It’s true that the New Testament makes no direct argument for our modern concept of membership. The gospel’s initial advance into a pagan and pre-Christian world was a different situation than we find today in our increasingly post-Christian society. The complexities of life two millennia later make church-belonging as difficult, and as important, as ever. Not only are we less inclined to make firm commitments, but our cities and towns are much bigger, and church options more diverse.
But whether you call it “membership,” “partnership,” or something else, the New Testament assumes some form of committed, accountable belonging as a reality for every true follower of Jesus. Each Christian has a definite place of local belonging. To be baptized is to become part of a particular local body.
“In the New Testament,” John Piper observes, “to be excluded from the local church was to be excluded from Christ.”
We looked at some practical reasons to join a local church (statement of faith, helps leaders lead, and gives you a seat at the table) and then we looked at what it means to be a member at River Oaks:
As a member, you are committing to the gathering of people at River Oaks and putting the needs of the body in-line and sometimes above your own. You are placing yourself under the spiritual care and authority of the leadership of River Oaks.
All of this, practically lived out by following our Mission Statement of being a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ who GOes, GROWs, and SHOWs:
GO — Live like followers of Jesus in a dark world who love, serve, share their faith, and invite people to join us (Matthew 28:18-20)
GROW — Attend Sunday services regularly; Be part of an active Community Group; Financially give through the church; Serve in the church (Acts 2:42)
SHOW — Serve and love the least of those in our neighborhood, community, and world by acts of compassion; Financially give through the church as we serve and love the least of those. (Matthew 25:40; Acts 2:44-47)
If you are not a member of River Oaks but want to be All In, then I hope you’ll consider joining us!
Have a great week!
Message Title: Committing to the Church Message Date: July 31, 2016 Speaker: Dustin Kaehr
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