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God’s Purpose

The 12 Disciples – Part V


  • James was sometimes  called  1)James the Less ; 2)James the Younger
  • He was the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18 & Mark & 2:14)
  • He was one of the most unknown apostles in the Bible.
  • The only things we know for certain are his name and that he was present in the upper room of Jerusalem after Christ ascended to heaven.
  • Possible brother of Matthew (Levi) the tax collector.
  • He is sometimes confused with James the brother of Jesus (who wrote the book of James) or James the brother of Joseph.

Who was Alphaeus

Mark 3:18 – Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot

1. Mark’s Gospel describes Alphaeus as the father of two of the twelve apostles, Levi and James. This would seem to meant that Levi and James were brothers, although not described as such.

2.In fact, the only references to Levi are in Mark 2:14 and the corresponding verse (5:27) in   Luke’s Gospel, which Luke elaborates slightly by adding a passage in which Jesus is criticized for consorting with publicans (tax collectors).

3.  However, Matthew’s Gospel, although dependent    on Mark for this information, refers to another disciple, Matthew, as the former tax collector, so that it has become accepted by Christians that Matthew and Levi were one and the same person, although none of the gospel’s links Matthew with either Alphaeus or James.

4. An interesting theological discussion has consequently arisen as to whether there were two fathers known as Alphaeus, improbable as that would be. Something to think about.

  • Was present at the Last Supper & at the appearance of Jesus after the Resurrection (John 20:19-25).
  • Some suggest that James belonged to Zealots.
  • His mission was to preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand, heal the sick cleansed the lepers, raise the dead and cast out demons. – Matthews 10:5-8

Lesson Learned:

  • All followers of Jesus can still accomplish the work of God without being in the limelight.

Thaddeus or Jude

  • Listed together with Simon the Zealot and James the Less.
  • Apostle Thaddeus completes a grouping of the least known of the 12 disciples.
  • In Twelve Ordinary Men, John MacArthur’s book about the apostles, Thaddeus is characterized as a tender – hearted, gentle man who displayed childlike humility.
  • He was also considered inquisitive (John 14:22); Confused (John 14:22)
  • Son of James (Luke 6:16) “James son of Alpheus”
  • The Aramaic meaning of his name is “beloved” or “dear to the heart”.
  • Jude is derived from the Hebrew name Judah, meaning “praise”.
  • Was present at the Last Supper.
  • Some scholars believe that he authored the book of Jude, although most believe that author was Judas, the brother of Jesus.
  • It was suggested that Thaddaeus belonged to the revolutionary group, the Zealots.
  • He asked Jesus how he would reveal himself to his followers and not to the world.
  • John 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

1-  Not everyone would understand and be receptive to his message.

Lesson Learned:  Jesus will reveal his truths to believers who follow Him.

Simon the Zealot

  • Who doesn’t like a good mystery? One puzzling question in the Bible is the exact identity of Simon the Zealot, the Bible’s own mystery apostle.
  • Scripture tells us almost nothing about Simon.
  • In the Gospels, he is mentioned in three places, but only to list his name.
  • In Acts 1:13you will find that he was present with the apostles in the upper room of Jerusalem after Christ had ascended to heaven. Beyond those few details, we can only speculate about Simon and his designation as a Zealot.

Matthew 10:4   Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Zealots defined:

  • Because of their often-violent tactics, the Zealots have been called some of the world’s first terrorists.
  • The Zealots were members of a first-century political movement among Judean Jews who sought to overthrow the occupying Roman government.
  • The word zealot has a Greek meaning of “zealous follower.” *passionate, devout, committed, dedicated, sincere or enthusiastic.
  • 12 disciple, mission to preach, Last Supper.
  • Present for the Great Commission and Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.
  • Matthew 28:18-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
  • The Great Commission was not just for the immediate disciples that He was speaking too but it is given to all believers.

Personality & Character

1-Patriotic (Matthew 10:4)
2-Loyal (mark 3:18)
3-Passionate (Luke 6:15)
4- Sacrificial (Acts 1:13)

Lesson Learned:

One should be willing to sacrifice his or her politics to follow Jesus.


