Tom always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye. It was time in the church office for that delicate task of publishing the membership directory. Of course each year new families move in, old families move on and, well, some people you’re just not sure about. So Tom and the secretary were sorting out the list. As Tom dictated the names, he would say something like,”Jones, Smith, Brown FBPO.”
Finally the secretary interrupted and asked, “Brown FBPO?”
Tom looked up and grinned. “We haven’t seen them in so long, they are members of this congregation ‘For Burial Purposes Only.'”
Ouch! But I remember calling a couple that hadn’t attended in two years and asking if they still wanted to be included in the directory? Horrified he exclaimed, “Of course! We’ll be back just as soon as the bowling league is finished!” FBPO.
So what is “membership”? You will search in vain for the term in the New Testament. The Bible says, “And the Lord added daily to their number those who were being saved,” Acts 2:47. In other words, the Canyon View congregation doesn’t decide who is a member and who isn’t. It’s the Lord’s Church and He decides who is and isn’t a member. The famous actor W.C. Fields was in the hospital and started looking through a Bible that had been placed beside his bed. His wife came in and was shocked. “What are you doing W. C.? I didn’t think you believed in such things!”
“I’m looking for loopholes my dear.”
Lest you are tempted to think having your name in the church directory is the same as having it in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they’re not the same. There are no loopholes!
“So what must I do to become a Christian/member?” Like the answer to so many questions, the answer is, “It depends.” For example, if you were riding the trolly and asked someone, “How far is Old Town station?” The answer would depend on where you were when you asked the question. So let’s find out where you are.
1. Do you believe? Not just an intellectual assent but do you truly trust God?
2. Are you sorry? A true Christian has repented of the selfish rebellion against God called “sin.”
3. Are you willing to say so? A Christian will publicly confess both their sin and their faith in Jesus.
4. Have you been baptized? Baptism, complete immersion in water as an adult, represents the death of the old selfish life and is described as the “new birth.” At that point the Bible says the Lord adds you to His Church.
“So what’s after that?”
That’s just the beginning of a grand adventure! From that day forward, we are being transformed, becoming more and more like our older brother Jesus — unless you are a member, FBPO.