A Supplement Not a Substitute – I Thessalonians 3:6

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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I got a call from an eighty-eight year old woman who had found one of our church tracts with my phone number on the back. She had come to grasp the basics of right division. She saw distinctions between the Body of Christ in Paul’s letters in contrast to the rest of Scripture written to and about Israel. However, she was adamant that she did not want to attend church, establish relationships with other believers, or have any expectations placed upon her. After a forty minute conversation, she asked: “Am I wrong to not want those things, and to only want to do my own thing separate from everybody else?” I said: “Since you asked me the question, the answer is: ‘Yes, that is wrong.’”

It is a blessed thing for us to have so much good Bible teaching available in our day through books, videos, and, in some cases, even on television. Thank God for these good avenues of ministry. However, we should never lose sight of the fact that every single letter written by the Apostle Paul was written to a local church, or the leader of a local church. God’s primary method of building up the believer, grounding them in sound doctrine, giving them regular encouragement and prayer support, having a place to regularly serve Christ, and a place to point others led to Christ, is through the local church. God never intended for believers of any dispensation to be isolated from these local and regular means of edification. This was true even with believers in Israel’s program. Those with a kingdom hope in the Book of Acts always gathered in groups and developed close bonds with one another (Acts 2:44-47; 4:23-33; Hebrews 10:25). The Apostle John likewise addressed seven different kingdom churches in Revelation 1:19- 3:22. Notice also when Paul addresses the saints in I Thessalonians 3:6, he rejoices in their mutual love for one another, saying: “…that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you.” These kinds of close bonds between believers should be our experience too as we interact in a local grace church.

Bible study on television is no substitute for the loving, encouraging relationships found in a local church. It should only be a supplement. Especially if you have a grace church within driving distance, you should make the decision to end your isolation and consistently attend. Fully commit to that assembly without delay.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."