Continue Disciples


  • James the son of Zebedee, often called James the Greater, to distinguish him from the other apostle named James, was a member of Christ’s inner circle, which included his brother, the apostle John, and Peter. James was one of the first apostles.
  • Not only did James and John earn a special nickname from the Lord — “sons of thunder” — they were privileged to be at the front and center of three supernatural events in the life of Christ. In addition to these honors, James was the first of the twelve to be martyred for his faith in A.D. 44.
  • Personality is unknown/killed by King Herod by a sword. Acts 12:1-2
  • Lesson Learn: Stood Firm in the face of Persecution.


    • The apostle John, brother to James, was nicknamed by Jesus one of the “sons of thunder,” but he liked to call himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
    • With his fiery temperament and special devotion to the Savior, he gained favor and was place in Christ’s inner circle.
    • John’s enormous impact on the early Christian church and his larger-than-life personality, make him a fascinating character study.
    • His writings reveal contrasting traits. For instance, on the first Easter morning, with his typical zeal and enthusiasm, John raced Peter to the tomb after Mary Magdalene reported that it was now empty.
    • Although John won the race and bragged about this achievement in his Gospel (John 20:1-9), he humbly allowed Peter to enter the tomb first.
    • According to tradition, John outlived all of the disciples, dying of old age in Ephesus, where he preached a gospel of love and taught against heresy.
    • Although John won the race and bragged about this achievement in his Gospel (John 20:1-9), he humbly allowed Peter to enter the tomb first.
    • According to tradition, John outlived all of the disciples, dying of old age in Ephesus, where he preached a gospel of love and taught against heresy.  
  • Key Lessons:  God’s love, evident in Jesus Christ, saves, transforms and unites all believers.


  • When the apostle Philip called him to come and meet the Messiah, Nathanael was skeptical, but he followed along anyway.
  • As Philip introduced him to Jesus, the Lord declared, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Immediately Nathanael wanted to know, “How do you know me?”
  • Jesus got his attention when he answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Well, that stopped Nathanael in his tracks. Shocked and surprised he declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
  • The third disciple called by Jesus. John 1:43
  • Informed Jesus that several Greeks want to see him. John 12:20-22
  • Asked Jesus to show him the father. John 14:8-9*
  • Key Lesson: All the knowledge in the world does not compare to the truth found in Jesus.

Nathanael or Bartholomew

  • When the apostle Philip called him to come and meet the Messiah, Nathanael was skeptical, but he followed along anyway.
  • As Philip introduced him to Jesus, the Lord declared, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Immediately Nathanael wanted to know, “How do you know me?”
  • Jesus got his attention when he answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Well, that stopped Nathanael in his tracks. Shocked and surprised he declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
  • The name Nathanael derives from the Hebrew meaning “God has given.”
  • Nathanael garnered only a few lines in the Gospels, nevertheless, in that instant he became a loyal follower of Jesus Christ.
  • He was considered skeptical (john 1:46),Honest (John 1:47), Faithful (John 1:49).
  • Witnessed the miraculous catch of fish and eat breakfast with Jesus after his resurrection.    John 21:2-7*Key Lesson:    Believers are called to test all things with Scriptures and remain true to its principles


