Scriptures

Member’s Responsibilities

Introduction

The word ‘church’ can refer to the church universal.

‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’ Matthew 16:18

‘For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour.’ Ephesians 5:23

The whole body of baptized believers, or to a local body of Christians.

‘All the churches of Christ send greetings’ Romans 16:16

‘To the church of God in Corinth’. 1 Corinthians 1:2

When you were baptized into Christ.

‘Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.’ Romans 6:3-4

He added you to His church.

‘Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.’ Acts 2:41

‘And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’ Acts 2:47

This refers to the church universal, the body of all the saved who belong to Christ.

‘And in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.’ Ephesians 2:16

‘There is one body and one Spirit,’ Ephesians 4:4

‘And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.’ Ephesians 1:22-23

On the other hand, such expressions in Scripture as ‘the church of God which is at Corinth’ 1 Corinthians 1:2 refer to a local church, a congregation of those who belong to the Lord in a particular locality who have banded together to work and worship collectively in those things God would have them to do.

The Christian, while added to the universal church by the Lord, joins himself to the local church like the apostle Paul did with the church in Jerusalem in Acts 9:26 ‘When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.’

Every Christian needs to be identified with a local church. When a child of God moves from one locality to another, he should seek out a faithful group of the Lord’s people and identify with them in order to fulfil his share of the collective responsibilities the Lord has given him.

For, you see, the local church is the only collective functioning unit revealed in the New Testament. The church universal has no organisation with which it can function. Nor are there any structural ties between local churches. Each local congregation is an independent, autonomous, i.e., self-governing, group.

God has designated that when there are qualified men to serve, each local church should be organised with elders, deacons and members Philippians 1:1. The qualifications for elders are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The deacons’ qualifications are found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

Elders are to tend the church 1 Peter 5:2 and rule over it Hebrews 13:17 by exercising oversight 1 Peter 5:2, to watch out for the souls placed in their charge Hebrews 13:17, to admonish the unruly 1 Peter 5:1-2 and be an example to all 1 Peter 5:2.

Deacons are special servants who attend to those things the church needs and the elders direct them to accomplish. If there are no qualified men in a congregation who can serve in these offices, a local church may exist and function by using such an expedient as a business meeting, a meeting of the men of the congregation which determines the course of action the church will follow in accomplishing the work of the Lord.

The Christian’s Responsibilities To Members Of The Church

As a member of the church the Christian is a part of the family of God.

‘You will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.’ 1 Timothy 3:15

Being a family member carries responsibilities. As a part of the universal church one has responsibilities to all Christians worldwide. Being a member of a local church, though, he sustains peculiar responsibilities to those who are his fellow-members in that local body. It is like being a part of the physical family.

When one is born he becomes a part of a large family with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., to whom he has responsibilities. But he also is part of a nuclear family of mother, father, sisters and brothers to whom he has special moral and spiritual obligations over and above those he has to the rest of his relatives.

Some Of The Christian’s Responsibilities To Other Members Of The Church

Love

‘Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.’ 1 Peter 1:22

Edify

‘From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.’ Ephesians 4:16

Encourage

‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ Hebrews 10:23-24

Teach and Admonish

‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.’ Colossians 3:16

Bear Burdens

‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.’ Galatians 6:2

Comfort

‘Therefore encourage one another with these words’. 1 Thessalonians 4:18

Forgive

‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ Ephesians 4:32

Work Together

‘Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel’ Philippians 1:27

Use your talent

‘We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.’ Romans 12:6-8

Prophesying

This means preaching. You don’t need a pulpit to preach, the bus stop is your pulpit. Your workplace is your pulpit, at the family table is your auditorium and your friends and family are your audience.

And notice that your prophesying in according with your faith, which basically means you can preach according to your ability and understanding of the Scriptures. Some people know a lot about the Bible, others don’t, but it doesn’t matter, just teach what you know.

Serving

I don’t know of one single member of this congregation who doesn’t serve in some manner. Yes we’ll all bring food to a fellowship meal but who’s going to stay behind and wash the dishes?

Yes we’ll all dig in and help you do the garden but who’s going to do the tedious job of removing the weeds? Yes we’ll all help out with our special events but who’s going to come in early and help greet any visitors?

Teaching

This is much like the gift of preaching but without the pulpit. When you’re sharing the Gospel with others He will remind you of Scripture, so that you can be a more effective teacher.

Encouragement

Who encourages the encourager? We all need encouragement, don’t we? A simple phone call, text message, a visit or kind word all help make our Christian journey a little more bearable.

Generosity

Now please don’t think just about monitory giving, we can give in so many ways. We can give of our time, our energy, our ears, our council, our strength, our love and the Holy Spirit will help us give generously in all these areas.

Leading diligently

Now Paul doesn’t just have leading like the men each Lord’s Day do in mind here by leading by example. And we all should be doing that in our homes, in our workplaces, in the supermarket, wherever we find ourselves. We should be leading by example and showing the world that we are Christians.

Showing mercy cheerfully

Be like the Samaritan, Help those who have been or are being afflicted by others. He wants us to help the helpless, He wants us to feed the hungry and visit the sick.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Acts 1:8

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