6 reasons to formally commit to a church (as a member), part 2 of 3

(update: part 1 and part 3)

Category: Accountability

3. You need to lovingly hold others accountable

Matt. 18:15-17 (ESV) – 15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Here Christ tells you how to love and help your brother/sister who is in sin. You must tell him his fault in private. If he fails to listen, then you must tell another brother/sister to go with you as you confront the sinning brother/sister again. If he/she still refuses, tell it to the church. Then the church will seek to restore the sinning brother/sister. If he/she refuses to listen to the church in their pursuit and love, then, to the church, the unrepentant sinner must be treated like an unbeliever. You must lovingly and radically hold other Christians accountable.

1 Cor. 5:1-2 (ESV) – 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

When someone is unrepentant and sinning, he must be “removed from among you” so that unbelievers don’t misunderstand what a Christian is and who Jesus Christ is and what the gospel is. You also don’t want that unrepentant sinner comfortable in his “Christianity” as if he is ok with God when he is not. Therefore you must lovingly hold others accountable and remove the unrepentant sinners from among you.

To summarize, you as a Christian must hold Christians accountable for sin and call them to repentance in love. If they refuse, then you must confront them to the point of removing them from the church and treating them like an unbeliever. How can you do this unless you are in a group that has drawn a line of who are believers and who are not? That is what the local church does, and so you should formally commit to one to hold others accountable the way Jesus Christ wants you to.

4. You need to be lovingly held accountable by others

This is simply the other side of the coin again. Not only do you need to hold others accountable and seek to restore them from their sin, you need someone to hold you accountable and restore you when you are in sin. You need others, and you need the church as a whole, if necessary, to plead with you and pray for you to not remain unrepentant in sin. You need others, in a church, to be able to remove you from among them if you are deluded by sin, in hopes that them removing you would awaken you to the sin and delusion to which you were given. I am not strong enough and knowledgeable enough on my own to keep from sin. God didn’t design humans to be alone. You need to be lovingly held accountable by others.

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About pjtibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to share life and share Jesus together with First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County.
This entry was posted in Christian living, church, church health, church membership, ecclesiology. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 6 reasons to formally commit to a church (as a member), part 2 of 3

  1. Albert Tsao says:

    Time to chime in again…

    I’m not against church membership, nor am I for it. I guess I find the idea of “official” lists of members, etc. “somewhat” ineffectual to accomplish the spiritual reasons you have listed.

    You’ve listed four awesome reasons as to why we need “membership.” (sorry, I chimed in so soon. I know there are two more). But it seems like the reasons you have listed are why we need community/fellowship, not why we need “membership.” I find these are two very different things.

    When I think of “membership,” I think of an official list/roll for purposes of structure and organization. “Membership” therefore allows us to know who are “officially” committed to this local assembly. It allows us to know who we are going to excercise discipline on. It allows us to understand who “owns” the church property, etc. etc. There are a whole host of valid and functional reasons why we need “membership.”

    But these are different things, right? One is invisible, intangible, emotional, and spiritual. The other is more functional, visible, and external. Let’s not mix the two up.

    We are called to “one another,” but does it necessitate the external membership. Again, I wonder if “membership” communicates the wrong things. I understand that the NT had list and rolls, but were these lists for functional purposes or spiritual purposes. I guess, probably both.

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