IS CHURCH MEMBERSHIP IMPORTANT?
Almost 67 years ago I became a member of the BODY OF CHRIST, I was just 10 years old. The Apostle Paul describes it this way in 2 Cor. 5:17 NKJV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
The AMP N.T. says Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
The MESSAGE says Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!
Paul also describes it this way in Colossians 1:13 NLT. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
There are three words that stand out here NEW CREATION, (NKJV) becoming a Christian is not a renovation job by God, we literally become a totally new creation by the grace of God.
The other word is INGRAFTED (AMP N.T.) we become infused with God Himself, His very DNA changes our lives for ever.
The third word is TRANSFERRED (NLT) OR translated our birth place was the devil’s kingdom, but the moment we are born again there is a total transfer of our lives out of that kingdom into GOD’S KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON.
From that moment we have become members of GOD’S CHURCH, and as Believers we have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Rev. 21:27 NKJV but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The Scriptures clearly indicate that the early church took a record of those who had come to Christ, were baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit, if it was important then I believe it is still important today.
There are no LONE RANGERS in the Body of Christ we MUST identify with a local church.
WHAT DOES CHURCH MEMBERSHIP SIGNIFY? Look at these signs.
- It signifies a church’s endorsement of a person’s salvation
- It signifies an individual’s commitment to grasp hold of another in mutual love and discipleship.
- It signifies a regular responsibility that involves people in each other’s lives for the purpose of the Gospel.
- It signifies an inward love for God and His people.
- It signifies we are willing to be disciplined and are happy to obey those in leadership in the local church. Hebrews 13:17 AMP N.T. Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either]
As a member you are entering into a Covenant relationship with the other members of the church. Probably every local church has some deficiencies because it is made up of imperfect people (like you and me). It has been said “Do not look for a perfect church, as the moment you join it, it will cease to be perfect”!!!!!
I love Psalm 92: 12-15 KJV The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:
he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those that be planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;
they shall be fat and flourishing;
To shew that the Lord is upright:
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Let us pass these verses through the Cross and apply New Covenant principles to these verses.
- Do you want to flourish and be fruitful ? (dates are the sweetest fruit of all, the experts say) v.12
- Do you want deep roots? (Lebanon cedars have very deep roots (often going down over 100 feet deep)
- Then you need to be PLANTED in a local church. v.13
- You will be “fat & flourishing” (spiritually speaking) even in old age
- You have a place like the local church to testify of God’s goodness.
Sadly, many 21st century believers have very little understanding of what church membership is all about. Covenant relationship for example is like a marriage, we remain committed through thick and thin, being “regular” is not once a fortnight, or once a month, there is commitment to the family. I think we should often ask the question for example, when other activities and appointments come up, COULD I DO THIS ON ANOTHER DAY?????,
Many of us know the statement SEVEN DAYS MAKES ONE WEEK, SEVEN DAYS WITHOUT THE LORD MAKES ONE “WEAK”. The reality is WE NEED EACH OTHER, WE NEED REGULAR CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, (not just on a Sunday morning) it is essential oxygen to the Believer, as is regular prayer and reading & meditating on the Word of God.
Let me make one further comment, I love the saying COMMITMENT TO THE ESSENTIALS AND LIBERTY ON THE NON-ESSENTIALS. There will be people in every church that will NOT believe the same as you about certain aspects of truth, remember our relation with fellow Believers is NOT on the basis of doctrine, but our mutual love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
I felt the Holy Spirit impress me this afternoon to write this blog, I am sure there are many things I should have said, I just pray that those who read this and perhaps are struggling about becoming a church member, may be helped and encouraged.