What we are supposed to do for “one another”

Leviticus 19:11
11 “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.

John 13:14
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

John 13:34
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

John 13:35
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Romans 12:10
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:16
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Romans 13:8
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:13
13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Romans 15:7
7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15:14
14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.

Romans 16:16
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 1:10
10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

Galatians 5:13
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Ephesians 4:2
2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

Ephesians 4:32
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 5:19
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,

Ephesians 5:21
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Colossians 3:13
13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:9
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices

Philippians 4:2
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.

Ephesians 4:32
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Galatians 5:26
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Galatians 6:2
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:25
25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Galatians 5:15
15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

1 Corinthians 11:33
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—

Romans 1:12
12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

Ephesians 4:16
16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Philippians 2:3-5
3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Our Covenant with Each Other

As we trust we have been brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the influence of His Spirit to give ourselves up to Him, so we do most solemnly covenant with each other, that God enabling us, We will walk together in brotherly love:

That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, rebuke and admonish one another as the case shall require; and in all things we will seek and guard the honor and the true function of the church;

That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor omit the great duty of prayer, both for ourselves together, and for others; and for the enterprises of the Kingdom of God;

That we will share in each other’s joys, and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy, to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows;

That we will seek divine aid to enable us to walk circumspectly and watchfully in the world, denying ungodliness and every worldly lust;

That we will endeavor by example and effort to win souls to Christ, and through life, amidst evil report and good report seek to live to the glory of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

What we have covenanted with each other

Another reminder to myself, as well as to fellow IBC brothers and sisters:

As we trust we have been brought by divine grace to embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the influence of His Spirit to give ourselves up to Him, so we do most solemnly covenant with each other, that God enabling us, We will walk together in brotherly love:

That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, rebuke and admonish one another as the case shall require; and in all things we will seek and guard the honor and the true function of the church;

That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor omit the great duty of prayer, both for ourselves together, and for others; and for the enterprises of the Kingdom of God;

That we will share in each other’s joys, and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy, to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows;

That we will seek divine aid to enable us to walk circumspectly and watchfully in the world, denying ungodliness and every worldly lust;

That we will endeavor by example and effort to win souls to Christ, and through life, amidst evil report and good report seek to live to the glory of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

–The Immanuel Baptist Church Covenant

What is a Church Covenant?

What is a ‘Church Covenant’?

A church covenant can be described in five different ways.

* A church covenant is a promise – a promise made to God, to a local church, and to one’s self.
* A church covenant is a summary of how we agree to live. While our statement of faith is a good summary of what we believe, our church covenant is a summary of how we agree to live – more importantly, it is a summary of how God would have us live. It does not include every explicit command regarding obedience, but it does give a general summary of what it means to live as a disciple of Christ.
* A church covenant is a sign of commitment – a commitment to God, to His church, and to personal holiness.
* A church covenant is an ethical statement. Historian Charles W. DeWeese writes, “A church covenant is a series of written pledges based on the Bible which church members voluntarily make to God and to one another regarding their basic moral and spiritual commitments and the practice of their faith” (Baptist Church Covenants, p. viii). One theologian calls church covenants the “ethical counterpart to confessions of faith.” A church covenant can be an important part of applying a Christian worldview to every aspect of our lives. Inherent in the purpose of a church covenant is the understanding that church membership involves being held accountable to live in a manner consistent with a common understanding of Scripture.
* A church covenant is a biblical standard. A church covenant is helpful in a church that is practicing Biblical church discipline. As members of a church, we exhort one another to live holy lives, and we challenge brothers and sisters persisting in sin.

Membership Matters – What is Our Church Covenant? – 9Marks

See also Mark Dever and Paul Alexander, The Deliberate Church, pg.62-63.

Church Covenants and Membership in a Local Church

For almost 10 years, since I was baptized Easter 1998 after confessing faith in Christ, I have been a member of an evangelical church that did not practice covenant church membership. Little did I know before about what it actually means to be a church member, let alone what it means to be “in covenant” with God and His bride.  In my church experience growing up in this church, all that church membership entailed were “annual general meetings” where I would check my name off on an attendance sheet; and when I turned 16 years I old I had the ability to “vote”–otherwise known as affirming what the Board of Elders had already decided.

There was no unwritten accountability between church members for personal and spiritual growth, let a lone a written and regularly read statement of what we are to do as covenanted members in the Body of Christ.  When there was care and prayer and accountability, it was in the spur of the moment–usually because somebody was going through a trying situation.  As those who were betrothed to Christ as members in this one local body, we were clueless that such a marriage relationship entailed covenantal promises and stipulations for being part of this ekklesia.

