1/18/15 – What It Means to Be a Church Member

Matthew 18:5-14 ESV

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

A. Church is commanded to embrace all who claim & show a child-like dependence on Jesus as members of His kingdom.
B. It is implied church should deny any who do not show dependence & obedience to Jesus as members of His Kingdom.
C. Jesus demands church protect His name by evaluating all who want to connect themselves to Him through a local church.

A. To join church, you must submit that the church has the authority to judge you, which will require the humility of Jesus.
B. The church has a responsibility to not give false assurance.
C. Belonging to a church means agreeing to submit to one another.

A. Trials & temptation reveal who truly belongs to Jesus.
B. Walking through tough things brings the church closer together.
C. God does not tempt but in His sovereignty uses it to deepen our bond with Him and one another.

A. The church commits to protecting one another from unnecessary temptation by removing the source of that temptation.
B. Joining a church is committing to you will protect members from temptation in & outside the church, and from themselves.

A. We are never to look down on those we remove or who stray. Only the grace of God keeps us from the same things.
B. Instead, go after them. The goal is restoration, not removal.
C. Restoring a church member that has strayed brings a unique joy to us and to God. (Gal 6:1-3, James 5:19-20)
D. Being a church member is promising if anyone of us ever wanders off, we will come for them.