2021: The Year of the Local Church

detail of the columns in the saint peter basilicas facade at the vatican

The Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice. What we believe about the church must come from Scripture. If we study God’s Word, and seek the guidance of His Holy Spirit, we will discover His design for the ideal church.

In Matthew 16, the Lord Jesus said, “I will build my church.” The word translated church is very significant. It means “called out assembly” and is never used in the Bible to describe a denomination or national church. 

The local church is a group of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together to carry out the Great Commission. 

In Matthew 16:13, the Lord Jesus asked His disciples when He came to the coast of Caesarea Philippi, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” Someone answered in verse fourteen, “Some say that thou are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

The Lord Jesus asked His disciples in verse fifteen, “But whom say ye that I am?” Simon Peter stepped forward and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Lord Jesus took that statement and said in verse eighteen, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” His church is His called-out assembly.

The Bible teaches us that the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” The Bible says in I Timothy 3:15-16, 

“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. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

Often people assign some responsibility to the church that is not a biblical assignment. Using the very words of Scripture, the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Our world willingly trades truth for tolerance. Millions refuse to have any fixed point of reference. The local church is to be “the pillar and the ground of the truth.” Everything that occurs in the meeting of the ideal church – standards, praying, singing, and preaching – should have to pass the same biblical test. The fixed point of reference is the Word of God. 

In I Peter 1:16, the Lord said, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Many people are frightened by this, but it is not something a true follower of Christ should fear. Every personal standard I have, every act of my life, should come out of a heart’s desire to live a holy life. The church must teach this truth to the next generation.

Never before has the need for true, biblical churches ever been greater. We are living in perilous times. God’s people must be “speaking the truth in love.”This moment in history is NOT for the faint-hearted. When our churches are stronger, our families are stronger, our communities are stronger, and our nation is stronger. Let us make 2021 the year of the local church!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9