Four Reasons Why You Should Join a Local Church

Text: Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Join a church for the sake of non-Christians. Church membership helps make the gospel clear to non-Christians by providing a unified witness of what it means to be a Christian.  Membership provides this unified witness by implementing a statement of faith, encouraging unity in doctrine, and a church covenant, encouraging unity in lifestyle.

Join a church for the sake of weaker Christians. God is not merely concerned about our own private piety, but also about our care for the other sheep.  This is a whole aspect of godliness that privatized Christians ignore.  If we don’t love God’s people, then John says we have reason to question our love for God Himself . 1 John 4:8  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.   God wants us to encourage weaker Christians and run the race with them.  Don’t leave it to other people to care for those outside your circle of friends.  This is your responsibility.   Members should see themselves as providers – coming to serve others, not to be served.

Join a church for the sake of the church leaders. If regular attenders don’t eventually make themselves known to the pastor as members of the church, then the pastor cannot take responsibility for them as part of his particular flock. Pastors need to know for which sheep God will hold them accountable so that they can tend to them most responsibly and effectively (Hebrew 13:17).  If regular attenders don’t join churches, then pastors cannot (Heb 13:17)  be freed to do what they do.  Pastors can only devote themselves to the ministry because they are set free to do so by members who fund their work.  Regular attenders benefit from the commitment of other people who have become members and who give and serve and pray regularly.

Join a church to expose false gospels and the Health of the church. The best defense is often a good offense.  God wants us to band together in love so that we can model Christianity for the world.  This is often how we best debunk messages that masquerade as biblical Christianity but are really different messages altogether. Christians are called to differentiate the true gospel from false ones, to defend it against distortion, and to prevent it from being perverted. We do these things best together because we are sharpened by each other’s insight, encouragement, and correction.

Join a church to edify the church. Some people refuse to join a local church because they feel they would be slowed down in their spiritual growth if they joined.  Perhaps.  But maybe God wants such people to join a church to help speed other people up.  Membership doesn’t stop with M-E. Joining a local church counters wrong individualism, helping us live out the corporate nature of Christianity.  The New Testment is full of injunctions to care for each other.  This is part of what it means to be a Christian.  So if we think we are mature, yet lack a care for Christ’s body that evidences itself in carrying out the responsibilities of local church membership, we hurt the church, and we are not yet as mature as we presume to be.

Join a church for your own Health and Spiritual protection. We can’t always read our own souls perfectly.  We can deceive ourselves, and we therefore need other people to help us walk as individual Christians. (Jeremiah  17:9)   The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand    it?  Palms 19:12   But who can discern their own errors?  Forgive my hidden faults.  The Bible speaks of people as sheep.  Sheep aren’t meant to be wandering around on their own recognizance between folds.  Sheep are dumb.  We fall into ravines when we are by ourselves.  We need to be shepherded into folds. So we need to exercise the humility to view ourselves as sheep and submit ourselves to a local body of believers for mutual encouragement, protection, and examination.  It is our wisdom and safety to humbly stay with the flock and near a good shepherd who grazes, guides and guards us.

Join a church for your own spiritual assurance. In joining a church, we are asking our church family to hold us accountable to live according to what we confess.  Membership in a local church is that congregation’s public testimony that your life gives continual evidence of regeneration.   In joining a church, we are taking hold of one another to know and to be known in mutual responsibility and care, so that we can make sure we are bearing the fruit of holiness, “without which no one will see the Lord” Hebrews  12:14.  Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord  ( John 14:21; 15:10, 14).

Join a Church for the sake of God’s name. The building up of the church is ultimately GOD’S work.  The LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42, 47).   Acts 2:42 , 46-47;  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,   praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me (Acts 9:4).  Jesus so closely identified himself with His church that He said Saul was persecuting Him when he was persecuting the church.  If Jesus identified himself closely with the church, we should too.  By our being together in a church, we are giving testimony and praise to God through our lives as we live and love each other together.  It would be easy to put on programs and attract people, and allow people to enjoy being in the choir and having homogenous friendships in small groups, but never deal with the most important issues.   We could service people socially, but will they be committed to pray, give, serve, love, and attend?  These are the marks of a faithful Christian, and these are the characteristics and actions that give God glory in the church.

Join a Church for the sake of God’s cause. God wants His glory displayed and His gospel spread to all the nations. “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you a light to the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa 49:6).  We can take God’s glory and gospel to the nations better if we band together than if we remain alone.  Being part of God’s plan to spread His glory and gospel to all nations is a privilege that we will not have in heaven.  We seize the privilege of evangelism best if we work together as one diverse unity.

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