The Lenses That Change the Way You Live Life Part 2

Sunday, January 1st, 2012
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The Lenses that can Change the Way You Live Life–part 2

Crucial choices that can lead to a healthy walk and a healthy church

 

Two men went out to hunt and they went to a friend’s house on a farm.  The one who knew the farmer best, went up to the door to ask whether they could hunt on his land while the other man waited in the car.  The farmer said, “Absolutely, go right ahead and hunt, but I need to ask you a favor.  You see,  I’ve got this old horse I love and have cherished him all my life, and it needs to be shot–it’s too old, and I can’t bring myself to do it.  Would you shoot him for me?”

His hunting friend said, “I don’t want to shoot your favorite horse,” and the farmer said, “Oh, no, no, I just can’t do it.  Would you go ahead and shoot the horse for me?”  He says, “Ok, I’ll shoot it for you–then we’ll go out and hunt.”

So he went back to his friend in the car and thought to himself, he’d have some fun.  So he went up to his buddy in the car and said, “I can’t believe this guy; we’ve been friends for years and this jerky farmer totally put me off.  He told me to drop dead, and he’s never going to let us hunt on his land.”

So he got in the car, started to drive off, and drove by the old horse and said, “Wait a minute, I’m going to get this guy back.”  He got out of the car and said, “I’m going to shoot his favorite horse,” and he raised up his gun and went “bang”, and shot the horse.  Right after he shot the horse, he heard, “Bang, bang.”  His friend said to him, “Hurry up, let’s go–I just shot two of his cows.”

Nice backfire–what a massive misunderstanding.  So much difficulty in our lives is the result of misunderstanding.  And that is true of a Christian and of a church.  So often in the church, we misunderstand what God wants us to be and to do.  So many churches are unhealthy because those truths the Lord emphasizes are not emphasized in the church, and so many Christians are unhealthy because those truths the Word emphasizes are not emphasized in their lives.

Maybe we focus on one or two priorities, but we miss the rest.  Often it is because we’ve never seen it before, or we were not raised to appreciate those other truths the Scripture emphasizes.

We see them as plain as day in the Bible, but because it was not a part of our early Christian experience, we just don’t embrace them.  Or it doesn’t fit our giftedness, so we don’t value it.  You know, we are the eye of the body, so who needs a nose.  We love to teach because that is our giftedness, and we know Christians need to be fed God’s Word.  So other gifts, and other biblical priorities are then dissed–somehow shepherding, discipling, counseling, or training men are not important.  And slowly the church becomes a place where only one gift is valued, and all other priorities have little or no expression.

In Word-centered, Word-driven churches like ours, we have the tendency to look only at teaching, when the New Testament tells us there are many other priorities that must be pursued as we teach the Word and feed the flock.  What are those other areas?

Two weeks ago we started studying a few of those commitments that make for healthy Christians and healthy churches.  As we start this new year, I am praying you and I will be more committed to what we looked at last time.

#1  Pursue truth and grace simultaneously

#2  Practice dependent obedience

#3  Become adept at dealing with sin, in you and others

But there are even more issues, we need to pursue–what?

#4  Saturate your life and church in discipleship

The overarching mission of the Holy Spirit in the life of every single Christian is to be conformed to the image of Christ.  While describing the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.”  He saved us to become more like Christ, and discipleship is a part of that process.  We cooperate with Him only when we’re committed to discipleship.

What pleases God is for a church to be committed to making disciples of Christ, which means cultivating relationships that encourage learning about, following, and becoming like Christ in one another’s lives.  Just like a baby needs to learn to feed itself, eventually run, speak, and grow mature enough to have its own children, believers need to grow mature enough where they reproduce into other Christians.

Today, get infected with and develop a passion for discipleship–it is the command of Christ.  The Great Commission is a truth to be passed on.  Matthew 28:19 to 20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The main verb is “make disciples,” which is accomplished by three participles:  1) going, 2) baptizing, and 3) teaching to obey all I’ve commanded.  It’s called the Great Commission, yet today it’s the Great Omission.  It is found in all four gospels and Acts, but Matthew is the most comprehensive.  It is the briefing before the battle, the risen Head giving us His final directive and most important assignment.  And today, we are in the same war–no new instruction, no new battle plan.

