Make The Connection With the Family of God 9-20-09
Make The Connection With the Family of God 2.0
Last Sunday shared about some of the new VISION where we are going
· Verse Write the vision—make it plain Hab 2:2
Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it
· Part of my job as pastor, casting vision . . .
· Theme ‘Make the Connection
· Shared about some of the new/exciting things happening
· Connection groups/etc.
Today want to talk about another Aspect of Making the Connection
· That is Make The Connection With the Family of God
Part A of Teaching
· Benefits of Connecting with Family of God
One aspect we are finally releasing for connection—
One of the way we make connection with family of God is when God plants us at church and we identify with a church through membership
About to release Membership
· So I want to talk about membership today—how it works—how it can help us in our walk
All Christians Members of the BOC—GREATER Church—family of God
· Moment of Salvation—membership in FAMLY of God released
· Romans 8—spirit of adoption
All disciples need to PLANT/Connect with other believers in a LOCAL expression of the Family of God—Local Church
· River not only—but part of greater Body
All believers need to find a place to plant
· We want to give opportunity for that
· Because people that are WELL planted—GROW!! (Ps 1)
· Part of being planted is IDENTIFYING with a church—Aligning
· MEMBERSHIP—expression of that
At River we’ve never had membership
· 12 month cycle
Part I The Benefits of Membership
· Put stake together
MEMBERSHIP Provides Structure—doorway
· Helps people plant CONNECT
Moves in opposite spirit of world
N this culture
· People do pull away from commitment
· Unless they want it from YOU
One of the things about KOG/church
· Part of it—we are called to move in opposite spirit of world
· World spirit is non-commitment
· Christian should become the most committed there is
· Working against spirit of age
two extremes: one is lawlessness-- no covenant-- no condemnation-- just live together-- and come and participate at your whim . . . .grieving to the spirit
The other is control-- which is like witchcraft-- where in previous churches-- there was such a heavy handedness with covenant that it PERVERTED the thing into something that abused sheep-- not a safe thing at all.
When person doesn’t want to be identified with a church
· Actually, operating in the spirit of the age
· Not a healthy place as a Christian
Commitment Limits OPTIONS—Releases potential
· There’s a big part of destiny that can only be fulfilled together
o This Church becomes MY church
o Clear step—ID—I’m a part
Helps me as a pastor—TG—commitment
Disclaimer: Not stuck—can leave—released—blessed
· Renew yearly
Most of us ALREADY have membership written on our HEARTS
· Written with blood/sweat/tears that birthed and SUSTAINED the church
· I believe in this new era we are in that this is an important step
Jesus at baptism Matt 3
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
· Why should I baptize you?
· Fulfill righteousness
· Things that you do—because Called to do them
Because Jesus humbled himself and did it
· It made it accessible for others
· You reproduce who you are—not what you say
o We literally make a way for OTHERS as we take these steps
· So we need to model what making that covenant is all about
Part II How Does it Help Me in My Walk with God?
· Identifies person as a believer connected to this family
o Membership is a BIBLICAL term Eph 2:19
19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.
o Rom 12:5
5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
5 so we, rbeing many, sare one body in Christ, and every one tmembers one of another
· It links you with a spiritual family to support and encourage you in your walk with Christ--Fellowship
o Gal 6:1-2
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer* is overcome by some sin, you who are godly* should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. -
o Heb 10:24
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
· It gives you a place to discover and use your gifts in ministry
o I Cor 12:4-27 (partial quote)
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice*; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.* 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,* while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 1
· God put a DREAM in you—Gift . . .only can fully work with others
· It Brings Protection
o places you under the spiritual protection of godly leaders
· Heb 13:17
17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
o Acts 20-28
28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood*—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.* 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.
· UMBRELLA of protection—
o Pick off wounded sheep when not under umbrella
· Discipleship It gives you the accountability you need to grow
o Eph 5:21
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
· Worship Corporate place of worship
o Connects you with God—like nothing else
o Aligns you spiritually/emotionally for the week ahead
o Seeds of VISION for your life—in worship
o PEACE imparted in life—can face day/week better
o I don’t know how I would have EVER made it in my walk without the LIVING presence of JESUS that we encounter in that place of worship
It Gives me WINS in my Life that Can Only Be Enjoyed as You Walk the Journey With Other Believers
· There are certain wins/victories in life
· That can ONLY HAPPEN with brothers/sisters in Jesus
· They are DESIGNED—meant to HAPPEN—with other believers!
Many analogies for a Christian disconnected from a church
· Football player without a team
· Soldier without platoon
· Sheep without a flock
· A child without a family
A Christian without a church family is an ORPHAN!
I Tim 3:15 (NCV)
“ . . . . . . . the family of God. That family is the church of the living God, the support and foundation of the truth.”
· God doesn’t want his children growing up in isolation from each other
· So He created a spiritual family on earth for us.
· Paul reminded us in Eph 3:19 “You are members of God’s very own family, . . . and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian
You BELONG in God’s HOUSEHOLD
· So Get IN the HOUSE!!!
· Membership provides a TANGIBLE path that helps us get INTO the house
A Christian without a church family is an ORPHAN!
