Steve Ellson: For Those Who Are Not Yet Members

Saturday, November 11, 2017 - by Steve Ellison

It is very easy for believers to become almost totally inwardly focused.  I am not speaking about contemplative self-examination like mystics would engage in.  Rather, what I speak of is individual Christians and their churches focusing inwardly in the sense that most time, energy, effort, creativity, and money is expended on internal needs or worse, internal wants.  The local church really ought to lay hold of the idea that the church does not exist for itself.

 First of all, the church belongs to Christ and exists to bring pleasure, honor, and glory to Him.  Furthermore, the church exists not for those who are members, but rather for those who are not yet members.  


The Resurrected Christ’s final instructions to us are recorded in Matthew 28 and Acts 1. He plainly tells us that we are to be actively seeking the lost, sharing the good news about forgiveness found in Christ, and teaching the new converts all that Christ commanded.  Your church and my church, the local expressions of the world-wide church, made up of all who have trusted Christ, should be focused like a laser beam on those who are not yet members.  Our decisions about where to worship, how to worship, when to worship, what activities to offer, how to spend money, what ministries to be involved in, etc. ought to be dictated by the most effective method to reach out to the lost, i.e. those who are not yet members. We ought to ignore the subtle yet strong urge to please ourselves. Sharing the gospel with the lost, denying ourselves, and cooperating with other believers is perhaps the best way to direct glory to God.


Acts 11:19-30 is a case study of this type of thinking by the believers in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Syria.  Antioch seemed to be near the center of this activity.  This passage tells us that disciples of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch. This indicates that we ought to carefully examine this passage looking for characteristics of Christians. Why else would that fact be recorded here or anywhere in the Bible for that matter? Believers from several locations, obviously in several different local churches are shown to be a virtual beehive of activity.  They were actively involved in sharing the gospel with both Jews and Gentiles. Apparently those who were well suited to reach Jews shared with Jews and others who were well suited to share with Gentiles shared with Gentiles. Large numbers believed and turned to the Lord.  The Christians in these local churches then turned their attention to teaching and training these new converts.  They even found a little time to encourage each other to stay true to the Lord.  When they found out about a famine that was about to hit Judea, they took up a collection and delivered it to their brothers and sisters in Christ.


It seems to me that we can learn a lot from Acts 11:19-30. The church is not a country club.  Country clubs exist for the pleasure and comfort of its members.  Churches exist to direct glory to God by refusing to focus on our own needs/wants, and instead cooperating with others in seeking out the lost, sharing the gospel, teaching new converts all that Christ commanded, encouraging others, and helping to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters regardless of their location.  Everyone who has been adopted into God’s family automatically becomes a brother or sister to every other believer, no matter where they live.  The church exists to proclaim the glory of God by inviting others in and not to satisfy me.

Bob Tamasy: Hiding So We Can Seek

Remember the children’s game, “hide and seek”? Some of our grandkids still play it .What a simple game: One person closes his or her eyes, counts to 10, 20 – or 100 – while the others conceal themselves somewhere in the yard or the house. Younger ones get easily frustrated seeking to find the “hiders,” so after a few minutes it’s kind to let them “find” you. While I haven’t ... (click for more)

Multi-Faith Panel: Raising Children In Chattanooga Is Sunday

Creative Discovery Museum is hosting its first Multi-faith Panel: Raising Children in Chattanooga.  This panel is designed for parents, teachers and other interested adults and teens. Participants are invited to come for pizza before the program. Museum staff will provide childcare and facilitated activities for children ages 3-11.  The event is free and open to ... (click for more)

Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House Is In Custody

Travis Reinking, 29, the suspect in the shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday, has been taken into custody, according to police. Reinking, who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning was on the loose Monday morning and had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. ... (click for more)

Dayton Teen Arrested After Running From Deputies On Highway 60; Passenger Caught With Drugs

Hamilton County Sheriff deputies caught up with a Dayton teen who drove off at a high rate of speed on Highway 60 on Sunday afternoon. A passenger in the vehicle was caught with drugs. At approximately  5 p.m. , deputies observed a white Chrysler 200 traveling south in the 7800 block of Highway 60 at a high rate of speed. The driver was improperly passing other vehicles ... (click for more)

Teachers Have Good Compensation Compared To Other Taxpayers - And Response

Hamilton County experienced a property tax increase of about 10.7 percent in 2017. By law the reappraisal of property shall not increase tax revenue. So after the reappraisal the state certified millage rate for Hamilton County was 2.4976 per hundred dollars assessed value. The county commission voted to raise the millage rate to 2.7652 per hundred. That's about a 10.7 percent increase ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Always Know The Facts

I adore the fact so many of America’s high school and college students are very active in our battle against violence in our schools but bemoan the fact that when you combine youth and ‘lack of experience’ they often are misguided and ill-informed. The best example came on Saturday when a reporter for Campus Reform walked around the Cal State-Santa Barbara campus asking the students ... (click for more)