Print Sermon

These sermon manuscripts and videos now go out to about 1,500,000 computers in over 215 countries every year at www.sermonsfortheworld.com. Hundreds of others watch the videos on YouTube, but they soon leave YouTube and come to our website. YouTube feeds people to our website. The sermon manuscripts are given in 36 languages to about 120,000 computers each month. The sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted, so preachers can use them without our permission. Please click here to learn how you can make a monthly donation to help us in this great work of spreading the Gospel to the whole world, including the Muslim and Hindu nations.

Whenever you write to Dr. Hymers always tell him what country you live in, or he cannot answer you. Dr. Hymers’ e-mail is rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net.




THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, August 30, 2015

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).


Some people may say that I talk about the local church too much. But I don’t think so. I think the old-fashioned Baptist emphasis on the local church is exactly what this generation needs. We have heard many confusing ideas on church growth that haven’t helped us. We need to go back to the old-time Baptist teaching on the local church. Nothing else can give us stability in these days of confusion and apostasy.

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

What is this verse talking about? I’ll tell you what it’s not talking about first. It’s not talking about a denomination. The church it is talking about was not the Methodist denomination, or the Presbyterian denomination, or the Catholic denomination. There were no denominations when this verse was given! Second, it is not talking about a church building. In the first century there were no church buildings. Read the New Testament and you will see that quickly enough. Today, when people talk about a church, they are often talking about a building. They say, “Isn’t that a beautiful church?” They are speaking of a building. But there weren’t any church buildings when this verse was written. It couldn’t be talking about a building. People met in homes to conduct Christian services in the first century! So our text couldn’t be referring to a church building! Third, it is not talking about the “universal church.” There is no thought of that in this verse. It is plainly talking about real people, who really came together, in a real place, in a local church! It was known as “the church which was at Jerusalem” (Acts 8:1).

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

It does not mean that people were added to a denomination, or to a “church” building, or that they were united to the “universal church.” No! It simply means what it says.  The Lord added to the church at Jerusalem “such as should be saved”! It means what it says! It says what it means!

The word “church” is the English translation of the Greek word “ekklesia.” It is a compound word, joining the preposition “ek” (out) and the verb “kaleo” (to call), meaning literally “the called out ones” (cf. The Criswell Study Bible, note on Ephesians 5:23).

Dr. W. A. Criswell pointed out that “a ‘church’ is a group of people who, having been called out of sin and unbelief to faith in Christ, have given witness to that faith through believer’s baptism and banded themselves together into a voluntary fellowship” (ibid.). That’s a good definition. The church is a group of people who have been saved and have come together to form a fellowship group. That’s what Acts 2:47 is talking about!

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

That’s the reason I often say, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home to Jesus and be saved.” Am I confusing coming to church with coming to Christ? Not at all! I say repeatedly that coming to Christ and coming to church are two separate things. If you come to church without coming to Christ you will go to Hell! Only Christ can save you! I often quote Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” We make that very clear. Salvation and church membership are two separate things. Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Why be lost? Come home – to Christ! That motto we use makes it very clear that salvation and church membership are two different things.

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (Acts 2:47).

Here are three simple points I will bring out this morning:

I. First, coming to church will heal your loneliness.

You have to understand who I’m talking to. I’m talking to you! This goes out word-for-word on our website – all over the world – in 32 languages. There may be people reading this who don’t feel lonely. I don’t know. I do know that most young people feel lonely today.

Our church does a lot of evangelism – especially on the campuses of several secular colleges, and other places where young people gather, in the Los Angeles area. This church is full of college and high school kids this morning as a result – and I’m talking to you! I know you are lonely like I was before I got into church. All young people are – and so are you at - least some of the time. And I’m saying that God doesn’t want you to be lonely. In the Garden of Eden God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God created Eve out of Adam’s side so he would not be alone (cf. Genesis 2:18, 21-22). God did not want the man to be alone. And God doesn’t want you to be alone. That’s one of the reasons that God created this local New Testament Baptist church – so you wouldn’t be lonely.

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

A Chinese girl who has only been with us a few weeks wrote me this e-mail. Her English isn't pefect yet, but she spoke from her heart. 

