Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
For I know the plans I have for you”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
Our future hope is to be glorified and spend eternity in heaven as citizens of God’s Kingdom, as sons and daughters of the King! In order for that to happen we cannot sit idle here as part of His Kingdom, His Church, now!
If Christ is your Lord and King, then you are a part of His Kingdom. As a part of His Kingdom, which is His Church here and now, you have responsibilities and duties, things you are called and commanded to do. This is not about those who are unable to work but those that won’t.
Well done My good and faithful____________ (Matthew 25:11).
Once you have accepted the free gift of eternal life and have turned to follow Christ, your first act of obedience as a citizen of the Kingdom and a part of His Church is to be baptized. You must not be idle in your obedience to God.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). To believe is to put into action the knowledge you have received through Christ. We are instructed to repent and be baptized in Acts 2:38. In following Christ your first act of obedience is to follow Him in baptism, to be baptized. When you are baptized, you are baptized into Christ and into the body of Christ, His Church and made a part of His Kingdom here on Earth. “For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body — so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and we were all given one Spirit to drink. Indeed, the body is not one part but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), this is the plan and purpose of God for all who would be saved.
One. You, as a baptized Christian, are responsible to attend services and functions of that your congregation regularly. Scripture could not be clearer about this fundamental responsibility of being a member of His Church. Why? So that you can give yourself to love and good works and the encouragement of the other members of your congregation, “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
God’s Word, His Truth to us, suggests that if we do not gather to be with one another we will answer for it on that last day. You and God’s Church suffer if you are not an active participant in and with the local congregation.
How can you practice the one anothers we are commanded to do outside the local Church? How can you fulfill the responsibilities given to you if you are not here? Attendance makes both your growth and this congregation’s responsibilities possible. That is why it is so important to grow together.
Two. As a part of God’s church in the local congregation, you are responsible for protecting and preserving God’s Truth and the ministry of the Gospel. Paul was amazed that the congregations there were so quickly turning to a different Gospel (Galatians 1:6). He rebukes not the elders or pastors, but the members, and tells them to reject even apostles or angels who teach a false gospel, a different truth.
You and I, as a congregation of God’s Church have the responsibility to study the Gospel and know the Truth. Can you tell others what the Gospel is when asked? The Trinity? Can you explain the need to repent? What is the connection between faith and works? What is the Kingdom of God? What is Salvation, sanctification, justification?
These are the kinds of questions, Church, that you are responsible to answer in order to help guard the Truth. I am not telling you to find answers on Facebook or Google or independently at all, we need to learn and grow together. Who is it that is to equip the Church for works of ministry? Is it not the pastors and teachers (are not all the Lord’s Servants called to be able to Teach)? The Lord tells us, “And the Lord’s servant (that is you if you claim Christ as your Lord) must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the Truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
We must do our best to know the Truth and what God requires for us as a Church and as individuals. What does God require of you as a member of His body in and with the local church?
Three. You are responsible for one another and to one another, “Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality” (Romans 12:10-13). You and I have to get to know one another to the best of our abilities in order to help one another to grow in Christ and in the knowledge of the Truth. In getting to know the Truth together we are able to teach, rebuke, correct, and train not only ourselves but others of the Church. We are to provide Spiritual oversight to one another (See 2 Timothy 3:16 and Colossians 3:5-11).
Idleness in the Church is to be confronted in a biblical manner but this is complicated in today’s congregations. The disciplined person may elect to go to a different church and sadly be welcomed there without any reference to the one they left. The sad part is not so much the loss of a member, but that the discipline meant for the member’s good failed to bring about the spiritual growth intended as well as the restoration to fellowship with the congregation that was intended.
- Are you idle in your obedience to God?
- Are you doing your part as a member of God’s Church?
- Are you growing with one another in the grace and knowledge of the Truth?
Further Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1, 1 Timothy 5:20, Philippians 2:1-18, Colossians 3:12-17, Hebrews 4:12, James 1:21, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 2:15