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Focus on America

You need a local church

The very heart of our Fellowship is the local church. The Church is the only thing Jesus said He would build and then come back for (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:27). Our Assemblies of God national and district offices are irrelevant unless their efforts help build the local church.

There has been a loss of respect for the local church in our society. The need has never been greater for strong and thriving local bodies of believers — churches that are loving, caring and accessible. The local church meets needs that no other entity can meet.

Three assertions are often made to try to minimize the importance of church involvement.

I can live my Christian life at home as well as I can at church.
That is equivalent to saying, "I can fill my own teeth and take out my own appendix."

The Bible stresses the need for fellowship, teaching, correction and encouragement that come when we meet regularly with other believers in the local church. Hebrews 10:25 admonishes: "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing … " (NIV). Our spiritual development cannot be healthy unless we are part of the family. None of us will ever become all that God wants us to be if we live as spiritual hermits. Perversion, error and a host of other negative things happen when we willfully separate ourselves from the church.

There are hypocrites in the church.
Certainly. Where would you prefer they go? We believe that "whosoever will" may come (Revelation 22:17), and that includes hypocrites. Only a church of godly people can help a hypocrite get his or her life in order with God.

Why should we fear the presence of a fake Christian? Let the hypocrites come and feel unconditional love; let them hear the Word of God; let them experience the convicting power of the Holy Spirit at work. Let them choose either to leave voluntarily or repent.

All the church wants is money.
The best financial investment one can ever make is in the kingdom of God through the local church. Paying tithes, giving to missions and helping people who are in need have given me an abundant return. I have riches — a godly family, good health, adequate food, clothing and shelter, plus daily blessings too numerous to count.

Thank God for instituting the church. I need it and so do you.

— Charles Hackett

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