Friday, November 15, 2013

Three Habits of Healthy Church Members

Hebrews 10:19-25

Last week we saw that giving up our preferences and serving others is the essence of discipleship. 

Church membership is about being a born again follower of Christ who understands that church is about glorifying God through obeying Jesus, serving others, and growing with God’s people.

Life-Lesson:   Healthy church members pray for their pastors, trust God, and worship together.

1)         Healthy Church Members Pray Regularly (10:19-22)

Healthy Church Members Pray Regularly for their Pastors and Leaders 
Col.    1:9-14

70% of pastors battle depression regularly; 80% of pastors believe the ministry negatively affects their families; the pastoral profession has one of the top 3 suicide and alcohol-drug abuse rates of any profession; 56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends; 23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their ministry; 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month; #1 and #2 reason they are leaving - #1 – tired of trying to meet the expectations of others, #2 – difficulty in providing well financially for their families (Sources: Pastors at Greater Risk by H. B. London; Barna Group; Focus on the Family)

* The South CarolinaBaptist Convention (SCBC) has the single-highest rate of forced terminations and suicides of pastors of any state in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

God, in ways we don’t understand fully, works through the prayers of believers.  We are church members.  We will pray for the protection of our pastor and other church leaders.  We will do all we can to keep our pastor out of the devil’s traps.  – Thom Rainer

Healthy church members need to pray daily for their pastors and spiritual

The ministry is a matter which wears the brain and strains the heart, and drains out
the life of a man if he attends to it as he should.  – Charles Spurgeon to his pastoral

So, who will love God, the church, and the pastor enough to pray the life back
into him? 

a) Pray for them to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (9)
b) Pray for their walk with the Lord (10).

                                    - a fruitful walk                      - a maturing walk
c) Pray that they will be strengthened with God’s power (11).
                                  - patient endurance                 - power for joy
d) Pray for them to be protected from and strengthened through Satan’s attacks.

2)         Healthy Church Members Trust God Regularly (10:23)

            The church needs examples of real people trusting God.

3)         Healthy Church Members Worship Together Regularly (10:24-25)

Why go through the trouble of getting ready each Sunday morning when we could relax and take the day off?  It’s not because of a preacher, a teacher, or because we may see our closest friends.  It’s because we gather to worship our Great High Priest.  We should have a convictional desire to gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ to worship God. - Travis Fleming

The early Christians yearned to arrive at the Lord’s Day, knowing that if only they could survive the week, they would once again hear the preaching of the Word of God and fellowship with the saints of God.  They thought, “If we can only survive the week, we will make it to the Lord’s Day together.” 

One problem with much of our thinking about the Lord’s Day is that it is natural for us to think of it as an imposition in our busy schedule.  And yet we are to be faithful to gather together, making it a priority of our lives to be with God’s people.  We gather together to prepare for eternity, to be confronted by the Word of God, to edify one another, and to yearn for that eternal rest that is promised to us by the mercy and grace of God.        - R. Albert Mohler, Words from the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the Ten Commandments

We meet Christ in a special way in corporate worship. – Kent Hughes

Love for Christ and His church should compel us to gather regularly.

We are a family that must gather for worship.

We are a family that must help one another persevere in Christ.

Hebrews 10:25 instructs us not to neglect the assembly of the saints.  Instead, we are to gather and encourage one another more and more as we await Jesus’ return.  The public assembly is meant for edification, the building up, the growth of the Christian.  Neglecting to participate in the corporate life of the church or failing to actively serve and be served is a sure-fire way to limit our growth.  When we serve others in our church, bear with one another, love one another, correct one another, and encourage one another, we participate in a “spiritual maturity co-op” where our stores and supplies are multiplied.  The end result is growth and discipleship.  – Thabiti Anyabwile, What is a Healthy Church Member?, 9 Marks

We need to meet regularly so that we can encourage one another to continue in the faith, to keep trusting God, and to be encouraged so that we do not give up.

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