ASK 2015 “Where in the Bible does it say anything about Church Membership? Why insist on it?
When it comes to what we do as believers…we desire…to be in line with Scripture. How to be His people, but also how to be His Church. Principles/precepts that are just as current/relevant today as when first written. Some do not believe in Church membership i.e. not Biblical or expected by God. But when we take a close look at the Scripture we see that it is.
At Fellowship we take membership very seriously. We do not demand it, but rather encourage it. I firmly believe it is one of the ways that God uses to grow us into maturity…and conforms us into His likeness. That of course is the end result/goal. To be like Jesus. And so this morning I want to share with you some of the Biblical evidence that supports Church membership. Each serve as a strand of the the grand tapestry…church.
1. JOINING & ADDING WAS PART OF THE EARLY CHURCH…Acts 5:12-14 “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were being done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly…And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” (Also note delineation of v.11)
Here Paul gives Timothy (Ephesus) instructions on how to care for the widows in the church.
In this passage Jesus is giving His disciples step by step instruction on how to resolve interpersonal conflicts between brethren. NOTE: It is very clear and a very important part of the fellowship of believers.
Church membership is implied in the way the NT requires pastor/elders are to care for their flock. Of course elders can extend their love to anyone and everyone, and should, within the limits of their ability. But the question is whether the Bible tells elders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group…as in a group of members.
Consider where Paul tells the elders how to care for their flock. Acts 20:28
All of these aspects of membership are rooted in the truth that the local church is an expression of the universal church. Part of what it means to belong to the body of Christ is to belong to a body. The Church... both the LOCAL and the UNIVERSAL Church are a blood-bought gift of God’s grace…
Let me close by urging you to pray and to think this through for your own life. There is no such thing as the “Lone-Ranger Christians” …that would be a contradiction...because becoming a Christian means being united to Christ, and union with Christ expresses itself in union with a local body of believers. This is why the issue of membership is so important.
Are you an accountable member of a local church? Church membership is a blood-bought gift of God’s grace. It is LIFE SUSTAINING…FAITH STRENGTHENING…and JOY PRESERVING… More than we realize, it is a life-sustaining, faith-strengthening, joy-preserving means of God’s mercy to us.
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