The New Testament continues with the theme of life-on-life impact, by calling older women to train younger women.  Titus 2:3 to 5, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, …4 so that they may encourage [train] the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

Peter makes it clear young men are to seek out older men.  First Peter 5:5, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders.”  And the New Testament calls spiritual leaders of every church to pass on God’s Word and life wisdom to other faithful men who will shepherd God’s flock.  Second Timothy 2:2, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Face it, friends–your children are going to shepherd the next generation of your family, and your children and my children are going to shepherd the next generation of this church family.  We’re going to pass on the keys of church leadership to the next generation, and we only have two choices.  We are either going to hand them the keys of leadership, or they are going to pry them out of our cold, dead hands, but they are going to get the keys.  So we might as well learn how to pass it on.

Discipleship is God’s plan to influence the next generation.  Matthew 28 told us the process was going to involve going which is evangelism, baptizing which is identifying with Christ and being immersed in His community the Church, and finally it will involve teaching—verse 20, “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”

The teaching here means obedience training.  Discipleship includes teaching, but a particular kind of teaching–teaching them to obey/to observe, verse 20, “all I have commanded you.”  Like a dog being trained in obedience school, discipleship is training an individual how to follow his new master in all things.  A mature Christian is one who has come under the authority of the Word of God in every area of His life–he knows what the Bible says, and seeks to follow God’s Word in every area, not perfectly but progressively.

The New Testament challenge, “to be complete in Christ,” is not to become a perfect believer, but one who is striving to live under the authority of the Word in every aspect of their lives.  The purpose of teaching the Word of God in Matthew 28 is not to make you a smarter sinner, but to make you more like Christ.

We have more information today than ever before, yet less and less people who live like Christ.  Why?  Because we’re not discipling.  The verb “observe” not only involves obedience to Christ’s commands, but esteeming them.  People are to not only see our obedience, but also our affections, that we want to obey God’s commands.  Not that we have to–they need to see a transformed heart.  And discipleship is not merely a one-on-one process.  Jesus says we’re teaching them–verse 20 “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”  The future body of Christ is in view, teaching them—all of us together, to obey Christ’s commands.

Clean your glasses, and look through a clear lens.  The actual word “disciple” does not appear chronologically in the New Testament past Acts 21.  It is not in any New Testament epistle at all.  Why?  Because just as Jesus discipled, now His body disciples.  The Church, the body of Christ, His manifest person now does the discipling–each member, and all the members.

Right now in this service, later on the patio, in small groups, and one-on-one discipleship is occurring today in the lives of genuine Christians, who are currently filled with the Spirit and relationally engaged in the church.  The more intimate the meeting, the greater teeth of accountability, but discipleship is done by the body when functioning properly.

Think, Christian–the goal of discipleship is to become like Christ.  The strength of one-on-one is accountability–but the danger of one-on-one is they will become like you, not like Christ.  That’s why each person here, and all of us as a corporate body, must be passionate about discipling each other to become like Christ.  Then all the gifts and strengths of Christ are manifest through all of us, to each of us.

In the New Testament, the entire Church is the discipler.  Ephesians 4:16 is pointed, “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, [what causes the growth of the body?]  for the building up of itself in love.”  God wants us to be so connected to one another that we all grow in obedience to the commands of Christ in every area of our lives.

The church is never a show, never a performance, but a body of people who are pursuing Christ together.  And as each member of the family in close proximity passionately pursues Christ, they rub off on each other, impacting each other, and helping each other to become more like Christ.

Discipleship should be both intentional and unintentional.  You are in a church where we are pursuing Christ, and calling you to be in many discipleship relationships at many levels, because that makes a healthy Christian, and a healthy church.  As long as we continue to see ourselves as sinners saved by grace–that each of us and all of us, are sick with sin and rescued in mercy, how could we not encourage each other to become more like the One who was so gracious and merciful to us?  In 2012, disciple and be discipled.  When discipleship saturates a church, and people grow more like Christ, then it will be even more crucial for that church to . . .

