Thus far we have examined that a true church is constituted by only those that are saved and Scripturally baptized. These are two requirements mandated by Scripture. I received an "Anonymous" comment that found my last post "offensive". First, I refuse to post "anonymous" comments. Second, it is not my desire to be offensive, but it is my desire to preach and teach Truth. This is truth, and at times truth is offensive to those in disobedience. 'Anonymous' said that those who pleased their parents by being confirmed are no less 'church.' Actually, they are not part of any true church. Problem is that 'anonymous' has been taught error that being in the 'church' is equivalent to being saved. This is false teaching. You can be saved and on your way to Heaven and not a member of a true church. Also, our service to the Lord may require us at times to forsake our mother and father (Matt. 19:29). Anonymous also said that there are those who cannot be immersed for medical reasons. First, in all my years, I have not seen this to be true. Second, (at the risk of sounding blunt and uncaring-which I am not) it doesn't matter, God made no exceptions. Anonymous also said that they too were 'part of the baptist movement.'
No you're not.
I strive to be kind, have compassion, love as brethren, pitiful, courteous (1 Peter 3:8), but I also must reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long suffering AND DOCTRINE (2 Tim. 4:2). I have no spirit of pride, but humility. I seek no applause, but rather giving honor to our Lord. In these days, especially these days, we must stand for truth. I pray this is received in the same spirit it is written in.
We must go on.
A true church is constituted of members only. And we are not talking jackets here (though they were smooth!) A church is made up of saved, Scripturally baptized, members of that local church. Those members were set there by God Himself to be joined to that individual body to please and serve Him.
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
1 Cor. 12:18
Members of a true church are received by their profession of faith in Christ and following that profession with a Scriptural baptism or by a church letter of recommendation (2 Cor. 3:1). These members will be received only if they are commended by their last church. This practice is Biblical, but sadly many times ignored today.
Many of our "Local church colleges" do not 'mess with sending and receiving letters' of the students joining while studying there-what a shame. Many 'large empire' churches don't have the time to do such minuscule tasks. Some smaller churches don't bother with keeping records. Other liberal churches do not require them because they are just glad to be able to love anyone and keep ignoring their sin. These practices have weakened and polluted our churches. It is no wonder our churches are filled with such filth and the world!
One joining a church from another church should only be accepted into membership if they can be recommended by their previous church. I am aware of the problems in this. Pastoral pride at times will never allow him to 'recommend' anyone that would leave HIS flock. This is why a pastor's qualifications include "of good behaviour, given to hospitality,...no striker, but patient, not a brawler, not covetous...lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." God does move people at times. Remember pastors, "God sets the members..." not us.
There are privileges and requirements of being a member. Members should attend all services and not forsake the assembling of ourselves (Heb. 10:25). Members should participate in observing the ordinances of the church (1 Cor. 11:2). Members should support their church with their offerings (1 Cor. 16:2). Members should use their talents to serve in any way through their church (Rom. 12:1-2). Members should live a life above reproach for the glory of the Lord in the church (2 Cor. 6:17). Members can pray for one another and bear the burdens of one another (Gal. 6:2). Members can fellowship with and encourage one another (2 Cor. 6:14). Members should rebuke and if necessary discipline with the authority given to the church (1 Cor. 5). Members are able to vote upon church matters of authority (Acts 6:5). The government of a true church is 'members only.'
Oh the church, the true church, 'My Church' as our Lord described it, is a place of authority, power, and Truth, and each one is for Members Only!
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Eph. 3:21