Sunday- August 25, 2019

The Disciples – part II


  • Without question, the apostle Peter was a disciple most people can identify with.
  • One minute he was walking on water by faith, and the next he was sinking in doubt. Impulsive, hot tempered, emotional but yet insightful and courageous.
  • Peter is best known for denying Jesus when the pressure was on. Even so, as a disciple he was dearly loved by Christ, holding a special place among the twelve.
  • Peter, a spokesman for the twelve, stands out in the Gospels. Whenever the men are listed, Peter’s name is first.
  • He was the brother of Andrew (Matthew 4:18)
  • He, James, and John formed the inner circle of Jesus’ closest companions.
  • He was called to be a fisher of people (Matthew 4:19).
  • He was sent to prepare the upper room for the Last supper (Peter & John) – (Luke 22:8)*
  • Was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Olive Trees, it’s where Jesus went to prayed after the Passover, the disciples fell asleep, the betrayal with a kiss and peter cut the servant ear off.
  • These three alone were given the privilege of experiencing the transfiguration, along with a few other extraordinary revelations of Jesus. Moses and Elijah appeared and they heard a voice from above. 1 Peter 1:16-18*
  • Mount transfiguration, the glow of Jesus Christ, Peter, James and John.
  • After the resurrection, Peter became a bold evangelist and missionary, and one of the greatest leaders of the early church.
  • Passionate until the end, historians record that when Peter was sentenced to death by crucifixion.
  • Peter requested that his head be turned toward the ground because he did not feel worthy to die in the same manner as his Savior.
  • Married/Fisherman
  • Left everything to follow Jesus.- Luke 5: 11
  • Simon said Jesus is the Christ, Son of the living God, Jesus names him Peter (rock) and said, “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” Matt.16:16-19*
  • Was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • Jesus predicted that Peter would deny knowing him three time. Luke 22:31-34
  • Lesson Learned: God can forgive sins and strengthen the faith of those who love him.


  • Brother of Peter, Fisherman and Follower of Jesus
  • The Apostle Andrew, whose name means “manly,” was the first apostle of Jesus Christ.
  • He had previously been a follower of John the Baptist, but when John proclaimed Jesus “the lamb of God,” Andrew went with Jesus and spent a day with him.
  • Andrew quickly found his brother Simon (later called Peter) and told him “We have found the Messiah.” (John 1:41)
  • He brought Simon to meet Jesus. Matthew notes that Simon and Andrew dropped their fishing nets and followed Jesus as he was passing by.
    • He and three other disciples asked Jesus about his prophecy that the Temple would be torn down –Massive rocks and told of the future. (Mark 13:3-4)*
    • Andrew brought a boy with two fish and five barley loaves to Jesus, who multiplied them to feed 5,000 people (John 6:8-13).
    • Philip and Andrew brought some Greeks to Jesus who wanted to meet him.( Possible converts)The Gospels record three episodes involving the Apostle Andrew.  (John 12:20-22).
  • Told Jesus of the boy with the five loaves of bread and two fish. John 6:8-9
  • Was present when Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection. John 20:19-25
  • Was present for the Great Commission when Jesus sent his disciples to all nations. Matthew 28:16-20*
  • Witnessed Jesus being taken up into heaven. Acts 1:8-9
  • Key Lesson: Go out and eagerly share the good news about Jesus Christ.

Sunday- August 18, 2019

Disciples of Jesus Christ

Matthew 10:2-4

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Point of Interest

  • We find the names of the 12 disciples in Matthew 10:2-4, Mark 3:14-19, and Luke 6:13-16.
  • Jesus Christ selected the 12 disciples from among his early followers to become his closest companions.
  • After an intensive discipleship course and following His resurrection from the dead, the Lord fully commissioned the apostles.
    • There were twelve Jewish men whom Jesus call to follow Him during His three-year ministry on earth.
    • All of the disciples were from the Galilee region, except for Judas who was from Judea.
    • Their occupations ranged from tax- collectors, fisherman and revolutionaries.
    • Some were married.(Peter/Simon) (Mark1:29-31 & 1 Cor. 9:3-6).
      • Some were well versed in Scripture
        • Their occupations ranged from fisherman, tax collectors and revolutionaries.
        • Some were married.  (Mark1:29-31 &1Cor. 9:3-6), (John 1:46)
        • These men became the pioneering leaders of the New Testament church, but they were not without faults and shortcomings.
        • Interestingly, not one of the chosen 12 disciples was a scholar or rabbi.
        • They had no extraordinary skills. Neither religious, nor refined, they were ordinary people, just like you and me.

