Summary: As Christians, we must realize the value of true commitment to the Body of Christ
Membership Has Its Privileges
The church is not a place for people to gather occasionally for religious services. It is not one more social institution among many others. The church is God’s dream for His most cherished creation.
There is nothing like the church – no accomplishment, no organization or country or civilization – there is nothing as important as the church. And only the church will survive history to share God’s eternity. – John Ortberg
True Church Commitment
1 Corinthians 1: 10-15
The church is compared to a body
We are to exist in unity
Much of the early church lived in community
We are told to have one mind
In our day, there is a clamor for the church to rediscover its identity as community. Many Christian leaders compare the stilted and stultifying routines of their church life to the effervescent explosion of Holy Spirit generated vitality that enabled the church of Pentecost to conquer the ancient world for Christ. They wonder with nostalgia where the power has gone. They realize that they have often become lost in a jungle growth of unbiblical traditions that choke the life out of their churches and stifle their ministries. They yearn to rediscover the biblical tradition that preceded their various ecclesiastical traditions. They demand a radical return to the basics of biblical teachings about the church as community.
Our commitment to the local church will give us a good picture of God’s daily extension of grace and patience towards us.
True fellowship has the power to revolutionize lives. Masks come off, conversations get deep, hearts get vulnerable, lives are shared, accountability is invited, and tenderness flows. People really do become like brothers and sisters. They shoulder each other’s burdens – and unfortunately, that’s something that few of people experience growing up in church.
GRACE COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP
1. I WILL PROTECT THE UNITY OF MY CHURCH
...By acting in love toward other members
1 Peter 1:22 - Now you can have sincere love for each other as brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.
…By building intentional relationships
Hebrews 10:24 - And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Small group – a place of loyalty and compassion, commitment and caring, prayer and mutual sacrifice. It’s a supportive little platoon in which people can share their lives with each other, expose their faults and fears, seek counsel and encouragement, hold each other accountable, grow together spiritually, and give and receive love of another kind.
...By refusing to gossip
Ephesians 4:29 - Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
...By following the leaders
Hebrews 13:17 - Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
2. I WILL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MY CHURCH
...By praying for its ministries
1 Thessalonians 1:2 - To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. 2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. 3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
...By warmly welcoming those who visit
Romans 15:7 - Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
...By inviting the unchurched to attend
Luke 14:16-23 - “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 ”‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’