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Church Membership

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Exploring Traditions  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:33
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So we're going to walk through church membership and we're going to look at a few passages and we're going to see that while there's no explicit command for church membership. There are certain certainly some assumptions made in the New Testament that point us in that direction right? And by the way, You don't get a discount when you go out to eat for joining Red Hills. Alright so what I want us to do, is I want us to look through some of these implications. But then after we do that, after we look at some texts, we're also going to then just try to go back to some of our underlying assumptions. This is where Traditions really trip us up. We just start to assume things. We we think that it means one thing when really it means another and so we're going to talk through some of those assumptions places where we need to kind of reset our thinking on membership. Now that everybody is Thoroughly excited about talking about membership. Would you turn with me to Matthew chapter 18? Matthew chapter 18 All right, Matthew chapter 18 is one of those passages at least this one that we're going to look at that that if you've been in church for a while one of two things is very possible either you've heard it and not liked it or you've never heard it. That's about the two things I see happen when people come to this passage you hear it and you don't like it or you've never heard it before in church. So let's look at Matthew chapter 18, and we're going to look at verses 15 through 17. Matthew chapter 18 verses 15 through 17 if your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault between you and him alone if he listens to you you have gained your brother, but if he does not listen take one or two others along with you that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three Witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and a tax collector. All right, this is a passage again. We read it and because most of us are Americans we just don't like it. We don't like the idea that there would be any instant in which somebody could come to us and say hey,

Yeah, you sinned against me. We don't we don't want that but Jesus assumed that his followers would commit to one another in local churches. Jesus assumed that we would have relationships with other believers. Whereby we gave them permission to come to us and say you need to correct this in your life or where we could go to a fellow believer and say this does not look like Christ is Lord of your life and we look at that and we're like, okay. This is not talking about church membership, right? If your brother sins against you go to him alone. And if he repents you've gained your brother. Okay. Got it. Right how many of you have been sinned against? You can show me your hand. That's okay really? It should be every hand in the room if you're too scared to raise it. We know you want to raise it. Anyways, how many of you have sinned against?

Why are people more honest with that one? Right this is something that we just know we're human. We sin other people sin and guess what? Sometimes we're going to be shooting sometimes we're going to get caught in the crossfire. That's just the nature of the world that we live in. Jesus says, well you going to make it right with this brother or with the sister that you love that you both are submitted to the same Lord so go and try to make this thing right seek reconciliation. So so we can almost get on board with reconciling one to one. But then there's this next part if they don't repent take two or three with you and go to them again. Now now Jesus is starting to step on some toes right. No no no this is just about me and him this isn't about anybody else. Why do I need to bring anybody else in? Because we've made a mistake and assumption in the American Church. We've assumed that church exists for us. We've assumed that the reason we go to church is so that we can get fed or so that we can worship God. So we're going to pick a church that decorates the way we like that sings the music that we like. It has people we like the does the kind of activities that we like that offers programs that we liked. You see the Common Thread we selected Church based on our desires. Jesus didn't think that was a church was supposed to work Jesus' assumption was that the local church was going to be this place where brothers and sisters together work towards being like Christ encouraging one another rebuking one another right teaching one another correcting one another. These are the kind of things that Jesus assumed would be a part of his local church as he is saying this is what's coming. There's going to be this Gathering of my people who will get together in a local place. Now, how do I know It's a local place. How do I know when Jesus says if he doesn't listen to two or three take it to the whole church? How do I know that? How many Believers are there worldwide? Throw out some guesses.

A billion? Yeah, depends on how you count, but yeah that's a legitimate assumption. There's about a billion people who, we can't know the heart, but at least would profess Jesus Is My Lord? How in the world? Let's just use an object lesson. All right, let's just use an object lesson. Let's say that Dan how many of you guys know Dan? Dan where are you? Oh, he's on security good. This is why I picked Dan. Yes. Alright, let's say that Dan and I have a disagreement. Alright, and let's say just hypothetically that this disagreement gets a little heated and as Dan is walking away. I give him a salute but not the kind he was used to in the Air Force.