Their Purpose

  • After being baptized by John the Baptist and spending forty days in the wilderness, Jesus started teaching and many people started following him.
  • God chose them for a purpose.
  • These twelve men would be Jesus’ main focus of instruction.
  • To spread the gospel that would go across the face of the earth and continue to burn bright throughout centuries to follow.
  • God selected and used each of these regular guys to carry out his exceptional plan.
  • (Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15) to advance God’s kingdom and carry the gospel message to the world
  • These disciples were selected to let the world know of God’s love, that God sent Jesus to redeem the world. (John 17:23).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     John 17:23

I in them and you in me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Mark 16:15

He said to them, “go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Their Mission

  • Their instruction and conversations would become the teaching , knowledge, and instruction for the church.
  • Jesus knew these men would disappoint Him, desert Him, deny Him, and betray Him.
  • Once filled with the Holy Spirit these men would be the first Witnesses of the gospel.They would be the first to carry God’s message of redemption to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.
  • These twelve men were to be bless all the nations (Gal.3:8).
  • They were commanded to go out and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy spirit (Matthew 28:19).

Life Side Affects

Today, I would like to talk about the real side affect of the struggles in your Life:

  1. Financial
  2. Power
  3. Influence and success
  4. Sickness and despair

Many time these side affect happen to us when we are not Obedient to God.   We know we should do what God wants, but we don’t.  When we do, it is called obedience to God.   Sometime when life side affect attack us,  We feel hopeless, weak, afraid, unsure, lost, depressed, angry, distant and much more.  I could go on and on.   So what must you need to:

  1. You need to – Pray,
  2. You need to ask – God to come and stay in your heart.
  3. You need to ask – God to keep us on the road to rightness.

 Luke 12:35-41   Watchfulness    (New King James Version)

35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.

What is being said in the above scripture is that you must be ready at all times.  Don”t wait, be ready and Christ will bless you.

Handling Your Trials in Difficult Times

family praise and worshipJames 1:2-8 (NIV) Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Points of interest:
• James was a servant of God.
• James is the writer and leader of the church.
• His letter was to provide encouragement to the church in their faith     during hardships or difficult times.
• James uses the word “whenever” meaning: you will face hardship.
• We need to turn our hardships into learning.
• Many of us have a hard time to be happy during hard times.
• But we need to learn to have a positive outlook due to what those hardships teach us. (He consider it pure joy)
• Tough times can teach us perseverance (meaning steadfastness and patience).
• Hardships develop our character.
1. We need to go through something to see what we are made of.
We need to remember that God never leaves us along, but we leave him. He is always present.
James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Remember, the way to be in God’s winning circle is by loving him and staying faithful even under difficulties and pressures.

What's Holding You Back?

Text:  Genesis 19:16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them.

How many of you are looking back?

  • We look back for numerous reasons.  Some look back for money, wealth, status, power, pride, But in this life many time it comes back to money.
  • If you want to test your commitment to Christ, try this
  • Life is rough, bill are past due.  You say you love the Lord; the bible gives no excuses for not giving your tithes. What will you do?  Is this example holding you back?

Back ground:  Abraham Make a plead

  • Three men appeared before Abraham.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah was going to be destroyed.
  • These three men could have been angels.
  • The city was going to be destroyed because it was full of sin.
  • Abraham pleaded with the Lord for the righteous if he could find 10 righteous people but there were not.

Angel meets with Lot:

  • Lot was sitting at the gateway of the city.
  • The Angels accepted an invite to Lot’s Home and ate.
  • Men from the city came to Lot’s home to have met with the two men.
  • You must remember that the city was full of aggressive homosexuals, bent on raping innocent travelers.
  • Lot tried to reason with them, to no avail.
  • The two men (angels) blinded the men of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 19: 12-13 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: (13) For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.

  • With the coming of dawn, Lot must have his family out of the city.


  • Lot lived in a city of unrighteousness and sin for so long that his witnessing for God made him unbelievable.
  • His own future son-in-law thought he was joking.
  • Lot hesitated because he had wealthy; he had position, power and comfort.
  • Many times we get caught up in the material things in the world and put them before God.
  • We call them false attractions or Gods.

Genesis 19: 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

  • Lot was grateful that he and his family were being spared.
  • They went to a small town called Zoar and the city of Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed with all that happen, guess what? Lot’s wife looked back.

How can you make progress while you’re looking back?

