Isn’t it interesting that those behind the feminist movement are silent when parents choose to terminate the life in the womb based on the sex? This just goes to show we can be blinded by our own agenda. Their silence is nonsensical.
This Sunday, our church will begin a new series through the Gospel of John. For weeks, I have been anticipating the transition into this series. With a few breaks in the fall and early spring, it should take us a little over a year to walk through the twenty-one chapters. In getting ready for this series, I thought it would be helpful to identify some theological themes found throughout the book that we will uncover in the weeks and months ahead. This is not a complete list, but a beginning nonetheless. Can’t wait to begin the journey of You, Follow Me this Sunday.
- John’s presentation of who Jesus is, lies at the heart of all that makes John’s gospel distinctive. Titles like Lamb of God, Word, and I am are distinctive to only John’s works. Christ is functionally subordinate to him, and does only those things that the Father gives him to say and do, but he does everything that the Father does, since the Father shows him everything that he himself does. This is certainly a mouthful, but it’s one of the reasons John’s Gospel is so great. It is richly theological and requires more than a surface reading to understand at times.
- John’s gospel has an incredible emphasis on the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation. At the baptism of Christ, the Spirit was given. He, the Spirit, is referred to as the paraklete, which has been described by some as the most pregnant expression to the substance of the Spirits’ work as any in the New Testament.
- The complexities that bind together election, faith, and the function of signs deserves some reflection. John holds men and women responsible for believing; unbelief is morally culpable. If faith is present in our lives, it is a consequence of what has been revealed.
Recently, I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about what makes a healthy church member? Over the past few years, books, articles, and journal entries abound on the subject. This is a terrific trend! If I were to boil a healthy church member (not literally) down to a couple of things, here is how I would describe one:
- Authentically Converted– you cannot have true membership apart from a truly regenerate person.
- Text-Driven Listener– they know how to distinguish a sermon geared around morality and topics verses a sermon that is geared around the style, substance, and structure of the text.
- Prayer Driven– the old cliché “little prayer, little power-much prayer, much power,” still holds true. To get an accurate look at where a person is spiritually, all you have to observe is their prayer life.
- Committed Attendance– part of being in a faith community is consistency in the gatherings.
- Gospel Centered– everything the member does, is used to promote, proclaim, and live out the gospel.
- Maturing Disciple– this goes without saying, but when you are genuinely converted, you will progress in your sanctification and make other disciples.
- Humble Advocate– while this person has a deep robust understanding of the Scriptures, they walk in humility with their brethren and seek the welfare of the rest of the body.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but a beginning place nonetheless. Distinguishing health in a member verses holding up a check list of righteousness for them is a delicate act to balance. Some of these are non-negotiables, while others are things to strive for. The bottom line, membership matters and defining what makes a healthy member is foundational to a healthy church.