The Five Questions of Membership (1)
Romans 3:23; Romans 2:1-2; Romans 5:6,8
1. Church membership matters: Matthew 18:20; 1 Timothy 3:15-16
2. FPCJ first question of membership: (1) Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in His sovereign mercy?
3. Each of our five membership questions are biblical.
4. In the first question (above) we acknowledge that we are (1) sinners, (2) justly condemned and (3) without hope (apart from Christ).
I. All true Christians acknowledge that they are sinners
[A sinner] (Romans 3:23)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, . . .
1. This is an unpopular teaching, but it can be empirically verified!
A. Offense this teaching caused in Bible times: prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus
B. Denial of doctrine by liberals (Miserable-Sinner Christianity in the Hands of the Rationalists - Warfield)
C. Denial of doctrine by TV preachers
2. Until this truth about ourselves is admitted, the Gospel does not make sense.
3. Thus, Jesus’ very first word in preaching was "repent," so also John and Peter
4. Are Christians saying to non-Christians, you’re bad and we’re not (We’re from the government and we’re here to help you! No! One beggar telling another where we found bread. We are not the fellowship of the "arrived" (Phil 3:12-14)
5. The reality of ongoing sin in the Christian life (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:8)
Application: *Cheer up, things are worse than you think they are. *The way to the cross is through your own sin, not around it *We must deal with our own sinfulness by embracing its reality, not through denial.
II. All true Christians acknowledge that they are rightly condemned
[Justly condemned] (Romans 2:1-2)
1 Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. )
Do you acknowledge yourselves to . . . justly deserve His displeasure, . . .
1. Not only have we admitted our sin, admitted the truth about ourselves, we have admitted the God’s judgment against us is just. This is not the typical reaction of people who are judged. Ask any judge or lawyer.
2. David’s case (2 Samuel 12 - David did exactly what Paul describes here in Rom 2:1-2)
Application: Problem is us, not them/problem is in us, not outside of us. Solution, thus, is not in us. No blameshifting
III. All true Christians acknowledge that their only hope is in God’s mercy
[Without hope, apart from the sovereign saving mercy of God] (Romans 5:6, 8)
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . . 8 . . . God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Do you acknowledge yourselves to be . . . without hope save in His sovereign mercy?