1 Corinthians 12:18

But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him.

God has already set and placed each one of us in the body of Christ, as it pleased Him. Before you were born into the earth, God already knew where to place you; He already knew which local church you should be connected to. So God places us in the church as it pleases Him, not as it pleases us.

So it’s not up to us to decide which local church we will go to or where we will get involved in, it is up to God. Listen: God is not the author of confusion. God will not say “join this church”, then a month later say, “No, join this church”. God is purpose driven.

You need to realize that the perfect Church does not exist.

Psalm 92:12-14

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.

Reasons why we need to find a good church.

Acts 2v41-42

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

As a believer you need good teaching (doctrine).

The church you join must have a Statement of Faith.

You need fellowship.

You need the “breaking of bread” or communion.

You need prayer.

Mac Hammond

Properly plugging into the company of believers God has connected you with, will position you to access the power of God in a way nothing else can, causing increase and growth to come to your life.

So God has a specific place where He wants to set you in the body of Christ, a particular church He wants you to attend, a particular Pastor to shepherd you. When you are in the right church, you’ll be blessed and you’ll be a blessing.

Don’t join a church, thinking you’ll straighten them out. No, join a church where you agree with what is being taught, so you can hook up with what they’re trying to accomplish for the Lord. Get involved in the church, as if you were the Pastor.

Kenneth E. Hagin

No Pastor can carry out God’s plan alone. He needs the help of loyal people who are supportive of his vision, willing to work in unity and harmony with him, and committed to the local church because it takes everyone working together to get the job done.

What to look for in a good church.

Ephesians 4v11-16

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

Look for a Church with a strong Pastor.

Look for a Church that teaches and trains believers for the work of the ministry. Look for a Church that teaches and challenges you to grow spiritually.

Look for a Church with a loving atmosphere – loving church family led by a loving Pastor.

The Local Church is part of the Universal Church which is the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ died for the entire Church. The Church is built on revelation knowledge of what Jesus purchased for us by His death and resurrection.

Scriptural Organization of the Local Church.

God instituted the local Church. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church.

Colossians 1v18

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Christians/Believers are the body of the Church. We are His “hands and feet” in this world.

Ephesians 1v22-23

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

The Church has Ministry Gifts

This means that God has given certain spiritual gifts or abilities to specific people to enable the Church to function correctly.

These ministry gifts are given by God as He chooses to give them to people. They are called the “Five Fold Ministry” because there are five Ministry gifts which are designed to work together. The ministry gifts are the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.

Ephesians 4v4-13

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”

9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Jesus is the “Director of Operations”. As the Head of the Church, He places each Ministry Gift and co- ordinates their functioning to form a unity.

The Five Fold Ministry is there to equip the Saints for the work of the ministry to bring the unity of the faith.

Who and What is the Pastor

Jesus is the Chief-Shepherd (we always keep our eyes on Jesus). Hebrews 13v20

The Pastor is the shepherd who works in full co-operation with the Chief Shepherd and he is one of the ministry gifts to the Church.

He should feed, care, tend, protect and discipline the sheep.

In the Church we also have Elders, Deacons, Ministry of Helps. An Elder or Bishop must be:

A mature, established believer. He can oversee the affairs of the Church. In other words, he or she usually has some or other leadership/administrative role to play in the Church.

1 Timothy 3v1-7

This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Deacons

They have similar requirements to Elders and Bishops. Their role is to Serve the body of Christ. A good example is an Usher or Hostess who serves communion and receives the tithes and offerings, etc.

1 Timothy 3v7-13

Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. 11 Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Ministry of Helps

In modern terms, these are people who assist with ministry work, eg, typing, preparation of venue, bookshop, sound and any other support function within the local Church.

You must understand that you are important to God’s plan for the local church and that there’s a place there no one else but you can fill. The Key is to find your position, get plugged in and offer your spiritual supply. Become a faithful steward of the gift God has entrusted to you by committing your time, talent and resources to the place it has pleased God to place you.

Fellowship

It is vitally important to attend church every week. This is the place where we can worship God and hear the Word of God preached. Going to church also means meeting and interacting with other Christians.

Hebrews 10v25

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Don’t think that you can function alone, on your own. You were designed by God to fit into the structure of the local church.

Brian Mullins

Stay in a church (a good church) and stay submitted to the leadership of that local church body. Loners are easy prey for the devil.

If you want to stay on fire for God, stay connected and stay in close fellowship with other believers.

Stay submitted to the leadership of your local church.

We have an opportunity to connect and fellowship with each other and stay connected.

How does the devil work where the Local Church is concerned?

Satan doesn’t want you to plug in and prosper, so he’ll have a strategy designed to cause you to stumble, to unplug you from your God-ordained position and place. This strategy almost always comes in the form of strife and division which begins with getting offended. It’s his mightiest tool.

If he can get you in strife, if he can get you offended, then he will try to drive you away from the place that it pleased God to place you. Satan is out to hurt you-in fact, in his world; the purpose of hurt is to get you on a detour from God’s best for you.

Ecclesiastes 10:4

If a ruler becomes angry with you, don’t resign your position. If you remain calm, you can make up for serious offenses.

Look at t he enemy’ s strategy.

Someone in church said something that offended you or perhaps you weren’t invited to be a part of a group. The pastor couldn’t see you or visit you. You feel bad and you think about it. Bitterness begins to grow within you. Satan digs at that hurt with accusations like, “They all hypocrites. You don’t need them.” So you start avoiding them.

That hurt builds in your mind, and you begin to form negative opinions of more people-people not even involved in the offense! You stop fellowshipping with believers, reading your bible; praying and you’re hanging out with someone you shouldn’t. One day you wake up to the fact that you bitter toward God, and ask yourself, “How did I get here?” The problem is that you got hurt but you never did anything to take care of it. The answer is to forgive those who have hurt you.

Pray for your Pastor and those in authority over you and watch God begin to turn things around in your favor. Don’t leave the church when you experience times of famine. Don’t make permanent decisions out of temporary situations.

Tithes and Offerings

In Lesson 7 under the section of Prosperity, we talked about the Tithe ( a tenth of what we earn) as sowing. We sow seed financially through tithes and offerings. Tithing occurs in both Testaments.

Old Testament (before the law). Genesis 14v18-20; Leviticus 27v30-34

New Testament (in and after the law) Luke 11v42; Hebrews 7v8

The important thing to remember is that your tithe always goes to the storehouse, your local church.

Offerings are given over and above your tithe.

Communion (Breaking Bread)

We must judge ourselves before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Communion is the time when we remember what Christ did for us on the cross to remind us of our covenant with God.

We take the bread as symbolic of His body, to provide health and healing for our bodies and our souls, and the abundant life that Jesus came to bring us. We take the grape juice symbolic of His blood for remission of our sins.

1 Corinthians 11v23-26

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Fulfilling of the Ministry

Every believer should be part of a local Church. This means committing yourself to the local church and includes filling in a membership form.

Ps. Lester Holland