OceanSide church of Christ

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Placing Membership
by: Dalton Gilreath

I.              Introduction

A.   We have been blessed at OceanSide with new families placing membership with us the last few months

                                          i.    Have you ever considered why we place membership?

                                        ii.    Is it really necessary?

B.   The Bible doesn’t use the words “placing membership”

                                          i.    However, there are passages that show the pattern for us

                                        ii.    Consider why placing membership is so important

                                       iii.    For starters, let’s understand the difference between the Universal and local church

II.            Universal Church

A.   Matthew 16:18

                                          i.    Jesus was discussing the universal church He would build

                                        ii.    If this was the local church we would all need to be a member of that one location

B.   Ephesians 5:25

                                          i.    Jesus died for the universal church

                                        ii.    If He died for the local church only the one He chose would be saved

C.   Acts 2:47

                                          i.    When I become a Christian Christ adds me to the universal church

                                        ii.    Can I just be a member of the universal church and never identify with a local body?

D.   The universal church has no address, no assembly, no treasury, and no governing body on earth

III.           Local Church

A.   Acts 11:26

                                          i.    The Christians in Antioch assembled at the church there

                                        ii.    This is a reference to the local church

B.   Matthew 18:17

                                          i.    When you fail to motivate repentance in someone twice you must take it before the church

                                        ii.    You cannot inform the universal church

                                       iii.    We know this is another reference to the local church

C.   1 Cor 14:23

                                          i.    While addressing tongues Paul discusses the local church meeting in Corinth

                                        ii.    Again, any reference to an assembly must be the local body (heb 10:25)

D.   Acts 14:23

                                          i.    Elders were ordained in every church during Paul’s journeys

                                        ii.    There are no elders of the universal church so this obviously nhas reference to ever local church

IV.          Can I just be a member of the universal church and not a local one?

A.   Paul tried to “join himself to the disciples” (Acts 9:23-27)

                                          i.    Consider that Paul always wanted to be involved in the local work of the churches he attended

                                        ii.    In Ephesus he was there over three years ministering and laboring for the church locally (Acts 20:34-35)

                                       iii.    Also, the Greek term for “join” is the word for glue

B.   Phebe was described as a servant of the church in Cenchrea (Rom 16:1)

                                          i.    Are you a servant of a local church when you are simply visiting?

                                        ii.    Are you a servant of the local body when you are not working with them?

C.   Lastly, elders must know who is part of their local bodies (Heb 13:17)

                                          i.    Elders rule over and must give an account for every member of their local church

1.    Do they have to give an account for every visitor that walks through the door?

2.    They would go crazy trying to keep up with everyone

                                        ii.    They are responsible for those who are “among” them (1Pet 5:2)

1.    There has to be a way to place membership, identify with, whatever you want to call it

2.    The elders must know who is under their accountability and who they can put to work so to speak

                                       iii.    If elders were not informed of individuals placing membership at what point would someone become a member?

1.    Would it be at 10 visits?

2.    Would it be at 100 visits?

3.    Therefore, there must be some way to inform them that one desires to become a member

D.   In conclusion, a faithful Christian need not only be part of the universal church, but also an active member of a local body

                                          i.    This is the only way a Christian can do his/her part in the work (Eph 4:16)

                                        ii.    This is the only way they will have elders to give an account for them on judgment day