This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, June 13, 2010.
I’ve heard it more times than I can count. I’m sitting in a home visiting with a family before a funeral. I’ve been called by the funeral home and asked to do the service because the family has no church connection. And one of the family will say, “Daddy never went to church. He just worshiped God in his own way.” I’ve had men tell me, “I worship God when I’m out on the lake fishing.” I don’t say it – but I think it – “Just how much worship goes on while you’re out on the lake? Please describe the average service there in the boat.” I don’t doubt that God’s name comes up – I’m just not sure it is expressed in a worshipful manner! An increasing number of folks fail to see the church as relevant to their spiritual lives. The church is full of hypocrites. The church is outdated. The church is stuck in the past. The music belongs in a museum. The sermon is a history lesson. In short, the church has nothing to offer me. Given the access we know enjoy through the internet do we need a local church? What is the value of being in a church when I have access to the greatest teachers in the church 24 hours a day 7 days a week through my computer? I meet with a couple of friends at least once a week and we discuss the Bible and what the Lord is doing in our lives. We are accountable to each other – why do I need a church? Most of the folks at church aren’t committed to God and all they are interested in is my money. Why bother with joining a church. I just don’t need the headache. How do you answer that? What would you say to that person?
We are considering the “church.”
Three weeks ago we talked about the “church dater.”
Those who flirt with the church but refuse to make a real commitment.
Two weeks ago we look carefully at the Church as the “bride of Christ.”
We talked about how marriage was created to mirror the relationship of Christ and His Church.
We also consider the church as a body and a living temple.
Now this evening, “Why do I need the church?”
Let’s start by acknowledging that this is a legitimate question to be asking.
It would be easy to brush this aside and say, “What a silly question, of course you need the church.” Really? Why?
As one who has put his trust in Jesus Christ, I’m already part of the Church, why do I need to belong to one of the thousands of fragmented groups called churches? I’ve been accepted by God, I’m loved by Christ why do I need the church (little “c”)?
Let me give you the short answer: because the local church is a visible, tangible, real-world expression of the body of Christ.
What is it that the church does best?
The local church is the best means for showing your neighbors the transforming power of the Gospel in granting to you new life and that new life becoming the foundation for a new society.
- Baptism – marks us as the people of God. It declares I’ve identified with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection (Matthew 28:19, Romans 6:4).
- The Lord’s Supper – shows our continuing fellowship in Christ (Mt. 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
- Church Discipline – shows the world we are serious about walking in obedience before Christ and are committed to one another for spiritual good/development (Mt. 18, 1 Corinthians 5).
Let me give you two other reasons for why you need the church.
- You need the church because sanctification is a community project.
- You need the church in order to worship appropriately.
The church matters and you need to be a part of it because:
- The local church is a visible, tangible, real-world expression of the body of Christ.
- When a church lives out the Gospel together it displays the transforming effects of the Gospel for the world to see.
- Sanctification is a community project.
- It is the means of worshiping God appropriately.