This week we shared the special joy of welcoming 2 more members to GCW.
How can you express the joy?
Membership in a local assembly is vastly difference to any other kind.
It communicates things that the world cannot compete with.
In the world, when you join an assembly, you are thinking: “what can I get?”
In the local Christian assembly, when you join, you are thinking: “what can I give?”
In the world, self is in the foreground.
In the local assembly, self is in the background.
You ask, “how may I serve?”, not “how may I be served?”
You ask, “how may I edify?”, not “how may I be gratified?”
(The staggering thing - as ever in the walk of life with Christ - is that as much as you give, you just keep having it poured out back on yourself - abundantly!)
When you are saved, you become a member of the body of Christ.
United to Christ, united to the other members of the body in this way, you are then qualified to become a member of a local expression of that body.
The order is, you are born again, you are baptized, you are bound to fellow believers.
The body of Christ on earth is made up of assemblies of believers.
All believers throughout history are the Church of God.
You can be a Christian without being a member of a local assembly.
But that is the exception, and it should be rare, and it should be remedied.
Joining the Church is by faith through grace.
We use “membership” to identify the formal committing of oneself to an identifiable, local assembly of believers.
We think this is right because the Bible teaches:
(1) the example of the early Church;
(2) the existence of Church government;
(3) the exercise of Church discipline;
(4) the exhortation to mutual edification;
(5) Epistles were written to distinct assemblies;
(6) the special relationship with elders; and
(7) active fulfilment of the “one anothers”.
And you know what?
This past Sunday I didn't just think it was right, I didn't just know it was right because it's in the Bible.
I FELT (affections stirred!) it was right, as all our hearts swelled, full of love for our Saviour and for one another.
And our arms linked.