Genesis 19: 26 But Lot’s Wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

Lots Wife:

1.     She looked back

2.     She was still clinging to the past.

3.     She was still unwilling to look forward.

4.     It was obvious that she still felt a connection to the City.

5.     This made it impossible to move forward when you are still looking back.

Closing: It’s time to look around and smell the roses. We need to look where the world is going today.  We are in two wars.  The economical structure of our country is failing. The belief system of our nation is in question and there is sickness and disease all around us.

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

  • We can only serve one God.
  • We need to decide where your loyalty lay.
  • Again I say to you.

What’s Holding You Back?

The Importance of Joining a Church

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Last Sunday, I  gave you four reasons why you should join church and  shared I two with you.  Today I will share two more reason:   1)It’s an authority issue 2) It’s a ministry issue.    It’s an authority issue.

  • You as a believer are under authority…
  • Your  under  the authority of God .
  • You  have a personal relationship with Christ
  • When  you’re  under the authority of God which means you’re under the authority of  His Word and His commands.

Who is holding you accountable for that?
His Word is the authority and since we are called to obedience.  So how can you call him Lord if you do not do the things that Christ say?

1. In doing what Christ say means, understanding what His Holy Word say.

2. Trust me you will never as a believer come under the true authority of your Lord unless you allow yourself to come under the true meaning of  His Word.

3. It is an authority issue. You have people responsible to provide divine truth to you.

Now let me just expand that a little bit. People who just kind of float over here, they’ll say, “I heard a really good message by this guy…oh this guy over here gave a really interesting…good music over here.” You know, at the end of the day, that might be true. This was good, that was good.  But what you’re lacking is continuity in the Word of God as  a whole revelation. Is that not true?  All Scripture are given by inspiration of God.

  • Christian’s today don’t have an understanding that Scripture are systematic, they have integrity.
  • They don’t understand the whole revelation.
  • They don’t have a sound theology. They just have bits and pieces of little interesting good experiences that don’t connect…the dots don’t connect.  So when we say, at this point, that we’re talking about this particular aspect of the church, it’s really a truth issue.

It’s a ministry issue. why?  Because every believer has been given spiritual gifts. Romans 12:6  lists categories of spiritual gifts.   We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

First Corinthians 12 lists categories of gifts. First Peter breaks the categories into two parts, 1 Peter 4, serving gifts, speaking gifts. You’ve been given certain Holy Spirit designed abilities on a spiritual level to minister to people. That’s right. Every believer has that.

Now in Ephesians 4   you have this pattern starting in verse 11. “He gave some as apostles and prophets and evangelists and teaching pastors for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry.” So we equip the saints, the saints do the work of ministry.

What does that mean?

1. You minister to each other using your gifts.

2. Rember that it was  God has gifted you,

3. there are categories, you can read them, 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and those are just suggested general categories in which there are all kinds of blending  and possibilities so that you are a spiritual snowflake. Nobody like you. You have a blend. You’ve been painted a color all your own on God’s pallet where He dipped in all those categories and painted you. You have a responsibility to do that ministry, and it says here,

4. “For the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God, a mature man, the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” The Lord builds His body into Christ’s likeness through the ministry of gifts. And he has done the same for you through the Holy Spirit.  First Corinthians 12,

Your gift has been given to you to use to minister, serve, speak, one of those two categories or perhaps even a blending of the two.

You need to use your gift. It doesn’t have to be formal. You don’t have to be in a formal position, wearing a tag and a label and knowing specifically your little gift category. You need a body of people in which the Spirit of God will begin to use you to impact their lives, to cause them to grow spiritually into the image of Christ.

You say, “Could that be actually happening in my life?”  It will happen in your life if you’re a part of a church and you are faithful.  It’s a spiritual issue. It’s a fellowship issue. It’s an authority issue. It’s a ministry issue.

  • I read as story about  a Jewish lady who was going to the synagogue  some years ago, they have a Sunday class, she was going to that. She saw all the people flowing into the church. She got caught up in the line, The pastor saw the lady later and she told him she didn’t hear a word that was said…and you know what happens? The pastor was just shocked by her statement, she said that she had never ever been in a group where so much love was being expressed.  She came to Christ.  May that will happen here this morning.

