Monday, February 23, 2009

A Sample "Church Covenant"

Last Sunday evening, we studied what it means to live together as God's people in the fellowship of his church. We used a 'standard' church covenant to guide our thinking about this. (I've added relevant Scripture references.)

"Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour; and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church in...

...knowledge (cp. Acts 2:42; Col.3:16)

…holiness (2 Cor.7:1; 1 Thess.4:1-3ff.; Heb.10:24 1 Pet.1:14-17)

…and comfort;… (Acts 9:31; 1 Thess.4:18; 5:14)

….to promote its prosperity and spirituality…Acts 2:44-45; Gal.6:9-10; contrast 1 Cor. 3:17

to sustain its worship (Acts 2:46-47; 1 Cor.14; Eph.5:19-20; Heb.10:24-25); ,

…ordinances,… (Matt.26:26-29; 1 Cor.11:23-33; Matt.28:19; Acts 2:38,41)

…discipline… (Eph.4:11ff.; Col.1:28; 2 Tim.3:16; 4:2; Heb.13:17; 1 Cor. 5: Matt.18:15ff.; Titus 3:10-11)

… and doctrine;… Acts 2:42; 2 Tim.1:13-14; Titus 1:9

…to contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered us, toward its expenses, (Mal.3:8-10; Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37; 2 Cor.8-9)

… for the support of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us, the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. (Matt.28:18-20; Acts 1:8)

In case of difference of opinion in the church, we will strive to avoid a contentious spirit, (Gal.5:13-15, 20b; cp. Jas.3:17-18) and if we cannot unanimously agree (2 Cor.2:6; Phil.3:15-16), we will cheerfully recognize the right of the majority to govern.We also engage to maintain family (Dt.6:4-9) and secret/personal devotion (Matt.6:5ff, 9-13; Ps.1; 119:11, 18, 97, 105, ; Jn.17:17; Eph.6:18; Col.4:1)

….to study diligently the word of God; … (Ps.1; 19:7ff.; 119; Acts 2:42; Col.3:16; 2 Tim.3:14-4:6)

…to religiously educate our children;…( Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4)

to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances;… (Matt.28:18-20; 1 Pet.3:1-2ff.;

… to walk circumspectly in the world;…(Eph.4:17-24; 5:15-18; 1 Pet.2:11)

… to be kind and just in our dealings,…(Prov.11:1; Col.3:22-23; Tit.2:5, 9-10; 1 Pet.2:11-12)

…to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger;…(Ex. 20:16; Prov.6:16-19; 12:18; 16:28; 20:19; Matt. 12:36; 1 Cor.6:9-10; Eph.4:29-31; Col.3:8; Jas.1:19-20; 4:11)

… to seek God's help in abstaining from all drugs, food, drink, and practices which bring unwarranted harm to the body or jeopardize our own or another's faith], (Eph.5:18; 1 Cor.6:19-20; 10:31; Rom.14)

….endeavoring in the purity of heart and good will towards all men to exemplify and commend our holy faith. (Matt.5:16; Tit.2:10; 1 Cor.11:1)We further engage to watch over, to pray for, to exhort and stir up each other unto every good word and work; (Heb.13:17; 1 Thess.5:12-15; Heb.10:25)

….to guard each other's reputation, not needlessly exposing the infirmities of others;…(Prov.10:12; 17:9; 1 Pet.4:8; 1 Cor.13:6-7)

… to participate in each other's joys, and with tender sympathy bear one another's burdens and sorrows;…(Ro.12:15-16; Gal.6:1-2)

… to cultivate Christian courtesy;…(1 Cor.13:5; Col.3:12-14)

…to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and being mindful of the rules of the Saviour, to seek to secure it without delay. (Matt.5:23-28; 18:15ff.)

We moreover engage that when we remove from this place, we will unite with some other church of like faith where we can carry out the the spirit of this covenant reflecting the principles of God's word."

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