Summary: Membership is a COVENANT made between fellow Christians to establish and uphold one another in our journey as Christ’s disciples.
One of the most recognizable advertising motto’s says “MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES”
Some of you carry a couple of cards in your wallet that give you certain privileges not available to the “general public.”
One card might be a ‘Costco’ card. It identifies you as a member at the warehouse superstore and enables you to purchase in bulk for less than what you would pay elsewhere.
Second might be a membership in the ATV Club which provides members access to trails and other functions.
Other memberships could include the Rotary, library, or a card that allows you to rent videos and movies.
One thing is common, membership is optional; it is a choice. Non-members of the library can still go and spend time reading books.
Membership has it’s privileges; it provides benefits not available to the “general public.’
Many of the same things can be said about church membership. The church is hardly a club (although sometimes you may wonder. . .), and the church is not a store (although some folks may choose a local church like a grocery store. . .).
Membership has its privileges; church membership is optional, but highly recommended.
Last week we discussed the church as a family. Today, I want us to take a fresh look at what it means to be a committed member of the family.
Many people have a wrong concept of Church membership, for example;
Some people think that Membership in the Church is not something you have it something you do, like a a social club issues a membership; all you need to do is pay your annual dues or show up a the occasional meeting
Sometimes we the church are guilty of the same kind of thinking
Others take the attitude that if they attend church regularly, give in the offering then that entitles them to membership?
But is that what membership is?
There are those who contend that membership is unnecessary since a born again beliver is already part of the body of Christ.
1. WHAT IS CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Church membership should be thought of in terms of a commitment to a community of believers and its leadership ‘as untoi the Lord’ and not a legalistic biondage of some kind.
The Apostle Paul mentions two types of commitment in 2 Corinthians 8:5
they (A)gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
The first commitment a person makes is to the Lord Jesus for salvation and then you commit youraelf to other Christians for membership in our church family.
Jesus said that our love for each other was to be a mark of discipleship. This love is practically demonstrated when we commit ourselves to the church.
Church membership is not something to fear. It is simply a bond of Christian fellowship and love. It is a means of wholesome unity among brothers and sisters who share faith together in Jesus.
In groups of three look up the following references, and briefly discuss the common description each verse gives about the church:
Acts 8:1; 11:22; 1 Cor.1:2; 2 Cor.1:1; 1 Cor.4:17
In each New testament case, the church is referred to as an individual group of believers who were meeting together. They met together, worshipped together. Served together. And supported one another. They were COMMITED to each other and not isolated from one another.
Last time we discussed, the Question what is the church? We learned that the church is a family. Just as there are benefits being part of a family, there are benefits to being part of a church family. Let’s review them quickly,
1. It identifies a person as a genuine believer ( Eph. 2:19; Romans 12:5)
2. It provides a spiritual family to support and encourage you in your walk with the Lord ( Gal.6:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25;)
3. It gives you a place for you to dsicover and develop your spiritual gifts in ministry ( 1 Cor. 12:4-27)
4. It places you under the spiritual protection of godly leaders ( Heb.13:17; Acts 20:28-29)
5. It gives you the spiritual accountability you need to grow in faith ( Eph.5:21)
In this session we want to answer two more questions: what are the responsibilities of membership; what are the requirements of membership
With privileges comes responsibilities. By joining a church we agree to enter a covenant in which we acknowledge our relationship to God and to one another.
If the church is to grow and prosper and have God’s bl;essing upon it, then members must recognize their mutual responsibilities and be faithful in assuming them.
Rick Warren writes that Unlike membership in clubs or other organizations, church membership is not a way that we gain some sort of special access. Rather, it is a COVENANT made between fellow Christians to establish and uphold one another in our journey as Christ’s disciples.