The key distinctive of our church is submission to God’s word. Fundamentally, the reasons for what we do are not practical or traditional or denominational, but theological, coming from Scripture. And so everything we believe and do as a church comes from the guidance of God’s word—our priorities, our teaching, our worship, and our ministries. But what about church membership? Is this cultural, traditional, or Biblical? The answer might surprise you. A study of the New Testament about the church reveals the following:
- In his gospel and in Acts, Luke uses the word crowd for a large group of people, such as in Acts 2:6. But in v41, he doesn’t refer to the church as a crowd—no, they are numbered. Luke does the same in Acts 4:4. The church is not a crowd of unspecified people, but an exact number of members. The church knew who belonged and who didn’t.
- The New Testament uses many significant terms for the local church. One is flock (Acts 20:28). A flock of sheep is not a random collection of lambs. There was no such thing as visiting sheep who showed up every once in a while to one flock, then went over to another flock looking for greener grass, expecting to be fed and cared for by another shepherd. Every sheep belonged to a flock and every shepherd knew his flock. Because of this, Paul said to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church.” The same is true for others terms for the church such asa human body with many members (1 Corinthians 12:27). A body isn’t a collection of ambiguous, loosely related parts. No, they are clearly identified, joined together. And this is true for the term family (Galatians 6:10)—you are either a member of the family or not.
- In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, the apostle Paul speaks of those who are inside and outside the church. What does that mean? It hasto mean more than simply those attending a church, because even unbelievers could do that (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). This has to refer to a definite church membership of believers.
There is so much more about church membership that the New Testament teaches (for further study, see Why Join a Church). All that’s to say, is, don’t miss out on the blessing and fruitfulness of joining a church in membership. If you would like to consider joining Family Heritage Church, we will be having aWelcome to the Family lunch right after worship on September 18th. Please contact the church office to RSVP. And may the Lord continue to bless His church as we follow His word!