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Sunday, April 1, 2018 am                                                                NT Church Index

NT CHURCH 2017-18 (53)
Part of His Church (4)
My Responsibilities to His Church

     The past few lessons we have been examining what is involved in being part of the church.  While the word church is found in two senses in scripture (universal and local), our emphasis in this study has been the local congregation.  WE have addressed God’s plan of salvation and how that adds us to the body of the saved and that we are called upon to join a local congregation.  Last week we noted what it means to be part of His church – We briefly reviewed what the church is – a part of God’s eternal plan, a manifestation of His manifold wisdom, and the body of Christ purchased with His blood.  We also noted that BOTH senses are a according to God’s eternal purpose.  Furthermore, we noted as part of His church, we are part of His body (functioning), workers in His vineyard, living stones in His building (a temple), citizens in His kingdom, children in His family and the bride of Christ.  Today, as we conclude this section, we want to notice what are my responsibilities to the local church?

 I.                     Worship with my brethren


One of the things we do as the church is worship God. 
We are to come together for worship – 1 Corinthians 11:18, 20.   Acts 20:7
We have addressed both the acts of worship and how we are to worship.
Together we sing (Colossians 3:16), pray, partake of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and even give.
We need to be here to participate in these things.  Hebrews 10:24-25 – we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.   This would indicate this is something we do more than occasionally. 
These scriptures show it was done regularly – weekly! (How often is there a “first day of the week”?) 

 II.                   Promote unity


– it is clearly established we are not to be divided.  1 Corinthians 1:10, Paul called for this.  -  The description of being parts of the body functioning together shows this – (1 Corinthians 12:14, Romans 12:4-5, For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.)
- We are called upon to be of one mind – Philippians 2:2, Romans 15:5-6, Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:27, we stand fast with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
- Romans 16:17 even calls for us to mark those causing divisions among us.

 III.                  Do my share


– we have examined and identified what the work of the church is.  Each of these works involves each of us doing our part. 
We are joint participants – Ephesians 4:16 speaks of how each part is to do its share which causes growth of the body.
- again, the description of a body functioning demonstrates this.  Colossians 2:19 speaks of holding fast to the head (Christ) and as a body we are nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments…thought which we grow with the increase that is from God
-whatever the work might by, I do what I can – I can assemble, I can participate in worship, help with various works, etc.
- I can also support the work with my resources – cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, etc.
- I also need to be bearing fruit!  Which means I am productive.  Be reminded of John 15:1-2.

 IV.                 Support the elders


We have noted the leadership structure of a local congregation.  Elders are to shepherd the flock (Acts 20:28).
We, as members are called upon to support these elders in their work – Hebrews 13:7, 17.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 – recognize them and esteem them highly for the work they do.

  V.                   To care about my brethren

Biblical love involves caring for one another.  1 Corinthians 13:1-8 describes this love. 
We have emphasized numerous “one another” passages.  More than 50 of them in the NT point to our relationship with each other in all that we do.  John 13:34-35 – the world will see that we are His disciples when we have love for one another. 
1 Corinthians 12:25 in describing the body speak of how we have the same care for one another. 
Romans 12:10 calls for us to be kindly affectionate toward one another.
Hebrews 12:24 tells us to consider one another in order to stir up love and good works
 even with our differences – Ephesians 4:2 speaks of how we are to bear with one another in love. 
Romans 15:1 speaks of how we bear with the scruples (weaknesses) of the weak.  1 Thessalonians 5:14 – we comfort each other and uphold the weak.
- the conscience of each other – we are to think about our brethren in what we do, even if we have the right to do it.  1 Corinthians 8:8-12 warns us of this.  1 Corinthians 10:24 summarizes this saying, “Let no one seek his own, but each on the other’s well being.”

 VI.                 To ensure she is true

By true I mean we strive to keep her true to God’s pattern in everything we do.  Much of what we learn about the NT church is from letters written that corrected errors (both doctrinal and attitudinal) and expressed concerns.

Maintain purity of the word.  Demand that she stays true to God’s word.  2 Timothy 4:2-4.
Paul warned the elders of Ephesus that wolves would come in and men would rise up who would speak perverse things to draw away the disciples (Acts 20:28-31).  The call was to watch.
Elders are entrusted with watching for and exposing the “wolves” – Titus 1:9-11.
But I want us to understand that we ALL ought to ensure that truth is taught.  Challenge error so that it doesn’t infect the whole church

Maintain purity of character -  recently we have discussed the importance of purity.  Corinth was rebuked because they tolerated immorality in their midst – 1 Corinthians 5.  They were called upon to address it or the whole lump would be leavened by it (1 Cor. 5:6).

I ought to care enough about the church to do my part to keep her true.

 VII.               Represent her with purity in my life

As we noted last week, all that we do is a reflection upon the church we are a part of.   WE are to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Being a Christian is a lifestyle, a mindset.  It is WHO you are, not just a hobby or a distinct section of your life.
The best thing we can do for Christ and His church is to be a proper example – Matthew 5:13-16, Philippians 2:15.

 VIII.             Make her appealing to others

The concept of the church (as defined by the world, NOT the Biblical definition) is viewed with cynicism by so many in the world today.  And who can blame them, when they see corruption, exploitation, greed and hypocrisy what is supposed to be the church. 
When they see division and a lack of clarity as to her purpose they are confused.
OUR goal is to make the church as appealing as possible to others. 
We do this by letting the world see that she is important to God and to me. 
We do this by defending her before others.  We do NOT speak disparagingly of her before the world. 
Furthermore, we need to let others see that being part of the true church can help you get to heaven.   Because we ARE the family God intends for us to be. 

 IX.                 Be willing to sacrifice for her!

This is an indication of how important Jesus Christ really is to us. 
Jesus shed His blood to purchase the church.  This was the ultimate sacrifice.
How much are we willing to sacrifice for Him and for our brethren? 
That was one of the points Paul made as he addressed financial giving – 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 8-9.  There are financial obligations associated with the work of the church.  If it is obligated to fulfill its commitments, then we, as its members, must be willing to do our part in this.
But financial obligations are only the beginning (and not necessarily the top priority).  We give of our time and resources to not merely sustain her in the Lord’s work, but to help her thrive in this.
Again we ask the question, “What if everyone were just like me?” 

 

There are other things we could add to this list, but this is sufficient to cause us to think about what it means for me to be part of the body of Christ, both universally and locally.   Our goal in this study has been to help us see just how important the church is to God and what it ought to be to us.  What about you?  How important is it to you?  In what ways can you improve your service?  In what ways can we help you?  Let us!  Think about it!