Thesis: Membership is something you do, not something you have.
1. For the past several weeks we've been exploring the notion of "the priesthood of all believers."
a. Priests have a job to do, a ministry to perform.
b. Illust. Evertt Huffard, an instructor at HGSR, says Christians can stay on the right track by simply asking two questions: 1) "Am I saved?" (readily answered), and 2) "Am I useful?" (ongoing question).
2. This AM we want to focus on 2nd question by looking at a text in Romans.
a. Romans is about "obedience to the faith" (1:5; 16:26).
b. "Obedience to the faith" gets fleshed out beginning in Rom. 12.
I. OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH IS NOT AN OPTION (1-2).
A. Rom. 12:1-2 begins practical ("how to") section of book.
1. Become "living sacrifices" (1).
2. It's an "inside job" (2).
B. Why? --> Test (prove, show) God's will!
1. How do you discover God's will for your life?
2. This text says it is an active thing, not passive! (Something one learns by doing!)
II. YOU GET TO DECIDE WHAT YOUR OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH LOOKS LIKE! (3).
A. "Every man . . . think!"
1. About what? -- > what your response will look like!
2. Something you decide, not church! ("according to faith"); No "cookie-cutter Christianity!"
B. Avoid extremes = "think soberly."
1. Swelled Head Syndrome ("more highly than ought").
2. Little Toe Complex ("poor me, I can't do anything").
III. OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH RESULTS IN MEMBERSHIP (4-5).
A. These verses speak of "membership" in the local church.
1. Do not confuse this with CLUB MEMBERSHIP.
a. Basis: attend mtgs., pay dues, keep rules.
b. Often think of church membership this way!
1) Is so-&-so a "good member" of your church?
2) Yes (attends, gives, keeps rules).
c. Simply being a "member" of the church (i.e. having your name on the church roll) is no guarantee of salvation. (Salvation is not on the "group plan!")
2. The NT concept is BODY MEMBERSHIP (4-5).
a. Many "members" doing different things!
b. Some suggested areas of service (6-8).
3. What kind of membership do you have? (Club or Body?)
a. What do you mean when you say, "I'm a member of the Lord's church"?
b. According to the NT, church membership is something you do, not something you have!
1. Look again at verse 5--"each member belongs to all the others."
a. Isn't that a refreshing notion of the church?
b. That vision of the church is reflected in a piece written by Chuck Swindoll < read "Lessons from a Tavern" >.
(The ideas in section III came from sermons by Mike Cope and Rick Atchley.)