Summary: If you’ll concentrate on being the perfect church member you’ll see God perfecting you.
One of the things I love about book study sermon series is that this approach forces me to deal with subjects that I’d typically dismiss because I’d feel they weren’t relevant to the congregation. Such is the case today. If you knew in advance that the subject was going to be about church and church membership, I doubt that you’d be excited about the sermon. I probably wouldn’t preach it, knowing the potential lack of enthusiasm for it. But following Ephesians I must address the subject. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, considers membership in the church a vital part of the Christian life.
Let me put it like this: your view of the church may be what’s wrong with the church? I’d go so far as to say that your view of the church determines whether you are advancing in your faith and becoming more like Jesus or your spirit is as shriveled as a prune and your presentation of the Christ-life a hypocritical joke. What I want you to understand this morning is that Jesus Christ did not establish His church on earth as a nice option where you can choose your level of commitment. The church is essential for an ongoing life of faith.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to harangue you about attending more meetings. Meetings can be good, but we’ve come to view consistent attendance at events as the goal of spiritual maturity. I’m not going to advise you to get on another committee or to up your level of giving. I don’t want your goal to be a becoming a better church worker. This morning I’m going to show you how to be the perfect church member. If you’ll concentrate on being the perfect church member you’ll see God perfecting you.
Characteristics of Maturing Church Members
Keep in mind that these characteristics are not options. God calls you to radical obedience in these areas. But it’s an obedience that will be to your benefit. If you’ll concentrate on being the perfect church member you’ll see God perfecting you.
1. Put up with one another
In all my years as a pastor, I’ve had people leave the church for a variety of silly reasons. One woman left because I wouldn’t say that the Bible prohibits the use of alcohol. Another bailed out because my associate preached about people only wanting “$5.00 worth of God” and that was the exact amount she’d given in her offering that morning. Members vacate churches because the pastor doesn’t come see them enough or because he shows up too much. They leave because of the color of the carpet or a disagreement about how money is spent. One of the biggest reasons people leave is relational conflict with the pastor or other church members. A conflict erupts and members typically jump ship rather than work it out.
Sometimes it is appropriate to leave a body of believers. If public sin is occurring and the leadership refuses to address it, that might be a good time to bail. If the Bible is not being preached or its truths are being twisted, you should follow Adrian Rogers’ advice and saturate that place with your absence. Sometimes it’s okay to leave, but for the most part we are to stick with one another through the good times and the bad.