Alright, let's say that Dan sees the solute and later He comes to me he said hey Brandon. He said that was not a way to honor Christ. He said that it that, you know, that's just not a good thing for you to be doing. You should repent of that. and I be like well now I'll give you two salutes. Right now we have a problem. So Dan goes and he gets Bryant and Dave and Bryant and Dave come with Dan and they all say Brandon you should you should really repent and you should be reconciled to your brother here. And I give everybody salutes.

Now, what do they do start emailing and posting on Facebook and calling every single believer worldwide? is that the church that they're supposed to take this issue to? No, no Jesus assumed that there was going to be a local group of believers who they would go to and say hey guys, Brandon is refusing to reconcile with Dan and he's refusing to repent of what is clearly a sin and so we can't assume that he's following Christ anymore. We can't assume that it may be that he is but right now he's unrepentant. Jesus assumed that there was going to be a local place where there were late. We're relationships like this his followers could come together and encourage one another to repent encourage one another to follow Christ encourage one another to be reconciled encourage one another to Unity encourage one another to love encourage one another to turn from sin. He assumed that there's going to be a local body that served that purpose. That was Jesus's assumption. Well how do you define that local body? That becomes the issue right? How is the local church defined as the local church defined as whoever happens to be there on a Sunday some of you sitting here. This is your first Sunday here and you have my apologies because the sermon on church membership talking about discipline that kind of stuff is a little awkward for you to be here for the first time. But if you're sitting here new how much more Awkward would it be if these three guys stood up and said, you know what Brandon did this and he's refusing to repent and we just need to assume that he's no longer a Believer OK everybody in favor Say I and you're sitting there as a first time guest like Who is Brandon? I don't know any of this. What are you talkin about? Right now? There's it's assumed that there's going to be this committed group of people people that know one another to have a relationship with one another people who are going to be running into Brandon and need to be able to say to him repent say to me. That's right. That's the assumption that Jesus is making here. That's one of the reasons why I think we should commit to one another in the local church now this can take a lot of different forms. It can be something like formal signing on the dotted line and saying this is what I'm going to do. There are churches that practice informal membership churches where If somebody's been there for 6 months is kind of this implicit assumption. All right, you're now considered a part of this body. I'm not here to debate this morning whether or not formal informal membership is right wrong or indifferent. I will say that at Red Hills We practice formal membership. But I'm okay with the other one too, but there needs to be some way of saying this is the local body. This is the people who are committed to one another enough that When sin enters the body they can deal with it in a Christ honoring way, all right? Now so I said Jesus never commands church membership. That's true. But I think it in Matthew 18 you very clearly assumes that there's going to be a committed local body who can make these kind of decisions together. The other thing that I think is clear is that while Jesus never joined a church Jesus is present whenever a local church makes these kind of decisions. Jesus is on board with the local church functioning in this committed way and how do we know that if you skip just a little bit farther down into Matthew 18, 18 through 20 I want you to hear that. So this is just the very next few verses Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He says truly I say to you whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven again, I say to you. If two of you agree on Earth about anything they ask it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name there am I among them. Now everybody's heard verse 20 if you've been in church for a while. Right verse 20 is like kind of that catch-all verse that that pastors like to throw out when nobody shows up for an event. Right what where two or three are gathered? There's Jesus right or or people be like, oh, we don't need to go to church cuz you know my roommate and I are Christians and so is kind of like Church everyday cuz where two or three are gathered, you know, there's Christ among them but that's not what Jesus is getting it. I think I could be maybe part of it but I don't think that's the whole of it when we look at it in context with Jesus is saying is when the local church functions in a way that demonstrates the commitment to following me. I'm right there with them. In context, this is not about you only have to have two or three people for church. This is where two or three people agree together to follow me to commit to following me when two or three people have called someone to repentance and they've refused, I'm right there with them. Jesus takes this stuff serious. Jesus says, you're not on your own in this church membership thing and in holding one another accountable to righteousness you're not alone in calling someone to repentance church. I'm right there with you whenever you're doing this. So he assumed that the followers would commit to one another in a local church. And then he says I'm going to be present when you make decisions as a local church. I'm going to be present with you when you do this, that's incredible to me that Jesus not only assume that this local body is going to be committed to one another but he says he go so far as they are going to be with you when you do that. Write Jesus presence with us today in the fact that we've gathered through the spirit. That's an incredible reality. That's one of those things. I think we don't think about much but how much more incredible is it that when we as a church make decisions he's with us. How much more incredible is it in when we together? Say to one another I'm going to hold you accountable and you hold me accountable. Jesus says I'm on board with that. That is directly counter to the American culture. If ever there was anything we run from accountability. We don't want anybody to tell us this is how it ought to be. We don't want anybody to tell us how your life should look if you're claiming the Christ as Lord. We don't want any of that. None of us wants that want the freedom right? Well today. I'm going to read my Bible. But tomorrow I'm going to go steal a million dollars. And don't you dare tell me it's wrong. Right that is problematic. Jesus vision of the church is much different is vision of the church is a place where when I fail to honor Christ you guys would say to me come back come back repent turn from that sin and Trust Christ. A church where when you step out of line, you have brothers and sisters who you've given permission to speak that into your life to say to you turn back repent from that sin. That's what church membership is in my mind. It's in the accountability to one another use this definition several times. So there's several phrases that I use from time to time at Red Hills that we use I should say it's not just me. Somebody was using them this morning and Sunday school. Good job guys. We talk about what we want to do is a church. We want to be a church that loves God loves others and make disciples. That's what we want to do. Basically we want to be a church that obeys Jesus cuz those are three of the things the most important things that Jesus said. This is what I want to do love God love others and make disciples we say, yes, we want to do that. right