Dr. Hymers, your preaching is wonderful! You teach me to trust Christ and be saved! You make me know the truth! I want to hear more on your preaching! I want to come to this church forever! I am praying in tears for our church, I pray that the Holy Spirit will come to our church! I’m also praying for you to be better and better in your preaching!!! This church is really my second home! Actually this will be my main home! The home I have been searching for a long time!

Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!!!

So, we say, “Why be lonely? Come home – to church!” That girl heard me and she comes to church every time the door is open!

Are we wrong to say that? Someone may say, “Don’t tell these kids that. They may come to church for the wrong reason.” Well, I’d rather have you come for the wrong reason than not to come at all! You may very well be saved if you keep coming! Then you will come for the right reason!

If coming because you are lonely is the “wrong reason,” then I came for the wrong reason myself. When I was thirteen years old the people next door invited me to church. I came because I was lonely. I kept coming because I was lonely. Later I was converted. What’s wrong with that? Nothing is wrong with that!

Let’s make this church a happy place! Let’s make it the happiest place on earth! Let’s sing the great gospel songs and hymns! Let’s preach old-time gospel sermons – and shout “Amen!” Let’s sit down and eat dinner (Not lunch! Lunch is something you carry in a sack!). Let’s have “dinner on the church grounds,” like the old-timers did! Let’s have old-fashioned fellowship. Let’s sing that song, “Come Home to Dinner.” It’s the third stanza of the last song on your song sheet! Sing it!

The big city people just don’t seem to care;
They’ve little to offer and no love to spare.
But come home to Jesus and you’ll be aware,
There’s food on the table and friendship to share!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!
   (“Come Home to Dinner” by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
      to the tune of “On the Wings of a Dove.”)

Many young people came to have “dinner on the grounds” at the old-time evangelistic meetings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – when God sent down His power and those kids who came to eat dinner stayed and heard a preacher pound the pulpit and wave his Bible in the air – and shout the gospel of Christ. We need that today! Jesus said,

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in” (Luke 14:23).

Yes, coming to church will heal your loneliness. Why be lonely? Come home – to church! Sing the chorus again!

Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

II. But, second, coming to church will not save you.

One old evangelist used to say, “Going to church won’t make you a Christian any more than going into a garage will make you into an automobile.” He was right on that point. He was talking to people who thought they were saved because they went to church every Sunday. But there aren’t many people like that here in Los Angeles today. Very few “modern” people in our city think like that any more. They have other false hopes of salvation today.

But there may be someone here this morning who thinks that, like a lost church kid. You may say in your heart, “I’m coming to church now. I’m OK.” Oh, no! You must not think that! Coming to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going into a garage makes you into an automobile! Someone heard me say that and said, “Then I won’t come to church.” That is an idea that comes from Satan! Being in church won’t save you – but being in church will put you under Gospel preaching, and make it more likely that you will be saved! You have to come to church to hear Gospel preaching!

Christ said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). You must experience the new birth to be saved.

Salvation is by grace alone. No human work can save you – not even coming to church. The only way to be converted is by coming directly to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone. You must come to Jesus and believe in Him with all your heart, “for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10). You are converted by coming to Jesus. Church attendance alone will not save you.

Our text says,

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

You are only really “added to the church” by being saved. And you are saved only by trusting Jesus.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Sing the third stanza and chorus of “Come Home to Dinner.”

The big city people just don’t seem to care;
They’ve little to offer and no love to spare.
But come home to Jesus and you’ll be aware,
There’s food on the table and friendship to share!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

III. Third, coming to church will put you under gospel preaching.

The Apostle Paul said,

“How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).

It was Peter’s preaching that God used to get people saved on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37-41). Then they were added to the church (Acts 2:41, 47).

“There were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

They were added to the church by being saved under Peter’s preaching.

I believe in preaching the gospel! I preach the gospel twice every Sunday in this church. I know that gospel preaching is out of fashion in most churches today. But I could care less about being “in fashion!” I have got to preach to get you young people saved! I don’t think we will ever see revival if we don’t get back to preaching the old-time gospel in our services every Sunday!

Paul said to the church at Corinth,

"We preach Christ crucified” (I Corinthians 1:23).

