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Church Membership - What It Is and Why It's Necessary

I. The local church is the body of Christ.

1. 1Co 1:2a - Unto the church of God which is at Corinth...

2. 1Co 12:27 - Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

II. The local church, which is the body of Christ, is said to have members like a human body.

1. 1Co 12:12 - For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

2. 1Co 12:13 - For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

3. 1Co 12:14 - For the body is not one member, but many.

4. 1Co 12:15 - If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

5. 1Co 12:16 - And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

6. 1Co 12:17 - If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

7. 1Co 12:18 - But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

8. 1Co 12:19 - And if they were all one member, where were the body?

9. 1Co 12:20 - But now are they many members, yet but one body.

10. 1Co 12:21 - And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

11. 1Co 12:22 - Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

12. 1Co 12:23 - And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

13. 1Co 12:24 - For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

14. 1Co 12:25 - That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

15. 1Co 12:26 - And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

16. 1Co 12:27 - Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

III. A believer becomes a member of a local church by means of water baptism.

1. Act 2:37 - Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

2. Act 2:38 - Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

3. Act 2:41 - Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

4. Act 2:47 - Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

IV. Once a person becomes a church member, they are responsible to:

1. Continue worshiping God with the church on a regular basis including keeping the ordinances of communion and feetwashing.

A. Act 2:42 - And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

B. Joh 13:13-15 - Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

C. 1Co 11:1-2 - Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 2) Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

2. Be under the instruction and authority of the pastor.

A. Heb 13:7 - Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

B. Heb 13:17 - Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

3. Be subject and accountable to other church members.

A. 1Pe 5:5 - Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

B. Eph 5:21 - Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

4. Love the brethren in the church and bear their burdens with them.

A. 1Pe 1:22 - Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

B. Gal 6:2 - Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

5. Be unified in doctrine with the church.

A. 1Co 1:10 - Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

B. Eph 4:11 - And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

C. Eph 4:12 - For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

D. Eph 4:13 - Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

6. Be held to the Biblical standard to morality and be subject to church discipline when failing to do so.

A. 1Co 5:11 - But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

B. 1Co 5:12 - For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

C. 1Co 5:13 - But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

7. Not forsake the church assembly.

A. Heb 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

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