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Summary: Why should you join a local congregation when you become a Christian? The message explores your vital role in the assembly where God places you.

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“There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

Why should you join a local congregation when you become a Christian? The answer, in part, is that Christians are divinely appointed to membership in a local congregation. There are great benefits in church membership, though I wonder if modern Christians are convinced of those benefits. Among the benefits that could be listed are that church membership identifies the believer as genuine, provides a spiritual family, gives the child of God a place to discover and use spiritual gifts, places the Christian under the spiritual protection of godly leaders and gives the saint accountability.

Tragically, too many Christians appear to view membership in the local congregation as archaic—a relic lingering from an era far removed from the present. They see church membership as useless, or perhaps even detrimental to spiritual growth. Membership in a church is associated with paying dues and performing pointless rituals. However, it is in concert with and in reciprocity with other Christians that we are called to serve the Lord. Join me in exploring the role divinely assigned to each Christian.

SPIRITUAL GIFTS — “There are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” The passage before us speaks of charismáton, the plural genitive form of the noun chárisma, here translated “gifts.”

The text is essentially an iteration of ROMANS 12:6-8. “Having gifts [charísmata, plural accusative form of the noun chárisma] that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” The word charísmata in our text is a synonym for pneumatikôn, which is translated spiritual gifts in 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1 and 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1. So what is under consideration are “grace gifts,” which are synonymous to “spiritual gifts,” or “gifts of the Spirit.” Understanding this, we can perhaps discover our role in the congregation.


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