Of the Church.
Chapter 26, Paragraph 12.
“As all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14
2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15
When looking to join a church, what do people usually look for? Sermons they agree with, friendly relatable people, programs to plug in to. How many, if asked, would say they were looking for accountability?
Christians are called out of this world by Christ. They are commanded to not walk alone, but to walk with other saints in a local church. By joining together, they mutually encourage one another. They rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep. They speak to one another in “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). They teach and admonish one another.
However, there are times when confrontation needs to occur. Action needs to be taken for unrepentant sin. Sometimes, fellowship has to be broken and discipline enforced. This is the duty of the church. When we join a church, we don’t just receive the happiness of being together: we become answerable to the government of the church.
Accepting and submitting to the authority of the church is not easy. It means we are vulnerable to those we worship with. What if we get hurt? When we remember who the head of the church is and how He has demonstrated His love for us, we gain the reassurance that whatever command He gives, it is good. Jesus commands us to place ourselves under the authority of a local church. This is good.
Questions to Consider
- How would you counsel someone who claims to be a Christian, but does not want to formally be a member of a church?