Summary: When you surrender your life to Jesus, you surrender your life to His church as well. There are certain commitments basic to being a christian.
Church Membership: Live up to your commitment!
Turn to Hebrews 10: 19-25.
I want to tell you a story. Last week coming to church, a man in a pick-up truck pulled out in front of me. It was not an accident type of situation. To the contrary, he pulled out so slowly that it would better be described as meandering. He pulled out so slowly, that I was intrigued and watched him while following along behind. He drove about 15 miles under the speed limit. The I noticed that why he pulled out in front of me and never even saw me – he was looking in the rear view mirror. He stared at himself, and then began to fix the part in his hair. I laughed all of the way to the church!
I truly believe that this year is set up to be the best by a wide margin. In fact, if certain things happen and fall in line – this year will be a quantum leap over even last year’s record year. I mean that truly and ask you please do not discount that statement as “enthusiasm.”
But listen to me now very closely. One of the most dangerous places to be is in a place of great blessing. Consider this: do you remember when the church faced trouble? Everyone pulled together. Folks prayed hard, they gave, they reached out, they defended the testimony of the church.
We are now doing great. As a result, I believe many have slacked off because everything is fine and we can relax. We are like the man in that truck. We are oblivious of those all around us because we are meandering through our journey more interested in how we look to ourselves than who else is on the road. What happened to the sense of urgency that was there in our prayers when we were in trouble? Why do we not pray with that same urgency about lost folks? About growing? About all of the families we loose each year to divorce, materialism, and sinful habits?
Let me tell you again that I believe this can be the best year the church has ever known in her long history. I did not say “will”, but said “can.” Why? In order for this to happen, we must stop relaxing, stop enjoying, stop resting, and start surrendering and sacrificing.
Again, I believe this CAN be the best year of our 93 year history. That is a huge statement, but I believe it with all of my heart. But, we must prepare ourselves. I know about some things that are going to happen this year that you may not know. There are certainly things that will happen that we do not know about. There will be challenges. There will be opportunities. We must be ready.
The way to be ready is to be committed. You must be committed. You are a part of a church family, a church organization, and a church army. You must each one love, serve, and fight with a deep commitment.
You are a member of the Family of God – you must live up to your commitment! There is a very distinct “us” requirement to being a Christian and this is one of many passages teaching that truth. This is how you understand and meet your commitment.
1. You must clean up. Verse 22
The focus of this verse is holiness.
Let me show you a book I started reading over the last two weeks: Damage Control – How to Stop Making Jesus Look Bad. Most church members need to read this book. Sin is what keeps most of us from living with power. It is also destroying our witness in a world that desperately needs to see the love and victory evident only in the life of a committed Christian. Sin is not only killing you, but it is hurting body through poor testimonies. We need to become reacquainted with a sense of holiness.
God’s plan for you is holiness. God’s purpose in your life is not your happiness, but your holiness. I Thess. 4:3 states clearly, “For this is God’s will for you: your sanctification.” Let me tell you plainly that almost all of the counseling I do as a pastor would be unnecessary if we as a people responded to the call for repentance God laid before us each week during church. All of the struggles we see – financial, marriage, struggles with our kids, even most of the emotional issues such as short term depression, anger, bitterness, etc. – all of these are addressed biblically in sermons, Sunday school lessons, and in places such as your Wednesday discipleship classes. I stand here week after week to teach you His Word and plead His grace. When you fail to repent of whatever God has laid on your heart, you deeply hurt yourself. Each week I watch folks under conviction fight against the movement of the Holy Spirit. You allow the sin to continue and therefore you allow your wounds to continue.