(ABC of Church membership)
God the Father is a custodian of revelation. God’s gift to a believer is revelation. It is by revelation that we partake of the entire provision of God in Christ (Eph. 1:17-23). Revelation is a spiritual comprehension of who God is and the blessings and provision of God in Christ. Actions are borne out of comprehension. What you know dictates the affairs of your life. The church is an ascension of humanity into divinity. It is a participation of a people in the class of God (Eph. 3:14-15; Eph.2:19-22; Gal.6:10). The church was called a building, a household, a family etc. It is a building. It has already been built. The church is about the Father and His family.
Every believer as a member of the body of Christ should be a member of a local church. In the family of God, we are more than numbers, we are members. Some believers are so inconsistent with their spiritual growth because they keep hopping from one local church to another. No one can be a freelancer or an itinerant believer and grow spiritually. It takes being stable to have stable spiritual growth. God leads people to local churches. “He sets the solitary in families” (Ps.68:8).
You can be led to a local church either by invitation, association, or initiation (i.e. a believer can be led to start one). A tree that is always moving from one ground to another will never grow. So you will have to be planted to flourish. A right local church for every believer is a place where the word of God is taught. Funny today, some attend different churches for the wrong reasons like – the man of God dresses well or speaks well or the church building or for connections, proximity etc. There’s no class in the church. Everyone is welcome (white, black, tall, short, rich or poor). We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are brethren – (Grk; Adelphos) a people from the same womb. Therefore, through the local church membership, you take your place in the body of Christ.
In the first part of this teaching series, we began to look at what I called the “ABC of church membership” We examined A for “Attendance is required” Let’s see what alphabets B to G represent in this teaching.
B – Be Involved – In a spiritual family, we are not spectators. We have to be active participants.
C – Count the Cost of Discipleship – Church is about following. The cost of discipleship is the cost of followership. Luke 14:26-30. The church is a place where instructions are given, taken, and acted upon. In your order of priority, Christ and the things pertaining to Christ (church) comes first.
D – Develop a Servant Heart – This is a heart of service. You are not looking for what to take but what to give. This is a heart that is sacrificial. Not looking for self-gratification, applaud or appreciation etc.
E – Encourage others to come – As a member of a local church, you’ve got to let others know (John 1:43-48). Verses 35-42, we see the disciples of Jesus who found each other and brought themselves to Jesus. Once you have found Jesus (Church) bring others in.
F – Follow Instructions – Church membership is about responsibility and accountability. Instructions shape and form us. Information only informs our head, instruction forms our character. Instructions are usually not convenient, palatable, or comfortable. An instruction ignored today may be an instruction that would have prepared you for the future. God trains us when we take and act on instructions we are given by our pastors. There is wisdom in every instruction. An instruction received and acted upon, beautifies our lives (Prov. 1:1-9). The plan of God is fulfilled through the local church when we follow instructions from the scriptures which often come from the leadership.
G – Give Regularly – Giving is one of the fundamental practices of a local church. It is fundamental and critical. Giving of your time, money, materials, etc. No one is too poor to give. We all have to give (Acts2: 41-46).
“… and all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Acts2:44-45. Please pay attention to this! Do you agree with me that among these people, there were the rich, the poor, and those who were in between (the middle class)? From the above verse, you will observe that there were some people who had needs but observe this, all of them were together and because they were together they had all things in common. It shows to us that being together meant that everybody had something to give. They had a pool of resources. That means that even those who didn’t have enough gave into that pool. And now when needs came, emergencies (i.e. immediate needs), challenges of life, things turning out the way they turned, and someone losing his job because these are practical things that happen in life. Things happen. Now because this person has been giving when he had, he will need immediate support. It didn’t mean there were those who were needy, perpetually needy, and there were those who were rich, perpetually rich. No! There was no dichotomy. Everybody brought something. Don’t always be in the position of “give me”
New Testament giving is not forceful. It is done willingly (2 Cor. 8:2). Don’t give below your financial income (1Cor.15:2). The Macedonian church gave even though they lacked and were poor. Everyone has something to give. We don’t give to get, for it is more blessed to give than to receive. The purpose of giving already defeats the attitude of giving to get. The purpose of giving is that you want to be a blessing unto another person. “Giving is no transaction.” Giving involves deliberate planning.
Who do I give to?
- Where you are being fed the Word of God (Rom. 15: 26-27).
- Fellow believers in need (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-37)
III. Your pastor/teacher (Gal.6:6; I Cor. 9:11-12).
…to be continued