Two weeks ago I wrote a post entitled, Three Things You Should Expect From Your Church Elders. It looked at the responsibilities of every church elder toward their members. If you’re considering church membership or already are a member of Fellowship you should take a moment to read it.
This week I want to move from the responsibilities of the church elder to the responsibilities of the church member. Specifically, what should the church expect from each member?
By church I don’t mean a building. The Greek word for Church in the New Testament is Ekklesia, which means an “assembly of people.” In this case it the assembly of God’s people. Every time Christians assemble together, they are a church.
So, the question is, when we gather in our local assemblies, what should we expect from one another? Or to put it another way, as a member of a local assembly, what should my assembly expect from me?
God’s Word is clear, there are certain duties each member of a church should strive to carry out. When each member is faithful to carry out such duties, the church flourishes and is a beautiful community. But, when church members fail to carry out such duties, the church dwindles and the community is down right ugly.
What are these duties which can make or break a church?
First, there are the “one another” commands.
- Love one another (John 13:34-35;15:12-17; Rom. 12:9-10; 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14, 6:10; Eph. 1:15; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; 4:8; 1 John 3:16, 4-12)
- Care for one another (Matt. 25:40; John 12:8; Acts15:36; Rom.12:13; Rom. 15:26; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; Gal. 2:1; Gal. 6:10; Heb. 13:16; James 1:27; 1 John 3:17)
- Watch over one another (Rom. 15:14; Gal. 6:1-2; Phil. 3:3-4; 2 Thes. 3:15; Heb.12:15)
- Edify one another (1 Cor. 14:12-26; Eph. 2:21-22; Eph. 4:12-29; 1 Thes. 5:11; 1 Pet. 4:10; 2 Peter 3:18)
- Bear with one another (Matt. 18:21-22; Mark 11:25; Rom 15:1; Gal. 6:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Cor. 6:1-7)
- Pray for one another (Eph. 6:18; James 5:16)
- Be examples for one another (Phil. 2:1-18)
Then, there are a few other duties.
- Keep away from those who would destroy the church (Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 6:3-5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 1:10-11)
- Reject evaluating people by worldly standards (Matt. 20:2-27; Rom. 12:10-16; James 2:1-13)
- Contend together for the gospel (Phil. 1:27; Jude 3)
Now, I would encourage you to read over the above list a few times. And please click on each of the links, and read all the Bible verses (they took me forever to link, so please use them :).
Then think for a moment, what would a church (an assembly of God’s people) be like if each member actually pursued all these duties?
Of course all us are imperfect, and all of us need the help of Jesus to carry these things out. But hopefully you can start to see just how beautiful a church could be if its members sought after these things.
If you knew that your church had members like this, wouldn’t you want to bring your friends? Wouldn’t you talk about your church to people at the office, or at school? Wouldn’t you want everyone you know to come to your church? Of course you would. Because a church with members like this would be a church you would LOVE!
You can see now why such a church would flourish.
Jesus knows the potential beauty of every local church. And Jesus knows the potential every local church has to flourish. And what He wants us to know is that such beauty and flourishing doesn’t happen with flashy programs or a lot of money. It doesn’t happen with celebrity preachers or even media savvy. It doesn’t happen with the latest business techniques, or “church growth model.” It simply happens when each member of the church strives to live out the responsibilities they have been called to.
I would love to see every local church grow and radiate with beauty because its members were living out their calling. Imagine if our city were filled with such churches. Imagine if our state or country were filled with such churches! What a difference there would be.
Maybe it’s a silly fantasy to think about. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe it just starts with you and me committing to live out our calling as members of a church.
Would you help us become such a church?
List of church member responsibilities taken from Mark Dever’s Nine Marks of a Healthy Church