- Date: March 4, 2018
- Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31
Country club membership vs Church membership
This book by Thom Rainer gives us a pointed view of the biblical and unbiblical view of church membership. The unbiblical view sees membership from the vantage point of "what you get" for being a member. The biblical view sees membership from the vantage point of "what I give" as a member. The unbiblical view is not based on love, but on self centered, self serving, and arrogant motives. The biblical view is based on the love of Jesus Christ and the nine spiritual gifts that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, NASB.
Members are all necessary parts of the whole
There are a number of places in the New Testament where we can see a clear picture of church membership. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12 to 14, Paul explains the metaphor of the church being a body with many members. This is in stark contrast to the new age ideology that membership is old and outdated, and no longer relevant in the church; but partnership is a better substitute for membership. Rainer suggests that membership is established with love being the central attitude and action within the body of Christ.
Membership means we are different but we still work together
There is a beautiful diversity in the midst of unity in church membership. The Bible makes it clear that if one part does not do its job, the whole body does not function well. But, if one part does its job well, the whole body rejoices and is stronger (1 Cor. 12:26).
Membership means everything we say and do is based on a biblical foundation of love.
Most Bible readers will speak glowingly of 1 Corinthians 13 as the "love chapter." It is read at weddings and on occasions when husbands declare love for their wives. It is preached to demonstrate a fuller meaning of unconditional love. We are not to love fellow church members just because they are lovable. We are to love the unlovable as well. We are not to pray for our pastors just when they are doing things we like. We are to pray for and encourage them when they do things we don't like. We are not to serve the church only when the pews are full. We are to serve the Lord through the church even if we are alone in doing so. After all, our service is unto the Lord!
Church membership is functioning membership
Paul describes the body of Christ with the use of the human body. He describes five body parts: the foot, hand, ear, eye, and nose (at least indirectly by referring to the sense of smell). Each of these parts is supposed to function as they are designed to function. We who are church members are all supposed to function as we were born into the church. The concept of an inactive church member is an oxymoron. Biblically, no such church member really exists. Such is the reason we are exhorted to know our spiritual gifts and abilities so we can use the to best serve the church for the glory of God.
ARE YOU FUNCTIONING AS THE CHURCH MEMBER GOD CREATED YOU TO BE?
Join us on Sunday mornings at 8:30 am for Word Explosion for an exciting 6 week study title, "I Am a Church Member.