You Can’t Have God Without The Local Church
Ephesians 4:8Therefore He says:“ When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
The first thing Christ did when He ascended to Heaven after He defeated the grave was give gifts to mankind. These gifts were specific, tailored to the most fundamental human needs. He goes on to tell us what the gifts specifically are. In verses 11 through 16 we discover the gifts are what are known as the fivefold ministry offices. To say it more simply, they are 5 forms in which God ministers to, equips, and protects His people. As we understand today, the place where we assemble together is the only place where these gifts benefit us.
It has become very common in today’s society to forsake coming together as the church because we are distracted by other things. In a world where there is so much going on and so much to distract us, people find themselves finding every reason to stop coming together. They will use every excuse known to man to justify this, however what they fail to see is there is only One who matters. This failure keeps them from partaking of the gifts Jesus thought so important to give to us. God does not give gifts haphazardly. His gifts are purposeful and direct with incredibly important reasons. One of the biggest reasons is found in Ephesians 4:14. This scripture talks specifically about people, God’s people, being deceived. We see this again in 1 Timothy 4:1.
People are being deceived by outward forces. This deception comes through demons usually working through other people. People who aren’t taught the Word or who won’t listen to the Word end up falling into deception. The worst part is, they don’t even know it!
As a pastor, one of my primary jobs is to protect the flock through feeding them sound Biblical doctrine. As stated many times throughout scripture, I am to feed, point out falsities, and lead them in the direction of God, helping them find God’s plan for their life through the feeding of the Word. God’s Word tells us in Matthew 9:36 that people without a shepherd are scattered and faint. In other words they are weary, without direction, and prone to be victim of attack. If you understood the job of a shepherd you would understand the significance in all of this and why God chose this analogy.
The shepherd is with the sheep continually. In fact, it is well understood that sheep, out by themselves, are in extreme danger. We are shown this in scripture time after time after time. The sad truth is, as sheep, people generally don’t see this until it is too late. The best thing God ever did after salvation was give me a pastor and a church. He gave me one that wasn’t afraid to speak the truth even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Though at times hard to hear, when my pastor preached truth and I listened, my life always changed. I went from looking for answers to always finding them. My pastor taught and still teaches me, the most valuable thing since salvation. That is, how to hear from God!
Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Without hearing God, it is impossible to follow Him. It is impossible to do any of this without what God has given us to be able to do so. Ephesians 4:16 says we are joined and knit into the Body by what every part does. Jesus said many times, he who has ears to hear let him hear. Well, isn’t that what ears are for, hearing, and mouths for speaking? If an ear can’t hear because it’s nowhere near the mouth, then the body attached to that ear is in big, big trouble.
Jesus made us one Body for a reason. We are His Body and we are meant to be joined together, not seperate. Make up your mind to not be deceived by anyone in life, but especially by yourself. The Word is our answer, it always is. Put yourself in the place to hear what God has to say and keep yourself from being destroyed.
Psalms 92:13 Those who are planted (rooted, not moved from) in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.