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WHY YOU NEED TO JOIN A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, February 24, 2002


"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

The main problem young people have today is loneliness. Your parents are at work. When they come home they don't talk much. You go to school and talk to the kids, but they aren't there for you a few months later. And I believe that most young people are deeply lonely. There is an aching emptiness, inside you, and no superficial "friendship" seems to fill it.

God gave three institutions for man's happiness: the home, the government, and the church. In our day of secularization, only the government is operating as it should. The home is dysfunctional, and the church is not attended.

I believe that the greatest need young people have is for the local church. You young, college-age people are no different from the young people we read about in the Book of Acts. You may say, "I don't know much about religion." Neither did they. You say, "I wasn't raised in the church." The young people we read about in the Book of Acts were raised in non-Christian homes, in a pagan environment. Yet they found something in the local, New Testament churches that they couldn't find anywhere else.

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

I'm going to give you three reasons you need this church.

1. To get over loneliness.

2. To get saved.

3. To get equipped.

I. First, you need this New Testament local church to get over loneliness.

That was one of the big attractions of the churches in the Book of Acts. They had tremendous "fellowship" in those churches. The main Greek word translated "fellowship" in English is "koinonia." It means "communion, fellowship, sharing in common" (Vine), and "mutual kindness" (Ellicott). It comes from a word that means "a sharer, an associate, a companion" (Strong, 2844), a "partner" (Strong, 2842).

You will not find real "fellowship" anywhere in the world except in a New Testament church like this one. Here you find "mutual kindness," "companionship," and real "partners."

And this is one of the great reasons the churches grew in the Book of Acts:

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

One of the main reasons people poured into the churches was because they were friendly and warm, places of fellowship.

"And they continued stedfastly in…fellowship" (Acts 2:42).

Matthew Henry gives this rich exposition of the word "fellowship" in Acts 2:42:

They not only had a mutual affection to each other, but a great deal of mutual conversation with each other; they were much together. When they withdrew from [the lost Roman world], they did not [become] hermits, but were very intimate with one another, and took all occasions to meet; whenever you saw one disciple, you would see more, like birds of a feather. See how these Christians love one another. They are concerned for one another, sympathized with one another, and heartily espoused one another's interests…They were with "one accord"; not only no discord nor strife, but a great deal of holy love among them… (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1991, volume 6, p. 23).

The thing that drew people to join the churches was the warmth, love, and friendship in them. And that is exactly what you need today.

Now you can't find this warmth and love in the Catholic church. The people go in and come out - and don't even know each other. You can't find it in some Pentecostal church or new-evangelical church, where the people come and go without knowing each other. Only in an old-fashioned Baptist church like this can you find the love, the warmth, and the real friendship you need! That's why we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!" Come back tonight at 6:30!

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

You need this local, New Testament church to cure your loneliness.

II. Second, you need this New Testament local church to get saved.

Don't get me wrong. Joining this church will not save you. You must be joined to Jesus to be saved. But God has ordained that local churches like this be used to get people like you saved. It is through the preaching of a pastor in a local church like this that the vast majority of people get saved.

I have often asked people where they got converted. For every one who says they got saved through a tract or a religious program, there are literally hundreds who got saved through the preaching in a local church. In fact, there is such a great disproportion in numbers, that if you begin checking this out, you will see that more than two hundred people get saved through the preaching in a local church for every one that gets saved through some other means. Many people underrate the local church in this matter of evangelism because they don't ask a few questions - to find out the means God uses to get most people converted. People give money to some para-church organization, when their own local New Testament church gets the job done two hundred times better!

People were added to the churches in the Book of Acts as they got saved. They "followed up" on the people first and then got them saved.

"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

This principle of getting people into the local church as they were being saved is clearly seen in Acts 2:47,

"And the Lord added to the church [at Jerusalem] daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).

We could translate this verse in modern English this way, "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."

The best place to get saved is in a Bible-believing church, just like this one! Take the example of the Apostle Paul. He was awakened to the reality of Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6). But Christ told Paul to go to the church at Damascus, "And it shall be told thee what thou must do" (Acts 9:6). When Paul got to Damascus, Ananias, the pastor of the church, led him into conversion and baptized him (Acts 9:17-19). "Then was Saul [later Paul] certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus" (Acts 9:19). He was saved in church! And Paul preached the gospel in the churches. To the church at Corinth, he said, "We preach Christ crucified" (I Corinthians 1:23). Again, he said,

"For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (I Corinthians 2:2).

Again, he said to the local New Testament church at Corinth,

"I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you…For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:1, 3-4).

Paul preached the gospel in the churches. Naturally, this meant there had to be lost people in the churches for him to preach the gospel to them. There will always be lost people in the services if we bring them in to hear the gospel.

We have brought you here this morning to hear the gospel. And I am preaching the gospel to you right now. I am telling you that Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. I am telling you that Jesus Christ arose physically from the dead. And I am telling you that Christ is alive in Heaven, at this very moment, on the right hand of God. And I am telling you to turn from your sinful life-style, and come to Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Jesus said, "Come unto me…and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). You need this local New Testament church to hear the gospel and get saved. I make no apology for saying that - because it is true!

III. Third, you need this New Testament local church to get equipped.

The Bible tells us that Christ,

"…gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting [equipping] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Christ has given me to this church as a pastor and teacher. He has given teachers like Mr. Griffith, and Dr. Chan, and Dr. Cagan, to teach you how to live the Christian life and how to work for Christ in the local New Testament church.

The local New Testament church is a school. Yes, you come here to cure your loneliness through the fellowship and love of the church. Yes, you come here to listen to the preaching of the gospel and get saved. But then you must keep on coming to church to learn the Bible, and to learn correct Bible doctrine, and to learn how to live as a Christian, and to learn how to minister to other people. So I say, this New Testament church is a school. Of the church at Jerusalem it was said,

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers"

(Acts 2:42).

Come with us and we will do you good! Come with us and you will learn the doctrine of the apostles. Come with us and you will have fellowship that cures your loneliness. Come with us and you will learn to pray! Why be lonely? Come home - to church!

You will learn a lot if you come to church every Sunday. Last Sunday morning I preached on "The Scarlet Thread Through the Bible." If you heard that sermon, you learned about the importance of blood-sacrifice from one end of the Bible to the other. Last Sunday night I preached on "Why President Nixon Was Wrong About Israel." If you heard that sermon, you learned what the Bible says about God's everlasting covenant with Israel and the Jewish people. Those are important lessons from the Bible. You probably would not have known about them if you hadn't come to church last Sunday. On Saturday nights, when we come back from evangelism, Mr. Griffith, one of our deacons, teaches through the Bible, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse. If you come all the way into this church, you will find that it is a school, where you will learn many important things for your life.

So, I say to you this morning, come home to church! Come to Jesus Christ and He will save you! Come into this church and your loneliness will be cured, and you will learn the Bible and you will learn a whole new way of life!


(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Acts 2:42-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Blest Be the Tie That Binds" by John Fawcett (1740-1817).

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

WHY YOU NEED TO JOIN A NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily" (Acts 16:5).

I.   You need this New Testament local church to get over
your loneliness, Acts 2:42.

II.  You need this New Testament local church to get saved,
Acts 2:47; Acts 9:3-6; Acts 9:17-19; I Corinthians 1:23;
I Corinthians 2:2; I Corinthians 15:1, 3-4; John 6:37;
Matthew 11:28.

III. You need this New Testament local church to get equipped,
Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 2:42.