Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God. (3 John 11)
On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being an embarrassment to the cause of Christ and 10 being a maximum impact Christian, how would you rate yourself as a church member? Should someone ask your pastor, “What kind of member is (fill in the blank with your name)?” what would he say? Let me help crystallize your thinking with a few more questions.
ARE YOU A DELIGHTFUL MEMBER? Gaius was a member who brought joy to the heart of an old pastor, John the Apostle (3 John v.1-8). Four times John refers to Gaius as “beloved.” The obvious strong connection—the warmth and affection—they shared should be the goal of every pastor and member. John wanted the best for Gaius—that he would prosper in every way. His spiritual prosperity was evident. John’s prayer is that his financial and physical well-being would be as healthy as that of his soul. Would you want your pastor to pray that for you? If he did, would you be bankrupt financially because you are destitute spiritually? Would you be hospitalized in critical care because your soul is sin-sick? Gaius was seeking God’s kingdom first, and then trusting God to care of the rest (Matt.6:33). No wonder he brought delight to the heart of John. Twice he is commended for walking in the truth. The truth was in him, transformed him, and fleshed out in obedience. He was not only marked by truth, but by his love. Gaius was generous—willing to help anyone in need, but especially supportive of missions (v.5-8).
ARE YOU A DESTRUCTIVE MEMBER? Diotrepehes was a destroyer (v.9-11). Great damage has been done to the church because of church members like this. He was a man ruled by ego. He would not yield to authority, but exerted his autonomy. Diotrephes desired to be the dominator—a church boss, greedy of position and gorged with pride. He rejected new people because they might prove to be a threat to his status. He refused the Apostle John’s teaching. He wouldn’t receive instruction. You can’t teach a know-it-all anything, and that was Diotrephes. Unlike Gaius who was a helper in spreading the Gospel, Diotrephes was a hindrance. He had an agenda. His attitude was, “My way or the highway!” His tongue was a sword to hurt others. We look at a member like this and question if they are even saved (v.11). They may not be.
ARE YOU A DEDICATED MEMBER? Demetrius was a dedicated disciple (v.11-14). His testimony was credible because his lifestyle was consistent. If someone mentioned his name in or out of the church, the reaction would be, “I know him! He’s a good man!” Is that what people say when your name is spoken? It was more than reputation—for some can wear a religious mask that hides the reality—Demetrius’ life was in alignment with the truth of God’s Word. Belief and behavior; character and confession—both matched up. John knew he could count on Demetrius. Can the church count on you?
Here are some examples of church members—two good and one bad—which one will you seek to be like? Maybe you would say, “I’m not as good as the best, but not as bad as the worst. I’m somewhere in the middle.” That makes Christ sick! Read Rev.3:16.
Dennis Thurman has pastored churches in Western North Carolina for 36 years. Currently, he is Senior Pastor of Pole Creek Baptist Church where he has served for almost 20 years. Married to Marilyn for 40 years, they have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.
This article was originally posted on Dennis’ blog, Mountain Top Musings