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Scripture Memory: Hope.

VERSE : Psalm 71:5 “For thou art my hope, Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.”

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O Worship the LORD in the Beauty of Holiness

27 July 2014
8 am & 1045am Worship Service
Rev Patrick Tan (Called Unto Moral Purity, 1 Thes 4:3-8)
6:00 pm Evening Service:
Rev Yeo Seow Phong (Born this Way?,Rom 1:26-32)

3 August 2014
8 am & 1045am Worship Service
Rev Quek Keng Khwang (A Plea to Pray for Our Country, 1 Tim 2:1-4)
6:00 pm Evening Service
Rev Colin Wong (Esteem the Goodness of God, Rom 2:4-11)

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QUESTIONS ON MEMBERSHIP

Why Should I Be a Church Member?

In this present age of globalization and frequent travels, more and more people are questioning the necessity of joining a local church. Why make a commitment to belong to a local church? Why not just remain a visitor at the church we attend? After all, Christianity is a personal relationship with God, and it is faith in Christ and our daily walk with Him that matters, not membership. Hence there seems to be no real necessity for church membership because any organization or facility that can help a Christian to grow spiritually and to maintain His walk with the Lord is just as good as a local church.

Some people have a rather negative view of any kind of membership and will strenuously avoid it – whether it is church membership, club membership or clan membership. To them membership is associated only with paying subscription fees, bearing responsibilities, being bound by rules and regulations, following the whims and fancies of the leadership, lobbying for positions at elections, and making decisions on property and assets. They are really tired of all that. Hence if they can avoid membership of any kind, they certainly would.

Is church membership to be treated like this? Is it something optional which we can choose to do without if we do not want it? The answer from the Scriptures is a resounding no! Far from being only one of the many options for the Christian, the church is the primary means through which God accomplishes His plan in the world. It is His ordained instrument for calling the lost to Himself, and the context within which He sanctifies those who are born into His family. Therefore God expects and even demands a commitment to the church from everyone who claims to know Him.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus proclaimed that He would build His church. Then He invested the church with the authority to act on His behalf (see 18:17-20). Most of the epistles in the New Testament were written to local churches, and three other epistles were written to individuals to instruct them on the proper function of the local church. The 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation consist of epistles from Christ Himself to seven local churches which existed in Asia Minor at that time.

No verse proclaims the importance of the local church more powerfully than 1 Timothy 3:15 – “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” This verse is about the local church. The term ‘house of God’ here does not refer to the church building, but the church family. It is God’s will that all believers should serve Him not only as individuals, but also together as a family. We can therefore say that each local church is a family unit of God.

Just as your family plays an important part in your life, the church plays an indispensable role in the life of the believer – to enable him to do his part for the overall work of God in the world, and for the truth of God. The local church is ordained by God to provide the necessary structure that all believers need in order to build one another up, to have proper accountability to one another, to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints, and also to proclaim the Word of God to the world.

With all this, we can now understand why church membership is so necessary. Those who take it lightly and who refuse to become members of any local church when they have the opportunity to do so, are clearly outside of God’s will because they are refusing to take their appointed place within the household of God. Because of this, each local church must maintain a list of its members, to know who belongs to it.

A writer named Eric Lane once wrote, “The church is not just a loose collection of individuals, it is a closely knit structure like a human body (Eph 4:16) and has therefore to be rightly organized. For such ordering it needs to know exactly who belongs to it. A family which sat down to its meal-table or locked its doors at night, not knowing who was supposed to be there and who not, would be an extremely strange phenomenon. An army battalion which did not know whom to expect on parade would soon be in chaos. If the church is to be a true family and an effective fighting force it needs to know who exactly belongs to it.” This is the whole purpose of having membership in a local church.

Dear Reader, if you are not a member of Life B-P Church yet, but you are already worshipping regularly with us, and you are not planning to go to any other church, perhaps you should seriously consider becoming a member. If you are interested to learn more about our church membership process, please take the opportunity to talk with me or one of our elders. We are most willing to help you with any queries on this.

Church membership is a requirement for service in key positions in our ministries and fellowships, for being entrusted with responsibilities like the handling of funds and being commissioned as a missionary of the church. Members are given higher priority for things where there are limited places, like registration for church camps and overseas study tours. And only members may take part in the decision-making process at Annual Congregational Meetings. However, none of these should ever be your main reason for joining a local church. The primary reason, as we had seen earlier, is that the local Church plays an indispensable role in your life as a Christian, and membership is not an option but a biblical requirement.

What Do I Need to Do as a Member?

