A. WE ARE NOT EXPECTED TO SERVE GOD BY OURSELVES.
B. FELLOWSHIP IN THE CHURCH IS MEANT TO ENHANCE OUR SERVICE.
C. WE CAN BETTER SERVE WITH OUR BRETHREN WHEN WE KNOW:
1. What the church is, both in its universal and local sense.
2. What our responsibilities are toward the church.
A. ALL PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SAVED( Acts 2:47; Eph. 5:23).
B. THE WORD "CHURCH" IS USED PRIMARILY IN TWO SENSES.
1. The UNIVERSAL sense: All the saved( Mat. 16:18; Col. 1:18 ).
a. There is only ONE church( Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:4 ).
b. There is no organization, never meets, has no officers.
2. The LOCAL sense: The saved in one locale( 1 Cor. 1:2; Rom. 16:16 ).
a. In the "local" sense there are MANY churches( Gal. 1:2 ).
c. Ideally, each church has elders and deacons( Phil. 1:1 ).
d. Churches may exist until men can be appointed( Acts 14:23 ).
e. Local churches meet regularly; and Christians have responsibilities in
connection with their brethren in the local church
A. WE SHOULD "JOIN OURSELVES" TO A LOCAL CHURCH.
1. Paul's example. One should join himself to a local church( Acts 9:26-28 ).
2. Membership is an opportunity to mutually benefit( Heb. 3:12-14; 10:24-25 ).
3. Some duties you can't fulfill alone; i. e., the Lord's Supper( Acts 20:7 ).
B. WE SHOULD COOPERATE WITH THE "LEADERS."
1. In a fully developed local church, there will be "ELDERS."
2. "Elder, pastor, bishop," are same( Acts 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Pet. 5:1-2 ).
3.. Their qualifications are found in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9.
4. Our responsibilities to them are as follows:
a. To respect them( 1 Thes. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 5:17-20 ).
b. To obey when they lead scripturally ( Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:2-3 ).
5. There will also be "DEACONS" to serve the people of God
a. These are "servants" who assist the elders in the work of the church.
b. Their qualifications are found in 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
6. There may also be EVANGELISTS and TEACHERS( Eph. 4:11 ).
C. WE ARE TO CONTRIBUTE REGULARLY TO THE WORK OF THE CHURCH
1. The work of the church can be divided into three areas:
a. Evangelism( 1 Tim. 3:15; Phil. 1:3-6; 1 Thess. 1:8 ).
b. Edification( Eph. 4:11-16 ).
c. Benevolence( 1 Cor. 16:1-2 ).
2. How the local church can raise funds to do its work( 1 Cor. 16:1-2 ).
D. WE SHOULD DO OUR PART IN THE WORK OF THE CHURCH.
1. A strong church is one where every member is doing his part( Eph. 4:15-16 ).
2. There are different kinds of functions we might perform( Rom. 12:3-8 ).
3. We must do what we can with zeal and enthusiasm( 1 Pet. 4:10-11 ).
E. WE SHOULD HELP KEEP THE CHURCH UNITED.
1. Unity among believers is very important to Jesus( John 17:20-21 ).
2. Division is condemned in the Scriptures( 1 Cor. 1:10-13 ).
3. What does maintaining unity require of us( Eph. 4:1-3 ).
4. Here are some things we can do:
a. Be peacemakers when brethren have disagreements( Matt. 5:9 ).
b. Avoid gossip( 2 Thess. 3:12; 1 Thess. 4:9-12; Phil. 2:14-15 ).
c. Avoid speculative questions( 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:23 ).
d. Avoid partiality( 1 Tim. 5:21 ).
F. WE SHOULD LIVE A LIFE THAT SPEAKS WELL OF THE CHURCH.
1. Be an example to others( 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7-8 ).
2. Give no occasion to the enemy( Titus 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:12 ).
A. THE BLESSINGS OF FELLOWSHIP COME WITH RESPONSIBILITY.
B. GOD'S WILL IS THAT WE SERVE AS PART OF A BODY
( Rom. 12:4-5; 14:17-19 ).