Devotional: ‘The Benefit of Being an Active Part of a Local Church’

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Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ESV 

The longer I am a Christian the more I am convinced that fellowship with other believers is not an option, but rather a necessity. Christians who fail to attach themselves to a local church are cheating both themselves and the church.

First of all, let me explain why I say that they are cheating themselves.

Verse 24 of today’s passage tells us that part of the purpose of the local church is for us to cultivate Christian character within each other. The King James Version says that we are to ‘provoke’ one another unto love and good works. At first the word provoke seems like a strange word to use. Most often we think of provoking as doing something that brings out the worst in people. But actually the word can mean {to excite, to stimulate, or to urge}. As fellow believers, we are to do everything we can to encourage each other to live for God and to serve Him. How might being a part of a local church encourage us to serve Christ?

Part of our encouragement comes through the sermons we hear and the lessons we are taught. As the speaker explains to us the Word of God, the Spirit moves within us, urging us on to godliness. Part of our encouragement comes through our communication and interaction with each other. True Christian fellowship is more than sharing a cup of coffee. True Christian fellowship is sharing with each other how God is working in our lives. Part of our encouragement also comes through sharing prayer requests and inspiring each other to worship.

The Bible says – “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)  As fellow believers, we need each other.

Secondly, let me explain why I say that they are cheating the church.

Sometimes people try to tell me that they can read their Bibles, pray and worship God just as much at home as they can in church. Although that may be true, the question I would ask is – “Do you? Can you honestly say that you are consistently disciplining yourself to grow and develop as a believer?” Another question I would ask is – “How do you serve the body of Christ when you do not interact with the body of Christ?” We read from the book of 1 Corinthians –

1 Corinthians 12:12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 

18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 

7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. NLT

When we become a Christian, we become a part of a body of believers. The Bible says that we are baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. (see 1 Corinthians 12:13) Christians who neglect being an active part of a local church are acting like those parts of the body that Paul spoke of who say – “I don’t need anyone else. I am perfectly fine being a hand or a foot all by myself.”

Though some believers may think that they are OK without being an active part of a local church, they are in reality denying the church of the benefit of their spiritual gifts, and they are denying themselves of the benefit of spiritual gifts God has given to others.

 

 

 

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