Summary: This message highlights the biblical importance of being a member of a local church. It was delivered on membership Sunday before presenting the new members to the congregation.
New Members Sunday
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household” (Eph 2:19)
“…so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually * members one of another.” (Rom 12:5)
When you become a believer in Jesus Christ and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior you become:
• a new person in Christ
• born again
• part of the “household / family of God
• a member of the church universal of Jesus Christ, made up of all believers all over the world, throughout all cultures
• It is the church made up of every tribe, tongue, nation, people, who call upon the name of the Lord
• You are no longer strangers or aliens as Paul says, you are fellow citizens with the saints. You “belong” – hallelujah
But what does it mean to be a “member of the Church?”
Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose Driven Church” says, “Many American Christians (lets make that North American) are what I call ‘floating believers.’ Any where else in the world, being a believer is synonymous with being connected to a local body of believers. Your rarely find a lone ranger Christian in other countries. Many American Christians, however, hop from one church to another without any identity, accountability or commitment. This is a direct expression of America’s rampant individualism. They have not been taught that the Christian life involves more than just believing – it also includes belonging! We grow in Christ by being in relationship to other Christians. Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” (pg 309)
Many people have a wrong concept of Church membership
• Membership in the Church is not something you have it something you do
o a social club issues a membership
all you need to do is pay your annual dues
show up a the occasional meeting
o Sometimes we the church are guilty of the same kind of thinking
Is so and so a member of your church?
• We yes, he / she attends Sunday service and gives tithes or offering
But is that what membership is?
I. MEMBERSHIP IS FIRST BELONGING TO CHRIST
1. It is relationship entered into by faith
• Not by merely accepting a creed or truth
• But entering into a personal one on one relationship with Jesus Christ the risen living Son of God
• Paul wrote, “I know in whom I have believed”
• He didn’t just acknowledge some essential truth; rather he entered into a very personal relationship with Christ that transformed his very life.
• To be a member is to be in relationship with him. It is to belong to him!
• We used to sing that old chorus, “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me...”
2. Membership is Belonging to the Body of Christ
• It is one body, yet made up of many members
• Paul says in Romans 12:5 that “each member belongs to all the others
• There is an ‘interdependent relationship established when we become members of the body of Christ – His Church
• You belong to me and I belong to you
• I need your gifting and you need mine
• We all need each other
• It is not about having membership or being on the role
• It is about being a member and belonging to Christ and each other
• When Paul writes his N.T. letters
o Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, etc.
o He is identifying the ‘local church’
o They were identifiable churches
• The local church is God’s instrument for nurturing new born babes in Christ, seeing them raised to mature men and women of God, equipped for service and invested in the work of the Kingdom
• God doesn’t have any orphans, everyone of His children born of His Spirit are to be part of the family of God and cared for
You might ask…
What Value Is There In Being A Member Of A Local Church?
• People in the greater community of society when they talk about church say, ‘That church,’
• Those who visit here at OPC would refer to the church as ‘ this church’
• But those who are members of the local church OPC refer to Ossington as “Our Church”
• To be a member is to belong
• To be a member is to be a contributor to the work of the Kingdom and not just a consumer
Benefits of Membership
(This list can be found in R. Warrens - “Purpose Driven Church”
1. Membership Identifies a person as a believer
2. Membership Provides a Spiritual family to support and encourage a personal walk with Christ