but the flip side of that is What if I'm not loving God?

What do we do that? What if I'm not loving others? What happens then? So that becomes into how we Define the church we Define the church at Red Hills. We Define this local church as a group of Christ followers committed to obeying him together. We are a group of Christ followers committed to a bang him together and some of you you guys come on Sunday, and that's awesome and we welcome everybody to come on Sunday, but some of you you are involved in my life. Some of you can look at me and say I hate we committed to a bang Jesus together and you're not you need to address that right. That's that's the different. That's why I'm talking about. So we have the congregation like everybody that anymore we call you guys the congregation. So it is your first time to hear welcome to the congregation. You're you're free to come you're free to go at just part of it. But then we also would have a Intergroup a committed core of people who said yes. I'm on board with this. Yes. I'm committing myself to not just this nameless faceless entity Red Hills, but I'm committing myself to Bryant and I'm committing myself to Brandon and I'm committing myself to Megan and Michelle Wright. I'm committing myself to these brothers and sisters and saying let's obey Jesus together. So Jesus is the his followers would commit to local church Jesus his presents with his followers when they make decisions as a local church and 3rd. The early church knew who was a part of the local congregation and who was not the early church knew who was involved who was part of that Circle and who was not now. I want you to turn to a different scripture here with me. I want you to look for the book of Hebrews. Want to look at Hebrews and I want you to turn to Hebrews 13. All right now fair warning at some point in the near future if the Lord permits I want to preach through the book of Hebrews, but I can't reach through the whole book in one morning. So we're just going to look at chapter 13. And we're just going to look at one verse. We're going to look at verse 17. This is another one. That's really going to cut across the grain of our American culture. So bear with me for a second. Hebrews chapter 13 verse 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 running for that would be of no advantage to you. Jesus is really he was really Medellin with letting other believers come and confront us about Sin will now the author of Hebrews is getting on board with the same program and he's not just saying other believers can come to you. He's saying that they're supposed to be these leaders and you're supposed to submit to them. And and honestly, this passage is one of those it's hard for me to talk about because I'm one of the leaders at Red Hills. I'm one of the pastures here. I want you understand. I don't bring this passage up because I want to somehow be self-serving and be like y'all just do what I say. That's actually really bad advice most of the time but when I open the word and I say to you this is what the Lord says not my words but his word. When I come to you in the spirit and I say look, this is what Jesus would have for his people. There should be this obedience right? There should be this willingness to submit because myself and Bryant and Dan and Richard Wright PCS pastors of this church. We don't do this because we get some sort of kicks out of it. All right, we don't do it because it's a lot of fun to lead a church, right? Frankly, if you're looking for the like a meter of fun like over here is roller coasters some of you think that's not fun, but that's the fun side. And over here is not fun. Like leaving. The church is often times somewhere about right here. But but what the author papers are saying is saying no, that's not how it should be let your leaders do this with joy and not with groaning, right?

