A Pattern for the Local Church
Today is our annual meeting, so I think it’s entirely appropriate to speak on the topic of the local church.
Acts 2:41-47 gives us a pattern for the church. What should a church be doing? How should it operate? What are its priorities?
This passage shows us how the early church functioned, and it gives us a pattern or goal to follow today.
Quote: [This passage] present[s] an ideal for the Christian community which it must always strive for, constantly return to, and discover anew if it is to have that unity of spirit and purpose essential for an effective witness.
We should be striving to follow the pattern set by the early church. We should have the same unity, purpose, and witness that we see evident in the church when it began.
Of course, all of this hinges on a proper understanding of the word “church.” There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding regarding that word. So what does it mean?
- The Greek noun translated “church” in the NT is ekklesia, meaning “a called-out assembly or congregation.”
- Of the 114 times ekklesia is used in the New Testament, the overwhelming majority (about 100) refer to a local church. g., the church at Galatia, Corinth, Rome, etc. By far, the NT emphasis is on the local church.
- The NT church is a particular kind of assembly. A local church is . . .
- A group of baptized believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41)
- Sharing a common faith or body of truth (Acts 2:42, Jude 3)
- Observing the ordinances of baptism (Matt 28:19) and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42)
- Carrying out the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)
- Organized with the offices of pastor and deacon (Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 3:1-13)
- Meeting regularly (Heb 10:25, Acts 20:7) for worship, instruction, fellowship, evangelism, and service.
Paul calls the church “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The church is the center of God’s program for today. Anyone who claims to be a Christian, but is not engaged in a local NT church, is seriously out of order. Every Christian ought to be a part of a local church.
Now that we know what a church is, let’s consider the pattern of/for the church, and let’s think about how well our church is following this pattern.
 Polhill, Acts