John 13:34 and 35? “By this shall men know that you are My disciples because you have…what?…love for one another.”

1.     It’s  powerful to see a church, experience that kind of  love and have that kind of  life.

2.     if you can say to someone who is not a believer, “You know, Christ has changed my life and I would love to take you to meet some people who have had their lives changed by Christ like me.” It’s a powerful impact. It’s like 1 Corinthians 14 where the unbeliever comes in, falls on his face and says, “God is in this place.” That’s Powerful, that’s love, that’s God.

You know, our corporate testimony supports our individual witness?   So much can be said about belonging to the church, spiritually. And it’s all so obvious. If you belong to the Lord, you belong to the church. You don’t want to be unfaithful to the Lord, but if you’re unfaithful to a local body, you’re unfaithful to the Lord.


1. Scripture repeatedly commands Christians to submit to their leaders (Hebrews. 13:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13). The only way to do that is by publicly committing to be members of their flock, and saying in effect,

“I commit to listening to your teaching, following your direction, and to submitting to your leadership.” There’s no way to obey the scriptural commands to submit to your leaders if you never actually submit to them by joining a local church.

Joining A Church

Text: 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Since the beginning and the creation of this church, I have talked to many people as to why they should join church.  Many of them have said that, “If I come and worship as often as the members,” “if I fellowship with these believers as much as anyone else, if I profit from the teaching and other ministries of the church, and if I actively demonstrate love for my brothers and sisters in Christ here, If I tithe, why should I formally join the church?”

Why should you join a church, because God never expect his people to be an independent  Christian!

In the more recent years of the seeker movement, they would tell you, if you want to build a church, give people full anonymity. Don’t make them reveal anything about themselves because that scares people away.   Some churches are all about numbers and not about God’s Holy Word-the truth.   The church is the assembly of the redeemed. It is the assembly of those called out of darkness into light. It is the assembly of those who have been called affectionately by God into new life in Christ to become a part of the community of those who believe, the family of God, if you will, the body of Christ, the Kingdom. You are this church because you have made the common confession,  You have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and believed in your heart God raised Him from the dead. You’ve been saved, therefore you are in the church of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.  Hebrews 13 is telling us that we have an account to give to God for how we shepherd the flock and the first thing that’s very helpful is to know who’s in your flock. And if you were a shepherd in the ancient world, there were no visiting sheep. You didn’t say, “Well, I have my flock and I have my visiting sheep.” Really? “Yeah, they show up about every third day and expect me to feed them and clean them and I don’t see them and they go wherever they want to go and maybe go to some other shepherd for a while.” There’s no such concept. Everybody knew his flock, they knew exactly who was in his flock and he had the responsibility and the accountability to care for his flock.

The first thing you need to know to be a good shepherd is for whom am  I responsible for.  If I have to discharge that responsibility, tell me for whom I am responsible. They kept record and they kept track and they added to the number. These people were believers who had made a profession of Christ openly and were baptized. So it wasn’t hard to identify them, it wasn’t hard to count them. (church of God which is at Corinth, to the church of the Thessalonians as a few examples with leaders such as “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy-).

In other words, you can’t have a church made up of people who are not Christians with only a superficial interest in Jesus. Nor can you have people who are true Christians who are not a part of the church. You are the church. It’s only a question of how faithful you are to discharge your responsibility and to do what the Lord wants you to do as part of the church. You are the church.

I guess we could ask the question…would I want to be a member of a church that was full of people with my level of commitment?

But for some of you, you have been added to the Lord, you’re not added to the church. We don’t know where you belong. You come, you go, you float in, you float out, you’re here, you’re not here.

So, let me give you a few more reasons why you need to belong. Let me say this. I not pushing “Family Praise & Worship”, but it  is a good church, but there are other churches in this area and you need to belong. You need to be faithful to be in the Lord and in the church, known, committed, devoted, responsible and accountable. So again, I say why should one join church?