1. Regular Attendance

Hebrews 10:24,25 tells us – “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” In the early church, there were already some who habitually failed to turn up in church. And the writer of Hebrews tells his readers that they are not to do this. In fact they ought to be more diligent about their attendance, as the Day of Christ’s return draws nearer.

As we are obviously much nearer to the Day of Christ’s return than those Christians were, it is all the more necessary for us not to forsake church attendance. You have a weekly church appointment to keep and you should not miss it. And if you are posted overseas for study or for work for a long period of time, please provide your overseas address to our church office so that we can maintain contact with you.

2. Rigorous Participation

It is one thing to be physically present in church, but another to be actively participating in what goes on when you are physically present. At the very least, all members ought to be participating in the worship service. Worship is the most basic duty of every believer (cf. Psalm 100:2,3) but it becomes futile when one’s heart is not in it (cf. Matthew 15:8). When hymns are sung, be sure to sing them outwardly with your voice as well as inwardly with your heart. When the Scripture text is read, be sure to open your Bible to the passage and follow along by reading it. When the sermon is preached, be ready to listen and jot down the most important points.

The worship service is not all that church members ought to participate in. You should keep growing spiritually by building up your own knowledge of God’s Word, and by having meaningful fellowship with other Christians. You can do this by participating regularly in a Sunday School class, in a Fellowship group or in a Neighbourhood Bible Community (NBC). Whenever we organise Bible seminars and Church camps please make every effort to arrange your schedule so that you can attend them, and gain spiritual blessings from them.

Nothing makes a mother happier than to see her children enjoying the nutritious food that she painstakingly prepares for them each day. It makes all her toil and labour worthwhile, especially when they grow up to become healthy and strong. But if her children refuse to eat the good food she prepares for them and prefer instead to eat junk food, she will be quite heartbroken. The Church, like a mother, has also put a lot of effort into preparing the most nutritious spiritual meals for all its members. But how many are making full use of all these?

Another important area of participation is prayer. Do you take time to read the weekly Prayer Bulletin? Do you take time to pray for the needs of the various missions and ministries of the church, and for fellow church members who are sick? Please remember that as a church member you are part of a family and hence you are responsible for the care of other members. And this means taking time to get to know them and their needs, and including them in your prayers.

3. Ready Submission

God has instituted a leadership within the church to ensure its smooth running and orderly administration. He has defined the roles and responsibilities of the pastor, elders and the deacons of the church in His Word. And God has given specific instructions to church members about their submission to the church’s leadership, e.g. Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

Submission is easy enough when you feel like submitting. However, there are times when you may not feel like submitting yourself to the leadership of the church. It may be that you are unhappy with a certain decision of the leadership that also has the concurrence of the majority of members because it is not exactly in line with your own personal preference. Then you must lay aside your own personal preference and submit to the leadership. Submission is also required when you are personally confronted by church leaders concerning some sin or spiritual deficiency they have observed in your life. Instead of getting angry with them and leaving immediately to join another church, you should discern that God is speaking to you through them, and take their counsel to heart by repenting of your sin. Such submission may not be easy to give but it is absolutely needful, and it glorifies the Lord.

This does not mean that you should comply blindly and unquestioningly with everything that church leaders tell you to do. In John’s 3rd epistle, John the apostle instructed Gaius not to obey a church leader named Diotrephes because this leader was corrupted by his own pride and had opposed John’s apostolic authority (3 John 9-11). When any church leader attempts to dictate things that are clearly contrary to God’s Word, you cannot submit to their authority, because you must always obey God rather than men (cf. Acts 5:29).

This reminds all of us that church leaders are fallible men. They need your prayers because they are strategic targets for Satan. Satan knows that if he can cause the leadership of a church to take a wrong course and fall, the whole church will probably fall along with them.   

May God use this article to help you know how you ought to behave in “… the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Let every Lifer take his or her responsibilities seriously so that Life Church may bring glory to His blessed Name.  —Pastor

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1) Church Camp 2014 Message & Photo CDs  for English Service are available from the RTL Office after service (at $1 per copy).  Message CD for Chinese Service at $1 per copy is also available from the RTL Office only, after service. (Note that the Message CD for Chinese Service is not available in the Chinese website.) Camp messages can also be downloaded free from our Church website www.lifebpc.com.

2) Traffic wardens. A second group of 6 wardens is needed, between 10.00 to 10.45 am, on alternate months. If interested to serve, please contact Dn David Tan at 9667-9733 or email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

3) Our condolences to the family of David Lee Hoon Pong on his homegoing on 25 Jul 14. Funeral service will be held tomorrow at 9.30 am at 202 Petir Road. 

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25