In this final article of the series “Examining the Documents of the Church” I will consider how two of the three man-made documents of the church should relate to established and faithful members of the church.
In previous articles we have defined the documents and examined how they should be used for potential new members and for members in need. These are the areas in which these documents are most often used. However, I believe it is important that we consider how they should be used in the lives of those most faithful members.
In order to frame this discussion I would like to see these documents as equivalent to the marriage vows. As such, I ask the question, “Do the marriage vows stop being important in a long lasting and happy marriage?”
Isn’t My Faithfulness Enough
Certainly a member that attends each week, is faithful to assist the church through labor and giving, and studies during the week is a great asset to the church and should be highly valued and cherished by all. However, is this truly where a membership should stop? Is this member maxing out on their Godly living?
1 Corinthians 3:2
“I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”
Defense is Greater than Belief
So what role should the Articles of Faith play in the life of an established and faithful church member? The question must be asked in this case – “While you know what you believe, can you defend what you believe?” The faithful and dedicated church member should be consistently returning unto the Articles of Faith in order to become not just a believer, but an adequately armed defender of The Faith. The dedicated believer should be seeking to grow past needing the milk and be able to bear the meat of the gospel. It should not be left unto the ministers to be the sole defenders of The Faith. The Articles of Faith provide the tool and resource necessary for one to become a defender.
The Beauty of Unity
In the context of the documents being equivalent to the marriage vows, I associate the church covenant as being like the wedding ceremony. For most, the wedding ceremony was a moment of jubilation in the beauty of the unity you were entering into. The things remembered are rarely the actual words that were spoken, but rather the power of the moment and the love you felt. The church covenant should be the same for a new member. It should express the beauty of the family of God and the happiness in being a part of the church. However, as time moves along the excitement and jubilation seem to wear off and the mundane task of living takes over. The same is true in the life of the church. The jubilation of showing up each Sunday is lost. The pure joy of just being a part of the church is lost. The established member should return again to the church covenant and bring back to mind the beauty of the church in the first days.
Let us be faithful defenders of The Faith and find joy in that walk of life.
Check back next week as I begin to “Examine the Articles of Faith” in more depth.
May the Lord bless you this week!