A Covenant of Consequence

A Covenant of Consequence

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First Corinthians 5:12-13 speaks of being judged by your church, saying,

For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Church is a great local, social gathering. It is a family of believers, a network of skill sets, and a collection of valuable resources. We help each other when there are needs; we watch out for each other’s children; we work together and pray together. We encourage each other, strengthen each other, and make each other better.

I am reminded of a church sign that reads: coffee and eternal life, yes membership has its privileges.

There are advantages to being in a local assembly of believers. And there are privileges too.

There are people in secular leadership roles and organizations who pay to attend seminars to find out how to think better, how to work better, and how to live better. They seek the very advantages that we enjoy as a church family.

But we have so much more than any secular seminar can provide. We have THE book on how to’s for all occasions and people.

The church is an institution that God adds obedient, baptized believers to, with a purpose and mission that is much greater than ourselves. It is Christ’s church.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says,

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

And because it is Christ’s church, it has His mission, His goals, and His expectations, which far exceed any personal ambitions we might have. Being a member in one of Christ’s churches is to be a member of a world wide vision to reach the world. You have a personal stake in the Great Commission to go, teach, baptize, and teach all nations (Matthew 28:19–20).

Having said this, being in the church means there is also accountability.

First Corinthians 5 shows us that there is consequence to being a member who refuses to practice what is preached.

Being put away means to be put out of church membership. This has nothing to do with being in the family of God. Matthew 16:19 shows us that being removed from church membership is honored in heaven. It says,

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

I am referring to these passages of church discipline not to advocate removing people from church rolls. Rather, I am using these passages to remind us that this is God’s institution. It is a privilege to serve in it, and it comes with expectations and accountability.

This provokes me to want to encourage all brethren in our local church to be active participants in our church. Failure to do so means that personal failure is occurring and, consequently, our church is suffering.

A church lacking in full membership participation is a crippled body. You should encourage your fellow church members to be active participants. And we should encourage all believers to ask God which church He wants them to participate in.

Our ministries need refreshing, and our team leaders need to be encouraged. I will tell you that having a full team of members meeting with enthusiasm will make our team leaders feel invigorated and blessed.

Surely the Spirit of God is moving in our hearts to be helpful to one another and encouraging. Every church can do so much more with all members participating. We need to strengthen the feeble and encourage the down trodden. It is our duty to God and to one another to do so.

Think about how you can strengthen a brother or sister in their walk with Christ this week.

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