Thursday, February 28, 2013

Which Church?

Which church holds your membership? The one you grew up in, hours away from where you now live? Is it the church down the block, nearby but unattended for months or even years at a time? Do you know if your name is even on a church membership list? Might it have been removed for lack of interest – theirs or yours? At one time or another, my membership fit each of those descriptions. No longer.

As Jesus taught His disciples, He asked:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13)

There were widely ranging answers, then He asked them specifically:

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (Matthew 16:15)

That’s the question that determines our church membership. It’s a spiritual question, and the answer was given to Peter:

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 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 16:16-18)

The Christ. The Messiah. The Savior – revealed spiritually through a relationship with the living God. Upon this truth is His church built. The ἐκκλησία, Strong’s G1577:
a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church.
It’s not the building in another town or down the street or the list of names of those who set foot in those buildings. It is the congregating of those who believe Peter’s answer. Alone during worship service times, we cannot attest to our beliefs nor do we grow our faith. That’s why Paul wrote:

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. (Hebrews 10:25)

So, my earthly membership currently resides on the rolls of the First Baptist Church of Cottondale, the closest congregation. No one will know that, though, unless I tell them, and it’s not important for me to do so. What is important is that my actions match my words and both tell of my love of my God, my acceptance of His gift for my salvation.  Both what I do and what I say speak of His word, all His laws and prophets, combined in:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Then I know my name is included on the only membership list that counts:

And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:3)


  1. I so totally agree!

    My children were raised at the church that we attended. I told them that it is a Baptist church but that we are not Baptist. We are Christians who are attending a Baptist church.

    She then said "Well, what is Baptist?" Complicated question. I told her that we follow Jesus Christ and the Bible.

    Excellent post!

  2. Good post and good question! Right now, our names aren't on any earthly membership list...though hopefully that is a temporary situation...but I too am thankful that my name is on the only one that counts!


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