This is part two of a series of posts on reasons to join a Bible-believing church. Check out part one here. This was written by Dr. Bruce Lackey
Reason #5 THERE WAS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND OUTSIDERS.
Acts 5:11 contrasts “the church” with others who “heard these things.” It is referring to the surprising deaths of Ananias and Sapphira when it says “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.”
Therefore, it must have been common knowledge that some specific persons belonged to the church, while others did not. And we must remember that the Holy Spirit inspired these words, so it was actually He that made this difference.
Reason #6 SOME PEOPLE DID NOT DARE TO JOIN THE CHURCH!
Immediately after the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, and subsequent miracles by the apostles, Acts 5:13 tells us that “of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.”
It was common knowledge who belonged to this new church, and after such a harsh judgment on two members who did not conform, some people did not dare to join them! Some belonged; others dared not join, for one reason or another. When one joins, there is a membership!
Reason #7 SPECIFIC MEMBERS ELECTED OFFICERS.
The apostles commanded the congregation, “Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business” (Acts 6:3).
They were speaking to a specific group whom they knew as “brethren”; they said that these men were to be chosen from “among you,” obviously designating a specific group of people. Any way we look at this, there must have been a membership.
Reason #8 THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE CHURCHES INCREASED.
Acts 9:31 clearly implies membership by saying, “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”
There had to be a number of people to start with, and a bigger number when they were multiplied. To say that 50 people became 250 is to designate a membership.
Reason #9 THE CHURCHES WHICH PAUL ESTABLISHED “INCREASED IN NUMBER DAILY” (Acts 16:5).
Such a statement would have been impossible unless they had had a specific number to begin with. If 23 were increased to 25 on Sunday, 28 on Monday, etc., there was obviously a membership to start with.
And it is significant that all believers in those areas were considered to be in the churches. The same situation prevailed everywhere Paul went; when people were converted, they were organized into churches. See Acts 14:21-23 and 15:36, compared with 16:4-5.
Reason #10 ELDERS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR CERTAIN PEOPLE.
The Ephesian elders were told to feed the church of God, the flock, over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers (Acts 20:28). Obviously, the church, the flock, was a specific group of people. How else could these elders carry out their responsibilities? It had to be clearly known who made up the church, the flock. Such would be a membership.
Feel free to comment below. There is one more post in this series to come.