#5  Prioritize the training of men

In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”  To train men in the local church is not an option–the verb entrust is a command, not a preference.  Training men in the church is not “if we have time”, or not because it sounds like a good idea, but “thus saith the Lord, train men.”

Like a relay race, the leadership of a healthy local church is to pass the baton, and keep passing the baton until we are all dead.  And since we believe God is sovereign, we will trust His absolute control, and His perfect plan as we train them.  In other words, we won’t try to make men the way we want them to be, but train them to become the men God intended them to become.

Remember Ephesians 2:10, God reminds us through the apostle Paul, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Before any man was born, God designed some good works for him to accomplish for His glory during his brief existence here.  So the goal of training men is not to make men into someone we want them to become, but to train them to become what God has already designed them to be and do.

Listen to what Paul says about David in Acts 13:36, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep.”  David had a God-designed purpose in His generation, then went home.  That’s what I want on my tombstone—“Chris fulfilled the purpose of God in his own generation and went home.”

Parents, train your children not to become like you (what a mistake), or to do what you want, but train them to be like Christ.  And train them to accomplish what God designed for them to do.  This is not easy.  Training is more than filling their heads with knowledge, more than making them listen to sermons, repeat facts from the Bible, or listen to lectures on theology–even more than studying the Bible like it was a textbook.  You are to do what Jesus did with His men.  He lived with His men, modeled for His men, sent His men out two-by-two to begin serving, answered their questions, ministered with them, showed them what to do, gave them assignments, challenged them, made them own the truth, and more.  Training is truth lived out, hammered in, rehearsed by, and practiced until it is a part of you, owned by the trainee, leaking out in the way they think and behave.

Think about training the same way you think about coaching football.  The errant theory of training is the Greek sophist teaching model.  And that is, if I give my players the playbook, then make them study it, memorize it, and talk about it they will become great football players.  Friends, that is not training–that is giving information.

The biblical method of training is the Hebrew method, and that is, I give my players the playbook, make them study it, memorize it, and talk about it, then get them on the practice field and run each play, drill each play over and over and over.  Then run each play with every possible option, again and again.  Only then will they become great football players.  Tell them, show them, model for them and repeatedly rehearse them.

And as you train men, or as you train your children, because the body of Christ is the best representative of Christ on earth, train them as a part of the local church–not separate from, but intimately connected to, believing that Ephesians 4:16 is true.  “According to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

As each man does his part, the entire group will grow, and as each member of the church does his or her part, the entire church will grow to be more like Christ.  So train them together over a long period of time, as a group, just as the Lord did with his twelve, so they can know each other and can minister to each other.

This is like the principles God gave the families of Israel prior to the Church, in Deuteronomy 6:7, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”  Travel together, go to conferences together, do life together, have fun together, get to know each other and each family as well.  And encourage the family of God to know who is being trained, what they are doing, so they can pray, have input, give comments, and participate in their growth in Christ.

And just like you would train your children, you’re not merely looking for compliance or gaining more knowledge of facts.  As you train, evaluate their commitment, their understanding of the content of Scripture, their character, the way they get along with others–their chemistry, their compassion for the hurting, their discipline and self-control, their willingness to confess their sin to each other, and their faithful consistency.

A healthy church is committed to the training of men for the future of Christ’s church.  A healthy Christian is also one who maintains healthy relationships, and relationships can only be healthy if a Christian and church . . .

#6  Imitate the person of God in relationships

We would all agree, our ultimate purpose is to glorify God, but sadly we think that merely means reflecting His attributes, but don’t even consider the importance of reflecting His person.  Yet it is Trinity, the three persons of the Godhead in perfect oneness with each other, which is the basis of every relationship, the motivation behind unity, the goal of every eldership, marriage, family and church body.