Do it with joy. Let let them enjoy the ministry that they have how by obeying the word of God by submitting to the word of God, but here's the big question to me. Is this passage just talking about Brandon and Brian and Dan and and Richard?

Is it talking about all the church leaders right not to pick on anybody? But how many of you have heard of Westboro Baptist? Right Westboro Baptist Church. They're not a church and they're not Baptist just so we're all clear on that. Alright Westboro Baptist Church famous for picketing the funerals of soldiers famous for standing out on the street corners with signs that say God hates and fill in the blank, right? God hates. This God hates that God hates this God hates that right and 8th day rejoice when soldiers come home dead and say this is God's judgment on This Nation.

They have leaders and those leaders tell their congregation, right? They tell their people you need to go pick at this funeral. Does that mean you and I need to be out there picketing with them? Well, there's some leaders and they claim to be a church. I guess we got to follow them.

Cy that's problematic if this is a statement for The Universal Church for believers everywhere know the Assumption of the author seems to be like there's this local committed body and here's the leaders that God has given them and they're supposed to obey and submit to them right it's not hard to imagine in this great big wide world where there are churches on every continent that's cultures that look much different than ours. It's not hard to imagine a church leader in South America. Telling his people like hey, we need to take up a collection. So you bring two chickens and you bring a goat and we're going to meet this need over here for this family. Does that mean next Sunday? I want you to show up with two chickens and a goat. No, cuz there's a local congregation whose leaders of said this is what we need to do. And there are people submitted to those local leaders who are committed to one another and to obeng that leadership right? It's not this is not the universal church is being talked about. It's the local church. And this is the this is the other hard part why I don't like preaching this passage. Look look what it says for those leaders. Why are you to obey and submit to them? Because they are keeping watch over your souls as those will have to give an account. As those who will have to give an account. You know what that says. It says that your pastor is here. Are responsible for you? And that one day we will stand before God. And he will be able to ask us those people that you were supposed to be watching out for the ones who continued with their addictions the ones who refused to reconcile with one another. That's on you. This is why James says not many of you should become teachers Brothers for you know that we who teach will incur a stricter judgement. What this tells me and frankly God is a gracious God. Can I get an amen to that? God is a gracious God and he loves his people but he does call us to account and this scripture right here says to me and to Bryant into Dan into Richard. We're not just responsible for our sins. We're not just responsible for our shortcomings. We're responsible for the sins and shortcomings of the people.

in the church

I really want to be careful to Define that church because I'm going to give an account for you guys. I'm going to stand before God and have to answer. For your faith and mine. So I want to know who am I responsible for? Maybe this is a little bit self-serving when I first got here. We had 350 people who were members of Red Hills. And I knew about 90 of them. And so I was thinking man. There's potentially

