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Covenanting Together:

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by

Ben Lovelady

on 28 May 2017

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Transcript of Covenanting Together:

"Just think of how Western culture affects all of us. Movie star John Wayne is often quoted as saying that he liked God until he got under a roof. Our singers croon, ‘Don’t fence me in!’ and ‘I did it my way!’ And advertisers appeal explicitly to our narcissism: ‘Have it your way’ and ‘You’re in the driver’s seat.’ With all this in the air, it’s easy to want the benefits but not the responsibilities of belonging—to friendships, to marriages, to the workplace, and certainly to the church."
Michael Horton
Covenanting Together:
Church Membership

1) The Biblical
metaphors
which describe a
gathering
of believers assume a
distinct
,
identifiable
group.
2) Along with the
assumption
of the metaphors, there are a
host
of
Biblical
references which
warrant
a concept of church
membership
.

Scriptures
indicate an
assembly
around a certain
message
:
Jesus
is Savior and Lord
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation (koinonia) in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:2-5).
• When a person was
saved
, they were “
added
” to the believer’s
number.

“So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
• This
group
of believers became
collectively
known as “the
church
”.
“But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison” (Acts 8:3).
“The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch” (Acts 11:22; cf. 11:26; 12:1, 5; 14:27; 15:3, 4).
• A special
presence
appears to rest on believers when they are
gathered
together.
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20).
“In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:4).
• There is an
initiatory
step of
baptism
for all who believe.
“But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike” (Acts 8:12; 2:38; 9:18; 16:33; 18:8; 22:16).
“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3)
• Christians are to live lives
free
from the love of the
world
and are warned against
formally
associating w/ the world.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16).
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
(2 Corinthians 6:14)
• There is a
pattern
in Scripture where believers’ lives were
oriented
around the church.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me” (1 Corinthians 16:1-4).
“Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedoia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
• Christian
leaders
are specifically designated to
care
for
specific
sheep.
“Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness” (1 Peter 5:2).
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

Individual
believers are responsible to
submit
to
specific
leaders,
care
for them, collectively
support
missionaries, and
care
for the poor.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
“The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).
“You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:15-19).
“…recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do” (Galatians 2:9-10).
• Believers were to
remove
false teachers from their
midst.
“…Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning” (Titus 3:9-10).
“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds” (2 John 1:9-11).
• The act of church
discipline
indicates a recognized
body
.
“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. ‘REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES’” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 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” (1 John 2:18-19).
3) The above references
demonstrate
the first century
presence
of church membership, as well as many of the
functions
of a member.
Full transcript