UNTO THE CHURCHES
“And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:” Galatians 1:2
One of the greatest discoveries of the Christian life is learning of the importance and role of the Lord’s churches. Paul is writing this epistle as he did numerous others “unto the churches.” It is interesting that people, who claim to love the Bible and live by the Bible, and enjoy the teachings of these same epistles, discount the significance of the very institution to which God gave the revelation.
There are reasons Paul wrote “unto the churches.” There is much to be pondered and appreciated in the simple statement, “unto the churches.” Why did Paul not write his epistles to individual Christians and post them in a public forum so that believers, independent of any congregation, could find and read them? The answer is simple. God’s plan, according to the Scripture, is to place His children in local congregations for accountability, growth, and service. Paul wrote to the churches because that is where true Christians should be, assembling and worshipping in the place of God’s leading.
This is the pattern for New Testament spiritual teaching and growth. Jesus promised to meet with His churches when they assembled together. In the Book of Revelation, we see Jesus walking among the candlesticks, which are the churches, and giving His Word to the churches. The churches of the New Testament were independent, local, organized, autonomous, and assembling bodies of believers. Jesus loves His churches. The Bible says, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25). And in love, He speaks to the churches words of comfort and sometimes words of reproof.
The great responsibility of getting the message of the Gospel to the world was given to His churches. The churches, through their membership and ministries, are to preach, disciple, train, and commission workers. As these churches see people come to Christ through their missionary activities, they in turn establish other indigenous churches, which are to do the same thing. God gifts each of us individually to serve and minister through our church. What a blessing it is to be a member of one of the Lord’s churches! God’s Spirit leads us and adds us to the body of Christ of His choosing, and uniquely uses us for His glory.