thank you people and I have no idea what their face looks like. I have no idea what they're getting up to weekend. We can have no idea whether or not to be at equipped or called to Ministry. I have no idea whether or not they're serving face. We have no idea whether they're repenting of sin or not. I have no idea whether or not they know what the word says. I have no idea if they're even attending any church And that was scary to me for lack of a better way of putting it so church membership serves all of these function. It serves as a place like a local point of connection for believers to commit to one another and say I'm with you if you're with me I'm going to say I will hold you accountable if you will hold me accountable. That's actually if you look at what our church covenant says, that's what it says. There's all these one another passages in the in the Bible. Like if you read through the New Testament, you can't really get too far without seeing one another and we're told to love one another which are told to encourage one. Another were told to pray for one. Another were told to rebuke one another which old to encourage and to train one another right? There's all of these one another's any there's like 50 two of them are Church Covenant. Do you know what it is? It's not you have to show up three times a month. It's not you have to give x amount of dollars in the plate. our church covenant is just those one another's Change what I'm going to do these things that Jesus says his people out to do for what I'm going to do them for this local group of Believers. That's that's my commitment. Does that mean we don't do them for believers in Ecuador? We're Believers in Kenya will know. But we don't have connection with them to the point where we can do that everyday, but I have a group of people here who have committed to instead. I'm going to one another you if and you're going to one another me. You have the authority to speak into my life. I have the authority to speak in your life. That's what our church covenant says. So but he assumed that there would be these committed groups of Believers gathered together in one place. Jesus never joined the church, but he is present whenever a local church is making decisions and the early church was well aware of who was and who was not a part of the local body to the point where they can say, these are your leaders obey then and leaders here are your people Shepherd them right? There was this Assumption of something like membership and I guarantee you it look much different than what it does it read Hills. I guarantee it but we don't know exactly what it looks like. We just know there was this relational connection between people but all of that to say now. Understanding the church membership while not a command is certainly an implication of the New Testament. I think we need to reset our understanding of membership. We do need to rethink this. I mean when I say we I mean we everybody in here. Okay, cuz here's what we tend to do with membership. We tend to associate at like AAA, right? Like here's here's the things I get if I'm a member that's not how the New Testament would talk about it. The New Testament says it's not about you. It's not it's not about what you get. Right and there would be about a lot of different places that we need to do this with the first thing I want to look at is that church membership is not about control. Church membership is not about control. It's about contribution. Okay, and yes, these are all going to be a little rated. Okay, so that we can if you take a note you can track along with this. It's not about control. Sometimes we think if I join this church, then I can kind of shift it. So it looks like what I want it to look like right if I join this church, then I'm going to be able to control what the church does. Not the point rather. The thing is if I join this church, how is it that God has uniquely gifted me to contribute to the ministry there. So this morning and Sunday school and then for the next 3 weeks all of the adults are meeting together. If you think you can still jump in next week at 9:30, we'll meet downstairs. We're doing the class about equipping the Saints for the work of ministry in Ephesians. Paul says something really unique. He says unless every part actually he uses the word member unless every member of the body is functioning as it should. The church will not be built up in love towards Christ. It's win. Every member is functioning as it should that the church is built up. And so when in your mind you're looking and some of you were in that place we hate this term hate this term where you're Church shopping. Okay, no shame, right if that's you that's our culture. But if you're Church shopping, here's my challenge to you. Don't look for the church that sings the kind of music you like that has a preacher that you like bit. Agrees with you in every instance that smells nice and looks night.

The church not the preacher just so we're clear on that.

Bonus if the preacher smells nice, all right. But don't look for a church based on what you can get or what you can control in it look for a church and say do my gifts fit here has the way God's wired me. Will that allow me to contribute to this local body of Believers and ask the Lord to direct you to a church. We have some people who are who are part of Red Hills and that was their story. They didn't come here cuz they like this they came here because Jesus told him to I think it's a really good reason for choosing a church because Jesus said this is where I want you this is where you're going to be able to contribute. That's a church membership is not about control and you need to know if you said I want to be a member of Red Hills. I want to join through this formal process. I want to I want to commit myself to these other believers. You need to understand if you're a member of Red Hills I expect you to serve. I could have made a maybe politicize that a little bit but why not? Just calling a spade a spade if you join the church, I expect you to serve because Jesus said Did the body each member the body will have a function and if you're joining you remember I expect you to have a function. Okay, church membership is not lifelong. It is limited K. It is not lifelong. This is not something where you show up. You'll be like I I want to join the church and then you never get off the rolls and 10 years from now, even though we've never seen you again. You're telling people. I'm a member of Red Hills this used to happen all the time to me when when my wife and I lived in Kentucky, right? One of my favorite ones. I got in this conversation with somebody in the grocery store. And so we're just talking and I asked them I said so, you know, where do you go to church? Because they said they were believer we would have been talked about Jesus. Where do you go to church I go to this church, which happened to be the church that I was on staff at? I said, oh great. Who's the pastor had no idea and I wasn't the pastor. So I wasn't like, you know trying to come say my name like I was I was just on staff. They had no idea. It had been there for 10 years have been like two pastors since then we're actually been longer than that is like 30 years since I've been to the church, but they still said I'm a member of this church know you're not I'm sorry, if local church membership is about being committed to a body and they haven't seen you for 30 years. You're not a member and so Red Hills how we get around that little problem is every year. We have a reaffirmation of membership. And so if that rolls around and you would join the church, but we haven't seen you for six months. Guess what? No harm. No foul. You're no longer a member.

