Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Our Role in the Church

Ephesians 5:25-27

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Christ loved the church so much that He gave Himself for it. That’s real commitment. As Christians (Christ-like), we should have the same priorities as Christ. We should love what He loves. Our will should be that His will be done. Our goals should be the same as His goals.
We know that while all who are saved are a part of the family of God, not all are a part of a church of God. Jesus expects of His children to become active in one of His churches. He didn’t just say that He loved His church and expect us to believe it; He showed us by giving of Himself fully. By the same token, we shouldn’t just say we’re a member of a church, but we should show it by giving of ourselves fully. This doesn’t mean just showing up on Christmas and Easter, or even just showing up every time the doors open. We are not meant to just take up space. We are meant to be actively involved and committed to the success of the church’s mission. What is the mission of the churches?

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Jesus said that the churches are responsible for three main things.  The first is to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” In other words, we are to make disciples. This means that we are to reach the lost and tell them the good news that their salvation has been paid for in full and is being offered to them freely if they will only accept it. We may go door-to-door or just witness to people we meet in the course of our daily routine. We may pass out tracts or tell people in our own words what the Lord has done for us. We may even go online to witness or stand out on a street corner preaching to whoever will listen. It doesn’t matter what methods we use as long as we are getting the true gospel message to this lost and dying world.
The second responsibility that Jesus gave the churches is to baptize those who believe after hearing the gospel. According to Acts chapter two, it is by baptism that new members are added to a church. Sure, there are times when believers move from one church to another, but true growth only comes when new believers are added by baptism.
The third responsibility of churches is to teach these new believers “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Too often, new believers are pretty much left to figure things out on their own. They need the more mature members of the church to guide them and answer any questions they may have. They need to be nurtured so that they can grow and develop into fully mature Christians. Leaving a new believer to fend for himself is no different than handing a baby a bottle and a can of formula mix and saying, “Here’s everything you need, now go fix it yourself.”
Every believer needs to be part of a church in order to live a successful Christian life. Not only does a church provide fellowship with other believers, which in turn provides a sense of belonging, but it also provides protection from attacks of the devil.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Church membership also provides edification through preaching and teaching, and the opportunity for formal worship. While private worship in the believer’s heart is important and should be practiced constantly, it is no substitute for public worship. Not only is public worship good for each individual believer, but it is a testimony to the lost world around us that God is still active and working in the world.

Hebrews 10:23-25

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Another benefit of church membership is that is provides opportunities for believers to take part in the work of the Lord. Not only is it through the churches that missionaries are sent out to preach the gospel in all parts of the world, but local churches also have a duty to the communities around them. We are to work tirelessly to reach out to those around us and offer support and encouragement to those who need it. As believers working together in a church, we also encourage each other to keep working because none of us have to carry the burden alone.
A church cannot make it without active and committed members. A church, by definition, is an assembly. Without members who assemble together, there can be no assembly. A church which has only inactive, uncommitted members is no longer a church. Without members who are willing to do more than warm a pew every now and then if they don’t have anything else to do, a church cannot carry out the responsibilities Christ outlined for His churches to perform. There has to be members who are willing to teach the lost, baptize new believers, and train and nurture them as they grow into mature Christians. We need to take the church as seriously as Christ did. He gave His all. Should we give any less?

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