Membership is a piece that STRENGTHENS our connection with the Family of God
· Disclaimer—just like you can be a husband who made covenant for your marriage and not connected
· You can be a member not connected
But how many of you know that the covenant of MARRIAGE is much different than just living together
· I truly believes there is a POWERFUL grace released on our walk with Jesus
· If we’ll step into membership AS we are stepping into running after God
IN fact, it’s hard for me to imagine a believer who is running after growing in God who doesn’t SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY
· Make a connection/identification/covenant
· In membership with believers at a living/vibrant church
Part III Responsibilities of Membership
Mem●ber (n.): 1) a body part 2) One of the individuals composing a group
Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and being in agreement with River of Life’s statements, strategy, and structure, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the River of Life church family. In doing so, I commit myself to God and other members to do the following.
1. I will protect the unity of my church
...By acting in love toward others It’s JESUS’ Bride—we treasure the Bride
...By speaking words that encourage and build up others in their faith
...By praying for my leaders (I Tim 2:1-2) and supporting them as they seek to lead the church forward in God’s purpose for us
“So let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of our
fellowship together.” Rom. 15:19
“Have a sincere love for your fellow believers, love one another earnestly with all your hearts.” 1 Peter 1:22
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” Eph. 4:29
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be no advantage to you.” Heb. 13:17
2. I will share the responsibility of my church
...By praying for its growth
...By reaching out to the unchurched with the love of God; sharing His love with my words and my life
...By inviting them to attend and warmly welcoming those who visit
“To the church...we always thank God for you and pray for you constantly.” 1 Thess. 1:2
“The Master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the roads and county lanes, and urge the people there to come so my house will be full.” Luke 14:23
“So, warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified.” Rom. 15:7
3. I will serve the ministry of my church—We pick UP the WEIGHT!
...By discovering my gifts and talents and by being equipped to serve
...By partnering with the body of Christ at the River to reach this generation for Jesus
...By developing a servant’s heart and using the gifts God has given me to help change history, one life at a time
“Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you…” 1 Peter 4:10
“God gave...some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” Eph. 4:11-12
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitudes should be the same as that of Jesus Christ...who took on the very nature of a servant…” Phil. 2:3-4, 7
4. I will support the testimony of my church
...By attending faithfully
...By living a godly life
...By giving regularly
“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together… but let us encourage one another.”
“But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Phil. 1:27
“Each one of you, on the first day of each week, should set aside a specific sun of money in proportion to what you have earned and use it for the offering.” 1 Cor. 16:2
“A tenth of all your produce is the Lord’s, and it is holy.” Lev. 27:30
Part IV How Do We Do Membership at the River?
· Need to be regularly a part of church for at least 2 months
· Can agree with Ministry covenant/agreement
o No pressure—some still just checking us out
o BUT encourage them—all believers need to do this along the way
Disclaimer for US at RIVER
· Numbers of us HAVE done LATR
· Don’t need to do it again
· If you want to align in MEMBERSHIP—forms at counter after service—turn in
Next week we’re going to begin receiving the first wave—going to continue throughout the year getting this in
Don’t need to panic if you hadn’t taken LATR and want to be member
· Or if schedule wise you’re gone and you miss
· We’re going to morph into this over the next 6-9 months
· Plenty of opportunity
o In next couple months, do more
o Eventually—LATR quarterly thing
· We just want to get everyone through this that is a part of the church
o So we can get Established in this connection
o As we make way for reaching MORE PEOPLE for Jesus
· Some will next week
· Some later
· Have one daughter who will—other hasn’t . . . we’ll get to it—no biggie
o Just want to lead the whole church through this process
o It will become part of our natural RHYTHM and flow
What about the CHARTER we signed?
· How we did that—we invited EVERYONE who felt a part of this church to do this
· We hadn’t formalized the membership piece
· Didn’t want to ‘bait and switch’
· We want to honor your place of CHOICE/dignity
· Give chance to make identification
· Don’t worry if you are still in process of taking LATR . . . I’m low key that we don’t all have to feel this pressure that, ‘oh my gosh, we need to do this NOW, or I’ll be left behind’
o No one is going to be left behind
o This is something for EVERYONE that is a part of this family
o In some ways, it’s just the semantics of making sure we cross the boundaries together
Some of you hearing this for the FIRST TIME
· Need to Process
· —I understand—people need to ‘check out a church’—see if it’s a right fit
· But there is HEALTH in being PLANTED in a church
· I want to see you get healthy—and GROW!
Normal part of Connection
· It literally can STRENGTHEN the discipleship process!!
· So we want to make it special for us
Questions—make myself available
God is Completing a season for us now
· As He does—I’m excited for this!
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Mt 3:13-17). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Eph 2:19). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Ro 12:5). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
r 1 Cor. 10. 17. Eph. 4. 13.
s So 1 Cor. 6. 15. & 12. 20, 27. Eph. 1. 23. See John 17. 21.
t Eph. 4. 25.
The Cambridge Paragraph Bible: Of the Authorized English Version. 2006 (cxix). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
* Greek Brothers, if a man.
* Greek spiritual.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Ga 6:1-2). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Heb 10:23-25). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
* Or gives a word of wisdom.
* Or gives a word of knowledge.
* Or in various tongues; also in 12:28, 30.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Heb 13:17). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
* Or with the blood of his own [Son].
* Greek overseers.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Ac 20:28-29). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2004). Holy Bible : New Living Translation. "Text edition"--Spine. (2nd ed.) (Eph 5:21). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.