Sunday Morning 1/26/2014

Posted by Sherry

I WILL TREASURE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP AS A GIFT
Ephesians 2:8,9
CBC 1/26/2014 SM
PLAY VIDEO “I Am A Church Member”
INTRO: TEXT: 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Every church member faces two scenarios:
    • FIRST: approach church membership like a country club membership
    • joining church to see what we can get out of it
    • pastor is to feed us through his sermons
    • a specified and acceptable length of the sermon has been established
    • the music is to fit our style exactly...deviations not acceptable
    • programs and ministries are for our benefit
    • member determines what they like and don’t like
    • perks, privileges & service are expected by the member
  • what happens when CC church member is asked to contribute time, talent & treasure to the church?
    • what if they are asked to serve in the Nursery occasionally?
    • what if they are invited to help in AWANA?
    • who steps forward when a 4th & 5th grade SS teacher is needed?
  • Various, but predictable responses
    • member may respond to request OUT OF OBLIGATION
      • legalistic approach to serving
      • not something they want to do
      • accepts it with a bad attitude...and won’t last very long
    • member may get mad when asked
    • response may be, “I’ve done my time working with that group, get someone else.”
    • make ministry sound like a “Prison Sentence”
    • after all that’s what we PAY the pastor & staff to do...
  • SECOND OPTION TO CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
    • the Biblical option seeing membership as a “GIFT”
    • something to be treasured
    • Membership means we have the OPPORTUNITY to serve & give
    • entire attitude is different
THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE GIFT OF CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
  • Do you remember who led you to a saving faith in Christ?
    • Did they show you these Bible verses?
    • Ro 3:23 everyone is a sinner & come up short of the glory of God
    • Ro 6:23 b/c of that everyone deserves the death penalty
    • 2 Co 5:21 Jesus became our substitute on the cross & died in our place
    • Ac 3:19 “Therefore REPENT and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”
    • When we repent...Eph 2:8,9 8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved ([a]delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;
    • 9 Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]
  • GIFT of salvation mentioned throughout the Bible
    • gift means WE DIDN’T EARN IT OR DESERVE IT
    • receiving GIFT means we become part of the body of Christ
    • Paul writes “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the church.” 1 Cor 12:27-28
  • Benefits of our GIFT
    • free gift of eternal salvation
    • forgiveness of sins by Christ’s death on the cross
    • adoption by God the Father
    • indwelling of the Holy Spirit
    • being a part of the body of Christ...
      • membership in the body of Christ, the CHURCH, is a gift from God
    • not a legalistic obligation
    • not CC perks
    • not license for entitlements
    • but a GIFT we should treasure with great joy and anticipation
UNIVERSAL CHURCH OR LOCAL CHURCH?
  • some argue “body of Christ” is universal in nature
    • all believers everywhere for all ages
    • from one perspective that’s true
  • Majority of NT books written about and to LOCAL CHURCHES.
    • Acts - Jerusalem, Antioch, Cyprus, Antioch in Pisidia, Inconium, Lystra, Pamphylia, Macedonia, Thyatira, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Caesarea, Ephesus, Troas, Rome, Malta and others
    • Books TO specific churches...Romans, 1 Co, 2 Co, Gal. Eph. Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thess, 2 Thess.
    • 4 of Paul’s books to individuals: 1 & 2 Tim., Titus & Philemon
    • Revelation considered to have context of local churches
  • Point?
    • Lame excuse to say you will limit your involvement to the universal church
    • Bible clear we are to be connected to a specific church in a specific context.
UNDERSTAND THE GIFT
  • Church membership is a gift
    • a gift must be treasured
    • not taken for granted or considered lightly
    • always be thankful for it
    • when thankful we have less time & energy to be negative
  • When receiving a gift with APPRECIATION...
    • we naturally want to respond to the GIVER
    • service to God is a natural outflow of the joy of our salvation
    • and consequent joy of our church membership
    • it’s a PRIVILEGE to SERVE THE KING
    • we should look for opportunities at the church where we serve
  • It’s not wrong to respond to the GIVERS ENTIRE FAMILY in appreciation for our gift
    • other church members are ADOPTED CHILDREN just like us
    • they’re not PERFECT, just like I’m not
    • they’re HYPOCRITES, just like I am on occasion 
    • but we serve them B/C THEY’RE FAMILY
    • we find JOY IN BEING LAST, instead of seeking to be first
Matt 20:26-28  Not so shall it be among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant,
27 And whoever desires to be first among you must be your slave—
28 Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free].
  • My estimation is CBC will be a LOT HEALTHIER when we decide to serve and to be last and put our family members first
THE SIXTH PLEDGE
  • An attitude of entitlement is a lousy attitude
    • putting “OUR RIGHTS” before OUR FAMILY
    • subject to get indignant when we don’t get our way
  • Church membership is a gift, a joyous gift...TREAT IT AS SUCH

I am a church member.
This membership is a gift. When I receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member.


Sign & Date:____________________________________________________

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