What Is A Local Church?
Text: Deuteronomy 12:1-12
I believe in patterns… I know that God is a God of patterns. He has not changed, the Bible says that, and I believe that. When it comes to God’s plan I believe in the local church. I know it is the will of God for every born again Christian to be a member of a Scriptural New Testament Church (Baptist).
Many use the excuse, “I am part of God’s universal church”. Allow me to correct your theology. There is no universal church. You have been deceived by the wicked one, the devil.
The so called universal church has not been completed yet. One day according to the definition for the word church in the New Testament we will all be part of that local called out assembly in Heaven but today that universal church (If I can be indulged here)…
- It is not holding services.
- It has never supported a missionary
- It has never built a hospital
- It has never held a revival
- It has never baptized one person
- It has never instructed one lost person how to be saved.
When it does start holding services, it will be in heaven and Jesus will be the pastor. It will be a church only after it is completed and has been called out. I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
There is a great satanic attack that has been launched against the local New Testament church; But the worst enemy of the local New Testament church is ignorance on the part of God’s people as to what a local New Testament church is all about.
If we look back at the first called out assembly ever formed, we can see and learn a great lesson concerning the present always local New Testament church.
The first called out assembly, the first church, if you will indulge me was formed in Deuteronomy 12. It was the “Church in the Wilderness.”
” Acts 7:37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
Acts 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us…
It was this Old Testament called out assembly, that was an example to us for the local New Testament church. I Corinthians 10:1-12.
This morning from the book of Deuteronomy I want to share with you the local church, three basic commands from the Lord to His Church, that are still applicable to us today…
I. Thither Shalt Thou Come! Verse 5
Deuteronomy 12:5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come…
This morning can I share with you six things I see from “thither thou shalt come…”
1. Every Person Was To Come. “of all your tribes”
- Obedience did not depend upon feelings.
- It did not depend upon attitude.
- It did not depend upon belief or conviction.
2. The Place Was To Be Chosen By The Lord. “But unto the place which the LORD your God shall choose out”
- God never leaves the choice up to the church member where to go to church.
- It may not be the most popular church in town.
- It may not be the best preacher in town.
- It may not have the greatest youth program.
- The music may not be the best.
- God makes the choice, not the individual.
3. It Was To Be A Place With The Lord’s Name On It. “to put his name there”
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
His name is His stamp of approval.
- God will not put His name on a church who has no convictions.
- God will not put His name on a church who has no conversions.
- God will not put His name on a church who is not preaching the Bible.
4. You should not even consider joining a church where the name of Christ is not pre-eminent.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
5. It Was To Be A Place Of Gathering.
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- God gives special strength when we meet together.
- God gives the kind of crowd He wants us to be with.
- God gives security through the congregation. Have you ever seen a church member starve to death from lack of physical food?
No, and you won’t. There is security in God’s house with God’s people.
6. It Was To Be A Place Of God’s Habitation.
- How awful to go to church and God not be present.
- How awful to go to church and never see anyone get saved.
- How awful to go to church and never see lives changed by the power of God.
- How awful to go to church and not witness the spirit of love and concern from the members.
- How awful to go to church and not feel part of the congregation.
II. Thither Shall Ye Bring! Verse 11
Deuteronomy 12:11 Then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the LORD
Bring What? “All that I command you.”.
A. Offerings. (Missionary and special).
- The Pastor should be the first missionary on the field. A church should never give to those outside the church and ignore the pastor’s needs.
- Offerings are to be made through the local church.
Bring them. Not send them.
Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt offerings in every place that thou seest: But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes. Deuteronomy 12:13-14
Notice, “In one of thy tribes”. All were Jews, but only the tribe that God chose was to be the place of the offering.
God will not have you sending your offering all over the country and ignoring the local church.
- Other works may be good.
- They may be biblically straight, but unless God instructs you to send your offering there, then don’t.
- Even then it must go through the local church.
- Building fund
- Car Fund
- Youth fund
- Missions fund
- and special church project.
A sacrifice is: “To give up something precious for something more precious.” (Webster Dictionary)
If it doesn’t change your lifestyle, it hasn’t been a sacrifice.
To really do something great for God, there must be a sacrifice.
C. Tithes. (10 percent).
- Notice this is third on God’s list. Vs. 6.
- This belongs to the Lord.
- If you touch God’s tithe for yourself, then you have sinned by robbing God.
Acts 4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
D. Heave Offering Of Your Hand.
- Shoulder of a bullock
- Given to the Levites. They were ministers at the house of God.
- What this is saying is to give the pastor a hand in all that needs to be done.
- Put your shoulder to the work and give the pastor time to study and pray.
E. Choice Vows. (marriage, surrender to the work of God, etc.)
III. There Thou Shalt Do! Verse 14
Deuteronomy 12:14 But in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee.
A. God Does Not Give A List Of What To Do. If He did give a list then the believer would be limited to doing just what He had said.
B. Every Christian Must Discern For Self What He Or She Is To Do.
- We know that we are to attend church. Hebrews 10:25.
- We know that we are to bring someone with us.
- We know that we are to participate in the services.
- We know that we are to give of our income.
C. God May Have You Do Something Different Than Others. “all that I command thee.”
- Teach a Sunday school class.
- Preach the Gospel.
- Go Soul Winning.
- Paint the building.
- Help others in church financially.
It is God’s will for you to come, bring, and do in the church that God has chosen for you.
It is therefore a dangerous thing to neglect God’s clear commands.
Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Deuteronomy 12:28 Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.
God wants you to COME BRING AND DO.