Summary: To strengthen the membership in their responsibility as members.
FOUR CHURCH MEMBERS WE NEED!
Ac 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (KJV)
INTRODUCTION: Every Baptist Church seeks for new members. It is through the incoming of new members that a Baptist church grows. If a church is not receiving new members into its membership then that church will eventually grow stagnant and will decline in membership, even to the point of extinction.
We will discuss four types or kinds of members that this church must have to continue to grow. If we do not seek these four kinds of members then we may as well close the door and sell this property to some other church.
I. WE MUST HAVE SAVED CHURCH MEMBERS
Some might state, “I didn’t know there was any other kind”. We know what they mean but a good many of every Baptist church membership is unsaved.
A. The First Requirement For Membership Into A Baptist Church Is Salvation.
Our text says that those that received Peter’s word were baptized. They were saved by believing and then they were baptized. They were added to the church membership by baptism, and after they got saved.
Many who join a Baptist Church by letter from a previous Baptist Church do so unsaved. The majority of the salvation decisions in this church has been church member decisions.
B. Being A Member Of A Baptist Church Does Not Provide Salvation.
They were saved before they became church members.
We have all heard people make reference to a certain friend or family member joining a church as being that of salvation. That is not true. Salvation can come only when a person places his faith and trusts in the finished work of Jesus Christ. I have asked hundreds of people if they were a Christian and their reply was, “I joined the church when I was twelve.” Salvation through another means is not salvation, but rather false hope.
It is scary to think how many members of Baptist churches will go to hell thinking they were acceptable into heaven because they were members of that particular church.
It is even more scary to think how many preachers lead their membership to accept this kind of theology. I have known preachers and pastors whose total salvation plea was to come and shake the preacher’s hand and be saved. I have nothing against anyone shaking the preacher’s hand, but to do that with the thinking that the person would be saved and going to heaven afterwards is spiritually criminal on the preachers part and eternally lost on the members part.
Billy Graham said once that he feared that as many as 75% of Baptist church members were lost. If that is true then it is truly a scary thought to think how many in this church has been duped into thinking they are saved when actually they are lost.
A lot of that has been done by people out soul winning. They have applied pressure to the person at the screen door and talked them into praying a prayer and then telling them they were saved. Praying a prayer saves no one. Trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour will save who ever does so. I have seen hundreds baptized into a Baptist church that had not trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. They had only prayed a prayer.
In the 1950’s “Easy Believism” was introduced to churches and became a way of life for many in the Soulwinning efforts. That method omits repentance and is one of the culprits why so many people join a Baptist church unsaved. That one doctrine alone will send thousands of church members to Hell.
We want new members in this church but we want them to be saved members.
II. WE MUST HAVE SEPARATED CHURCH MEMBERS
A. Separation Defined.
1. Separated church members means that they do not involve themselves in the things of the world, nor seek pleasure after the rudiments of the world, and the church stands against worldliness. Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (KJV)
The word “rudiments” in Vs. 20 means the principles or elements of the world.
2. Separated church members means that they despise the things of the world. Anything that would hinder them in their devotion and dedication to the Lord and His work they will not partake of it.
3. Separation from the worldly persuasion and influence and unto Christ. When my walk with Christ is so intimate that I seek only His will then I am separated. For too many, separation is about the things they have forsaken and turned away from than is the matter of my pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ. If I quit doing something so I may appear to others to be holy then I am a hypocrite and not separated at all.