Passages: Ephesians 4, Psalm 10
Over time, the word “member” has changed meaning. Today, the word “member” means “a person belonging to a group” like a member of a club or a member of Congress.
This new definition has caused a lot of confusion in the church regarding church membership.
In this new definition it would be easy to say that church membership has its privileges. We might say that members are entitled to certain amenities. This definition has led to the concern of many over 3' x 6' burial plots that church–goers are entitled to, because they are members. Using this definition, we could come to the conclusion that members are not vital or necessary, or, that church is just a club where members show up for the best seats and enjoy meals with the club president, a.k.a. the Pastor. In this scenario, the membership is served by the staff and the members' dues pay the staff's salary.
But Ephesians 4:16 says, “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” When the Bible was written, the word “member” meant “appendage”. “Member” referred to a body part, like a leg, or arm or organ. In this definition, every member is a necessary and vital part of the body. Every member plays an indispensable role in the success of the body. If one member is missing, the body is not as efficient as it could be. In this antiquated definition, individual members serve the needs of the body. When one member bleeds, the body is bleeding. When one member succeeds, the body is succeeding.
As members of Christ's body, the Church, let us live by the older definition, proceeding with an attitude of responsibility and gratitude, not entitlement. Let us follow the example of Christ who did not come to be served, but rather, came to serve and give His life for many.
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