pessimism  will rise throughout the congregation.
  • Some will quit and there will be fewer  volunteers  to take their place.
  • The Devil is happy and takes pride at what  he accomplishes.
  • The local church has failed in the great commission

Notes

  1. . Hebrews 13:16-18
  2.   Galatians 1 6-12
  3. . Matthew 28:16-20
  4. . 1 Corinthians 10:10-20
  5.   Matt. 18:15-18
  6.   Rev. 2:18-29
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