Warning: Declaration of WarpMenuWalker::start_lvl(&$output, $depth) should be compatible with Walker_Nav_Menu::start_lvl(&$output, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /home/john316m/public_html/wp-content/themes/yoo_downtown_wp/warp/systems/wordpress/helpers/system.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of WarpMenuWalker::end_lvl(&$output, $depth) should be compatible with Walker_Nav_Menu::end_lvl(&$output, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /home/john316m/public_html/wp-content/themes/yoo_downtown_wp/warp/systems/wordpress/helpers/system.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of WarpMenuWalker::start_el(&$output, $item, $depth, $args) should be compatible with Walker_Nav_Menu::start_el(&$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = Array, $id = 0) in /home/john316m/public_html/wp-content/themes/yoo_downtown_wp/warp/systems/wordpress/helpers/system.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of WarpMenuWalker::end_el(&$output, $item, $depth) should be compatible with Walker_Nav_Menu::end_el(&$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /home/john316m/public_html/wp-content/themes/yoo_downtown_wp/warp/systems/wordpress/helpers/system.php on line 0
John316Marshall.com » I Corinthians

We’re Better Together

Posted in I Corinthians, I Corinthians 12, New Testament

I Corinthians 12:27
We’re Better Together
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

I Cor. 12:27 (Holman) Now you are the body of Christ, and individual
members of it.

Ruth and I frequently tell each other, “I love you”. We also often say, “I love us”. By this we mean our relationship is delightful. Something lovely is happening in the blending of our lives. We believe we’re better together. Ruth and I feel we can look at you, the members of Second, and say, “We love you, and we love us.” Something beautiful is happening in our shared lives. We’re better together.
We are not independent of each other. Nor are we a community of individuals voluntarily associated with each other for our own personal good. The Holy Spirit divinely created our local expression of Jesus’ body to help us love God and one another. We are all in this church by God’s design, and as connected to one another as the members of our physical bodies are. We’re better together.
Paul said we are individual members of a collective body. We are united, yet diverse. A local church needs both traits in its members. Diversity without unity is chaos; unity without diversity is stagnation. We’re better together.
Diversity lets us pool our various abilities in order to perform at our best. The different parts of our physical bodies interact to achieve necessary functions. Diversity increases efficiency. If we were all eyes, we could go nowhere. If our bodies were all feet, we could not see where to go. We’re better together.
Church members are united by their disability. No one can do everything. No one is a complete whole. Each is a fraction, a part, of a larger body. This need for others to make up what is lacking in ourselves unites us. We’re better together.
Unity lets our differences work together in harmony. We all belong to one another. We are bound together in one body. In my physical body, the blood that flows through my hand flows through my feet. A life-bond exists between them.
The same is true of believers. A life-bond connects us. The Holy Spirit who lives in you lives in me. We are interlinked with each other. We’re better together.
People ask, “Should I be expected to join a local church?” Yes. Only in the USA is this question raised. Elsewhere, believing in Jesus means belonging to a local church. Lone-ranger Christians are rare in other countries. America’s rampant individualism can cause believers to not admit believing includes belonging.
Believers best grow in Christ through relationships with other Christians (I TH 5:11). As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need each other, to be connected.
We’re a family, and families define themselves in households, small organic units. The local church gives us a place to express this unity. We’re better together.
Second wants to be your second home. You matter to us. We feel you would profit from being a member of Second. Our church offers varied ways to bless you.
At Second, you would hopefully come under the helpful ministry of Godly leaders (I Peter 5:1-4) who serve for the good of our members. Here you will find accountability groups in which you can grow. In our church, you will find good relationships. USA citizens are the loneliest people on earth. God uses local churches, including ours, to fight isolation. We’re better together.
We want to bless you. We also know you have unique contributions to give us. Your spiritual gifts and talents can make a positive difference in our fellowship.
Membership also helps our church because it gives our leaders a way to know whom we can trust to serve with us, and not be fearful they might damage Jesus’ reputation. When people join our church we accept them on good faith, believing they will protect the reputation and doctrine of Second.
A local church, existing not for itself, but for Christ’s Kingdom, must protect itself from slander or heresy in order to not hurt the name of Jesus. We must have some concrete way of knowing who shares our level of commitment.
Who in the “crowd” of those who follow Jesus are willing to share with us His work? This “crowd” must eventually become a church. Interest must become commitment. Consumers must become contributors. Membership helps this.
Membership in a local church is a sacred trust, entailing obligations and duties from both sides, from the members and from the local church. The member trusts the body, and the body trusts each member. We’re better together.
Now the question, how can you become a member of Second? To join, you must be a Christ-Follower. A local church consists of believers having a personal relationship with Jesus. Every person needs a Savior. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). No one can live up to the standard set by a holy God. Our sin creates a separation from God that can lead to eternal separation. If you have not invited Jesus into your life to forgive you, please do so today.
A Christ-Follower can become a member of Second in one of two ways. One, by baptism. If you believe in Jesus, we will receive you as a candidate for baptism by immersion in water. Two, by transfer. If you were immersed after conversion as a symbol of salvation, we will accept you as a member on transfer of your membership. If a letter of certification from a former church can be secured, our office will arrange this transfer. If no certifying letter is available, you may join Second based on your statement that you were immersed in water after conversion.
To become a member of Second, you would come forward in a Sunday worship service during the invitation hymn and share with a minister your decision to join Second. They will help you firm up your decision and answer questions.

