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The Church Christ Builds, Pt. 8

Sometimes I have counseled people who, for whatever reason, think they have nothing to offer the corporate gathering. Maybe they’re struggling in sin and cannot see how God would ever use them or lack confidence and feel like they can’t teach anyone anything. They begin to wonder what their role is in coming to church on Sunday. Here’s what I like to tell them: “Here’s your ministry. If you do this, you’ll change your life and maybe change a bunch of other people’s lives. Come to church every Sunday. Rain or shine. Busy week or empty week. Football game on or no football game on. Tired or not tired. Show up. Shake hands. Greet people. Sing loudly about Jesus so others can hear you. Listen to God’s Word. Shake more hands. Greet more people. Go home and pray. You do that, and you’ll change your life, change the church, change your family. Now that’s a ministry.”

When this is done that faithfully for years on end, you’ll find that you’re not only contributing to the health of the church but the health of the church is contributing to you. You will find Jesus’ words to be gloriously true: it’s more blessed to give than to receive.

Solomon expressed this as well: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25). Want to be spiritually enriched and your soul to be refreshed? Devote your life to blessing others in simple ways. Perhaps the most simple way to encourage your church family is by joining them for corporate worship every week.

Press on in the small acts of faithfulness! Don’t miss the thousands of mundane opportunities to be faithful because you’re hoping for one big, glorious thrill. Impactful lives aren’t a succession of big, thrilling moments, but a culmination of a million small decisions to honor Christ in the mundane. Not every Sunday will be exciting. Not every corporate gathering will be exactly as you hoped. But like the faithful waves that shape a continent, the rhythms of faithful church attendance will shape your life.

That’s why Hebrews 10:23-24 says “And let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We need the church and the church needs us. So we commit to show up, to hear God’s Word, to sing loudly, to pray together, and then to seek the spiritual good of our friends. Remember: Jesus works mightily through the ordinary.

Your’s for Christ,
Eric
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The Church Christ Builds, Pt. 7

Think of the commitments you’ve made in your life. You have family commitments that you’re born into. You can’t change those. You create commitments in your life when you make promises. Young people have parents who make their commitments for them. They sign up their kids for sports, piano lessons, musicals, theater, and similar things. Commitments are made. And what parent hasn’t told their kid, “Listen, we made this commitment and we’re going to follow through”? That’s a good lesson to learn. If no one learns commitment, society falls apart.

Have you made a commitment to the church? Without commitments, the church falls apart. Jesus intends Christians to be committed to one another, like an eye is committed to a hand or a brother is committed to a sister (1 Cor. 12:14-15, 1 Pet. 1:22).

Jesus invites us to commit to one another. Do you know that every time you gather to take communion, you’re renewing your commitment to the people around you? You’re telling them, “I believe the same Christ as you. I am a member of the New Covenant with you. I’m in Christ with you, and I’m here for you. You are my family. I will not abandon you. I will not leave you.” You made that commitment when you followed Christ, you ratified that commitment when you were baptized, and you renew that commitment every time we take communion. Every corporate gathering is an expression of a commitment you’ve made to a specific people.

There comes a point in your life as a growing believer when showing up to church is more than a weekly tune up for your own soul. As you grow in love for one another, you begin to think more of your commitment to actual people-- with names and faces and stories. There comes a point where you go, “My friend so-and-so will be there. He’s going through struggles at home, he’s facing depression, and I need to be there with him” or “My friend is preaching on this topic, and it’s important for all of us to get this, so I’ll be there prayerfully supporting him” or “I heard Bob is bringing his neighbor along next Sunday. Let’s be on time so we’re prepared to welcome him.” We’ve made commitments to one another. We say, “Who knows how God may use me there this morning!”

Jesus is committed to the church. He loves the church and died to purchase it. He calls it his bride. Christians, following Jesus, commit themselves to the church as well.

Yours for Christ,
Eric
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The Church Christ Builds, Pt. 6

Last week I stood in front of the congregation trying to give away a book called Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus. For reasons unfathomable to me, people didn’t jump out of their chairs to snatch the book from my hand! What topic could be more thrilling than church membership?

Of course, I’m being sarcastic-- not everyone gets excited about church membership (although if you are, let me know. I have a book for you). Perhaps you think of church membership as an overly technical arrangement that makes the church less organic, and more institutional; less relational and more contractual. If you have any concerns about church membership, hopefully in the coming weeks you’ll see the beauty and joy of membership. Church membership is a tool that enables us to protect the gospel and care for each other.

You may be wondering, “So, what am I committing to when I commit to membership here?” It’s a great question! Let’s start answering that question.

First of all, when you commit to membership, you are committing to follow Jesus Christ publicly. You’re saying, “I want to follow Jesus-- help me do that!” And in response, the church says, “Yes, you are our family! We are with you in this!”

Second, commiting to membership also means committing to the other members. When you become a member, you’re saying, “You’re my family. I will do my best to love and care for you as we walk with Jesus together.”

Third, it means submitting to leaders. You are saying, “I gladly submit to the leadership and oversight of my elders” (Hebrews 13:17).

Fourth, you’re committing to regularly gather for corporate worship, out of obedience to Hebrews 10:24, which says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

To continue with the family analogy, the corporate gathering is like a family meal where everyone returns to feast on God’s Word, to share stories of God’s grace, to bear the burdens of the hurting, looking to God for comfort and hope. The New Testament is clear: Christians gather. It’s part of their spiritual DNA.

To sum up: the commitment to membership is the commitment to consider the church your family, to enjoy family-like commitments with one another, and to live life together for the glory of God.

Yours for Christ,
Eric
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