Last Sunday, we presented baptism certificates to our new members, who had recently gone through water baptism. And with that, they are formally inducted into Bethesda Chapel as members under its constitution. From time to time, we have encouraged brothers and sisters who have been worshipping regularly with us, to obey the Lord’s ordinance, and to go through water baptism. Others who are already baptised in their previous churches are also requested to transfer their membership accordingly.
From time to time, we are confronted with excuses from brethren who will not be involved in the local church. “Church members have so many faults,” some say. “There are so many hypocrites in the church.” There is some element of truth in such statements! There never was a perfect church, or a perfect Christian, for that matter. Even the first century churches had their problems. People with problems need the church just like sick people need a hospital.
Once a person has received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, he needs to be built up in the faith. He needs to receive spiritual instruction and to share with other believers – to have opportunity for Christian fellowship. The church, through its ministries, is an instrument of training, and provides an atmosphere for spiritual growth.
Every Christian needs the church and the community in the dark hours of life. The fellowship of believers forms a vital unity in which there is strength and comfort. How many of God’s people, overwhelmed with sorrow, have been helped by fellow Christians?
Paul expressed his appreciation for the fellowship of other Christians in Phil 1:3-5 : “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now”. Yes, you need the church and the church needs you.
It is not enough to attend and contribute in the church. You are needed – your godly example, your presence, your prayers, your influence, all that you are – these are needed. The ungodly do not hide their darkness, and we must not hide our light. The church certainly needs you!
The church is to assist its members to grow in every way possible. The church is a nursery to the newborn and a place of worship, education and training for the mature believer. We can note that the characteristics of the first church as presented in Acts 2:41-47. In seventy years, those Christians went over mountain peaks and tossing seas to rock the imperial city of Rome with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts 2 shows that the church of God possessed:
- A saved membership (v41)
- A steadfast membership (v42)
- A sacrificial membership (v4-45)
- A serving membership (v46)
- A spirit-filled membership (v47)
Hence, as you start the year 2013, may we encourage one and all, to take another examination of the theme, “To Know Jesus Christ and to Make Him known” and earnestly ask God, what can we do for Him in BC in 2013? May the Lord grant you an exciting and blessed year!!
Elder Andrew Lim