Summary: A look at covenant relationships with God and the local church body as an introduction to membership into the local church.

Who’s in Your Family?

- Amy and I went to Church Financial Seminar

- Many churches are happy to hear this so Leadership is spending the church money wisely

- Part is teaching Biblical practices for finances to people in church so they are not robbing from God what he commands to support the church family ministry

- Another message, another day

- During seminar, asked “Are you in a covenant relationship with God?”

- How would you answer?

- Covenant – two descriptions but since God is not human it would be

- “A one sided disposition imposed by a superior body composing of commandments, revelation and reconciliation” Condensed from New International Encyclopedia of Words

- If we are in a covenant relationship with God we accept Jesus (through revelation) as Leader (commandments) and Forgiver (reconciliation)

- However, there is another type of Covenant as well in the Bible. It is a two sided agreement between two human beings who both volunteering accept the terms of agreement for friendship, marriage, or political alliance. (Coming into alignment with in commitment)

- So, again, are you in a Covenant Relationship with God?

- If yes, are you in a covenant relationship within Christ’s body?

- Today, America is full of floating Christians, not plugged into any particular body

- I understand it better than anyone, I was floating Christian from my Junior year in High School to when I was about 31

- Until I found that the Christian Life is more than believing, it’s also about belonging

- We are called into “koinonia” (fellowship) by being as committed to each other as we are to Christ

- The first century believers started calling it “ekklesia” which means a “called out assembly”

- This term is used to call the large church of a particular area (I Corinthians 16:1)

- It is used for a city of believers (Acts 11:22; 13: 1 and I Corinthians 1:2)

- And it is used for a family of believers in Romans 16:5

- This is the first form of what we now call church where committed believers worshiped together, participated and supported one another

- It is defined in the New International Encyclopedia of Biblical Words as…

- To live together as Christ’s church calls for the development of close personal relationships, for the ministry of members to one another, for the experience of family love, and for maturing in holiness. The believing community is to learn how to relate to Jesus corporately and is to build a lifestyle that reflects corporate as well as individual commitment to our Lord.

- The Bible gives us other examples as well….

- Church as a body…. (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4)

- Church as a temple

Eph 2:21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.

o Eph 2:22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

o 1Pe 2:5 [Come] and, like living stones, be yourselves built [into] a spiritual house, for a holy (dedicated, consecrated) priesthood, to offer up [those] spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.

- Church as the local church where believers were called to live in relationship with one another in a community that is the visible expression of a supernatural body (I Corinthians 12; Hebrews 10; Ephesians 4)

- Church as a family

o Brothers, sisters, fathers, children (Ephesians 3; I Timothy 5; Galatians 3:26)

- What family are you committed to? What body are you a member of?

- When I was a floater, I went to many churches but I wasn’t committed to any

- Maybe I’d last 6 months or maybe even a year but when the wind blew (conflict, not happy with a message, whatever), I floated again

- This is not the same of being a member in “koinonia” or “ekklesia”

- When I am a member of a body, a temple, local church, a family, there is a commitment between myself and that body

- The term we assign to that commitment is membership

- A word that CS Lewis attributes to driving from the scriptural word member

- When we are a Christian without a committed church family, we are an orphan

- While God calls us into this exile from time to time

- It is temporary and should be done with prayer and wisdom to find a new church body where God is leading us

- So, for those of us sitting in this room, has God called you into a covenant relationship with this particular church family

- The answer could be

o I’m in exile and seeing if God is leading me here

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