To Be or Not To Be . . . A Church Member
To be a church member is not to be a member of a club, something like a golf club, or a Moose Lodge, or a YMCA even. Those organizations have their places in society, but they are not analogous to church membership. To be a member of a church means that you are a part of something, obviously. But, more than that, when you belong to a church, you are part of something bigger than you, something bigger than your life, something that the Lord Himself has created.
To be a church member means you are committed to the Lord, attempting to please Him in every way, knowing that you were bought with a price—the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Church membership also means that you are responsible for others. You are bound to them by Christ—He is the glue. You must pray for others, care for others, love others, worship with others, and so much more within the context of a local congregation. To be a Christian in isolation, forsaking regular gatherings with the church on the Lord’s Day is to be a fish out of water. Yet, on a more positive note, what a wonderful thing it is to join with fellow believers to praise our Lord and Savior and to love on one another! How often are you missing out on these things?
To be a member of a church is also to submit to leadership and to not only be accountable for others but to be accountable to others as well. Your leaders should know for whom they are responsible. Are they responsible for you? Do they know that they are responsible for you? Are you allowing them to shepherd your soul? They will have to give an answer to the Lord on the Last Day for those who have been entrusted to their care—are you making it difficult on them? The Bible teaches that we are to be loyal and even submissive to one another, our leaders and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. To be a disciple is to be a learner. We ought to be learning about the Lord, life, faith and salvation from our leaders as well as from our fellow Christians in the local church.
Some of these things about church membership are not so clearly taught in the New Testament precisely because membership was assumed in the apostolic age. Every believer belonged to a local body! So, where are you on all of this? Have you made your identification and allegiance to the local church official by making your desire to be a member public? What about those of you who are already “members”? Are you living up to that high calling? Are you at least attempting to fulfill your duty as a member of a local church of the Lord Jesus Christ? To be or not to be a church member—THAT is the question.