This was until January 2008 when I became a member of a small Baptist church.  This church practiced covenant church membership; and consequently but sadly, also church discipline.  Regenerate church membership is something that the Elders, Deacons and members strive for, often meaning that our hearts break when a member continues in grievous, public sin even after being counseled by numerous other church members and Elders.  When a member of the body is suffering illness, the whole body feels the pain, even as we pray for each other’s specific needs.  We lift each other up in prayer, with words of encouragement, with Scripture that sanctifies, every time we meet together in our Care Groups.  In genuiness, covenant church membership can mean much stress as well as happiness.  It takes a lot of time and effort to run after those who seem to be falling or running away. Continue reading

Jesus Didn’t Die for a Campus Ministry

I was talking to my sister earlier today about the difference between campus fellowships and the church, and the neglect of church membership of many who become Christians via campus ministries. In my mind during our conversation included the passionate pleas from men like Pastor Mark Dever and Joshua Harris — that all Christians should be a member of a local church body; for wherever there is a Christian there should also be a church member.

What was at the forefront of my mind is this recent article that my professor & dean, Dr. Russell D. Moore, wrote: “Jesus Didn’t Die for a Campus Ministry: The Spiritual Danger of Unchurched Spirituality“. I republish it here because for many of us who have been saved through or called to gospel ministry by campus ministries. With campus ministries doing a lot of church things, and with many churches today looking very unchurch-like, there is thus a deficient view of the church and an exalted view of campus ministries. And when we see people liking Jesus but not the church, this should awaken in us a desire to recover the meaning of church membership.


Katherine grinned slightly as she saw the banner out of the edge of her eye. “Welcome Back Students,” it read. The sign hung above the familiar brick building that, despite the cold, seemed to radiate with warmth and light, as students played table tennis inside. This was Katherine’s campus ministry group headquarters, a place very different from the awkward, often dead, congregation she knew back home. Here she learned to share her faith, and to cry with hurting friends. Here she learned that Christianity was about more than the Southern Gospel quartet tunes and awkward church committee meetings she’d seen at her home church. This seemed like home.

Many college and university students know exactly why Katherine resonates more with her campus ministry than with any particular local church. A campus ministry can be unmatched in helping students connect with other like-minded believers, especially in an ideologically hostile academic or social setting. Campus ministries can help equip Christian students to defend the faith, to serve the poor, to be held accountable to one another. A good campus ministry is a gift from our Christ. But it is no church.

The reason many college students identify primarily with a campus ministry rather than with a church is not because of any flaw in most campus ministry organizations. It is because, too often, we evangelical Christians have a deficient view of the church. We assume that it is any gathering of people who believe in Jesus and who do churchly things. Many Christians assume the church exists simply to help us learn more about Christ and pool our resources for missions. If that’s the case, a campus ministry can do all those things, and more. But the Scriptures tell us the church is much more than that.

In the Bible, a local church–with all its ridiculous flaws–is an unveiling of the mystery of the universe (Eph 3:6). The church is in a one-flesh union with Jesus so that, as in a marriage, everything that belongs to Him belongs to her (Eph 5:22-33). A congregation, in covenant with one another as an assembly of Christ’s people, is a colony of the coming global reign of Christ (Eph 1:22-23), a preview of what the Kingdom of Jesus will look like in the end (1 Cor 6:1-8). Where there is a covenant among believers, a disciplined community of faith, the spirit of Jesus is present among them, just as God was present among the people of Israel in the temple of old (Matt 18:15-20). When the church judges a repentant sinner to be a genuine believer, the congregation is speaking with the authority of Jesus when they plunge him beneath the waters (Matt 28:18-19). When the church judges an unrepentant sinner to be persistent in his rebellion, it is with the authority of Jesus that the congregation pronounces him to be a stranger to the people of God (1 Cor 5: 4-5; Matt 18:15-20). When we gather for worship as a congregation in covenant with one another, we are not simply fueling our individual quiet times with praise choruses. We are instead actually ascending to the heavenly places together, standing before Christ and all of his angels on Mount Zion (Heb 12:18-29). Continue reading

Unnecessary & Hindering: Reaching Out Without Being There

How can a local church community reach out to its immediate surrounding community with the gospel of Jesus Christ, if its members do not live there and have no intentions of moving there?