From the very beginning, God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”  We’re made to be like the Trinity.  We are to imitate the person of God in relationships.  We are to treat others the way the persons of the Trinity treat one another.  We are to function the way they function.  And the more we pursue this, the more glory God receives, and the more joy we will enjoy in relationships.  And a healthy Christian and healthy church pursue reflecting God’s attributes and imitating God’s person–how?

First  Shepherding elders cultivate a family mindset

Too many churches have elders who are distant decision makers.  Instead of “shepherding” the flock they “sheriff” the congregation.  They treat the church merely like a business, not a body.  They view the structure like a board of directors and a CEO–and they are more concerned with control than with care.  But healthy Christians view their leaders like fathers, and healthy leaders treat their church like family.

This is why in the midst of the qualities of an elder, Paul writes 1 Timothy 3:5, “but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?”  An elder manages the church like he does his own home.  If his home is continually a defiant mess, he should not be an elder.

Notice the word “care” in verse 5–will he take care of the church of God?  That is the same word Luke uses to describe the kind of treatment the Good Samaritan gave to the man beaten by robbers—care.  Luke 10:33 and 34, “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.”  The same word—care, in 1 Timothy 3:5.

Spiritual leaders walked by this beaten man, but the Samaritan treated this stranger like he was family.  He took care of him, and elders care for the church like they are his own family.  This is what creates healthy Christians and healthy churches.  Not everyone in the church is from a Christian family–we have singles, widows, unequally yoked and broken homes, but when a church begins to function like a family, it grows healthy.

The entire church is to imitate God’s character, seeking to be one, which is part of what Jesus prayed for in John 17:21, “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  Unity demonstrates God.  And elders and ministry leaders lead the way by embracing their role as fathers of the flock–treating the church like family.

The New Testament tells us, elders also lead the family, are accountable for the family, are humble before the family, provide for the family, protect the family and more.  Just like the Godhead, a godly eldership is to be one heart, yet with a total diversity of giftedness.  Every elder is different, with different gifts, strengths, weaknesses.  Yet we function as one.  Like the Godhead, elders are to serve each other with joy, and defer to each other’s strengths and roles.

Elders care more about their responsibility than their authority.  Elders are to focus more on caring than controlling.  Elders labor to shepherd the flock more than bark orders.  Healthy relationships in a church must be modeled by the elders.  Not that any elder is perfect, or all the same, but elders should desire to imitate the Godhead in pursuing oneness with diversity, and they love the flock like fathers love their own family.  Imitate the person of God in the eldership and in your marriage.

Second  Marriages balanced by oneness and roles

Turn to 1 Corinthians 11:3.  You can’t embrace the biblical teaching on marriage until you have a correct view of God which directs and defines genuine biblical marriage.  Here is one of the main secrets of marriage.  Once a couple was asked the secret to marriage, and their answer was shocking.  He said, “We go to a restaurant twice a week.  We enjoy a candlelight dinner, soft music and a slow walk home.  She goes on Tuesday and I go on Thursday.”  No, that’s not the secret–God says something different.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is about to address the problems the Corinthians were having understanding the roles of women and men in marriage, when he says this in 1 Corinthians 11:3.  “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ.”  This lays a foundation for a theology of marriage–Paul says God is the head of Christ.  We know from the New Testament that God is one yet three.  Christ is just as much God as God the Father.  By saying God is the head of Christ and the husband is the head of his wife, God is telling us that marriage is modeling the Trinity–that marriage, like the Trinity, involves distinct persons, yet also an equal oneness.

The roles in marriage between a man and woman are not based upon inferiority and superiority, but upon the unique relationship within the Trinity, where God is one, yet the persons of the Trinity function in different roles.  The Father and Jesus are fully and equally God, yet the Son submits in direct line under the Father.  In other words . . .

1  Both one, yet distinct roles

God is no more one than He is three, and no more three than He is one.  But you need both oneness and distinct roles equally in marriage, in order to glorify God.  What do I mean?  There are two extremes…

1)  if a couple is really bent toward the roles side, the whole focus is on authority and submission–they usually end up with a harsh, dictatorial husband barking orders for his wife to follow . . . or

2)  if a couple is really bent toward the oneness of the Godhead (we need to be one), they usually end up with a wimpy husband following his wife’s desires.

