Pastor Ian shares a word on ‘Your Membership Matters’. As the assembly welcomes 9 new people into membership. Reading from 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.
Why do I need to be a member? Culture loves the idea of membership (various types; choir, gym etc). It is not alien to us, but in the church we struggle with it. It is constantly misunderstood.
Membership can be seen as belonging to a ‘club’.
1 Corinthians describes the church as a ‘body’.
If someone was to have an accident and lose a finger, arm or limb they are said to ‘dismembered’.
Paul writes to encourage a whole body. Not just individuals.
The word ‘member’ in the Bible is more closely related to the medical word ‘member’ meaning a body part or organ, rather than it the common cultural term.
We come to Christ singularly but we cannot live in Christ solitarily.
1. Membership Reflects What The Church Is.
We are part of an organic body. He knits us together by his Spirit to be his body on this earth.
When we accept God we come part of his body.
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
1 Corinthians 12:14 ESV
To reject the value of membership is to deny what God has already established in fact.
2. The Bible Teaches Covenant Community
We find in Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, that they were putting people out of the body. Scripture teaches that we can be a part of the body and we can be apart from the body.
It is an important part of the body to part of a covenant community.
3. People Need Church Membership
We need to be together with Christian community.
If we think that we can go and do things alone. We have it wrong.
We are brought from something into nothing; Orphan into family, Darkness into light, Wrath to peace, Mourning to joy, Lost to found, Guilty to righteous, Sinner to saint, Mystery to revelation, Lost to found, Separated to reconciled, Condemned to forgiven, Slave to free.
We have been redeemed by his blood. We are born again into his family.
Membership does not save us, but allows us to grow spiritually mature because we are a part of a wider body.
Belonging to the body is important because Jesus tells us so..
“”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
John 15:1-4 ESV