As I gather on this Lord’s Day with brothers and sisters of my local church, I am encouraged and challenged by the large numbers of church members who have moved into the immediate community of the church so that they would be able to live as the hands and feet of Jesus, so that they could proclaim the gospel through building relationships with their neighbors.  I am convicted of living where I live, on campus of Southern Seminary, without any intention of moving off campus.

So often I’ve seen churches who just plan programs and activities and just “wait” for people to see them there, waiting even longer for somebody — anybody — to ask them “why” they are doing these programs and having these activities.  Without any plan to get the gospel to the neighborhood, and without any plan to proclaim the good news to the people who come for those “outreach” activities, such churches are left stagnant and un-growing, and even worse, less than a handful of people are added to their numbers yearly if any.  The worship and sermons during Sunday Services lack Christ-centerdness and further lacks a clear presentation of the gospel in every sermon.

Church members don’t live in the church’s surrounding community, and even worse, they live very far away.  As if such wasn’t bad enough, new young couples move out of the neighborhood instead of moving in, for their own pastor is not even an example of “reaching out by being there”.  Maybe he preaches one thing (“Dearly beloved, let us move into the community!”) and lives out another (he lives far away from the church in another city).  Such hypocrisy is not only a failure to be an example to the church body, but is completely unhelpful in encouraging church members to heed his preaching.

Further, parishioners argue that proclaiming the substitutionary atonement in every sermon and worship set is not necessary, because they assume that unbelievers already know that that is why the church exists, because they assume that believers no longer need the gospel after becoming a Christian.  Little do they know that nonchristians and unbelievers are visiting their churches every Sunday, yearning to hear of the hope of a God who has crushed His son Jesus for their sins, looking for a gracious God whom they could put their faith in — One who is worthy to be praised.

If only those parishioners would know that the very thing that they think is unnecessary and hindering to the church’s ministry is the very thing that their neighbors desperately need: the good news of Christ and him crucified, a friend who would come next door and sit with them every week to hear about Jesus’ redeeming blood.

Can Women be in Authority over Men in the Local Church?

This is a simple question that requires a biblical answer: Can a woman be in authority over a man in the local church? For in this question, the purity of the local church is revealed in how it is answered.  Whether or not a church truly permits women to be in authority over men is seen through the actual function and structure of the church itself.

In recent years, the church in the west has answered this question in ways that contradicts the whole council of God in his Word.  From a standpoint of supposed biblical equality, women have been given authority over men in the local church.  The positions, roles, and functions of women in the church has found its birth not in the local church per se, but at home and in the level of the family.  We ought to be attentive to such trajectory of our own local church, and the direction of our denomination at large.  We must keep a close watch at where the evangelical church is going in this day and age.  As we do so, what we find may surprise us, if not frighten us to the very core of our faith.

Numerous so-called evangelical churches today have women in the Elder Board. In these churches, the Elder Board does not function like a “council of elders” as commanded by the Bible — with men exercising spiritual leadership and being gifted to teach — but rather as an administrative board that follows worldly, unchristian business models of organization and structure.  Some Baptist churches also have women pastors on their paid staff, and even more significantly, some congregations have ordained women as “Reverends“, as well as inviting women to be guest preachers for their Sunday Services.

Other Protestant churches who desire to be more biblical may not have women in such authoritative positions or formal teaching roles, but they do allow women to be in other teaching (and thus, authoritative) roles.  Women are Sunday school teachers, teaching hermeneutics or books of the Bible over younger Christians — which inevitably include men.  And further, even many young girls in their teens and early twenties are leading Bible study over other Christian guys.  Or maybe the girls are very skilled and trained musically, leading worship music for fellowship gatherings and Sunday services.

These are but a handful of examples where I’ve heard of many congregations falling away from a biblical understanding of leadership and authority in the home and the local church.  Many of these areas of ministry described are at their foundation shepherding responsibilities that have a pastoral emphasis.  But despite the fact that many women in these examples are not “pastors” or “elders” in local churches, these roles and functions are all being done by women, and in essence the women are exercising authority over and teaching doctrine to many men in the local church in varying degrees.  Women in many Christian homes and churches are not only taking care of servant tasks in the household of the family and of the church, but they are exercising authority and spiritual leadership over men

Whether this be an organized authority or simply something that “just happened,” this has in many places become the accepted norm, and thus is now something that regenerate church members of both genders accept and do not even argue about.  Maybe you’ve heard similar words like these:  “There’s wrong with this — it’s just the way things are done in my home and my church!  I think the Bible promotes equality between me and my husband.  I should be allowed to teach Bible lessons at church as he does!” Continue reading