Summary: We expect the members of the church to be growing and maturing in Christ, we expect them to be students of the Word who crave the solid food and not just the spiritual milk for faith come from hearing...
“What is Expected of a Church Member: Study God’s Word”
Perhaps one of the things that there is the most confusion among people claiming to be Christians is church membership. Many people assume that since their name is on the church role book or because they go to church on occasion that they are saved, but that is not what the Bible teaches. So the question arises, what exactly is expected of a church member? The eldership at Oak Grove does not set any requirements of what you must do in order to maintain your membership or to be a member of the church. Oak Grove has not revoked memberships, but when you become a member of the church what do we expect of you? The answer in short is we do not expect any more of you than God does. There are some things that God lays forth in His Word that He expects all Christians to do. For so many people they want to do the minimal expectations. I want to suggest rather that we as Christians should hunger for righteousness and strive to the best that we can. Many Christians are just perfectly content living a lukewarm faith that does not go beyond shallow Christianity. I believe God has called us to more.
Last week we talked about how God expects members of the church to worship regularly, and this week I want to talk about an expectation that is equally as important and that is Studying God’s Word. God expects His people to study His Word.
Babies in third world countries that are starving actually begin to loose their appetites due to malnourishment. A lack of appetite indicates a serious illness. A lot of times when relief workers will go over to these places and bring food to those that are starving and malnourished they have to force the people because they have lost their appetites.
There are many Christians that are seriously spiritually malnourished and they have lost their appetites for the Word of God. The Bible is our source of spiritual nourishment. We cannot expect to grow and stay strong in our faith apart from a regular diet of the Word of God. We as a church obviously cannot force-feed you, but we want to inspire a desire within you to desire and crave the word of God.
The Word of God was written for a purpose, and it wasn’t just because God thought it would be a neat thing to do, he wrote it so His people could know him better and know what He expects.
Text: I Peter 1:23-2:3
I. Study God’s Word Together
Here at Oak Grove we have many different opportunities for you to study God’s Word in a group. We have Sunday School classes, we have Sunday evening small group classes now, we have Wednesday Night Bible studies, all aimed at trying to equip God’s people with the knowledge and the tools necessary to stand strong in their faith. While it is important that you study God’s Word on your own, and you can understand many aspects of God’s Word on your own, there is something special when a group of people meet together for the study of God’s Word. Though it is not a requirement for membership, I really want to encourage each member of Oak Grove to try their best to be a part of one of those classes each week. I believe you will find that you are blessed through that and you will be a blessing to others. There are several reasons that I feel that it is important to study God’s Word together…
A. Teachers Can Reveal New Information
As you read through the Bible some concepts you can catch and understand on your own, the Bible wasn’t intended to be incredibly complex and hard to understand. But sometimes you may need the help and understanding of someone who is gifted as a teacher.
There are some people that God has gifted with the ability to get great incite out of a passage. Also, though you may have read a passage or story countless times we can always learn and grow from people. The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 has been in Jerusalem worshipping, and he probably had heard some things about Jesus, and he was reading from Isaiah 53 about the suffering servant. He could not understand that Scripture on his own, he needed some help. Phillip explained to him that the passage was talking about Jesus. There are times we can learn simple truth all over again or something that is taught may give us new incite into a particular passage.
The basic stuff is important and can nourish us spiritually; it doesn’t have to be a deep and new teaching for us to grow from it. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of great Bible truths that we may be familiar with. Some people feel that they have no need for the basic stuff, or they feel once they have read the Bible some they have read it enough. Imagine if one day you came home and you had been working all day long, and you were starving. You asked what was for dinner, and you heard you were having the same meal you had 2 weeks ago. It is highly unlikely you would refuse that meal for that reasons. You still enjoy the basic foods that you eat