Michael Horton asks this question in the preface to Jonathan Leeman’s book Church Membership, “Do you believe it’s your responsibility to help build a healthy church?”
Most Christians have never given much thought to that question. For most of Evangelicalism, the Gospel is about being in a personal relationship with Jesus, not about joining a church. The Bible however points us to a Christianity that is so much more than personal relationship with Jesus. Christ also wants us to have a personal relationship with His people; His church.
Matthew 28:18-20 is known as the great commission. In this text Jesus commands us to “make disciples” of all nations. Most of us see this text as merely a call to evangelize, when in reality it is so much more than that. The command to make disciples doesn’t just mean saving the lost, it also includes discipling the saved. Making disciples means encouraging, loving, strengthening, exhorting, rebuking, disciplining, and teaching one another so we can more ably and more joyfully follow after Christ. As we are going to see these discipleship activities all primarily take place in the context of a local church.
Jude tells us to build ourselves up in our most holy faith (Jude 20-21), Peter tells us to use our gifts to serve others (1 Peter 4:10), and Paul tells us to speak the truth in love and minister to one another so that the body can “build itself” into maturity and the knowledge of the son of God (Eph. 4:13, 15). Clearly the local church was important to the apostles. In fact, as we will see in this series, Jesus Himself taught us more about the local church and the centrality of the local church in our lives than perhaps anyone else. We are going to see in this series that growing in Christ (that is sanctification) is a community project, a project that takes place among believers in the protecting, discipling, teaching, loving context of the local church.
Do you believe its your responsibility to help build a healthy church? To follow after to Christ is give a resounding “Yes” to that question!