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Hobby-horse time! Is the local church important? With links… September 1, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Body of Christ, Church Membership, Religion, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Growth.
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What does a pastor do when a subject upsets him? Sometimes he rants about it in his sermon preparation and then deletes the paragraph from the sermon manuscript. 🙂

Seriously, the subject is not easy to deal with and the practical problems of formal church membership against informal church membership are not all addressed directly in Scriptures. Below are some links attempting to do so. I’ve followed that with a rant that was deleted from the sermon because I recognized it as a rant and not pertinent to the text that I am preaching from this Sunday.

From Grace Church

Again from Grace Church

 From Fundamentally Reformed

Again from Fundamentally Reformed 

Earlier Link Categorized under the Body of Christ This link should have been catogorized under Church Membership. Other good categories are Spiritual Growth and Spiritual Disciplines. If church attendance, membership, etc. are viewed from this light, it makes a difference in one’s attitude toward the subject. There is a lack of evidence of formal church membership in the New Testament. There is overwhelming evidence for the necessity of Christian fellowship (church body life) in bringing someone to maturity in Christ. That is the point of the rant below. I would also include Ephesians 4-5 as strong evidence of the importance of involvement in the local church as a spiritual discipline leading to spiritual growth. We are to grow together and not just as individuals. Thus the practical demand for a membership commitment.

THE RANT 

The command to turn to Jesus is mentioned in a number of contexts in the book of Hebrews but two of these are somewhat unique. We find them in 3:12-13; 10:23-25. Both command the people in the church to exhort each other. In the first passage it says daily that we need to exhort each other in the faith in Jesus Christ. In the second passage it says that we are to assemble ourselves together as often as possible so that we can exhort and encourage each other in the doctrine and in the love of Jesus Christ.

It is fashionable nowadays to consider church membership and church attendance as legalistic. Certainly, wrongly emphasized it can be but I am afraid that we have lost my generation and the generations younger than me to the world because Christ was not important enough for us to gather together and to exhort and to encourage each other. We have trouble making time for the fellowship of the body with the church because we have been deceived into thinking it does not really matter. We have all kinds of excuses but when all is said and done, too many things are more important to us than getting together with God’s people for prayer, Bible study, fellowship, worship, service.

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Comments»

1. fundyreformed - September 1, 2007

Good rant!

I want to stress that I agree involvement with and fellowship with the local church is important. Consider for instance this post of mine on the importance of “one another ministry”.

Blessings from Christ,

Bob Hayton

2. roberttalley - September 1, 2007

I must admit that the last couple of sentences were edited on advice of my wife before I posted it.


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