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Biblical Understanding of Membership

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Biblical Understanding of Membership

What Is A Healthy Church - Chapter 10

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:1-13, ESV)

1.A temple has bricks, a flock has sheep, a vine has branches, and a body has ______________________. In one sense church membership begins when Christ saves us and makes us a member of His body. Yet His work must then be given expression in an actual local church. In that sense, church membership begins when we commit to a particular body. Being a Christian means being joined to a church. (Pg 94)

2.Scripture instructs is to _________________________ regularly so that we can regularly rejoice in our common hope and regularly spur one another on to love and good deeds. Church membership is not simply a record of a box we one checked. It’s not a sentimental feeling. It’s not an expression of affection toward a familiar place. It’s not an expression of loyalty or disloyalty to parents. It should be the reflection of a living commitment, or it is worthless. Indeed, it’s worse than worthless; it’s dangerous. (Pg 95)

3.Biblical membership means taking ________________. The practice of church membership among Christians occurs when Christians grasp hold of each other in responsibility and love. By identifying ourselves with a particular local church, we are telling the church’s pastors and other members not just that we commit to them but that we commit to them in gathering, giving, prayer and service. We are telling them to expect certain things from us and to hold us accountable. (Pg 95)

4.Church members will grow to recognize their mutual responsibilities the more they cherish the gospel, understand that conversion is God’s work, and evangelize by instructing “seekers” to count the cost. Less will Christians regard their churches with a come-as-you-please and get-what-you-can attitude. More will they view the body in which all the parts care for one another - the _____________________ in which they live. (Pg 96)

5.It is not uncommon to find a big gap between the number of people officially on the membership rolls and the number who regularly ___________________. Imagine a church of 7000 in which only 1000 or so attend. According to one study the typical Southern Baptist church has 233 members with only 70 attending on Sunday morning. (Pg 96)

6.What is so dangerous about non-attending, responsibility shrinking members? Uninvolved members confuse both real members and non-Christians about what it means to be a Christian. And active members do the voluntarily inactive members no service when they allow them to remain members of the church, since membership is the church’s corporate endorsement of a person’s salvation. By calling someone a member of your church, you are saying that that individual has your church’s endorsement as a Christian. (Pg 97)

7.A church that practices biblical church membership does not require __________________ of its members; it requires humility and honesty. It doesn’t call them to bare decisions but to real discipleship. It doesn’t discount the importance of an individual’s own experiences with God, but neither does it assume too much of those not-yet-perfected individuals. (Pg 97)

8.Integrity in church membership is what needs to happen with our church rolls. Accountability and encouragement is what needs to happen in the body.

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