Fellowship in the Gospel (No. 7 in Series)

Fellowship in the Gospel

A Series on Church Membership

Do you have someone who has greatly influenced you?  Do you have someone who, when you think of them, you have to thank God for him/her?  Do you thank God for the gifts, the influence, the blessings, the love?  The Philippians were just that for the apostle Paul.  Every time Paul went to prayer he spoke up in behalf of the Philippians.  He wanted God to pour out mercies on them.  He wanted great spiritual blessings for them.
What was it that bound them together?  What was it that could cause great fellowship between people of very different life-situations?  The Gospel is our fellowship.  The Gospel is what unites us.  It has brought us together.  From the first day until that present, joy had filled their hearts, and it was centered on the Gospel.  We have the same bond.  We have the same fellowship.  God has poured out joy in our hearts because of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The same joy fills each one of us.
This is a great motivator for church membership.  We have the same faith in the Gospel, and there is so much joy in finding a group of people to share that with in Christian fellowship.  We can celebrate the Gospel together.  We can thank the Lord together.  We can live out the Gospel together.
So, let us be charitable toward one another and, thus, motivate thanksgiving.  When other believers think of you, what do they think?  Is it positive or negative?  Are people thankful for you?  Now, not everything we do will receive a pat-on-the-back or a thank-you-card in return, but are you being charitable toward others and giving others a reason to be thankful for your presence in their life?

Also, be thankful for those around you.  Be specific when you go to God in prayer.  Who has been there for you in the hard times?  Who has supported you when you needed it most?  Who has gone out of their way to help you?  Name them to God, and like we said before, be one of those people for others.

Shining Light (No. 6 in Series)

Shining Light

A Series on Church Membership

As we continue our discussion about church membership and good reasons to join a local church, we may move to a second reason: To Evangelize the World.  When we act together, we can better spread the gospel at home and internationally.  This is the same principle behind the old phrase, “Two heads are better than one.”  If we all come together to share the Good News, it will be beneficial to us in the local church, but it will also reach out to those in our community, region, and around the world with the greatest news ever shared.  God has blessed us immensely, and, together, we can be a blessing to the nations.

Church membership helps to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).  Together, we can obey the Lord’s last command.  We can help to fulfill the greatest mission ever given, the plan of redemption.  Christ has done all of the work, all that is left for us to do is tell others about all the good things that He has accomplished.

We have all been called to bear witness of the Lord’s gracious work.  We all, individually, are lights in the darkness.  Yet, when we join our lights together, we can really illuminate the world around us.  We can shine brightly into the darkest places of our neighborhoods and on this planet.  We can make a difference in people’s lives with the message that we share.

You see, we promote the Gospel by cooperating to take it to those who have not heard it, and by making the Gospel visible to the world through how we live.  The Lord knows that the most effective way to reach out is for the church to do it together!

Blessed Assurance (No. 5 in Series)

Blessed Assurance

A Series on Church Membership
When we join a local church, we help to assure ourselves of salvation and our place in the family of God.  You should not join a church to be saved, but you may want to join a church in order to get the help you need in making certain that you are saved.  You see, in joining a church, we are asking our brothers and sisters to hold us accountable to live according to our confession.  We want to live what we claim we believe.
Church membership does not save anyone in and of itself.  Being on some church role or roster is not salvation.  Yet, the essence of membership can go a long way in helping to bring about our ultimate salvation.  What is the essence of membership?  Being with other Christians; worship, prayer, singing, the spiritual disciples all in a corporate setting; holding one another accountable; supporting one another; discipling one another to maturity in the faith.  Spurring one another on, and carrying one another at times, is what brings about our ultimate salvation.
We know that, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt 24:13).  And, the Lord, in His providence and care, has ordained that Christians not attempt to endure this life alone.  No, we have been called to a congregational life.  We have been adopted into the family of God.  We are to live life together in a community of those who love and care for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Important points have already been made, but let us make one more simple point.  Membership is possibly the key expression of salvation in the sense that, through our interaction with the local church, we are able to live out our faith and obey the Lord.  Without the validation of our faith in the life of the church, especially from fellow believers, how much assurance do we really have?