For the past few Wednesday’s at our student ministry meetings, we have been working through the book of 1 John. I have been amazed that throughout this book there are several realities of the christian life that we tend to forget. In fact I think the book of John issues a great reminder for how we should function as believers today. One reality is that church membership is important.
Although the Bible never commands church membership it is obvious that the new testament believers understood that they were part of a body united by redemptive purposes of Christ. 1 John 2:19 John says They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. Another reality in 1 John is that those who are connected to Christ are called to love one another. John has stated this throughout this little letter but I think he states it best in 1 John 4:19-20 We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. Through church membership God provides an opportunity to develop authentic community.
Certainly church membership provides a community where we admonish one another as we discussed in an earlier post. Church membership also provides a place where we can grow in authentic community. We all desire authentic community but the reality is that very few will ever experience the beautiful relationship that has been made available through the cross. The gospel is a reminder that we are made complete through Christ. We are brought together in unity through His blood. Not only are we united by the cross but within the context of the local church we are then sent out on mission together to proclaim Jesus. As we go our message is Jesus and the verification of that message is identified through the oneness that God has established in our relationships. In John’s gospel Jesus states, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13-34-35
The Bible doesn’t just simply call us to authentic community it gives as a road map to accomplish this special relationship. Consider the following truths from scripture as you think about the importance of authentic community in our faith family.
Authentic Community is available by walking in the light:
1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Authentic Community is marked by the virtues of Christ:
Colossians 3:12-13 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the
Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is [l]the perfect bond of unity.
Authentic Community is marked by our unity:
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Authentic Community functions for the glory of Christ:
Romans 12:4-5 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.