You cannot produce fruit in your life until you become anchored to a church.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
“Local Church Commitment” IV
(Advantages of Church Membership)
Pastor George M. Matthews, II
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness – Psalm 65:11
A. To help the believer see the need to become committed to and actively involved in a specific local church.
1. You cannot produce fruit in your life until you become anchored to a church.
2. Where God plants us is an indication of His plan for us.
– I Corinthians 12:18 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
B. To help the believer understand that the local church is the device God has anointed to bring us to a place of maturity in Christ.
C. To help the believer also know that the local church is the place through which we are to see the full intent and expression of God for our lives.
A. Ephesians 2:19-22 19Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
1. The moment we are born again, we are no longer strangers to the plan of God for our lives.
God’s plan for man:
a. Genesis 1:28 – The original plan of God for mankind was to have dominion over the earth so that His will could be done in earth as it is in heaven.
b. Adam’s disobedience resulted in God seeking another man to work His plan.
c. Genesis 12:1-3 – God reintroduces His original plan in Abraham.
d. Galatians 3:29 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
1. This is our connection to Abraham.
2. We are just as much citizens of heaven as those who reside in heaven now. In other words, we do not have to go to heaven to enjoy the benefits of heaven. We receive those benefits by faith.
3. As citizens we enjoy three commonalities: privileges, rights and freedoms.
(a) Privilege – the benefit or advantage enjoyed beyond the common advantages of other citizens.
(b) Rights – that which is most favorable or convenient; according to the will and law of God.
(c) Freedom – a state of exemption from the control of another.
4. The local church fellowship is a building under construction.
A. The Church
1. Ekklesia (Greek) – the called out ones – people called out from sickness and disease, poverty and death.
2. The building is the place where the people gather to hear the Word.
1. The process through which we cleave to; to adhere to; to be attached to; to join oneself closely to or to stick to the side of another; a concept of a gluing together; a firm fastening; a giving of oneself steadfastly to another.
A. The Word of God in My Human Spirit is True Worship
1. St. John 4:21–2421Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
a. Lower case spirit is your human spirit.
2. St. John 17:17 17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
a. Truth is the Word of God.
B. What the Word of God is not…
1. Our own ideas or the ideas of other men
2. Psychology, sociology, human philosophy or education
3. Self imaging, or solely personal development
4. These subjects are helpful but they are not the Gospel
C. The Word of God is…
1. The very Word of God, the glorious gospel of my salvation
2. Teaches me how to be in the image of God
3. Teaches me how to live a victorious life in Christ – I John 5:4
D. The Word of God is also…
1. Testifies to the revelation of God
-II Timothy 3:1616All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2. Testifies to the unbelievable love of God through Christ Jesus
-St. John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
-Romans 5: 1-5 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
3. A testament of the mercy of God
-Ephesians 2:4-74But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
4. Tells of the coming resurrection and judgment of all men
a. The Word of God is the basis of the judgment afterlife awards and rewards.
1. Philippians 2:9-119Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
2. St. Matthew 24:4444Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
3. St. Luke 19:1313And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
4. I Corinthians 4:5 5Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
5. I Thessalonians 5:33For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
B. Advantages of Church Membership
1. Fellowship – deeper level of fellowship and family relationships
– Colossians 2:2 2That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
2. Fulfillment – greater sense of belonging and self worth when purpose is identified
– I Corinthians 12:12-2712For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. 25That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
3. Fruitfulness – greater productivity and impact in the lives of people; every individual is making a contribution
– Ephesians 4:1616From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
4. Accountability – someone knows where you are
– Galatians 6:1-21Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
5. Growth – a greater opportunity to receive consistent pastoral care and oversight
– I Thessalonians 5:1212And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
– Hebrews 13:77Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
– Hebrews 13:1717Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
6. Power – a greater release of power as believers bind themselves together in God
– Deuteronomy 32:30 30How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up?
7. Presence of God – God makes His abode with you that produce revelation; God promises a release when He is present
– St. Matthew 18:19-2019Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
(c) 2010 George Matthews Ministries. All Rights Reserved.