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What You Need To Know Before Joining Our Church (Part 9)

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2. Doctrinal disagreements
A. If you have a doctrinal disagreement with anything that the church believes or that the pastor has taught, you must take it up with only the pastor.
i. The pastor is responsible to maintain doctrinal purity in the church (Tit 2:7).
ii. The pastor is responsible to maintain doctrinal unity in the church (Eph 4:11-13).
iii. The pastor must charge church members to teach no other doctrine (1Ti 1:3).
iv. Therefore, it is the pastor alone that doctrinal disagreements must be addressed with.
B. Discussing doctrinal disagreements with other church members, or promoting beliefs or ideas that are contrary to what the pastor has taught, will only cause strife, variance, confusion, and division in the church, which must not happen (1Co 1:10).
C. If the pastor is wrong in something that he has taught, then respectfully and privately address it with him and attempt to convert him from the error of his way (Jam 5:19-20).
i. Once he has been converted from his error, he can convert the rest of the church.
ii. If the pastor is still convinced that he is right after you have made your case, then consider what he has said.
iii. If possible, it would be wise to drop it for a while and pray to God for more understanding.
iv. If after due consideration you are still convinced that the pastor is wrong, then admonish him a second time (Tit 3:10).
v. If he doesn't change his mind after the second admonition, then reject him (Tit 3:10) and charge him with heresy before the church and let the church decide if he is innocent or guilty.
a. If the church finds the pastor guilty, he will be excluded for heresy (Gal 5:19-21).
b. If the church finds the pastor innocent, you will be excluded for heresy (Gal 5:19-21).
vi. This is not merely theoretical.
a. In the Minneapolis Church which I pastored for five years, I allowed and encouraged a brother to do the very steps that I listed above.
b. He ended up charging me with heresy before the church.
c. I gave him my pulpit and allowed him to accuse me of heresy and to try to make his case to the church.
d. Afterwards I defended the doctrine that I had always taught, and the church sided with me, and he was excluded for heresy.
D. See sermons on Dealing With Problems in the Church.
3. Problems with the pastor
A. If you have a problem with your pastor personally, talk to him about it (Pro 25:9).
B. If you think he has made an error in a judgment call, talk to him about it (Pro 25:9).
C. Do not whisper, talebear, or backbite behind your pastor's back.
D. If you can't come to an agreement and be at peace, you can choose to part company (Act 15:38-40) and join another church of like-faith.
i. This is not merely theoretical.
ii. When I pastored the Minneapolis Church, I allowed brethren to transfer to another church of like-faith when they had a problem with me.
E. See sermon on Dealing With a Beef With Your Pastor.
F. See sermons on Dealing With Problems in the Church.

VI. Church discipline
1. The church must be a holy body (1Co 3:16-17; 1Co 5:6).
2. If a member defiles himself, he must be removed (1Co 5:7).
3. There are lists of sins in the Bible that are sins for which the church must exclude members (1Co 5:11; 1Co 6:9-10; Rom 1:29-32; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:3-5; 2Th 3:6-15; 2Ti 3:1-5).
4. If a member commits one of the sins in those lists and it is commonly known among the church (1Co 5:1), the church must put him out of the church (1Co 5:4-5, 13).
5. This is done by barring him from eating the Lord's Supper with the church (1Co 5:7-8, 11), excluding him from keeping the ordinance of feetwashing, and disallowing him to have any say in church matters or decisions.
6. If the sin is not commonly known, but is only known by one or a very small number of church members, the offender can be addressed privately by one of the members, and if he repents, the offence can be covered and doesn't need to be brought before the church (Jam 5:19-20).
7. The purpose of church discipline is to bring the sinner to godly, sorrowful repentance for what he has done (2Co 2:6-7).
8. If the excluded brother exhibits a broken and penitent spirit for what he has done and seeks restoration to the church, he will be required to complete a one year (1Co 16:1-2 c/w 2Co 8:10 & 2Co 9:2) probationary period to prove that his repentance is genuine and sincere, after which he will be restored to church membership (2Co 2:6-8).
9. See sermon series on Church Discipline.

VII. The serious nature of church membership
1. Being baptized is a commandment from God that all believers must obey (Act 2:38).
2. In order to be a disciple of Christ, a man must be baptized, which is the first step in his walk with Christ.
3. Being baptized adds a man to a local church (Act 2:41-42) and makes him a Christian (Joh 4:1 c/w Act 11:26).
A. Being baptized doesn't make one a child of God -- the grace of God does that.
B. Being baptized makes a child of God into a disciple of Christ, which is a Christian.
4. The local church is the kingdom of God (Luk 22:29-30 c/w 1Co 10:16-17)
A. The kingdom of God (local church) is entered by baptism (Luk 7:29-30 c/w Mat 21:31-32 c/w Luk 16:16).
B. See sermons on The Kingdom of God.
5. Therefore, in order to remain a Christian and a disciple of Christ, one must be a faithful member of His church which is His kingdom.
6. Never look back once you have put your hand to the plough (Luk 9:62).
7. Those that forsake assembling with the saints will be judged severely by God (Heb 10:22-31).
8. Church members are free to transfer membership to another true and faithful church, but if they forsake assembling with a true and faithful church altogether, they will be excluded from the church and turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (Heb 10:25 c/w 2Th 3:6,14 c/w 1Co 5:4-5).
9. See sermon series on Church Discipline.

VIII. Membership transfer
1. If a member desires to transfer membership to another church of like-faith, he may do so.
2. There may be circumstances in which a church member finds himself that would make it necessary for him to move to another state and join another true church.
3. If the reason for transferring membership is dissatisfaction with the church or the pastor, just remember that the grass isn't always greener on the other side (but it is sometimes).
4. But even if the transfer is due to a personal disagreement with the pastor or another member (Act 15:38-40), we will transfer your membership and wish you well, assuming the other church has agreed to receive you.