The local church is the physical expression of the body of Jesus Christ in a specific location. The church is described in many different ways in the Bible. The most explicit description used is “the body of Christ”.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Romans 7:4
Jesus came to the earth with a definite purpose. He did not just stumble upon His destiny or go through the early years of His life looking for meaning or what it was that He was suppose to be doing. From the age of thirteen He was keenly aware that He was on a mission.
As a young man, He was taken to the temple by Joseph and Mary, His earthly parents. While He was there He engaged the doctors of law and the religious teachers in discussions about the spirit and letter of the biblical writings. They were confounded by His knowledge and understanding of the mysteries contained in the books. He shared insights that no one had ever shared before.
Once His parents discovered that He was not with them, they went to look for him. When they found Him they asked what He was doing and why He had left their side.
He responded immediately that , “He must be about His Father’s business”. This unequivocally demonstrated that He was cognizant of His place and purpose in this world.
Years later He entered into the synagogue and stood before all the people that were present to declare to them that He had come to fulfill the ancient promises contained in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah.
He had come to give sight to the blind, to set free those that were held captive, to lift up the oppressed, and to heal the broken hearted. In other places He made it clear that His work included revealing who the true and only living God is. He came to preach the good news of the kingdom of God and to call all who would listen to repent and enter into God’s kingdom.
When He ascended to Heaven He did not abandon the work that He had begun. He commissioned Hid followers to be faithful in carrying the message and the work that He started to the farthest reaches of the world. He explained to them that they would not have to go about this work all by themselves , but that He would send His Spirit to indwell each and every one that would receive Him.
This commissioned group of disciples were to assemble on a regular basis for the purpose of continuing their growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ. As they became more like Christ then as a by-product of this transformation they were equipped to enter into the world and perform the same kind of works of compassion that Christ modeled.
These works of compassion are services perfumed for specific people in specific places. They are not just empty words or good intentions, but actual ministries.
The local church, in the modern era, has always had a heart for helping children.
During the late eighteenth century children were used a cheap laborers for factories in England. As a result of this the common child never had opportunity to learn about the Lord of the value of life that comes form an understanding of being made in the image of God.
A layman from a church decided that this was not acceptable and decided that he would begin a ministry to help raise the status of young people. The ministry that he started was called the Sunday School.
The Sunday school grew from just a few boys meeting for Scriptural education. It became a world wide phenomenon that included people from all ages.
The Sunday school systematically teaches the Word of God, provides opportunity for fellowship, and gives people the chance to make friendships based around the common desire to become like Christ.
If you have never been to a Sunday school, take time to find one near you.