I know she wants to continue to do and those who don't don't because it's again it's about that committed thing now. Gaining some sort of, you know, credential. Those are the card. You can carry it around and be like, I'm a member Red Hills about the commitment we make the one of their next church membership is not required. At Red Hills and you would think with all I've been talked about church membership. You were thinking. I was going to get to the sales pitch and be like you got to join the church. No not required. As a matter of fact, we do that for a very practical reason because the New Testament doesn't command it right if the New Testament Amanda. I guarantee you I'd say you need to be a member of local church. It is not required. However, it is recommended. Okay it it's not required for discipleship, right? If you say I want to follow Christ we're going to say awesome. We're going to help you do that whether you join the church or not. We want you to come to Bible study. We want you to go join a small group. We wants you to worship with us. We want you to go to Sunday school. We want you to do all of those things. We want you to serve with us right at the huge part of following Christ. But we would recommend that you join the church for this accountability so that when you get mad, it's not just you storm off, but we can actually work through the issue right? Because let's be honest. I told Sunday school this morning. So the cat's already out of the bag. We're not a perfect Church. Sorry disillusion. Some of you the shocked look on your face. Really. Yeah, we're not a perfect.

We want we want to be. But we're not we need each other so that we can continue to press forward so we can continue to get better as a body so that we can continue to be equipped as Saints. We need each other to do that. I recommend joining the church for that accountability. And so that you can help us become what Christ intends us to be. I would recommend it because as a church like the password even though we're leaders. We don't lead by dictating to everybody. This is what you're going to do. Our job is to open the word of God and say this is what we think we got to do and then prayerfully we ask the church to consider it and decide if you're a member you get to be a part of that decision making process. You're not you don't not because we've got anything against you not because we think you might not be immature believe you probably are you're probably more mature that we are a lot of us anyways, but we need to know that the people who are making decisions here are committed to this process of obeying Jesus together as we make decisions, but you can't if you're if you're not a member here that hears the entire list of what you cannot do if you're not a member cannot vote. You cannot leave in church ministry. You cannot teach a regular weekly class and you cannot serve as a representative of the church. And that seems like a list like four things. That's a long list of things you cannot do but what you can do you can worship you can serve. You can study you can do Outreach. You can do all of that. Not as a member, so it's not required but it is something that we recommend as a part of discipleship as a part of it Mutual accountability. Finally. This is what I want to understand church membership is not a set of rights that we can claim. It is a set of responsibilities that we commit to I mentioned before that. We have a church covenant that Covenant is the one another's right. Don't join the church just so you can be like, I don't join the church just so I can teach a class now. I can lead a Ministry now. I can represent the church now, don't do that. Don't join the church. If you think you're getting a set of rights that you can own that you can use to manipulate this local body to be what you wanted to be. Don't join the church because you think it's somehow gives you some sort of claim on it recognize that when we say if you want to join the church. You're not signing up for control not signing up for what you get your signing up for these responsibilities to one another one another. To do the Christian life together to Fellowship to disciple one another to pray together, right your static signing up to be a part of this some of your sitting here in your life. Probably could have done without this sermon. Not really my favorite topic. Going to walk out of here with nothing. I don't want you to walk out of here with nothing. If you're sitting here in your thinking this membership thing means nothing to me. I'm just visiting here. I never plan on attending here again, whatever. Here's what I want you to walk away with Jesus loves the local church. Jesus loves when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity, Jesus loves when his people hold one another accountable Jesus loves when his people are serving together advancing his kingdom Jesus loves that and so if you don't join Red Hills, I'm cool with that. But by all means if you're a Christ follower, don't try to do the Christian Life on your own. Find a group of Believers whether they do formal membership or informal membership of find a group of Believers a church that you can gather with and you can say I commit to you.

