Duties Church Members Owe Each Other
Ephesians 2:18-22; 4:13-16; 5:14-21; 1Cor. 12:12-31; Heb. 10:25.
It is a privilege and a joy to be a member of the Twinbrook Hills Baptist Church. We have a supremely sacred, personal relationship to our Saviour, Christ, who is also head of the body, His church. This church is a divine institution yet it is also a society - a social institution and the members each sustain important relations to one another.
There are many who preach, hold and teach absurd and unscriptural church theories. Christ has but one kingdom, one church and one bride. How can we know that we are in that church and that we will make up a portion of His glorious bride (Rev. 19:7-9)? Many Protestants and even Baptists like J. R. Graves teach that the bride of Christ will be made up of all the redeemed from among men from the days of Abel until the day of the rapture. Jack Van Impe teaches that the church is made up of all believers from Pentecost till the rapture. According to the News Media there is only one true church that Christ founded - the Catholic church. It is the “Campbellite” or Church of Christ according to all the “water dogs.” Then there are the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons. Peter Ruckman says that saved men like John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Knox, Billy Sunday, Augustus Toplady (none of whom were Baptists) could not be in Christ’s body if Christ’s body is the local Baptist church.
If everyone who is saved is in the “church - the bride of Christ,” then we are wrong on virtually everything we teach! We are wrong on Baptism, we are wrong on the Lord’s supper, we are wrong on discipline, we are wrong on the church. But, you know, we don’t base our beliefs on popular opinion, or what men may say; we base our beliefs on Scripture. Because of that, we can know that we are right and everybody who disagrees is wrong.
When we look at churches around the country and even the world, and we see them growing by leaps and bounds, running thousands in attendance - and we see that they have compromised on doctrine, the Bible, baptism, the Lord’s supper, etc., we can know by the word of God that while the seem to have the blessing of God upon them, they in reality do not.
We believe in a truth teaching, faithful, witnessing, regenerate Baptist membership that will make up our part of the Bride of Christ. It is this church through which we work and fellowship together that we might bring glory to our Lord and Saviour.
When you think about it:
· We are the true Church of Christ.
· We are the true Church of God.
· We are the true Jehovah’s Witnesses.
· We are the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Membership in the Lord’s church brings us great opportunity: An opportunity for fellowship in the finest fellowship that can be found. An opportunity for Christian growth and development and training through the various departments of the church organization. An opportunity for Christian service through the work of the church at home and abroad.
Membership also places upon us inescapable obligations. An obligation to make the church and its work first in our lives. An obligation to use our time and talents for the glory of God. An obligation to support the work with our presence, our talents, our influence and our means. Churches are never stronger than all their membership working together.
We have all agreed to a covenant which is a voluntary agreement entered into by members of the Twinbrook Hills Baptist Church, whereby we promise to conduct our lives in such a way as to glorify God and promote the ongoing of His Church. Therefore each member has an obligation to the other members to so live by the Bible and the church covenant that his life and influence might count for the most before his family and neighbors both saved and lost (Eph. 2:18-22).
We are fellow citizens with the saints of a spiritual commonwealth. This is in contrast to the man-made temple and the man-made religions of the Ephesians, as expressed in the world famous temple of Diana at Ephesus. The citizen has duties to perform and privileges to enjoy. In a sense the apostle represents the church as a household, a family of God. As a member of the family we should be found somewhere around the house and doing what we can to help. When we help the church we help each other. Therefore we ought to be in attendance at all services (Heb. 10:25) and we should be on time. In John 20:19-29, Thomas missed a blessing by not being in the first service after the resurrection of Christ. We need to contribute cheerfully and regularly - (1Cor. 16:2). We need to support the ordinances, discipline and doctrine of our church. To be effective, the foregoing must be backed up by a consecrated, personal Christian life (2Pet. 3:18 “grow in grace”). To do this we will maintain family and secret devotions, bible study and prayer. We will seek to religiously educate our children. We will seek the salvation of the lost. We will separate ourselves from the world. We will exercise self control. And we will read good books and good Christian literature. Finally we need to live for Christ one day at a time.
Eph. 4:16 says of the church, “...unto the edifying of itself in love.” Christian love is the great duty of church members to each other. Remember Christ’s words, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another...” (Jn. 13:34). Christian love will prompt members of a church to do good to one another as they have opportunity. We should:
· Watch over one another in love
· Pray for one another
· Aid in sickness and distress
· Cultivate sympathy and courtesy
· Be slow to take offense, always ready for reconciliation
Love covers a multitude of faults. It makes Christians look leniently on the frailties, weaknesses, and imperfections of their fellow Christians. It makes them bear patiently what they cannot approve and bear it for the cause of Christ and love of His church.
The church should seek out and encourage whatever ministerial gifts there may be in the membership. As the church grows in number there will be a need for more Sunday School teachers and various kinds of different workers needed to carry on the program of the church. Why not have people trained and prepared to step into the added responsibilities that will arise? No doubt there are many young men in our church who ought to preach the gospel. They look on the work of the ministry as so responsible that they recoil from it with trembling. They feel their incompetence, and in view of ministerial duties and trials, repeat the stereotyped question, “Who is sufficient for these things?” These are the very men who need to be sought out and encouraged. Their views of the greatness of the work of preaching the gospel are correct. Their self-distrust is altogether commendable. The willing and able need to be instructed and given opportunity to speak and exhort in various ways, and soon it will be seen that they possess ministerial gifts. There should be no pushing, let God decide to do the final calling of each man.
Remember that the Pastor is a member of the church too, and our duty toward him will show itself in respect for his teachings. Obedience to his admonitions. Imitation of his example. Cooperate with him in work. Provide for his support. Pray for him. Manifest a love and confidence in him. Seek his counsel and help. He is your friend, so cultivate his friendship.
We see then that church membership is a privilege and an opportunity that entails great obligations.