A proper theology of marriage means a couple needs to cultivate both oneness and distinct roles.  We are one heart one mind, dying to self for each other, yet also functioning in our distinct roles.  Also . . .

2  Selfless service, resulting in happiness

In His high priestly prayer in John 17, Jesus makes it clear the persons of the Trinity glorify the other members of the Trinity.  The Father, Son and Spirit are each centered on the other persons in the Trinity, adoring and serving each other.  And as a result, listen to what happens in 1 Timothy 1:11, Paul says, according to the Gospel of the blessed–blessed means happy.  God is happy, and a great part of God’s glory is His own happiness.

It is good news that God is gloriously happy, since no one would want to spend eternity with an unhappy God.  The Bible even says in Matthew 25 to enter into the joy of your master–God is a God of joy.

This is why, when you find someone you adore, then you discover that person feels the same about you–how does that make you feel? It is sublime.  And this Trinitarian love relationship is the model God sets up for marriage–as we unselfishly, sacrificially give ourselves away to our spouse, that is what creates joy and happiness.  And it is that happiness shown in the union of two who are one, which becomes an awesome witness to the watching world as to who God is.  You’re displaying the Trinity.

But that joy can only occur when a marriage is balanced with one yet distinct roles, and selfless service that orbits around the other.  This is the marriage God designed.  This is why marriage is called the grace of life—it can be.  When a marriage imitates the person of God, it can be the hot fudge on the “ice cream sundae” of life.  And the same thing can happen with your family.

Third  Families balanced by responsible training and body interdependence

Turn to Ephesians 6.  The Christian family has become controversial in our day, so let me boil the issue down to two extremes that must be avoided at all costs.

#1  Fathers who don’t accept the responsibility of training their children

We have dads who are too busy, distant, macho or too traditional to accept the responsibility God gives them in Ephesians 6:1 to 4.  “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  2 Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.  [Notice] 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  Parenting is just another word for discipleship, and in verse 4 God places the responsibility of discipling children directly on the shoulders of fathers.

See the word there, fathers.  He didn’t mean parents, since Paul uses the word parents in verse 1.  He didn’t mean fathers and mothers, since he uses those titles in verse 2.  No, the responsibility for parenting falls on fathers, and under his leadership the love of his life, his wife, embraces her amazing role of mother.  But fathers must take responsibility and take the lead, and until you do, your home will not imitate the Godhead, nor experience the blessings that result from it.

#2  Parents who won’t engage their children into the life of the church family

In order to be impacted by the church family, to become more like Christ–the other extreme is to isolate your family from the church.

To somehow justify keeping your kids distant from other believers

To attempt to control every relationship in your child’s life, even as they get into their teenage years

To treat your child as some special class of Christian who never needs to serve, give, inter-relate, develop giftedness, or reach this world with the Gospel

There are even families who are so committed to isolation, they now group together to form their own so-called church.  But practically no two parents have all the spiritual gifts.  No dad or mom can emulate Christ the way the Church can.  And no family should ever dismiss the ministry of the church family into their lives, into their marriage and into their children.

Biblically, the issue is one of obedience.  In the eyes of God, a genuine believer will desire to obey the Scripture.  In fact, the Bible says every true Christian has a heart that wants to obey–Romans 6:17, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.”

So fathers are to obey by discipling their children, and each family member is to obey by pursuing the sixty-six “one anothers” of the New Testament, obey in ministering their giftedness in service to each other, in giving, sharing, loving, forgiving when offended, working through the trials of being sinned against, even praying for saints who act like enemies.

All in the church—this is how we grow, through the Word of God and conflict.  It is not the church is more important than the family, or the family is more important than the church, but in the family and in the church we’re obedient to the commands of God in both—period.