Others may give a story to entertain the people. Others may give long expositions of Scripture. Some may give 15-minute “inspirational messages.” “But we preach Christ crucified” (I Corinthians 1:23). Here at the Baptist Tabernacle we still “preach Christ crucified” (I Corinthians 1:23). “But we preach Christ crucified.” No matter what others do, we will keep right on preaching the gospel every Sunday!

Won’t that make the people shallow? It sure hasn’t made our people shallow! We have some of the finest Christians I have ever known in this church. Most of them were converted under my gospel preaching, every Sunday morning and Sunday night. They were fed by my gospel preaching, Sunday morning and Sunday night. They grew into tremendous Christians by my gospel preaching, Sunday morning and Sunday night.

Our deacon, Mr. Griffith, was saved under my gospel preaching – and is a tremendous man of God. Our assistant pastor, Dr. Chan, was saved under my gospel preaching, and he is a tremendous man of God. Dr. Cagan, our associate pastor, came here shortly after his conversion, and has spent 38 years listening to me preach the gospel every Sunday morning and every Sunday night. He is one of the best Christians you will ever meet. Other than Dr. Cagan and Mr. Prudhomme, every one of the leaders in our church was saved under my gospel preaching. They have heard nothing but gospel sermons, Sunday morning and Sunday night, for their whole Christian lives. They are terrific Christians. They became strong Christians under old-fashioned gospel preaching!

No, gospel preaching will not make you shallow – unless it is shallow gospel preaching! Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones preached the gospel every Sunday night at his great church in London – and often on Sunday morning as well. He is considered one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. I heard a tape of one of his gospel sermons not long ago. It was absolutely terrific! Electrifying! That kind of gospel preaching will not only be used by God to convert you – it will also build you into a strong Christian.

Gospel preaching will get you saved, and will build you up as a Christian, just like it did in Bible times. Every sermon in the Book of Acts, except one, was a gospel sermon.  The Apostle Paul said,

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

Yes, come home to church. But also listen to the preaching and come to Jesus. Repent and trust Jesus Christ. His Blood will cleanse you from all sin! He died on the Cross to pay for your sin. He rose from the dead to give you eternal life! Come to Him and trust Him - and be saved!  Listen to me preach, as those people did at Pentecost, and Jesus Christ will save you also! Sing the last song on your song sheet, “Come Home to Dinner.”

Come home to Jesus, the table is spread;
Come home to dinner and let us break bread.
Jesus is with us, so let it be said,
Come home to dinner and let us break bread!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

The fellowship’s sweet and your friends will be here;
We’ll sit at the table, our hearts filled with cheer.
Jesus is with us, so let it be said,
Come home to dinner and let us break bread!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

The big city people just don’t seem to care;
They’ve little to offer and no love to spare.
But come home to Jesus and you’ll be aware,
There’s food on the table and friendship to share!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!

Come home to Jesus, the table is spread;
Come home to dinner and you will be fed.
Your friends will be waiting, so let it be said,
Come home to dinner and let us break bread!
Come home to the church and eat, Gather for fellowship sweet;
It’ll be quite a treat, When we sit down to eat!
   (“Come Home to Dinner” by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.,
      to the tune of “On the Wings of a Dove”).

Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer.

If this sermon blessed you please send an e-mail to Dr. Hymers and
tell him. Please also tell him what country you are writing from. Dr.
Hymers’ e-mail is at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net (click here). You can
write to Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhsermons.com or www.realconversion.com.
Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here) – or you may
write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

These sermon manuscripts are not copyrighted. You may use them without Dr. Hymers’
permission. However, all of Dr. Hymers’ video messages are copyrighted
and can only be used by permission.

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Acts 2:41-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” (by John Fawcett, 1740-1817).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).

(Acts 8:1; Ephesians 5:23; Acts 16:31)

I.   First, coming to church will heal your loneliness,
Genesis 2:18; Luke 14:23.

II.  Second, coming to church will not save you, John 3:7;
Matthew 11:28; Romans 10:10; Acts 16:31.

III. Third, coming to church will put you under gospel preaching,
Romans 10:14; Acts 2:41; I Corinthians 1:23; 2:2.