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Joining a church: 3 Big gifts; faith, truth, and love


Joining a church: 3 Big gifts; faith, truth, and love
Jesus is looking ahead. He is preparing a place for us and for His church in heaven! This is the ultimate goal of joining a church. That we will be fit to desire with David to “live in the House of the Lord forever.”

When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Savior we are at once a member of His universal church. There are over 2 billion in that church today, nearly all of them members of a smaller local church.


Becoming a member of a local church is a process:



Joining a Church Water Baptism; A First Step in Joining a Chruch


Want to know Jesus better this year?


The most important first step is joining a church. How does that work?


What "joining" means.


Well, when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we at once were joined to His church by His grace! Jesus “recruited” us and every other Christian to become a part of His body, the universal church, and we have a role to play there.


But the next step is ours. We have to be active in joining a church, and I use the word “join” in its meaning as a transitive verb


1a: to put or bring together so as to form a unit join two blocks of wood with glue


b: to connect (separated items, such as points) by a line


2: to put or bring into close association or relationship two people joined in marriage



“Joining” in the sense used above is a permanent action, and the examples used emphasize this, the gluing together of two items, or better yet the relationship of husband and wife in marriage.


This joining requires a total separation from other things. So, before we can effect the joining, the joined items much be separated from all others. There must be a break from the old before the new can be embraced.


Joining a Church Marks a Break from the Past


We must turn away from the things of the world before we can enter our new relationship with Jesus. He put it like this:


If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Jesus in Luke 9:23


St. Paul puts it this way:


Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. -2 Corinthians 2:17-18


Why must this be? Jesus explains:


They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. – John 17:16


We cannot hold on to sin or anything in our lives that is contrary to or incompatible with being a Christian. Years ago a famous pornographer announced that he had become a Christian but was continuing to publish his pornographic material. His “Christianity” was soon gone as he kept his public sin.


Others have come to Jesus and tried to bring their old religion along. You cannot be a Christian and a Buddhist or Jew or Muslim. Some churches include a formal statement to this effect in their baptismal promises or covenant.


Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever

you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?


Question Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces

of wickedness that rebel against God?

Answer: I renounce them.

Question Do you renounce the evil powers of this world

which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?

Answer: I renounce them.

Question Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you

from the love of God?

Answer: I renounce them.

Question Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your

Savior?

Answer: I do.

Question Do you put your whole trust in his grace and love?

Answer: I do.


Public Baptism in Water


Joining a Church in this way is emphasized by public baptism in water, which symbolizes our putting off the old and being joined to the new:


Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?


Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life. St. Paul in Romans 6:3-4


Before we can be baptized, we must affirm our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and promise to live for Him faithfully. When you consider joining a church, check out its statement of faith, which should include at a minimum the Apostle’s Creed and recognition of the Bible as the Word of God and the final authority of our faith.


Joining a Church Begins our Present Walk with Jesus on the Narrow Way


Now our old life is dead so we can walk in this “newness of life.” How does this happen? Jesus provides the answer:


He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24


But what does joining a church look like day to day? What are we to do? Paul reminds us that we are a part of Jesus’ body and that He has given each of us a role:


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. ….


And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:12….28


How does this look in action? Paul goes on:


How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Corinthians 14:26


We notice here that although some roles are specifically defined, “every one of you” has a role. We need to seek out ways to join and support our church. Look for opportunities for Bible study, prayer meetings, youth ministry, or choir/worship team membership.


Above all, pray for the church, enter into the worship, and sing joyfully with all your heart. All of these lift up our fellowship and prepare us for something more. And what is that something more?


Joining A Church prepares us for the Eternal


Our work in joining a church is “edifying,” like in a building, an “edifice.” We are building the church we join to be a “lighthouse” and “a city on a hill,” a holy place where Jesus lives. Why? Because as we walk with Him, Jesus is with us and is working too on our church:


That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:26-27


Jesus is looking ahead. He is preparing a place for us and for His church in heaven! This is the ultimate goal of joining a church. That we will be fit to desire with David to “live in the House of the Lord forever.”


It is too glorious for words. Our “joining a church” has given us our path to joining the “Bride of Christ” and to eternal bliss when we attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. Jesus is coming for His Bride, and He will take her home with Him forevermore! Praise God! Thus our joining a church results in a place with Jesus when He comes again to take us to heaven, “and so we shall ever be with the Lord.”


Jesus is calling us today to be actively joining one another in serving Him. Where are you in “joining a church”? As you can see, it is a wonderful process full of grace and glory, And with a way so glorious we can only ask in wonder, “What will the end be?”


As I close, I restate that all of this applies only to those who belong to Jesus. But suppose you are NOT a believer, what then? You need to come to Jesus and believe, it is as simple as that. Here is a short article on how to answer Jesus’ wonderful invitation to “Come unto Me and rest.”


Action Steps in Joining a Chuch


1. Locate a church where Jesus is central and His Word and ordinances are observed.


2. Get baptized in water. Do this again as an adult if you were baptized or christened as an infant.


3. Go to every service and offer to help.


4. Support the church and its missionaries financially.


5. Join the Bible study and prayer meeting.


6. Volunteer to be a helper in service ministries.


7. Teach a Sunday school class.


8. Bring others to church, and pick up those who have no way to get there.


9. Get to know your pastor and honor him.


10. Remember you are preparing for something eternal!



Sing now with your brothers and sisters in the church, or listen here:


Like a mighty army moves the church of God;


brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.


We are not divided, all one body we,


one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.


(Refrain)



Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,


but the church of Jesus constant will remain.


Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;


we have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.


(Refrain)



Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,


blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.


Glory, laud, and honor unto Christ the King,


this through countless ages men and angels sing.


(Refrain)


Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924



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