Hi, my name is Renee Evans, senior leader at Bethel Austin and I’d like to welcome you to God Today. I want to talk a little bit today about the importance of being planted in the local church. Now, God didn’t just design the church as a good idea to gather believers, but He knew that there was power in the fellowship of believers. That word fellowship can actually be interpreted as koinonia. And that word means unity, participation, but it also means in the Bible, the Strong’s Bible dictionary, it means a cementing together by the Holy Spirit.
When we come together in the local church, we are not just coming together to sing songs. We’re not just coming together to pray. We’re not just coming together to hear a good word. We are coming together and as we do, we are allowing the Holy Spirit to cement us together with fellow believers. It is not just a good idea to be a part of a local church. It is actually a life-giving design that the Lord created.
I want to just read really quickly Psalms 92:13. It is my favorite verse of all time. And one of the reasons that it’s such a dear verse to my heart is because it was so applicable to me. When I first got saved, when I was 21 years old, I was half in the world and half in the church for about six months. I just was living this double life. When I wasn’t at church, I wasn’t at church. When I was, I was fully present, I was fully there, but it’s like when Sunday finished that church service didn’t affect the rest of my week. It wasn’t until I really began this personal relationship with the Lord, until He dropped this Scripture into my spirit and He said, “Renee, when you fully decide to plant yourself in the church, when you take that one foot of compromise out of the world and put it into the church and when you fully meet Me in this place, then I will transform your life.”
That is exactly what happened to me as a new believer. I am convinced that I would not be where I am today had it not been for the local church. So in Psalms 92:13, it says “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of their God. They shall still bear fruit in old age and they shall be fresh and flourishing to declare that the Lord is upright. He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” I don’t know about you, but I want to bear fruit in my old age. I want to run my race well. I don’t want to just survive this life. I want to thrive.
Can I tell you as a senior pastor, the healthiest people that I come across in the ministry and within the church are those who are fully committed to being planted in the local church. Can I tell you that being planted in the local church isn’t always fun? Can I tell you that you’re going to disagree with people in the church? You are going to come across people who have broken. You are going to be hurt by people in the church. It’s just going to happen. It’s a part of life. We live in a fallen world and none of us are perfect, but you know what happens when we commit to putting our roots deep down into the local church is that we get refined and we get sharpened.
As we stand next to our brothers and sisters, and as we allow the Holy Spirit to cement us together, then opinions will not shake us. Disagreements will not shake us. Instead of rallying around a thing or a passion or even a sporting team or community, we are rallying around the living God. We are rallying around the living God and the Holy Spirit cements us together. So that means that we can have diversity and it means we can have differences of opinion. And yet He still is creating us into this family, into this bride of Christ.
Can I encourage you? I love streaming services on TV. I love it. I listen to sermons all the time and I’m so thankful for technology. I am so thankful I can listen to my favorite preachers and pastors without leaving my home. I’m so thankful, but I’m going to tell you this. It does not replace the role of the local church in your life. It does not. You can feed and it’s a beautiful supplement, but you should be planted in the house of the Lord if you want your life to flourish.
So I want to encourage you. Like I said, sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Sometimes we come across pain and hurt, but when you endeavor to plant your life within a local church, you are choosing to thrive. You are choosing to bear fruit in your old age. God is going to bless that. He is going to bless that commitment that you have made in Jesus’ name. The church is the beautiful plan of Christ. It is beautiful. It is hard sometimes, but it is the most glorious, most beautiful thing when the Holy Spirit is free and alive within a church and there are people who love one another and are there for one another. It causes us to thrive in our lives and not just survive.
I want to pray for you and just bless you. Lord, I thank You that as every single person watching endeavors to plant their life and put their roots down within a local family, that You will bless them with fellowship, that You will bless them with life, and that You will bless them to thrive and not just survive. I thank you in Jesus’ name that you will cause blessing to come upon them as they choose to be in fellowship with Your children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.