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much as God loves his family.  The Bible says this in 1 John 4:21 – “Whoever loves God must also love his brother."  

So how do we do that?  Well, first we need to understand something very important about the church.  We need to know that the church is not a building; it is not an institution; it is not an organization; it is not a club.  It is a family.  Most of us say, “Well, I’m going to go to church,” as if church is a place you go to.  But that’s not entirely right, according to the Bible.  Church is not a place you go to.  Church is a family you belong to.  In God’s family there are four levels of fellowship that we’re going to look at this morning.  

Membership: Choosing To Belong

The first level of fellowship is membership.  Membership involves a choice.  Membership means that you choose to belong, that you find a church family and you choose to get connected to it.  Look at what the Bible has to say in Ephesians 2:19 –   “You are members of God’s very own family and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.”  You belong.  The Christian life is not just a matter of believing.  It is matter of belonging, and you and I must choose to belong.  Fellowship begins by making a choice to belong.  

When you were born, you automatically became a part of the human race.  But you have to choose to belong to the family of God, the church.  It is a choice, a membership choice.  You might hear some people say, “Well, I’m a Christian, but I don't want to belong to any church.”  That just doesn't make sense.  The church is where you live out what it means to be a Christian.  That’s like saying, “I’m a football player, but I don’t want to be a part of any team.” A football player without a team is a trick or treater, nothing more.  It’s like saying, “I’m a drummer, but I don’t want to be a part of any band.” A drummer without a band is just annoying.  Just as a band is where you live out what it means to be a drummer, a church is where you live out what it means to be a Christian.

This next week in the “Purpose Driven Life” book we're going to be reading together six reasons why you need to be a part of a church family.  We will discover how the church meets our needs and how God designed you to meet other people’s needs in the church.  Notice what the Bible tells us in Romans 12:5, “So in Christ we who are many form one Body, and each member belongs to all the others.”  We don’t belong to ourselves alone; we belong, as Christians, to each other.

Now, I know the word “membership” is a bit of a foreign concept to some of us.  But did you know that this word originally was a Christian word?  It came right out of these verses in the Bible.  I know that today it is used for being a member of every kind of club and signing up for this and joining that (health club, book club, Safeway, etc.).  But originally the concept came from Paul’s teaching in the Bible about being a member of the Body of Christ.  The Bible compares being a member of the church to being a member of the human body.  Just like your hand is a member of your body, that’s how

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