12 Step Program: How to commit to the church (pt. 2)

Part. 1

7. Give Sacrificially

Commitment to the local church requires that you give sacrificially to the church.  Proverbs 3:9 is clear in its teaching.  1 Corinthians 9:6-7 is also clear in its teaching; we must give generously and cheerfully to the church.  This is a requirement for commitment to the local church.  If you are not giving monetarily to the church you are in sin (with the exception of extreme circumstances like you don’t have a job).  Sometimes it is hard to give to the church, especially when you don’t have much.  But God’s word is clear.  If we trust God to provide for our needs then we are going to give to the church.  Furthermore, if the church is a priority for us then we are going to give our money to the church before we spend it on things like entertaining ourselves.

8. Take your commitment seriously

When you join a local church and make a commitment to that church you are entering into a covenant with that church.  Understand that your church is not just another organization that you are a part of.  God has placed in you in that church, you have entered a covenant with that church, now you need to take that commitment seriously.

9. Humbly Listen and Apply God’s word

Show up on Sunday morning ready to humbly prepared to apply the sermon to your own life.  It is so easy to be critical of our pastors and pick on their shortcomings in the area of preaching.  However, even if all the pastor does is read God’s word on Sunday then the Spirit can still use that to change our lives.  As C.J. Mahanney has taught on many occasions, we will be held accountable for what we have heard on Sunday mornings no matter how the pastor delivered it to us. This does not mean that we should ignore heresy, wrong doctrine, or an inappropriate use of God’s word.  It simply means that we shouldn’t elevate our own “preaching preferences.”  Rather, we should look take a long look at our own hearts before we criticize the preaching of someone else.  And then, after the service, don’t have “roasted pastor” for lunch!  Instead talk about all the ways that God convicted you through His word.

10. Guard your attitude

Because of our pride it is easy to get a bad attitude about the church we attend, the people in it, and the leaders of it.  We must be aware of this and guard our attitudes.  If we are consistently struggling to love our church and the people of it then something has gone array with our attitudes.

11. Never Gossip

During WWII the Navy had a says that “loose lips sink ships.”  Well, the same thing is true for churches.  That is why if you are committed to your local church you will not gossip.  Gossip is so dangerous for churches for a few reasons:

  • It is sin (Romans 1:29)
  • It doesn’t deal with conflict biblically (Prov. 10:12, Matthew 18:15-18)
  • It leads others into sin (Prov. 20:19)
  • It creates misconceptions (Prov. 18:17)

12. Practice the “One Anothers”

The biblical standard for how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ has been outlined in Scripture.  Unfortunately there are many times when we are either ignorant about how we should treat other Christians, or we neglect the biblical principles.  If you want to commit to the local church it means committing to the people of your local church, which means that you need to practice the “one anothers” toward them.  These “one anothers” begin with loving one another, and then extend out into every area of our relationships applying that love.  Here is a practical tip, print up a list of all the “one anothers” in the New Testament and keep it somewhere that you will see it frequently.  Then, as you go through your week, check yourself to see how you are doing.