1.     It is a spiritual issue.          2.     It’s a fellowship issue.

3.     It’s an authority issue       4.    It’s a ministry issue

1 # It’s  a spiritual issue.

  • Why would you not say…I want to be a member here, known, loved, taught, respected, helped, ministered.
  • Why wouldn’t  you want to be under the leadership, protection, the care, the love by this congregation of assembled believers in this place?”

Most people would say, I’m kind of comfortable to slide in and slide out, you know, I like what I hear and it’s good experience and, you know, I’ve given my life to the Lord, just don’t want anybody expecting too much. I don’t want anybody getting too close.

You know what will happen if we get close to you?  You’re right, “ You will be  just like us”. We’re all fighting the same battle. I had a person say to me one time, I talked to them  about coming and joining  church, they  said, “Well, I’d love to come to your church but I’ve got to get my life cleaned up first.What do you think we’re here for? What do you think, we’re a bunch of people whose lives have already been cleaned up? We’re all in process all the time. I mean, there are no spiritual reasons not to do this.   Certainly no biblical ones.

  • The Bible knows nothing of a free-floating kind of free-wheeling independent Christian who comes and goes willy-nilly at his own discretion.

It only knows of those who are in the Lord and in the church and accountable to Christ and accountable, as well, to the church. It is a spiritual issue.

Hebrews10:25 (King Version) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The closer we get to the coming of the Lord, the more important it is that you be a part of the church, that you be here to stimulate one another in love and good works, that you be a part of the redeemed community. It’s all that the New Testament knows. It is inconceivable to the writers of the New Testament that somebody would be in Christ and not in the church, a local gathered group of those who are in Christ’s.

Look, you were redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. God purchased you with His own blood, to put you into the church.

Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b]

Every time a person is redeemed, the Spirit of God places them into the body of Christ. You are in the body of Christ. You are joined to the Lord, you are one with everybody else who’s joined to the Lord. Why do you resist? Why do you resist becoming a part of the local assembly of the faithful believers who are fighting the same struggles you are and who will be a great help and encouragement to you in the process?  Don’t make it anything else.

2#   it’s a fellowship issue. Philippians  2: 1-2 say, “If there’s any encouragement in Christ, if there’s any consolation of love, if there’s any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose.”

  • That’s about unity. You say you want to encourage men in your life?
  • You say you want love in your life?
  • You say you want compassion and affection in your life?

Then you will find it in the fellowship of the church. That’s why we’re here and if our fellowship is defined by anything, it’s defined by truth and love.

Note:  “You cannot live effectively in your Christian life in isolation. It has been said, You can have  a barbeque in the backyard and you can put all the coals together and they all stay hot.   But just take one and stick it outside the rest and watch what happens to it, it grows cold fast.”

  • You isolate yourself from the intimacy of fellowship in the church,
  • from people’s fellowship expectation and accountability,
  • from the opportunity to minister to them, to exercise the one anothers toward them as they exercise them for you.
  • Pray for one another, love one another, comfort one another, encourage one another, edify one another, restore one another, forgive one another.
  • All those one another’s
  • , and there’s many more. That’s what it means to engage in real fellowship.

Fellowship  is essential and purifying. It is enriching, comforting, caring, sharing, bearing one another’s burdens and thus fulfilling the law of Christ which is the law of love.

Closing: Joining the church is a spiritual and fellowship issue and much  more,  You openly demonstrate the reality of the body of Christ. When you join a church, you make it visible.  You give a living demonstration of the spiritual reality of the body of Christ. You show that even though you are an individual, you are a part of the body, you are joined together with others.  You take the body of Christ out of the realm of the abstract and give it a meaning that people can see.

I know there are those of you who are saying to yourself, “Look, I didn’t know why it’s such a  big of a deal, it’s huge. Not joining the church is saying                                                                                        I don’t want to be Accountable, I don’t want to be committed, I don’t want to be responsible,  I don’t want to have the love, comfort, expectations from a church and I don’t want to have  spiritual accountability.

See it for what it is, if you resist it, because that’s what it really is- a big deal.

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