One of the things I’ve discovered in my life is that nothing ever changes without someone making the intentional effort to do what needs to be done to make those changes. To be intentional about making these changes will require you to be committed and to get involved. I don’t think anything has ever been changed because someone sat around and griped about it. Instead, things were changed because people were committed, got involved and worked for change.
What often happens is someone looks at a particular church and sees something the church needs to be doing but then they don’t do anything about it. One thing I can promise you is that very few churches need more people to point out the things they don’t have or aren’t doing. There is generally plenty of that to go around. Instead what most churches need are for those who see these needs to be committed to the church, get involved and try to make changes.
One of the things that keep this from happening is that we are a very consumer oriented culture. We shop at the stores we like and expect to be served in the way we like. If a store or a restaurant doesn’t meet our needs or serve us as we like, then we’ll take our business elsewhere. We want things our way and if we can’t get them our way we’ll go elsewhere. I suppose this mindset is okay when it comes to stores and restaurants but it is a terrible mindset when it comes to church.
Believers in Jesus Christ should not be mere consumers when it comes to the church. Instead of being consumers in the church we are to be devoted to the church. Let me show you this in Scripture and show you what it means to be committed to the church.
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:40-47 (NKJV)
Notice that those who believed were added to “them”. Who did this refer to? It referred to the 120 or so believers who made up the church at this time. Those who were saved joined up with the church. Where were those who were being saved added? They were added to the church. There was never any sort of idea that they would believe on Jesus Christ and not be committed to the church. Commitment to the church was evidence that the person had genuinely believed on Jesus Christ and been saved. Commitment to the Church was so important that those who left the church were considered to be apostates or people that had never been saved to begin with (1 Jn 2:19).
This passage also shows us a measure of the commitment they had to the church and the type of commitment we should have to the church as well.
They met together to worship God. A part of what they did in worshipping God was to seek to understand and live out what the Apostles were teaching. It also seems that while the met together they took part in the Lord’s Supper to remind themselves about what Jesus had done for them.
They met together regularly. They met daily because they were hungry to hear God’s Word. They had a great desire to gather with other believers, worship the Christ that had saved them and then listen to preaching about Him and how they should live for Him.
They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. The idea of devoting themselves to the apostles teaching isn’t that they listened to what the apostles had to say and then when on about their business. They listened to what the apostles had to say and then made the changes necessary to bring their lives into alignment with God’s Word. What they did when they gathered together made a difference in the way they lived their lives.
They were involved in the ministry of the church. I usually define ministry as serving Jesus by serving others. We certainly see this in this passage. They shared what they had to make sure everyone had everything they needed. Some opened their homes up so they could have a place to gather and worship. It wasn’t a matter of the Apostles being the only ones who served. Instead, it was the Apostles serving in the ways God equipped them to while the rest of the believers served in the ways God equipped them to serve. Each one had a part and each one did their part. As they did this, the church fulfilled their God given mission of making disciples.
Being committed to church means more than occasionally showing up to Sunday morning church. When we are committed to the church, we will faithfully attend the services of the church, we are changed through the teaching in the church and we are involved in the ministry of the church. Anything less isn’t commitment regardless of what we say. Our commitment to church flows out of our commitment to Christ. Those who are committed to Christ will be committed to the Church He founded and died to purchase (Acts 20:28).