Our JPBC membership covenant has eleven paragraphs. We read this covenant at each church conference when we welcome new members, and we ask them to affirm it. I begin today a series on those eleven brief statements that we have committed ourselves to as members of this local church. The first paragraph:
We have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ, and we now live for His purposes. We therefore dedicate ourselves to do God’s will in humility and purity, to walk in the Spirit, to live together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of ourselves and others in faith, in knowledge, in wisdom, in holiness, and in service, and to support the work of the church in our worship, prayer, discipleship, teaching, giving, doctrine, and ordinances.
This first statement reminds us that a church is composed of those who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, those who have been "bought with the blood of Jesus Christ." Ours is a "regenerate church membership." In addition to our convictions on the timing and mode of believer’s baptism by immersion, this is why we do not baptize or hold infants in membership. The visible body of Christ is made up of those who show evidence and fruit of salvation.
It follows that if we are saved, we will love and support the local church in obedience to the command of Christ: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34).
Members, look through this list of ways we can tangibly support our local church (worship, prayer, discipleship, teaching, giving, doctrine, and ordinances) and humbly evaluate how faithfully you have been able to keep the pledge of your word in this covenant.
We can be sure of one thing: Jesus loves the church. He loves it so much that he laid down his life for the church (Ephesians 5:25). Jesus loves faithful local churches where the Word is preached and the ordinances are observed. You cannot love Jesus and then have no affection for his bride, the church.
Thanks for this series, pastor! My church is just beginning to consider questions of a)Reassessing our statement of core beliefs, b)considering whether we should have elders, and c)implementing a church covenant. I'll be sure to make use of your thoughts in our proceedings!
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