King's Business - 1968-03

in such groups to be convinced that the former far exceed the latter. No amount of sacrifice, no endless hours o f serv­ ice can adequately repay the church for what it has meant to me. If for no other reason, I belong as an eternal expression o f gratitude. II. 7 BELONG TO THE CHURCH AS A CON­ FESSION OF FAITH. How can we interest others in Christ if we say we have faith but refuse to fellowship with others o f like precious faith? How effective will be our praise of the Saviour when by our actions we ignore His church upon the earth and bite the very hand which brought us the message of the Redeemer? A believer speaks to another about the things of the blessed Book. He exalts the Christ who loved the church and gave Himself for it. Then the lis­ tener asks, “What church do you belong to?” The believer scornfully replies, “ I don’t belong to any church.” He implies that though he is just a sinner saved by grace, he cannot find anyone with whom he can fellowship in the Gospel. There are three main ways by which we can wit­ ness. The first is by confessing Christ through bap­ tism. The second is by confessing Christ with the mouth. The third is by taking one’s stand alongside others o f like precious faith in the fellowship of a local congregation. III. I BELONG TO THE CHURCH AS AN AD­ MISSION OF NEED. Some think they are too good for the church. They see only the flaws o f its members and the shortcomings o f the work it attempts to do. At­ tendance at the synagogue service on the Sabbath day was a regular habit of Christ. He did so even though He was fully aware of the hypocrisy on the part of some of the members. Others refrain from joining because they feel they are not good enough for the church. They labor under the false impression that one must reach a certain stage of perfection and maturity before being eligible. Some congregations may put prospective members on probation. This tends to create the impression that church membership is a reward rather than a refuge. Christ places no one upon probation. There is no waiting period between initial faith and regeneration. Christ added to the church on the Day o f Pentecost such as were saved that very day. I join the church, not because I am a mature Christian, not because I am perfect, not because I have earned admission, but because I need the fel­ lowship of believers. I am weak and in need of strength; ignorant and hungering for knowledge

church ? by Dr. Arnold T. Olson President of the Evangelical Free Church of America There are also a number of practical reasons for belonging to a local church. These reasons are listed here in the form o f a personal testimony since the necessity of church membership must be a con­ viction o f the heart. I. I BELONG TO THE CHURCH AS AN EX­ PRESSION OF GRATITUDE. The blessings which have come to each of us through the church of Christ in the community and at large are beyond counting. 1. It was a local church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that sent the first missionaries. 2. It was the church through a dedicated and educated group of scholars that gave us the Bible in our own language. 3. It was the church that, through the centuries, fought for the sound doctrine and at the cost of many lives brought the faith down to our genera­ tion. 4. It was the church that first established our schools, hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aged, and other benevolent institutions. 5. It was the church that preserved the institu­ tion of marriage and safeguarded the home against the many influences which would destroy it. 6. It was the church which sponsored the Sun­ day school class where many first heard about Christ outside the family circles. 7. It was through the witness of those in the church that most of us were led to a saving knowl­ edge of the Lord Jesus Christ. One need but make a list o f the benefits which are ours through the efforts of those associated with the organized church and place the list along­ side the list o f benefits from those who separate themselves from the fellowship o f other believers

MARCH, 1968


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