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    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Samuel A CainAnd let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

In the churches where I have been a member, I have noticed that there seems to always be a group of people who attend church but never seek to become a member. Why is this?

Some say they have had bad experiences in churches where they were formerly members. Others may say they don’t trust the church leadership because human beings are fallible creatures. Perhaps they did not feel that the pastor paid them enough attention. Maybe they were offended by an elder. There are also people who refuse to join because they disagree with one item in the church’s statement of faith. Many simply believe that church membership is not a requirement for Christians. Some do not join because they want to avoid participation in the various church ministries. They may love to hear the pastor preach, but hearing is the limit of their participation in church.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17 ESV)

If you never join a church, you will never be able to obey the command above. How can the elders watch over your soul unless you join a particular congregation?

In I Corinthians, chapter 5, the apostle Paul commands the church to remove from their fellowship a man who was immoral and unrepentant. This implies he was a member of the church in Corinth, otherwise there would be no reason to cast him out. The Scriptures clearly portray believers inside the Christian Community while unbelievers are clearly outside. When you take the oath of church membership, your fellow members are to hold you responsible for living like Christ. We all need accountability. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. The New Testament makes it clear that early Christians  gathered together as a body of people for the purpose of worship on the Lord’s day (Acts 2:42; 20:7-12; 1 Corinthians 14:1-40; 16:1-2). How could a Christian ever be admonished for forsaking an assembly (Hebrews 10:25), if he is not even obligated to be a part of a local church? Christians are to seek out and join a Bible believing local church. The grace we need to grow in the image Christ will be found there.

 

 

 

 

 

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