header image
Home arrow Sermons (Main Index) arrow Articles & Topical Series arrow Topical Series - Church Covenants arrow Church Covenant - Introduction and Statements one and two
Church Covenant - Introduction and Statements one and two Print E-mail
Church Covenants

I.  Introduction:

 Tonight we begin our look at the proposed covenant together.  I encourage questions and comments during this whole process.  I will ask that we try and stick to whatever part of the covenant that we are discussing.  For example, tonight we are looking at the introduction and the first two statements, so we want our discussion to center on these.  Yet, if you have questions about the covenant in general they can be appropriate as well.  That being said, letís look at the introduction.

II.  Introduction and Statements one and two

 A.  Introduction: Having been led by the Spirit of God to repent of our sins and place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we do now, before God and each other, enter into covenant as one body in Christ.

  1.  Thoughts: As we said last week, the basis for our covenant together is the fact that we are professing participants in the New Covenant.  By Godís grace, we have repented of our sins and placed our faith in Christ.  We have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.  Thus, everything that we are committing to do in this covenant is based upon this truth.  We freely admit that a person who does not claim to be a believer in Christ cannot submit to this covenant.  We believe in regenerate Church membership and the covenant reflects that.  The last statement makes a clear connection with our Church covenant and the New Covenant we have in Christ.

 In Acts, when a person repented of their sins and placed their faith in Christ, they were baptized (see Acts 2:37-38, 41; 8:12-13; 10:44-48).  It seems from these passages  that baptism was a prerequisite for membership in the believing community.  Thus, we  also have a statement on baptism. Some on the committee, myself included, struggled with the exclusivity of our statement concerning baptism.  The way it is stated there are certain believers who could not submit to this covenant because of their baptism (those baptized as infants).  I struggle with excluding these people from our membership over this issue.  Yet, we wanted this statement to agree with our current Constitution which requires believersí baptism for membership and so we left it as it is.

  2.  Questions or comments?
 
 B.  Statement one: Because we are one in Christ, we will be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit.  Putting aside pride and considering others more important than ourselves, we will gladly submit to one another and constantly aim for unity in our beliefs and practices.

  1.  Thoughts: Before we look at this statement in particular, let me say a word  about how we wanted to formulate each statement.  Each statement begins with an  indicative, or a statement about who we are in Christ.  Then, following the indicative, we  move to the imperative or what we are called to do.  We did it this way to emphasize the fact that everything we do as believers is contingent upon who we already are in Christ.  Thus, the commands, or imperatives, follow on the truth of who we are, or indicatives.  We see this type of construction over and over again in the New Testament letters and so  we wanted to adopt it here.
 This first statement deals with the issue of unity.  We strive for unity because we are already one in Christ. 

This is what Paul is saying in Ephesians 4:3-4.  Look at those verses.  Because there is one body and one Spirit, we are commanded to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit.  Our faith in Christ is the basis of our unity and we are called to live that out in our relationships.  In order to consider others as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4), we must put aside our pride and arrogance, which is so  often the cause of disunity.  Instead, we should be like Christ, which is what Paul is telling us to do in the Philippians passage.  Look at that with me.  Unity requires that we be willing to submit to one another at times, which is what Paul commands in Ephesians 5:21.  Look at that verse with me.  There will be times when we Ďdonít get our way.í  But  that does not have to divide us.  Rather, we can be committed to submitting to each other in those times.  In all of this our constant aim is unity, which is where the Lord is leading us as He matures us in the faith.  Look at Ephesians 4:13.  We will never be completely unified on our beliefs and practices on this side of heaven, but we can make it our aim and goal.

  2.  Questions or comments?

 C.  Statement two: Since Christ loved us and gave His life for us, we will lay down our lives for one another.  We will weep when others weep, and rejoice when others rejoice.  We will affectionately care for and watch over one another, knowing that without love we are nothing.

  1.  Thoughts: Our second statement deals with our love for one another.  We love  each other because of Christís love for us.  His love for us is the basis for our love for one  another.  He gave His life for us and we are called to do the same for each other.  Look at 1 John 3:16.  Just as Christ sacrificially loved us, so should we love one another.  We do  this by weeping and rejoicing together.  Look at Romans 12:15.  Likewise we do this by  watching over each other.  Look at Philippians 2:1-2.  Again, Paul calls us to have deep  affection for one another.  Look also at Hebrews 13:17.  Our leaders are called to keep  watch over our souls and we are called to submit to and obey such oversight.  They are to do this for our own good.  In the end, Paul makes it clear that we can do a whole lot of  things, even good things, but if we have not love, then we are nothing.  Look at 1 Corinthians 13:2.  Thus, we are to be committed to loving one another.

  2.  Questions or comments?

III.  Conclusion:
 Next week we will be considering the next three statements.  Letís close with prayer.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 August 2009 )

User Comments


Page 1 of 0 ( 0 User Comments )
©2006 MosCom

Add comments to this article: Church Covenant - Introduction and ... ...

Enter your comment below.

Name (required)

E-Mail (required)
Your email will not be displayed on the site - only to our administrator
Homepage

Comment (supported) [BBcode]

Newsflash

We invite you to visit our new Facebook page

Read more...

Click below for the Advent Daily Devotional written by our pastor

Read more...

Download or read our new church covenant

Read more...

Don't Waste Your Cancer

Read more...
ESV Search

 
(e.g., John 1 or God's love)

Polls
Who's Online
We have 69 guests online
Visitors: 7880738