Membership Matters

Hey Y’all,
 
We have recently sent out a mass mailing to all our members. If you have not received a letter in the mail by now, you should very soon. Please let us know, if you do not receive one in the coming weeks. This letter is a part of our effort to try and re-connect with each-and-every member that we have on our membership roll here at RABC.
The mailing is intended to help us better know the sheep of our pasture here at Ralph Avenue that we may in turn care for each-and-every member with great care, “as those who will give an account” (Heb 13:17). We want to care for each of our members well! That care involves encouraging each member in their walk with Jesus and with His people—the local church.
 
Let me remind us of why local church membership matters and what local church membership should look like!
 
Many of us have been so influenced by the culture and world around us that we have come to incorrectly view the local church today as being just another club or organization or institution.  We have come to even view the local church as the building that the church gathers and meets in. The local church, as I am using the phrase, is not any building facility or piece of property. The local church is not even a club or organization or institution. No, the local church is something far, far greater! The local church is the local gathering of God’s saved or redeemed people. The idea of being redeemed implies the imagery of a slave being purchased to be set free. You see the local church is a gathering of God’s purchased people that He has set free through the redeeming work of His Gospel (Good News), which He has accomplished in the person and work of His Son—Jesus Christ—living, dying, and being resurrected for His saved people.
 
How do we come to be a part of this gathering of God’s redeemed people that we call, the local church?
 
When we come to publicly confess repentant faith in the person and work of Jesus—the Gospel. When we publicly confess Jesus, we our identifying Him as our Savior and Lord and identifying ourselves with His saved people. When we confess Jesus in this way, we come to be members of not only the Church Universal, but also at the same time members of the local church that bears testimony of our public confession of Jesus Christ.
 
You see, when we make that public confession in the Gospel of Jesus, the local gathering of Jesus’ saved people (that we call the local church) bears witness to that confession and either affirms it as being a true confession by administering the ordinance of water immersion (i.e. baptism) or rejects the confession as false or at best incomplete by withholding baptism. Water baptism is not magic or mystical, it is an outward sign of the inward spiritual transformation that has taken place in a person’s life as they come to be included in God’s redeemed people by spiritual birth having died to sin and having been raised to walk in newness of the resurrected spiritual life that Jesus gives by faith. Thus, we are baptized into Christ and into His Body, the local church—the gathering of God’s redeemed people (1 Corinthians 12:13). Therefore, membership in a local church matters, because our confession in the Gospel of Jesus matters!
 
What should membership in a local church look like? In short, unless providentially hindered, there are three actions we should regularly strive after to practically live out our local church membership: (1) We should regularly gather with the local church (Heb 10:23-26)! (2) We should regularly serve in the work of ministry with the local church (Eph 4:12)! (3) And, we should regularly give to support the work of ministry of the local church (2 Cor 8 & 9). Are you regularly gathering, serving, & giving? If not will you commit to do so? Perhaps, you have not gathered with RABC in some time. Don’t be embarrassed, be faithful to your Savior Jesus, and be welcomed by His people! Gather this coming Easter Sunday, April 16th at 10:45 a.m. because Membership Matters!
 

In Christ,

Bro. Samuel
 

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