Wednesday, August 31, 2011
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 KJV).
“The house of God” of today’s Scripture does not refer to a church building, but the group of saints that meets in that building. “Church” in the Bible always refers to a group of God’s people, never to a stone or wooden structure. God designed the local church so we could have an assembly to fellowship with like-minded believers in Christ. Today’s Scripture encourages Timothy (and us) to gather with the saints.
While in Troas (northwestern Turkey), the Apostle Paul fellowshipped with the saints, “Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus” (Acts 20:4). Verse 7 says, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”
Notice that first-century saints fellowshipped by eating a meal together and listening to Bible preaching. Interestingly, Paul’s preaching “until midnight” caused Eutychus to literally fall asleep, falling from the third loft to his death (Paul raised this “church sleeper” in verses 10-12)!
Since we are under grace and not law (Romans 6:14,15), we are not obligated to go to church (going to church is not Sabbath day keeping). We go to church willingly. Why? God designed the local church to “perfect” (mature) the saints and “edify” (build up) the Body of Christ with sound Bible teaching so they can then share what they learned with the lost (Ephesians 4:12).
If you get an opportunity to meet with the grace brethren, make every attempt to attend. You will be greatly edified and encouraged by hearing some sound preaching from the rightly divided Word and seeing God’s grace and Word working in the lives of others!