Is Church Membership Even Necessary?
Church membership will never get a person into heaven! Our eternal salvation is tied to the blood of Jesus not the rules of men. So, why does Nations Church highly value church membership? Well, when a Christian becomes a church member, he or she faithfully commits to live in fellowship with a group of people, under the leadership of a Pastor, in support of a brand of biblical teaching, (Acts 2:4) as well as, in the context of a specified geographic location. (The implied need for commitment to a geographic church is clear in the words of Jesus, written in the book of Revelation, as he speaks to the churches of different cities, as well as, in the Apostle Paul’s letters written to the Roman, Philippian, Galatian, and Colossian churches amongst others.)
Many people attend different church services or different church fellowships without ever committing to a community. Church membership helps to establish commitment and clarity in the relationship between a church attendee and his or her fellowship of choice. It also informs both parties of mutual biblical expectations and roles. Church Membership is not necessary for salvation but it is necessary for healthy Christian living!
At the end of the day it’s all about commitment, faithfulness (2 Tim 2:2) and accountability. These are three biblical concepts that many people rebel from in our world today. But, commitment, faithfulness and accountability are valid indicators that a person is a wise and true follower of Jesus. Jesus modeled all three in his life and ministry. The reality is, we all need accountability; we all benefit from faithfulness; and we all experience great benefits when we commit.
Proverbs 18:21 says,
“One who isolates oneself seeks his own desire;
he defies all sound judgment.”
In other words, if you spiritually isolate, you rage against sound judgment and you are only interested in doing things that please yourself. The apostle Paul taught us that we were born into a divine body or community when we accepted Jesus (1 Cor.12: 13 & Gal. 3:27). In other words, it’s impossible to be a Christian apart from being intimately connected to a larger community of believers. Now let’s walk through the logic of this concept: it is impossible to part of a biblical community without committing to a biblical community. Furthermore, it is impossible to commit to biblical community without submitting to spiritual authority. Hence, if your pastors ask you to commit in membership you should do so out of reverence for God.
Ultimately, church membership can assist in the endeavor of ensuring that the attendee understands the church’s teachings, vision and history, as well as, it allows for a mutually understood discipleship relationship between pastors and parishioners. Church membership is not necessary to enter into heaven, it is a wonderful way to define who is willing to commit in financial terms, service terms, interpersonal terms and attendance terms. When a person buys a house in a city they make a commitment to become a member in the community they desire to live in. We are asking people to make a distinct commitment to the Church community by differentiating themselves from the masses of visitors who for a variety of reasons choose to stand at arms distance and isolate.
When a person chooses to become a member they are communicating that they are ready to call a specific church… “home”, a specific man… “pastor”, a specific set of doctrinal beliefs… “true”, a specific group of people their “family” and ultimately, he or she commits to faithfully serve the local community inside and outside the church walls with their time, effort, service, finance and prayer.
Do Christians Hate People That Don’t Follow The Bible?
Christians, by definition, hold the Bible to be the exclusive measuring rod by which they understand and interpret their world. There is nothing that holds as much moral or practical authority over the life of a Christian as does God’s Holy Bible. The Bible is full of God’s stories, opinions and desires for His creation.
With the Bible serving as the primary foundation of the Christian worldview, Christians hold to the authority and teachings of scripture above all other social and cultural opinions. Many people believe that Christians are hateful toward those who hold popular opinions on topics such as sexual orientation, marriage, gender identity, as well as, other moral issues. Reality is, true Christians do not hate people that disobey God’s word or those who disagree with God’s design for His creation. Christians love them enough to caution them of the eternal and self-inflicted negative implications of rejecting God and his ways.
True Christians also mourn the reality that disobedient people will not enjoy the complete blessing that God has intended for them on this earth. Furthermore, scripture teaches that Christians have a moral obligation to warn non-believers who are living in ways that clearly disobey the teachings of God. Hence disagreement can often be a manifestation of love and concern, not judgment or hate.
