ďHe Assayed to Join Himself to the DisciplesĒ

Acts 9:26

 

Church membership is the believerís fellowship and communion with Christ in his body. Many think little of church membership. Many who claim to be believers are not identified with, or committed to any local church. But in the New Testament men and women who followed Christ, by one means or another, applied for and obtained membership in local churches. They publicly identified themselves with and committed themselves to the church of God. Saul, after he was converted, ďassayed to join himself to the disciplesĒ at Jerusalem, and was publicly received by them into the church (Acts 9:26-31). Phoebe was recommended to the fellowship of the church at Rome by the apostle Paul (Rom. 16:1).

Church membership is restricted to believers only. A local church is a body of believers, voluntarily united together in the name of Christ for the glory of Christ, the furtherance of the gospel, the salvation of Godís elect and mutual edification. The fellowship of believers in a local church is vital to their spiritual welfare. Our individual spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ is, in many ways, dependent upon our relationship to and fellowship with the body of Christ. Believers need the fellowship of other believers. We all need encouragement from others. We need the strength of our brethren. We need one another. Basically, membership in a local church involves three things.

 

Commitment

 

Church membership is an openly avowed, public commitment to the body of Christ (Phil. 2:1-4). It is like a marriage ceremony. Without inward commitment the ceremony is nothing. But for a woman to move in with a man who will not make a public commitment to her is an act of desperation, or folly, or both. If we are committed to the family of believers to which we belong, we enjoy their company, pray for their spiritual well-being, give to meet the needs of the family, serve the familyís interest, speak well of the family members and promote the familyís honor. Let each one of us see that we live up to our professed commitment.

 

Communion

 

Church membership gives us the privilege of communion and fellowship with the body of Christ. ó ďBehold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unityĒ (Ps. 133:1). The fellowship of Godís people in public worship is most delightful and blessed because in the fellowship of Godís saints we find fellowship with Christ (Matt. 18:20). Our Savior still walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks and makes himself known in his churches (Rev. 1:12, 13, 20). Who can estimate the value and privilege of being a member of a local church where Christ is honored by the unity, peace, fellowship, and love of the saints? Our God has given us this great privilege. Let us jealously guard and promote the unity of the Spirit, the bond of peace, and the fellowship of love he has given (Eph. 4:17). Church membership is much more than having your name on a church register. It is commitment to the body of Christ. It is communion with Christ in his body.

 

Care

 

Church membership is care for the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:24-27). Godís people care for and take care of one another. Within the local church family, believers look out for one anotherís welfare. They seek opportunities to help, encourage, comfort, and cheer one another. But this kindness, affection, and care extends beyond the local assembly. It reaches out to Godís saints wherever they are found (Heb. 13:1-3).