What are the duties of Christians as respects their membership in the congregation?
Church membership is not an optional thing for Christians. Christ does not simply make "lone ranger" or "free agent"
Christians when we are brought to faith through the Gospel of salvation (Romans 10:17; Romans 1:16; Acts 2:42).
As taken from the Constitution of Gloria Christi Lutheran Church:
"4.3 Members of the congregation shall endeavor to conform their entire lives to the rule of God's Word, and to that
end make diligent use of the Means of Grace, exercise faithful stewardship of God's many gifts and talents, impart and accept
fraternal admonition as the need of such admonition become apparent, and readily be available for service in the Kingdom of
Christ within and beyond the congregation."
"This congregation accepts without reservation:
3.1 The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice;
3.2 All the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition
of the Word of God, to wit: the three Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed), the
Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Large Catechism of Luther,
the Small Catechism of Luther, and the Formula of Concord, as contained in the Book of Concord.
3.3 No doctrine or practice in conflict with, or inconsistent with the above confessional standards of our faith
and life shall be taught or tolerated in or by this congregation."
The Six Duties of the Local Congregation
(adapted from C.F.W. Walther’s The Proper Form of an Evangelical Congregation)
C. F. W. Walther, a Lutheran theologian of the 19th century and first Missouri Synod president, summarizes
the duties of the local church as follow. (Notice how each duty is supported by numerous Scripture passages.)
It is the duty of the congregation carefully to see to it that the Word of God may richly dwell and have full and free
scope in its midst. Col. 3:16: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.”
It is the duty of the congregation to care for the purity of doctrine and life in its midst and to exercise church discipline
in these matters. Matt. 18:15-18: ‘If thy brother shall trespass against thee, . . . let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Rom. 16:17: “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.”
1 Cor. 5:1-13: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? . . . Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
1 Cor.6:1-8; 2 Cor.2:6-11. Gal. 6:1: “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.” 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6,14,15. 2 John 10,11: “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed.”
It is the duty of the congregation to concern itself also with the temporal welfare of all its members that they may not
suffer want of the necessaries of life nor be forsaken in any need. Gal.6:10: “Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Deut. 15:4. Rom. 12:13: “Distributing to the necessity of saints.” Gal. 2:9,10; Jas. 1 :27; 1 Thess. 4:11,12.
It is the duty of the congregation to see that in its midst “all things be done decently and in order,” 1 Cor. 14:33, 40, and to “provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men,” 2 Cor. 8:21. Col. 2:5.
It is the duty of the congregation to be diligent “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” also
with all parts of the orthodox Church, in other words to join in synod with other orthodox congregations, Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 4:9,10; Rom. 15:26, 27; 2 Cor. 8:19.
It is also incumbent upon the congregation to do its part in building up and promoting the welfare of the Church at large,
in other words to evangelize. Amos 6:6; Acts 11:21-23 (“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas
that he should go as far as Antioch,” etc.); Acts 15:18.
Biblical Passages on Christian
Stewardship of Time, Talents and Treasures
Proverbs 3 :5-10 -
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;fear the LORD and depart
from evil.8 It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your
bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10So
your barns will be filled with plenty,and your vats will overflow with new wine.
Psalm 31:14-15 - 14
But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are
in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
Psalm 116:12-14 - 12
What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me? 13 I will take up the cup of salvation,
and call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people.
Genesis 4:2-7 - Now
Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that
Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn
of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain
and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.6
So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will
you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule
James 4:13-16 - 13
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and
make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life?
It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If
the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting
I Timothy 6:6-10 -
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, andit is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts
which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for
which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 John 2:15-17 - 15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not
of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will
of God abides forever.
Luke 12:29-34 - 29
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these
things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom
of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s
good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which
do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Galatians 6:6-10 -
6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived,
God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the
flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not
grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have
opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Philippians 2:4 - Let
each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
I Corinthians 6:19-20
- 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from
God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your
spirit, which are God’s.