Summary: Part 11 in a study of the church covenant
A COVENANT WITH GOD
THE CHURCH COVENANT
“Characteristics of a Good Church Member”
Date: August 25, 2002 A.M. Service
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
Because of other events I will wrap up our study today and next week on the Church Covenant. This morning I want to challenge each of us who are members of Allendale Baptist church, and ask this question; what kind of church member are you? If someone was running a campaign for the poster child, (if you will) for church membership, would I be considered? Would they find that person here or have to go some where else?
I have preached this message here before, probably one of the first messages I preached here in January of 2001 if my notes are correct. But if my memory serves me right, not many of you were here for that Sunday evening service to hear this wonderful message. Those of you that were here please humor me and laugh at the jokes you have already heard.
Let’s look at these characteristics of a good church member
I. Has a Good Attitude Toward the Pastor (v. 12-13)
A. Paul tells them to “recognize those who labor among you”
1. John MacArthur says this means to “know your pastor well enough to have an intimate appreciation for them and to respect them because of their value.”
2. Not their value to you, but their value in Christ.
3. Let me stop & say this, so many times when I visit with people they tell me they are member of this or that church, I ask them (already knowing the answer) who is the pastor there now? You would be surprised at how many people do not know the pastor’s name
4. But this is not what this means. It means to know your pastor for who he is in Christ.
B. Then Paul says to “esteem them”, which means to think rightly of them. The pastor’s work is summarized in a 3-fold description in this passage.
1. Laboring; means working to the point of exhaustion. I can say this is true. Some will say pastor how can you be exhausted you only work one day a week.
2. Overseeing, literally means standing before the flock to lead them in the way of righteousness. I have to admit I have made some mistakes in this past year. I may not of handled some things in the way I should have. But I will say this, I believe with all my heart I have not lead this church to do any thing the Lord has not lead us in. I assure you of this I am not seeking my own path and my own glory. All I do is for the glory of God. Enough Said.
3. Admonishing is the instructing in the truths of God’s Word. I have said this also; I struggle with the type of preaching I do. I really wish I could be a “warm, fuzzy feel-good preacher”. But some times the truth hurts and we must change according to God’s truth, not Tim Byrd’s thoughts or wishes.
C. “Then he tells them, be at peace among yourselves.”
1. I have often wondered why he put this at the close of the instructions about their relationship with the pastor & church leaders.
2. In my opinion it may be because of more church trouble, more church trials, more church splits come because of the people not recognizing and following God’s man in the vision God has given him.
II. Has A Good Attitude Toward Other Believers (v. 14-15)
A. “Warn those who are unruly.” I believe it is the responsibility of every church member, not just the pastors, to correct those who are a reproach to the body of Christ.
B. “Comfort the faint-hearted”. These are those who are worried, discouraged. These are those who also see the worst in every situation.
C. “Uphold the weak” There are some that are weak in their faith. All they know to do when times get tough, the only way they know how to exercise their faith is to call someone else to pray for them. We are to disciple and encourage them to grow in their faith and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.
D. “Be Patient” This is a virtue we all need. To be patient with folks.
E. “See that no one render evil for evil” This is speaking of retaliation. This is not a good characteristic of a Christian.
III. Has a Good Attitude Toward God (v. 16-22)
A. “Rejoice always” This means joy is to be apparent in the life of the Christian.
B. “Pray without ceasing” This means to pray persistently and regularly. But to do so, we must always be ready to pray. How can we do this? With a pure clean heart.