Am I A Member Of The Body?
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Membership in a local church is not about having your name on the membership rolls, but about being an active participant as a part of the body of believers. Each member of the body must function effectively within the body for God to use us as He would. Our behavior in Christ is to match our profession of Christ. To “walk worthy” means that we are to live in a way that honors and pleases God. We were created in Christ to do good works.
I want us to look at five essentials of being an effective member in the body of Christ.
I. There must be a commitment to honor the Head of the Church:
We must recognize that Jesus Christ is the head of the church.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
As we look at the church in the New Testament, we note that it had no earthly or mortal head, some person allegedly governing by the authority of Christ. Instead there was a total submission to Christ.
22 And He put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Jesus Christ is the head of the church and yet many people attending church don't seem either to know that or are not willing to accept that. We tend to put ourselves or other people on platforms and worship them as if we or they are God seeking to have our own ways. However, we need to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of all.
Also, we must recognize and submitted to Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior.
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is necessarily a Christian. Many who profess to be Christians show little or no evidence of a true conversion. Their lives exhibit little or no fruit causing one to question whether they were ever genuinely saved.
18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
True believers will struggle with sin in one way or another until the day they die or Christ returns. But one cannot come to Christ for salvation without their becoming a new creation.
John MacArthur in his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, makes the point that biblically salvation is defined by what it produces… good works. True salvation wrought by God will not fail to produce fruit.
Christians are not saved by works, but as a believer you are to produce good works which demonstrate the authenticity of your faith. As we submit ourselves to Christ’s lordship in our individual lives, He is exalted in the church.
II. There must be a commitment to follow the Leadership of the church:
The church is on mission for God, and God has appointed leaders in the church to oversee the execution of that mission. Our leaders has been appointed by Christ to lead the church.
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
What does God mean when He says we are to obey and submit? To “obey” is to: listen to and comply with directions, instructions, and/or commands. To “submit” literally means to stop resisting and give up or yield, to cease from being combatants – it speaks of having a sweet spirit of cooperation, confidence by which you are willing to join together with them trusting that the leaders have your best interests at heart, and so you go along with them. Knowing that what they are teaching or giving council, is from the Lord.
III. There must be a commitment to serve the other members of the Church.
There is very common statement being made among believers, and that is… “I have a personal relationship with Christ”. I am sure we have all said that at one point in our life. But does He/Jesus, have a personal relationship with you?
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
You see…there is one thing to have a relationship with Christ. But what about His church. You claim to have a relationship with Christ, but not with His church. So which body do you belong to? That’s like saying, you have a good relationship with, but you badmouth my wife! How do you think that will end? What is the church to Christ?
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”
Well…there you go. Your relationship with Christ has a lot to do with your relationship to His church. We are the church, the redeemed, the called. The body formed by Christ Himself.
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith.
Every Christian possesses a gift and is called to use it in service within the body to build up the body of Christ, to strengthen the body and to carry out its purpose within the world. Every member is also called to serve the church not only through spiritual gifts but also through his or her natural talents and abilities.
Each of us has a function to perform or a job to do within the church. And when one of us does not fulfill his or her responsibility the church fails to hit on all its cylinders. Like a motor that is misfiring on one of its cylinders will backfire, stop suddenly and move forward only with difficulty, so the church fails to be operating as powerfully and effectively as possible when not firing on all its cylinders.
Some feel inadequate or useless. These individuals feel as if they do not have anything significant to offer in ministry. They may believe that they personally are not qualified to serve.
Some have been hurt by others through criticism or slight and are hesitant to get involved in service again. They don't realize everyone who has served in church for any period of time has been hurt by someone or something.
Some people are just simply lazy. Laziness is a lifestyle for some but is a temptation for all. But we need to realize that the Word of God says laziness is sin. Laziness violates God’s purpose for us. We were redeemed to produce good works.
IV. There must be a commitment to support the ministry of the Church.
The New Testament pattern of church life was that families of believers were to come together on the first day of the week to worship as the family of God and serve the Lord and others throughout the rest of the week.
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
The habit of attending upon the house of God should be so firmly established by every Christian that he would be sorely uncomfortable if compelled to be absent. I just love listening to older pastors when they give their testimony of their life growing up in a church. Church was everything to them on Sundays. That was all they did. They wake up, go to church, have fellowship meals, rest for a few hours and back to the church for the next service.
Back then, the world didn’t have as much distractions as we do today. There are just so many reasons now to miss church. Not only that, back then there was not that many churches for every city. So they all gathered and enjoyed their Sunday at church. Now…we have a buffet of churches. Anyone can choose…which church should I go to? “That’s church has hard seats, that church has long messages. That church is too condemning. I don’t like the people in that church. That church is full of hypocrite. And so on…what ever makes you feel good about yourself go there. Now listen…there is no perfect church. If you find one, don’t go there, because you be the one to ruin it.
The church is a hospital for the sick. It is not a social gathering, or a club. It is a family of true, covenanted believers who come together to worship the Almighty God because of who He is, and that He has saved them in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The goal of the Christian life is to reflect back to God the image of Christ in us.
And church is the place where the body of Christ reflects back to Christ His glory. Their heart’s desire is to glorify Christ, to learn more about Christ, and then glorify Christ all the more. It is an endless cycle because worship is an end in and of itself. It is why we go. It should be because we desire to glorify Christ.
Lastly: V. There must be a commitment to share the message of the Church.
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
If we look at the early church, they gathered together to become equipped to go out and proclaim the good news of the Gospel making disciples of others and teaching those disciples to replicate that activity of making disciples. As you can see, the command is to make disciples not make converts. I think…throughout the years, these verses had been watered down to just pray this prayer and your saved. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
I know that each and every one you is equipped to give your testimony about how you were saved. God will give each and everyone of us an opportunity to share. Just be watchful, wait and see where God is at work. Our job is to deliver the message. Christ job is to save. Only He can make one a new creation/new birth. And when that new birth comes…what’s the command? , “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We have been blessed to have a baptistry in this church, its just waiting for the redeemed to follow Gods commands in baptism. There is the message church. “Am I A Member Of The Body?”
• Committed to honor the Head of the Church.
• Committed to follow the leadership of the Church.
• Committed to serve the other members of the Church.
• Committed to support the ministry of the Church.
• Committed to share the message of the Church.
Pastor Richard Santos
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