Covenant membership is not a business partnership
Fan or Player
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
- Church Member is Life Blood
1 Corinthians 12 (TLB)
And now, brothers, I want to write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of you, for I don’t want any misunderstanding about them.
4 Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving. 6 There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his. 7 The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.
- Unique Members
A covenant member of a church is different from everyone else.
1 Corinthians 12:26-28 (NKJV)
If one part suffers, all parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
13 Each of us is a part of the one body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But the Holy Spirit has fitted us all together into one body. We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit.
- Church Membership is founded on love: authentic and unconditional
1 Corinthians 13:4-5Living Bible (TLB)
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud,5 never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!
There is no such thing as an inactive church member
1 Corinthians 12 (TLB)
8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; someone else may be especially good at studying and teaching, and this is his gift from the same Spirit. 9 He gives special faith to another, and to someone else the power to heal the sick. 10 He gives power for doing miracles to some, and to others power to prophesy and preach. He gives someone else the power to know whether evil spirits are speaking through those who claim to be giving God’s messages—or whether it is really the Spirit of God who is speaking. Still another person is able to speak in languages he never learned; and others, who do not know the language either, are given power to understand what he is saying. 11 It is the same and only Holy Spirit who gives all these gifts and powers, deciding which each one of us should have.
14 Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And what would you think if you heard an ear say, “I am not part of the body because I am only an ear and not an eye”? Would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 Suppose the whole body were an eye—then how would you hear? Or if your whole body were just one big ear, how could you smell anything?
18 But that isn’t the way God has made us. He has made many parts for our bodies and has put each part just where he wants it. 19 What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! 20 So he has made many parts, but still there is only one body.
21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22 And some of the parts that seem weakest and least important are really the most necessary. 23 Yes, we are especially glad to have some parts that seem rather odd! And we carefully protect from the eyes of others those parts that should not be seen, 24 while of course the parts that may be seen do not require this special care. So God has put the body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that might otherwise seem less important. 25 This makes for happiness among the parts, so that the parts have the same care for each other that they do for themselves.
27 Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 28 Here is a list of some of the parts he has placed in his Church, which is his body:
Prophets—those who preach God’s Word,
Those who do miracles,
Those who have the gift of healing;
Those who can help others,
Those who can get others to work together,
Those who speak in languages they have never learned.
29 Is everyone an apostle? Of course not. Is everyone a preacher? No. Are all teachers? Does everyone have the power to do miracles? 30 Can everyone heal the sick? Of course not. Does God give all of us the ability to speak in languages we’ve never learned? Can just anyone understand and translate what those are saying who have that gift of foreign speech? 31 No, but try your best to have the more important of these gifts.
First, however, let me tell you about something else that is better than any of them!
A Unifying Church Member
A church member is a servant not a movie critic.
“Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?
John 13:35 (NLT)
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Ephesians 1:15-19 (MSG)
That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
A song of David for those journeying to worship.
1 How good and pleasant it is
when brothers and sisters live together in peace!
2 It is like the finest oils poured on the head,
sweet-smelling oils flowing down to cover the beard,
Flowing down the beard of Aaron,
flowing down the collar of his robe.
3 It is like the gentle rain of Mount Hermon
that falls on the hills of Zion.
Yes, from this place, the Eternal spoke the command,
from there He gave His blessing—life forever. (The Voice)