Joining A Church

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Since the beginning and the creation of this church, I have talked to many people as to why they should join church.  Many of them have said that, “If I come and worship as often as the members,” “if I fellowship with these believers as much as anyone else, if I profit from the teaching and other ministries of the church, and if I actively demonstrate love for my brothers and sisters in Christ here, If I tithe, why should I formally join the church?”

Why should you join a church, because God never expect his people to be an independent  Christian!

In the more recent years of the seeker movement, they would tell you, if you want to build a church, give people full anonymity. Don’t make them reveal anything about themselves because that scares people away.   Some churches are all about numbers and not about God’s Holy Word-the truth.   The church is the assembly of the redeemed. It is the assembly of those called out of darkness into light. It is the assembly of those who have been called affectionately by God into new life in Christ to become a part of the community of those who believe, the family of God, if you will, the body of Christ, the Kingdom. You are this church because you have made the common confession,  You have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and believed in your heart God raised Him from the dead. You’ve been saved, therefore you are in the church of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.  Hebrews 13 is telling us that we have an account to give to God for how we shepherd the flock and the first thing that’s very helpful is to know who’s in your flock. And if you were a shepherd in the ancient world, there were no visiting sheep. You didn’t say, “Well, I have my flock and I have my visiting sheep.” Really? “Yeah, they show up about every third day and expect me to feed them and clean them and I don’t see them and they go wherever they want to go and maybe go to some other shepherd for a while.” There’s no such concept. Everybody knew his flock, they knew exactly who was in his flock and he had the responsibility and the accountability to care for his flock.

The first thing you need to know to be a good shepherd is for whom am  I responsible for.  If I have to discharge that responsibility, tell me for whom I am responsible. They kept record and they kept track and they added to the number. These people were believers who had made a profession of Christ openly and were baptized. So it wasn’t hard to identify them, it wasn’t hard to count them. (church of God which is at Corinth, to the church of the Thessalonians as a few examples with leaders such as “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy-).

In other words, you can’t have a church made up of people who are not Christians with only a superficial interest in Jesus. Nor can you have people who are true Christians who are not a part of the church. You are the church. It’s only a question of how faithful you are to discharge your responsibility and to do what the Lord wants you to do as part of the church. You are the church.

I guess we could ask the question…would I want to be a member of a church that was full of people with my level of commitment?

But for some of you, you have been added to the Lord, you’re not added to the church. We don’t know where you belong. You come, you go, you float in, you float out, you’re here, you’re not here.

So, let me give you a few more reasons why you need to belong. Let me say this. I not pushing “Family Praise & Worship”, but it  is a good church, but there are other churches in this area and you need to belong. You need to be faithful to be in the Lord and in the church, known, committed, devoted, responsible and accountable. So again, I say why should one join church?

1.     It is a spiritual issue.          2.     It’s a fellowship issue.

3.     It’s an authority issue       4.    It’s a ministry issue

1 # It’s  a spiritual issue.

  • Why would you not say…I want to be a member here, known, loved, taught, respected, helped, ministered.
  • Why wouldn’t  you want to be under the leadership, protection, the care, the love by this congregation of assembled believers in this place?”

Most people would say, I’m kind of comfortable to slide in and slide out, you know, I like what I hear and it’s good experience and, you know, I’ve given my life to the Lord, just don’t want anybody expecting too much. I don’t want anybody getting too close.

You know what will happen if we get close to you?  You’re right, “ You will be  just like us”. We’re all fighting the same battle. I had a person say to me one time, I talked to them  about coming and joining  church, they  said, “Well, I’d love to come to your church but I’ve got to get my life cleaned up first.What do you think we’re here for? What do you think, we’re a bunch of people whose lives have already been cleaned up? We’re all in process all the time. I mean, there are no spiritual reasons not to do this.   Certainly no biblical ones.

  • The Bible knows nothing of a free-floating kind of free-wheeling independent Christian who comes and goes willy-nilly at his own discretion.

It only knows of those who are in the Lord and in the church and accountable to Christ and accountable, as well, to the church. It is a spiritual issue.

Hebrews10:25 (King Version) 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.

The closer we get to the coming of the Lord, the more important it is that you be a part of the church, that you be here to stimulate one another in love and good works, that you be a part of the redeemed community. It’s all that the New Testament knows. It is inconceivable to the writers of the New Testament that somebody would be in Christ and not in the church, a local gathered group of those who are in Christ’s.

Look, you were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. God purchased you with His own blood, to put you into the church.

Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b]

Every time a person is redeemed, the Spirit of God places them into the body of Christ. You are in the body of Christ. You are joined to the Lord, you are one with everybody else who’s joined to the Lord. Why do you resist? Why do you resist becoming a part of the local assembly of the faithful believers who are fighting the same struggles you are and who will be a great help and encouragement to you in the process?  Don’t make it anything else.

2#   it’s a fellowship issue. Philippians  2: 1-2 say, “If there’s any encouragement in Christ, if there’s any consolation of love, if there’s any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose.”

  • That’s about unity. You say you want to encourage men in your life?
  • You say you want love in your life?
  • You say you want compassion and affection in your life?

Then you will find it in the fellowship of the church. That’s why we’re here and if our fellowship is defined by anything, it’s defined by truth and love.

Note:  “You cannot live effectively in your Christian life in isolation. It has been said, You can have  a barbeque in the backyard and you can put all the coals together and they all stay hot.   But just take one and stick it outside the rest and watch what happens to it, it grows cold fast.”

  • You isolate yourself from the intimacy of fellowship in the church,
  • from people’s fellowship expectation and accountability,
  • from the opportunity to minister to them, to exercise the one anothers toward them as they exercise them for you.
  • Pray for one another, love one another, comfort one another, encourage one another, edify one another, restore one another, forgive one another.
  • All those one another’s
  • , and there’s many more. That’s what it means to engage in real fellowship.

Fellowship  is essential and purifying. It is enriching, comforting, caring, sharing, bearing one another’s burdens and thus fulfilling the law of Christ which is the law of love.

Closing: Joining the church is a spiritual and fellowship issue and much  more,  You openly demonstrate the reality of the body of Christ. When you join a church, you make it visible.  You give a living demonstration of the spiritual reality of the body of Christ. You show that even though you are an individual, you are a part of the body, you are joined together with others.  You take the body of Christ out of the realm of the abstract and give it a meaning that people can see.

I know there are those of you who are saying to yourself, “Look, I didn’t know why it’s such a  big of a deal, it’s huge. Not joining the church is saying                                                                                        I don’t want to be Accountable, I don’t want to be committed, I don’t want to be responsible,  I don’t want to have the love, comfort, expectations from a church and I don’t want to have  spiritual accountability.

See it for what it is, if you resist it, because that’s what it really is- a big deal.

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Templeton, California 93465

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