What, if any, is the difference between membership in a local church and membership in a country club, rotary club, exercise club, or reading club?
This is a huge question that many ask, and also that many answer wrongly by pointing out small differences between these types of club memberships. Sure there are similarities, but there are HUGE and MASSIVE differences in church membership and other clubs. What is the main difference?
Life is war
If life is indeed war, the Bible ought to call us soldiers, does it? Yes, in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 he says, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” Paul calls every Christian a soldier here in this passage. Did you notice though, that being a soldier implies something massive – we’re not civilians. Do we even think in these terms? I am not a civilian in this life, but rather a soldier, called into service by General Jesus?
I wonder what would it look like if I and we actually took this call seriously. If this sank into me, evangelism and missions would no longer be simply sharing my faith here or somewhere else, it would be fighting with desperate love for lost souls. It would be asking men and women to lay down their lives and give all to Jesus.
Meeting together for worship would no longer just be a group of people who gather once or twice a week, but a gathering of the troops, to show our allegiance to the King and receive a word from our Commander, only to be sent back out into war again! Rather than seeing the Church as a cruise ship where we graze all day on all kinds of food, we would see the Church as a battleship preparing us, training us, and taking us into war.
My devotions and my daily time in God’s Word would no longer be my simply my reading time, but my meals that I need for existence and survival in this hostile environment behind enemy lines! Obedience to God would no longer be seen as a good idea, but the only option.
Accountability relationships would no longer be just a sharing of embarrassing things with those close to us, it would be a coming alongside one another for back up and aid. It would be fighting for a man or a woman while he or she is down, or reloading! And faith would no longer be seen as fluffy concept, it would be life or death – either I fight for my faith, or I lose my faith. If we’re soldiers, we are not our own.
As a soldier of Jesus Christ, you are on His agenda, not yours. Christians are not a civilians, I think it’s about time we stop living like one. When you “join the club” you are enlisted in the army of the King. No earthly club has this demand to it. When one enlists, you give all you have. Nothing less is called for.