Church Membership That Matters
Why membership matters?
Why membership matters?
I want to explain why being a member of a local congregation is beneficial for you.Christ namediscipleshipprotection 793Witness
If those who are Christ’s refrained, even for a generation, from numbering themselves with his people, there would be no visible church, no ordinances maintained, and, I fear, very little preaching of the gospel.
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Now some people argue against a church practicing regenerate church membership. They say that anybody and every body should be able, and even welcomed, to join a local congregation of believers if they desire to.
They argue because it is impossible for us to know with certainty the state of any one person’s heart before the Lord, we cannot limit a church’s membership. Therefore, churches should not practice regenerate church membership because of the limitations we have as humans.
But, just thinking logically, if the universal church is composed of all believers from all times, and all places, it seems that the goal of local churches should be to come as close to that standard as possible.
Simply because it is true that it is impossible for us to know everything about someone’s heart does not mean we should relax the biblical expectation for the church.
In many areas of other Christian life, the biblical standard is above our ability to reach perfectly. For example, Jesus says if you are ever angry with your brother you commit murder in your heart. Now who hasn’t been angry with someone else?
Just because it is impossible for us to perfectly obey the Lord this side of glory doesn’t give us license to stop obeying altogether.
Not only that, but the NT gives provision for the church when they inadvertently allow a false disciple to creep in, and provides instruction for how to handle it.
Jesus told us in that we are to practice church discipline.
This is a four step process we will look at in the coming weeks where we urge someone who professes faith in Christ to repent of their sin.
But if they continue in unrepentant sin, even after the whole church urges them to repent, then they deny their profession of faith with their life and they are to be put out of the church, i.e. removed from the church’s membership.
Third, the way the New Testament describes local churches assumes that these congregations are only composed of believers.
calls the church those sanctified in Christ Jesus.
The letter to the Ephesians is written to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus.
To letter to Phillipi is sent to all the saints in Christ Jesus.
The Colossians are described in as the saints and faithful brothers in Christ.
And Paul wrote both letters to the Thessalonians To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Clearly, when Paul wrote his letters, he assumed he was speaking to Christians.
Given this evidence, the belief that regenerate church membership only applies to the universal church and should not be the aim of local churches as local expressions of the Christ’s church runs contrary to logic, ignores the biblical teaching on church discipline, and does not consider the way local churches are described in Paul’s letters.