In last Friday’s MDB, we reflected on why we should be a part of a local congregation. We need each other, just as body parts need each other and family members need each other.
As men especially, God has called us to be spiritual leaders, both in the home and in the church. Many times I have seen wives in churches alone or with their kids. Daddy didn’t come. I am grateful that many men reading this take seriously their G0d-appointed role to be an active part of a church.
There are many things done as a congregation, not as individuals.
- Our collective worship: to sing, teach and pray together (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 5:19).
- We take the Lord’s Supper together (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinhians 11:17-34).
- We gather up a collection to support preaching and benevolence (1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 5:1-16).
- We are to hold each other accountable to God’s standards (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3; Matthew 18:15-17). Church discipline by its very existence necessitates an identifiable body of believers. Study the phrase “among you” in the New Testament. How do you define “among you” without having an idea of who belongs and who does not in a local church? Just like in a family, a team, an army, a nation, or a company, we have to hold each other accountable. That, however, requires us to be committed to each other, vulnerable and transparent.
- We provide comfort for each other as we share our sufferings with each other and pray with and for each other (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11; Hebrews 12:12).
We need each other!
Another concept that helps us to understand our individual part of a collective whole is that we are “living stones” that are being “built up into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). Stones are joined together with mortar. Individual stones separated to themselves cannot form a wall or a house.
Some will balk at the term “church membership” because it is not used in the New Testament. True, but the word “members” is used, but not in the “club” sense of the word. We are members in the “body” sense of the word (Ephesians 5:30; 1 Corinthians 12). We are members in the “household” sense of the word (Ephesians 2:19). We are “members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25).
The value of knowing each other:
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Finally, what do I do with the unruly? Warn them. What do I do with the fainthearted? Comfort them. What do I do with the weak? Uphold them. How on earth can I know whether you are fainthearted, weak or unruly unless I am committed to you and spend a great deal of time with you? This requires, therefore, that we make ourselves accountable and vulnerable to each other. As a result, when I am weak you can know I am not being unruly, and what I need is a helping hand not a warning. You can also know when I am being unruly, and what I need is a warning not comfort.
“Love the brotherhood” (1 Peter 2:17).