We previously saw how the church is the Body of Christ and how the believers are all the many members of the one Body. In this Bible study we see the local church.
In addition to what is below, we highly encourage you to open your Bible and also read Matthew chapter 18 – the whole chapter.
Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if your brother sins against you, go, reprove him between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to hear the church also, let him be to you just like the Gentile and the tax collector.
The church revealed in 16:18 is the universal church, which is the unique Body of Christ, whereas the church revealed here is the local church, the expression of the unique Body of Christ in a certain locality. Chapter 16 concerns the building of the universal church, whereas this chapter concerns the practice of the local church. In both of its aspects the church represents the kingdom of the heavens, having authority to bind and to loose. (footnote for Matthew 18:17 in the Recovery Version of the Bible).
The Local churches in the New Testament
Romans 16:1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a deaconess of the church which is in Cenchrea,
1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints, with all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, who is theirs and ours:
2 Corinthians 8:1 Furthermore we make known to you, brothers, the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
Galatians 1:2 And all the brothers who are with me, to the churches of Galatia:
Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
Revelation 1:11 Saying, What you see write in a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamos and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.
Acts 13:1 Now there were in Antioch, in the local church, prophets and teachers: Barnabas and Simeon, who was called Niger, and Lucius the Cyrenian, and Manaen, the foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church and had prayed with fastings, they committed them to the Lord into whom they had believed.
Titus 1:5 For this cause I left you in Crete, that you might set in order the things which I have begun that remain and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you:
Being like Little Children
Matthew 18:1 In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of the heavens?
Mt 18:4 He therefore who will humble himself like this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.
Questions for Fellowship
1. Using the New Testament verses above, (or other verses), and the attached readings, can you explain how the Lord is practically fulfilling 1 Corinthians 12:25, “That there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same care for one another”?
2. Who in your local church can you go to if you have a problem you need help with?
Readings from Ministry Samples
The Church in the New Testament