Why We Commit Ourselves to the Church
Priorities are a part of our daily lives. We generally prioritize our days according to our work schedules and if we are retired we prioritize our lives according to our grandchildren and our desires to travel. Priorities are necessary as we live our daily lives because if we don’t have a routine, then we tend not to have direction for ourselves. The same rests with our commitment to the church. If there is a priority that all of us need, it’s being an active member of a church!
Pastor Chris Russell of Veritas Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, gives four important reasons why we should commit ourselves to the church. First, he writes that “the local church is a central part of God’s strategic plan” for our spiritual growth. It is imperative that we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) according to the Scripture. Second, Russell says that “you are basically a composite of the five people with who you spend the most time.” If you are spending time with people who are not part of a church, then most likely you will become like those people—and this includes a non-active member or no member at all. Next, he says that “you need the voice of the church to counteract all the deception that is crammed into your mind all throughout the week.” How true! There are so many different messages that can easily draw us away from Christ. Finally, Russell writes that a “weekly ministry in a local church helps to build up your spiritual muscles.” All of us need help to be strong in the faith. There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger or lone wolf mentality in the church. 
As Dr. Chuck Lawless, Dean of Doctoral Studies and Vice President of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina says, when we are active members of the church we come to realize how God brought us together and that everybody is important. It helps us to know that when we give it’s not just about financial giving, but giving ourselves fully to the church. it is about being a part of a family but it doesn’t mean that we know everything about each other or everything in the church. we grow to love our church, but we also realize that the church doesn’t belong to us but to our Lord Jesus Christ! And even though there are many volunteers in the church, the church helps us to discover that serving the church is not optional—all of us have spiritual gifts given us by the Lord to use to help each other as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And finally, Lawless says that “we want you to come, but we’re going to challenge you to go!” we want you to be an active part of the church but at the same time we want you to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). 
The Editorial Director of 9Marks and an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Cheverly, Maryland answers the question “What is church membership?” this way: “It’s a declaration of citizenship in Christ’s kingdom. It’s a passport. It’s an announcement made in the pressroom of Christ’s kingdom. It’s the declaration that a professing individual is an official, licensed, card-carrying, bona fide Jesus representative.” 
Christ’s Mystery Is Revealed (Ephesians 3:1-7)
All of us like a mystery! We like to figure out what happened in a whodunnit or try to see what’s going to happen next when it comes to scary movie. And, quite frankly, if we have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then we’re also wondering about the mystery of Jesus Christ. Paul the apostle first tells us in Ephesians 3:1-7 that this mystery being revealed is for the sake of the Gentiles. And the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you, Paul says, was also given by revelation. This revelation is by God through the Holy Spirit and now he is explaining it to his readers so when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. When sometimes mysteries are not identifiable or made known, the mystery of Christ can and is made known to us by Paul.
So what is this mystery? That we are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Paul, being a Jewish scholar, understands the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament. They were given the revelation through the prophets that the Lord is our God, the Lord is one! (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4) They were to be shining examples to the world that God is who He says that He is. He also knows that God has given Israel a new covenant that I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (cf. Jeremiah 31:31). This covenant is given to Israel but it is so they can then invite both Jews and Gentiles to be a part of this new covenant. This is how we as Gentiles become fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel! And because this mystery has been revealed, and because we are now partakers of the new covenant, we ought to commit ourselves to the church knowing that the mystery of Christ is now revealed.
God’s Manifold Wisdom Made Known (Ephesians 3:8-13)
Paul continues to speak of how the unfathomable riches of Christ is being preached to the Gentiles. In preaching this message of the Good News of Jesus Christ, Paul is now bringing to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God. It is God who created all things and now He is revealing the mystery of the unity of Jews and Gentiles alike. And this manifold wisdom of God is now made known through the church! This is another reason why we commit ourselves to the church so that we can let the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places know that God is who He says that He is and that we are His and we have His mystery revealed to and in us!
Another aspect of the mystery of Jesus Christ is that this was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus Christ has fulfilled everything that the Father desired for Him to do and we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him to come to the Father! Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8 that this faith we have is given to us by God’s grace. And what grace it is to be able to be a fellow heir and fellow member of the body, and fellow partaker of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel! This is why we commit ourselves to the church!
Unity of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:1-7)
Being fellow heir and fellow member of the body, and fellow partaker of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel compels us now to be unified together as the church. However, we are not just unified with each other, but Paul teaches us that we are now unified in the Holy Spirit! And since we are unified in the Holy Spirit, we need to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. Then Paul teaches us how to walk in this manner by listing how we should then live:
- Walk in humility and gentleness
- Walk in patience
- Walk by showing tolerance for one another in love
- Walk by being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
The reason we walk in the unity of the Holy Spirit together as the church is because:
- There is one body
- There is one Spirit
- There is one hope of our calling
- There is one Lord
- There is one faith
- There is one baptism
- There is one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all
To have the unity of the Holy Spirit means that we are not just one with Him but we are one with each other living according to the grace that was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift of eternal life that we have received. It is something that He has done because He is our peace (cf. Ephesians 2:14). And there is no greater time for us to commit ourselves to the church in order to live in this oneness that He has given us through and by His Holy Spirit.
Let’s commit ourselves today to the church of which we are a part. Let’s be faithful to Him first and foremost and then to each other. Let’s be faithful to Him knowing that He has been faithful to us. Let’s commit ourselves to the church because He is who He says that He is and we are now fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel!
 https://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/chris-russell/commitment-ain-t-what-it-used-to-be.html accessed 02/26/2020.
 http://chucklawless.com/2018/08/10-axioms-of-church-membership/ accessed 02/26/2020.
 https://www.9marks.org/article/what-is-church-membership/ accessed 02/26.2020.