And just as fathers are accountable for their children, elders are also accountable for those same children, and all of us together desire all our children would come to Christ, then become more like Christ.  This is why Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.  [Elders will give an account for your children too].  Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

We live in a day when Christians are so independent that missionaries send themselves to the field, and men appoint themselves as elders of a home church, when the Bible makes it clear it is the Holy Spirit who sends missionaries, and God alone who appoints elders.  We are to function in community.  Plus, our day is filled with fear, so we have parents who are not only isolating their children from the world, but also from the church.  But God says, if your child is truly born again, he is to share the Gospel in the world, and serve his giftedness in the church.  And you have nothing to fear since 1 John 5:4 says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

If your child is born of God, then he or she will overcome the world, and they should be allowed to function in God’s family so they can experience all the gifts, get hit with all the relational trials, and ultimately hear all the same things you’ve been teaching them through other voices in the church family.

I can’t tell you the number of times my boys came home totally excited about a new truth they had heard from a disciple or teacher, that Jean and I had been teaching them for years.  You know how we responded?  How great!  An exciting truth—yes . . . then we’d go in our room and say, “We’ve been saying that for years.”  Which ultimately exposes the root issue of family isolation—pride, somehow thinking, “We parents have all our children need.”

No, God designed the New Testament community to be one, like He is one–and to be selflessly serving one another with our unique roles, and to be investing into each other, including our children.  Every genuine Christian is a tool for God to use to shape each other in the image of Christ–we are all different, yet all necessary in order for each of us and all of us to become like Christ.

#7 Cultivate unity as a church family

Jesus prayed for oneness in John 17:20 to 22, “’I ask … 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.’”

The Early Church demonstrated a unique kind of oneness.  Acts 1:14, “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer.”  Acts 2:46, “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.”  Acts 4:32, “The congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.”  Acts 5:12, “They were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.”  Acts 15:25, “It seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you.”

The lost people of this world do not understand unity and oneness.  When a church functions together as one, enjoys one another, invests in each other, serves one another and really loves each other–that is strong evidence God is alive in our midst.  When we’re unified, Jesus said the world may believe that You sent Me.

Our witness in this community is based upon our unity–so Paul said in Ephesians 4:3, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit.”  Literally work to the point of exhaustion, “diligence” to preserve unity.  So work hard to get along–be intentional about serving, loving, giving, caring, building up and encouraging one another.  If you are not doing it, start; if you are doing it, don’t stop.

As a church, we have new visitor coffees, so that before anyone gets too involved, they can hear what kind of church we are, and what kind of church we are not, so we can move ahead in unity.  We lovingly filter out those who might not fit at Faith.  We graciously communicate we are not the church for everyone.

We have a unique membership process, which is more of a unity agreement than it is anything else.  In order to make certain those who teach our children and disciple, train and teach our adults are all on the same page, we have a One Heart One Mind membership agreement. We don’t even demand total affirmation of our doctrine, but we call people to maintain unity over doctrine in our midst.  Our expectations of members are the same expectations every Christian is given in the New Testament.  We don’t expect more of them than what God expects of every genuine Christian in the Church.  What are some of those expectations?

To become strong in God’s GRACE

To GROW in Christ

To GATHER faithfully to worship

To be sacrificial and faithful in GIVING

To be intimate with a GROUP of believers in this body

To use their Spiritual GIFT in the church

To live and share the GOSPEL in the world

To GUARD the reputation of our church by their lifestyle

We work hard at communicating regularly to our members through regular membership meetings.  Plus we work hard to communicate to the entire church body through weekly e-mails, website announcements, website blogs, bulletin inserts, Sunday announcements.

Are you being discipled or discipling others in the church, or is the Great Commission the Great Omission in your life?

Are you men seeking to be all God designed for you to be?

Are you pursuing a marriage that emulates the Trinity?

Are you reading and discussing a book together, being discipled as a couple together, becoming a marriage that is an example and witness?

Is your family fully engaged in the local church, and are you and your children benefiting from a body relationship?  Are you in the stands or on the field?

And are you committed to the unity of our church body?  Will you become a member and function as a normal New Testament Christian?

You can’t do any of this–Christ must do so through you.  Is He in you?

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

Tough Stuff
Membership @ FBC
1 Peter
FBC iTunes podcast