Why Join a Church?

July 30, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Q&A | 6 Comments
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Question: Do I need to “join a church?” In other words, why would I even consider becoming a “member” when I can attend church without it?

Answer: I don’t know of a Bible verse that says “thou shalt have thy name officially added unto a local church’s membership list.” However, I think the reason we don’t see a command like that is because it would have been almost unthinkable for the men that the Holy Spirit used to write the Bible that someone would become a part of the body of Christ, and then NOT join a local church assembly. The Bible doesn’t command church membership in explicit terms, because it implicitly ASSUMES it for Christians.

Read Hebrews 13:17 and I Peter 5:2 and I Corinthians 1:2 and 5:12 and Philippians 1:1 and Acts 8:1– just to cite a few examples – and you will see the necessity of placing yourself under the authority of local church leadership. How is a pastor supposed to determine who is and who is not a part of the “flock” if people refuse to formally commit? Even in the Old Testament the people of God were listed formally in order to keep track of who was a part of the family of faith. (See Psalm 87:6.)

Additionally, the principles of submission, accountability, relationship, church discipline, and identification as the bride of Christ are all key reasons for joining a local church.

Learning, Loving, and Living the Word

October 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Nehemiah | 4 Comments
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Among other things, the first six chapters of Nehemiah deal with God’s people coming back from exile, doing the work the Lord had assigned to them, and ultimately finishing the work. Chapter 7 deals with protecting the work .

Nehemiah enlisted help in protecting the walls and organizing the city. There is always room in the work of God for Godly helpers.

That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.

Nehemiah 7:2

Can you imagine if all Christians thought we were called to be Nehemiahs, and none thought they were called to be helpers? Nothing would ever get done. Some of us are called to be Hananis, Hananiahs, Rephaiahs, or Shallums: protectors and guards. If the enemy can’t stop the work of God, he will try to come in and take over what has been built. Bright lights draw people who are interested in helping, but they attract bugs, too.

It was important that the people be able to prove their ancestry in order to go back to Jerusalem to work. It was also important to list the names of the citizens (Nehemiah 7:5-65). The assignment of jobs in an organized move of God may require formal acknowledgment of commitment. That is one of the reasons why New Testament churches may require Christians to officially “join the church” before placing them into trusted ministry positions. If God is calling you to attend a certain local church, then you need to be involved. You need to have a commitment to serve God under His ordained pastor. This shows accountability. The Church is a body, and a body is a living organism, but an unorganized organism will die. Church membership has nothing to do with salvation, and, so far as I can tell, it is not a command from the Bible. Neither does the Bible prohibit you from having a sit-down Bible study in the middle of a busy highway, but it is certainly not a good idea. The local church is important in God’s plan for evangelism and for teaching (discipleship).

In Nehemiah Chapter 8, Nehemiah called a Bible conference and invited Ezra.

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

Nehemiah 8:1-3

When Ezra preached, the people listened for five or six hours per day and verse 7 tells us they “stood!”

Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.

Nehemiah 8:7 (emphasis added)

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Nehemiah 8:8 (emphasis added)

1. Nehemiah wanted to make sure the Word was learned. Ezra read from the scroll and then taught.

2. Nehemiah wanted to make sure the Word was loved.

And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.

Nehemiah 8:12 (emphasis added)

3. Nehemiah wanted to make sure the the Word was lived.

Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

Nehemiah 8:18 (emphasis added)


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