And I'm going to help you be christ-like as you help me be christ-like find a group of believers who can do that do away with this American nonsense of an individual Faith like this Lone Ranger Christian ideal just is garbage. I don't mean to speak so just clearly here but like the New Testament knows nothing of that. Every single believer in the New Testament find the place in a local community and says, these are my people and I'm going to follow Jesus together with them. Doesn't have to be here but understand that would be the way that you follow Christ is to get in community with some other christ-followers. You need that. I would beg you to treasure the local church, like Jesus treasured the local church, like Jesus treasured the commitment of a little group of people 12 right disciples that he was equipping for the work of Ministry. Jesus treasured them. He Treasures the local church. He says he's with us, so do not neglect the local church. Are there some warts? Yeah and a lot worse. There's probably several communicable diseases, right? Church is messy. Where am at every time you get a bunch of people together. Guess what? You're going to give a mess. But it's worth it because Jesus love the local church. So just hear that Jesus loves the local church. And if you're a Christ follower, you should to whichever local church he would lead you to if you are here this morning on your like I didn't know about this whole membership thing at Red Hills and that's to Maya is my discredit. It's not something I talk about Austin or well and so if you're here in your life, I didn't know there was a membership, but you're interested in it. Here's what I'd ask you to do. I asked you to call one of the pastors this week. Okay call one of the pastors and just say I'm interested in membership. I want to talk more. Here's how the process of membership works. You call a pastor and say I think I want to be a part of this committed group of Jesus followers and we say all right, great. Let's set up a meeting will sit down and we'll talk if you want to hear your story. How did Jesus save you write? What's what's been your experience within? What are some of your gifts? Right? How is it that you might fit into what he's doing here? We won't answer questions that you have about Red Hills. Some of you might have a lot of those. All right, we want to answer those questions you want to be able to do that? And if at the end of that meeting you say yes, I do want to join with Red Hills and we say yes, we see that you are committed to a bang Jesus then we will bring your name to the church again because we don't make the decisions you're the church does will bring that your name to the church and say this is a person who's committed to following Jesus. They want to join with us be accountable to us and we be accountable to them. What do y'all think in the Churchill? Say Amen? Let's do this. All right, that's the process of membership call a pastor that will start it. Okay, some of you are sitting here and you are members of the church. What do you do with this?

Well, nothing right you're done. No knots not how it works you continue to do those one another's this isn't just a one-time decision like oh oh, oh I signed on the dotted line. I'm done. Now you continue to look for ways to get to know the other people around you who committed to Christ obeying Christ with you. You begin to encourage one another you begin to rebuke one another you love one another right? Do those one another's at 8 elsewhere in the New Testament says spur one another on to love and Good Deeds. All right, that's what we're supposed to be doing. We're supposed to be continually encouraging one another. How did you serve Christ this week? How did you love God this week? How did you love your neighbor this week? Have you been focused on making disciples and whatever Arena that is some of you were like, I'm not going to go out and preach to people like I'm not going to go do that. Okay fine. Have you shown Hospitality to your neighbor? Right. Have you encouraged the person at work that nobody really likes and everybody kind of avoids have you gone to them and intentionally started the conversation with him? If you're a member of the church, I want you to start having these conversations with one another. How are you following Christ this week? How are you? Encouraging someone this week? How are you using the unique passions and abilities that God has given you to serve in the church and out of the church. How are you committed to a bang Jesus? And how can I help you? So whether you're never planning to attend again? You're not a member, but you're thinking about it or you're a member. understand this the word of God says the local church matters says commitment to one another matters believe that lived at that spray.

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