We’re All In This Together

Posted in I Corinthians, I Corinthians 12, New Testament

I Corinthians 12:26
We’re All In This Together
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

I Cor. 12:26 (Holman) So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with
it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

If one in our fellowship hurts, we all should hurt. If there is a need, we all should help. We are to support one another. There is to be give and take among us, interdependence, as brothers and sisters in Christ, as members of the same body.
The concept of membership, a vital Christian teaching since our faith began, is rooted in the New Testament. The secular world borrowed this term from us and emptied the concept of its original beauty. Membership is usually associated with having names on a dusty roll, paying dues and enduring dull rituals and petty rules.
The Bible has a more exciting image of membership. Being a church member does not entail a cold induction into an institution, but means becoming a vital organ of a living body (RM 12:5). We need to reclaim this beautiful dynamic.
The Bible says the Church is Jesus’ body (Eph.1:22f). When on Earth, He accomplished His purposes through a physical body. When He ascended, He left an innovative entity, the Church, His new body through which He continues His work. The Church embodies Christ’s hopes and plans for His future work on earth.
Christ’s Church reveals itself two ways: in the Universal Church and in local churches. The Universal Church includes all Christians everywhere (Matt. 16:18). It is a worldwide spiritual family, totally separate from any tangible organization.
Local churches are concrete at-hand expressions of the Universal Church (Acts 8:1). In small definite bodies the spiritual body expresses itself. In tangible outposts of the spiritual kingdom, the Church fulfills its functions and obligations.
As a kingdom outpost, a base to extend the kingdom, a local church trains members of the Universal Church for service (Eph. 4:11f). Each local church must evangelize its locality and be a launching pad for worldwide mission (Acts 13:1-4).
Local churches were vital in the New Testament. When converts were made, they started local bodies led by pastors and deacons. Nine New Testament books were written to local churches. The Revelation is addressed to 7 local churches.
Paul said God was creating a new entity, the Church Universal, in which all believers of all backgrounds would merge as equals. Paul had to show how God’s ideal new concept, the Church Universal, could work in the real world (Eph. 3:9a).
Paul traversed the Roman world, establishing local churches as laboratories in which the Church-Universal-Experiment was conducted. It was successful. In local churches Paul found the effective working organization of Christ’s Kingdom.
Local churches are test tubes showing us the Church Universal can succeed. Local churches are imperfect, but in the long run, no group is more useful for God.

Since the local church is where the battle is waged, we for sure need to know what is expected of members of a local church. At Second, we expect you to love God (Matt. 22:37), evidenced by a godly life. Holiness matters most. We expect you to love each other, to not be ashamed to be identified with Second. We are to be a local, loving spiritual family. Apart from church membership, we are like children without family. God does not want His children isolated from each other.
We expect you to seek to make friends in a small group in our fellowship (Acts 16:13). Every member needs a niche. Small groups are critical to meeting this necessity. People need you. They are not looking for a friendly church; they are looking for friends. In small groups in local churches, this desire can be met.

We expect you to do ministry projects and mission trips, to personally put your hand to the plow. We are not afforded the luxury of living vicariously through our church and others. We can’t feel good about missions because we are members of a mission minded church. Membership matters, but involvement is the goal.
We expect you to use your spiritual gifts and talents for our fellowship (RM 12:6), to attend worship services faithfully (HB 10:25), to give your finances joyfully and regularly (2 Cor. 9:7), to pray our church will grow (I Thess. 3:12), to invite the unchurched to attend (Acts 10:24), to welcome warmly those who visit us (Heb. 13:1-2), and to honor our church leaders by praying for them and following them as long as they follow the Holy Spirit and the Bible (HB 13:7,17).
Now the question, how can you become a member of Second? To join, you must be a Christ-Follower. A local church consists of believers having a personal relationship with Jesus. Every person needs a Savior. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). No one can live up to the standard set by a holy God. Our sin creates a separation from God that can lead to eternal separation. If you have not invited Jesus into your life to forgive you, please do so today.

A Christ-Follower can become a member of Second in one of two ways. One, by baptism. If you believe in Jesus, we will receive you as a candidate for baptism by immersion in water. Two, by transfer. If you were immersed after conversion as a symbol of salvation, we will accept you as a member on transfer of your membership. If a letter of certification from a former church can be secured, our office will arrange this transfer. If no certifying letter is available, you may join Second based on your statement that you were immersed in water after conversion.
To become a member of Second, you would come forward in a Sunday worship service during the invitation hymn and share with a minister your decision to join Second. They will help you firm up your decision and answer questions.