The important thing to note is this: disagreement is NOT the moral equivalent to hatred. As a matter of fact, if I love someone, I might often disagree with him or her if I believe he or she is making a mistake. This is especially true if the mistake is causing him or her to inherit eternal separation from God in a place called Hell. Christians simply believe that God is real, his Bible is true and that there are also real and lasting negative-implications for people that reject Jesus Christ.
How Could a Loving God Allow Evil to Exist?
God is Love. Therefore, it is in his essence and nature to love his creation. Love never forces its way on the object of its affection. God will never force mankind to follow him. For true love to exist, there must be two “freely wiling” parties that choose each other.
Although he desires for us to have a relationship with him, learn from his nature and obey his Bible… He will never force us to choose Him. Consequently, evil is what is manifested in humanity when people reject Jesus and his teachings. It is a reminder of what this world turns into when rebellious humans remove God from the equation. Evil, therefore, is not proof that God doesn’t exist. It is proof that he does exist and that he loves us enough to give us the gift of free choice.
Pain and evil can also build longing in our hearts for a place where no more wickedness will exist. This is what heaven will usher in. In the meantime, as we exist on this earth, we are all touched by evil and it’s ramifications on this earth.
In the book of Genesis, the Bible teaches us that Adam and eve’s rejection of God brought the first negative consequences to the world we all live in. The bible teaches us that the repercussion of their disobedience brought sickness, pain and death into our human experience. We all bear the burden of our own forefathers’ rebellion, which in turn should cause us to reach out to Christ for help and hope.
When people embrace God and his design for their existence, they experience abundant life, purpose, peace, joy, future and hope. When people reject God and his design for their existence, they help to usher in the very evil and pain they so desperately despise.
You Can’t Tell Me What’s Right or Wrong! Can You?
People in our society often change their opinions regarding what is right and wrong. In the not so distant past it was socially acceptable to call African Americans the “N” word. Currently it is rightly considered unacceptable. At one time in America we forced sterilization on developmentally disabled and non-Caucasian ethnic groups.
At yet another time in American history it was acceptable to force children and women to work in slave-labor conditions with less than fair pay, or no pay at all. As time progressed, people fought for the rights or women, children and diverse people groups. Eventually these important people experienced breakthroughs in these areas of injustice.
If we base our opinion of right and wrong upon public opinion, we run the very dangerous risk of dehumanizing, dishonoring, and disrespecting people of diverse backgrounds. Ironically, if we base our views of right and wrong upon the principles of God’s Bible we will always honor, respect and validate humanity. God’s word is a steadfast reliable source.
The interesting concept lies in the following statement:
If a person says that something is wrong or morally bad, then he or she is implying that something else must be right or morally good. Logically, if there is something morally right or wrong…there must be a moral law to determine between the two. If there is a moral law to determine between right and wrong…there also be a moral lawgiver. Hence, if there is a moral lawgiver…WHO IS HE? The moral lawgiver must be God. If there is not a God than right and wrong doesn’t event exist! If humans create morality it simply becomes a cultural construct that we use to manipulate masses and accomplish our agendas.
Why Should I Honor a Dishonorable Person?
A. Because God made Man in His own image! (This is man’s created value)
- “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Gen 1:27
B. Because God found them worthy of His Son’s blood. (This is man’s Redemptive Value)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Key Thought 1: A Culture of Honor can only be built on the foundation of Christ-like LOVE. Hence, God gave his only son to bring forgiveness to the WORLD. His COSTLY GIFT was the manifestation of his HONOR for dishonorable mankind.
Key Thought 2: “Man has intrinsic, inherent, value at the core of who he is! God made him and died for him!”
– Pastor Phil The Voice
Key Thought 3: “The devil dishonors Jesus’ sacrificial death every time he accuses people of their sins. Don’t allow Satan to use you to do his dirty work! Remember…God convicts us of sin in order to bring health… the devil accuses us to bring guilt and condemnation.”