The Local Church Needs to Be Focused on Its Work (Plain Bible Teaching)

Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years

The following is an excerpt from the book, Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years.

The local church needs to be focused on its work. Besides the fact that such “fellowship meals” are unauthorized (as we have already noticed), adding works like this to the church distracts from the God-given work of evangelism, edification, and limited benevolence. When Paul wrote to Timothy about the care for certain widows, he said, “If any woman who is a believer has dependent widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed” (1 Timothy 5:16). Caring for all widows was good. However, Paul said that only certain widows were to be cared for on an ongoing basis by the church. If a widow had family, those family members were to care for her. Why? So that the church would “not be burdened,” because this would distract it from its work of caring for “widows indeed.

A similar principle is found in the record of the early days of the church in Jerusalem. When certain widows were being neglected, the apostles called upon the congregation to select certain men to handle this work. Why could the apostles not help these widows themselves? They said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables” (Acts 6:2). The apostles were charged by Christ to preach (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:20). While it was important that those in need were cared for, it would hinder the apostles’ work for them to do it. This principle applies to the local church. The works of evangelism (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:8) and edification (Ephesians 4:11-16) are ongoing. Placing additional works upon the church which the Lord never authorized the church to do not only violates the New Testament pattern (2 Timothy 1:13), but it also hinders these other works.

You can read more in Plain Bible Teaching: The First Ten Years. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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