A CLUB OR A GOVERNMENT?

Who speaks with authority over your golf game? How about your exercise habits? Probably not the local golf club and health club, even if you are a member of one or the other. Those are groups you join voluntarily, for personal benefit, without any expectation of accountability. Even if you are a member of Empty Pockets Country Club, the other club members have no authority to tell you how you should play golf, much less how you should live your life.

But how about your driving habits? Who has authority over how fast you drive, when you stop and go, and where you can and can’t park? Obviously, the government. Our local, state, and federal governments have authority over our driving and a whole host of other areas of our lives. Governments have authority over their citizens because they were instituted by God Himself for specific purposes. Being a member of a certain golf club is dramatically different in this respect from being a citizen of a certain country. One has eminent and extensive authority over our lives, and the other does not.

So here’s the point and the real question I have for you. Which is the church more like in this respect: a golf club or a government? Is the church more like a club you join voluntarily, for personal benefit, without any expectation of accountability? Or is the church more like a government, with God-given authority over our lives?

If you’ve been reading along over the past several weeks, you know the answer is Door B! Just as the Bible establishes the government of your nation as your highest authority on earth regarding matters of earthly kings and your citizenship in their kingdom, so the Bible establishes the local church as your highest authority on earth regarding matters of your Heavenly King and your discipleship in His kingdom.

In other words, the local church is much less like a club with its members, and it is much more like a kingdom with its citizens. That’s why some people have such a hard time finding church membership in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t begin with people voluntarily associating into clubs. It begins—and ends!—with a King gathering people together under His supreme rule as citizens of His kingdom. So stop looking for a club with its members; instead, look for a King with His bound-together people.