Membership of church is not a right, but a privilege. When the body of Christ assembles together, you should be there, not because you deserve it, but because you are grateful to God for it.

We live in a secular age in which popular society has invented for itself the illusory concept of ‘human rights’. God however is not bound by His creation’s self-centred expectations of any rights they feel they may merit. Salvation is therefore God’s invention, His instigation as sole originator of the scheme, His gift of totally unmerited favour to Adams’s universal fallen race of naturally blackhearted blasphemers, children of Satan, enemies of God.

No human being could or would ever have conceived such a scheme as redemption through the death of the Creator’s Son, for pride would soon darken their minds to the beauty and logic of it, and at first thought they would reject such a scheme as unsettling and insulting and worthy of no further line of enquiry, just as they in fact do, for it is the invention of a holy God, and therefore distasteful to sinful man. And in like manner, the blessings and paraphernalia accompanying salvation, namely the church, are also God’s invention, His ordinance, His gift, the church’s mystic comforts, luxury, empowerment, protection and fellowship being as undeserved by humanity as salvation itself. Therefore no person, no, not even any Christian, should presume church attendance as a right.

Without God, there would be no church. And that church is God’s. No human being has the right to walk into a church building, sit in the pews and take for granted the fellowship of the saints and presume to a component place in the Body of Christ Himself! For we are but vile sinners, incapable of coming to Christ unless God draw us (John 6:44). We have no right to church. It is God alone who invites us, He alone who chooses who shall and who shall not join the household of faith.

Therefore, in Acts 2:47, there is an important statement: “the Lord added to the church daily, such as should be saved”. For in spite of our unworthiness, and our deserving of Hell, God instead chooses us to receive forgiveness to be able to join the divine family and inherit an eternity in Heaven as was first intended for our common father Adam. It is not by our own will or merit, but the Lord himself who adds us to His church. Thus, nobody gets saved who shouldn’t be saved. And nobody gets lost who should be saved. And when you are saved, God sets you in the body of Christ, as, and when, and where, it pleases Him. The church is for God’s pleasure, God’s purpose, and God’s will.

So with these facts in mind, consider again how the communion supper, that solemn celebration of church membership, should be administered: For a Christian cannot fully understand who should be excluded from the communion table until you understand why you could graciously be allowed inclusion in it. In pondering this, we should thus be able to see the communion table as a grave and sacred place. The communion table is a holy place, a pure place, a purged place, and a privileged place. And it’s a hidden place, not exposed high up and open like on the cross, where the suffering Christ was lifted up and made a spectacle to those who jeered and hated Him. No, the communion table is hidden, as it were, in a valley. In a wooded glade, deep in a forest, far away from public gaze, far away from the broad way that leadeth to destruction, and found instead only by a few who pass through the narrow gate and find the path through the forest that leadeth to life… Under the old cedar tree, under the cross, under the thorns, under the ivy, there sits the communion table, cold and silent under the shadow of death, still stained black with blood, the unremoveable evidence of a murderous horror that happened two thousand years ago, in the fullness of time, by the pre-ordinate will and counsel of God the Father, to redeem such as he will call. There sits the communion table, and to sit on Christ’s right hand, or His left, is not even His to give (Mark 10:40) much less can a place be granted or assumed by mere human agency, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared from the foundation of the world, (Mark 10:40, Ephesians 1:3-5)

And when the body assembles together, if you are a church member, then you should be there, because His blood was shed for you. It is for God’s pleasure, God’s purpose, and God’s will, that you join a church and gratefully take part in the communion supper in remembrance of what God has done for you.


Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2019, The Association of Historic Baptists