Sermons

The Local Church

Sun, Jun 20, 2021
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Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. - Acts 7:58-60 (ESV) Christ’s final command was to go into all the world. Similar to the scattering at the tower of Babel, there was a catalyst which scattered the true believers into the uttermost parts of the earth. The persecution of Christians, which began shortly after Christ's crucifixion began the church's movement into other nations. A key event of this persecution was the stoning of Stephen. Saul, who became Paul, was involved in Stephen's execution and became the central figure in the transition of the gospel being proclaimed among the Gentiles. The propagation of local churches throughout the world was Paul's ministry. Paul set these churches up to be self-governing. He did not rule over them. As Lynn taught last week, Christ has always been the Head of the Church. The local church is truly the greatest institution ever created. Christ is not only the Head of the Church, He is its Founder. This Sunday, we will explore the origin and purpose of this great institution. We will see how the broader church, which is the group of true believers for all time, is manifested, empowered and grown through local, visible, autonomous churches. As you prepare your hearts for the service this week, please take a few moments to read through chapters 2 and 3 of the Book of the Revelation. Notice the different characteristics, personalities, strengths and weaknesses of these seven churches.
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