Finding Yourself

Ephesians 4:16 (ESV)
"from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. "

The appropriate question to preface this post is: Are you a consumer or a supplier?

When we consider church membership, we must first answer the question, why do we need it in the first place? Can I not just be a Christian on my own?

True, you will not find an explicit Scriptural verse stating that failure to join a church will result in eternal damnation, but on the other hand the NT is filled with verses about the importance of encouraging one another and serving one another in love and fellowship, to cause one another towards action in good deeds (c.f. Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 12:12) It is in our unity in membership where the world can witness the outward expression of the love of Christ towards one another.

So I go back to the original question: Are you a consumer or a supplier? Do you attend church without contributing your time and talent, satisfied with only writing an occasional check, or do you attend church desiring to share your gifts with one another?

Paul writes in Romans 12:6-8 that we should celebrate our individual gifts and desire to apply them to edify one another, not only within the body of believers, but in the community at-large. We should see the gifts that God has bestowed upon us as the blessings they are—blessings to be shared.

We are called to action, and the words and deeds we share have the power of Christ behind them. Let us not keep them on a shelf and let no one benefit from them. Jesus admonished His listeners on this subject with the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. We must take advantage of the freedoms we have in this country to openly reach the lost, a possibility that does not exist globally.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The German pastor and theologian who stood up to the Nazi regime during Hitler’s rise to power, had this to say:

“It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s Word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands stand alone. They know that visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist did, how they went “with the multitude … to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday (Psalm 42:4).… Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living in common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”

Find yourself, dear Christian. Find the gifts God has given you and exercise these gifts within your church today and celebrate the freedom we have to do so. 

Then you will truly know what it is to experience agape love.