Good Afternoon Church,
What a great weekend it was celebrating with many of you God’s underserved grace lavished upon our lives in Christ. We have so much to be thankful for at BBC that God’s praise should continually flow from our hearts to our lips and through our lives! I am grateful for all that we have been learning from God’s Word concerning the precious nature and priority of Christ’s Church in God’s eternal plan. Judging by the continual comments from so many of you, I know I am not alone when I say what a joy it has been to sit under the Scriptures and grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ! In light of how much we continue to learn, I think it will be most helpful to remind you of a few truths we studied this past Sunday about why Church membership matters. I will do this across two different posts this week, so be looking for another one in a few days.
My most gracious and faithful helper (Amy) informed me that I did not leave the definition for biblical Church membership on the screen long enough on Sunday, and I apologize about that. So, here is that sound explanation again taken from Jonathan Leeman’s great book, The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love. Remember, when most people look for Church membership in the Bible, they are looking for the wrong thing and something that does not even exist. However, when you study Scripture humbly, honestly, and rightly, here is what you will find as it pertains to true Church membership… “Church membership is (1) a covenant union between a particular church and a Christian, a covenant that consists of (2) the church’s affirmation of the Christian’s gospel profession, (3) the church’s promise to give oversight to the Christian, and (4) the Christian’s promise to gather with the church and submit to its oversight.” (Pg. 217)
Now, on Sunday we answered from the Scriptures four specific questions pertaining to biblical Church Membership. After seeing the reality of Church membership in the Bible and considering some Scriptural reasons why every Christian must join a healthy local Church, we contemplated what a healthy Church member will look like, or better yet how a healthy Church member will live. Below are the 10 reflections that will radiate from the life of a healthy Church member, and while this list is not exhaustive, it is helpful for both personal and congregational evaluation.
10 Reflections of a Healthy Church Member
- A Healthy Church Member Attends Regularly: Heb 10:23-25 makes that very clear. No such thing as a healthy Christian who is perpetually absent from Church!
- A Healthy Church Member Prays Seriously: James 5:16 makes that clear. Just as we saw that the early Church in Acts 2:42 was deeply committed to prayer, so every healthy Church member will be a praying member!
- A Healthy Church Member Serves Sacrificially: 1 John 3:16-18 makes it very clear that true Christ-like love is marked by sacrificial service to other brothers and sisters in Christ. 1 Pet 4:10 says emphatically that we have been gifted that we might serve one another.
- A Healthy Church Member Gives Joyfully: 2 Cor 8:9 says that Christ who was eternally rich became poor that we who were hopelessly destitute might become eternally wealthy! Thus, we give from the heart based upon the grace given to us and ultimately from a joy filled life that overflows with gratitude because of God’s great mercy and our abundant riches in Christ!
- A Healthy Church Member Follows Humbly: Heb 13:17 says it so clearly that Church members should follow godly leaders humbly so that their leaders might watch over their lives with a joy filled heart and not overwhelmed hearts because that would not be helpful for the Church member!
- A Healthy Church Member Worships Biblically: Heb 12:28-29 says it so clearly in the context of a letter written to a Church, that worship should be offered from a grateful heart overwhelmed by gospel grace, and offered from a humbled heart that is filled with reverence and awe because of the fear or awe inspiring character of God as a consuming fire!
- A Healthy Church Member Listens Tenderly and Discerningly: 1 Thess 5:20-21 makes it clear that all things must be tested and only that which aligns with the Truth of Scripture held onto (Acts 17:10-12). Also, James 1:19-21 makes it clear that when the Word of God is going out from the leaders in the Church, or from counseling through the Church, there is a tenderness to the truth, always being ready to listen, because a healthy church member understands that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God!
- A Healthy Church Member Disciples Scripturally: Matt 28:18-20, Col 3, and Titus 2, along with many other passages, make it clear that discipleship is not just something church leaders are called to do, but must be the DNA of every Church member as we admonish, teach, and train others around us, helping them grow to maturity in Christ!
- A Healthy Church Member Forgives Honestly: Eph 4:32 and Col 3:13 make this crystal clear, and the issue for a healthy church member is never that they have learned how to forget those sins against them, because that is impossible and actually counterproductive to God’s plan of purification. A healthy Church member forgives honestly and fully despite the fact that he could remember those sins clearly but chooses not to, which is a clear picture of what God does for every believer, every day!
- A Healthy Church Member Grows Theologically: 2 Pet 3:18 and Eph 4:11-16 makes that clear as every Christian is called to mature in the grace and knowledge of Christ by deepening their confidence and understanding of Who God is, What God has said, and what God has done in Christ through the Gospel!
I pray this further equips you in your walk with Christ and your commitment to His Church. Remember, who we are always drives what we do! We have been learning that as believers we are an eternally bound together people in Christ. May the riches of that theological reality be deeply rooted in your heart and life and drive you to faithfully follow God’s plan for your personal purification, which is intimately connected to being committed to a healthy local Church!
Yours for the Master’s Glory,