And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
Today, we are privileged to open our Bibles once again to Matthew’s Gospel to begin a three part message on the Lord’s promise to build His church. Our concentration in the morning message will be the foundation of the church, which we believe to be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. There is much to be considered when the topic turns to the church because most of the New Testament is devoted to the founding, development, and doctrines of it. Unfortunately, we do not have time to consider the topic extensively in these three messages and will discuss mostly the meaning of the verses in Matthew.
I want to take a little space in this article to discuss membership in the church. Is it necessary to be a member of the church? We have many people visit our church and we are thankful for each visitor that comes, but I notice many times visitors will attend for several weeks; they like the church and desire to worship with us, but they never make any move towards church membership. Sometimes there is confusion about the steps necessary to become a member of the Lord’s church.
Let me say first that membership in the church is not automatic. Recently, I asked one of our visiting families if they were members of a church and I was told, “Yes, we are members here.” Well, this was quite a surprise because I do keep up with the membership list of Berean. Membership is more involved than attending church services. There are three major requirements for membership in the church. What do you need to become a member of Berean?
1. Salvation – This is number one on the list. The first prerequisite is personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. As Baptists, we believe the Bible teaches a regenerate church membership, which means every person must be a born again Christian.
2. Baptism – Every person must be a baptized believer. If you are a believer and you have not been baptized, you must submit to the baptism of this church. All those baptized under the authority of our church are immediately received into membership by virtue of their baptism. Baptism is the first step of obedience for a Christian and should be done as soon as practical after a person has received Christ as Saviour. This is your public identification with Christ. If you have been baptized previously in another church and desire membership, we will accept your previous baptism if it was administered by a church of like faith and order to Berean.
3. Commitment – Church membership is a commitment to work and worship with this body of believers. We should not have to emphasize this point because salvation is the receiving of Christ as Saviour AND Lord. This means in salvation there is an element of voluntary surrender to the mastery of Jesus Christ. Church membership is a commitment to the doctrines taught by the church. It is commitment to support the church with tithes and offerings. It is commitment to pray for other members and the leadership and to interact with them and help them as a part of the same spiritual family.
There is much more to be said on this subject, but if you desire to be a part of the Berean Baptist Church this is a beginner’s guide to help you to take the necessary steps. Church membership is very important and should not be taken lightly. According to scripture, Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Every born again believer ought to love it too! Membership in a good Bible believing church is not optional for Christians. It is the command of Christ and is to be obeyed.
We sincerely appreciate your attendance today and we hope Berean Baptist will become your church home. If you desire membership, you may express your desire to the Pastor or any of the helpers in the back of the auditorium after the morning service. We strive to help you accomplish the goal for which we were all created—to glorify our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)
Pastor V. Mark Smith