Why I Decided to Be a Church Member: Jan Tie
Posted on 6 May 2020 by CERC
I started coming to CERC regularly in 2016 when I moved to Petaling Jaya for work. It was my first job post-graduation, and coming back from overseas, I decided to join CERC as a member once I was clear that this was a church that strives to be faithful to Jesus and His Gospel. It was almost as simple as that. Although I had encountered Reformed Theology overseas in New Zealand and had realised that that’s not how the Gospel was often presented in Malaysia (to say the least), my understanding of ecclesiology back then was poorly informed. As a Christian, I had realised that I should be committed to a local church in order that I might serve God with His people. It was also how I could exercise my love for the body of Christ in building them up.
Commitment to the local church is part of being obedient to God’s Word, because how else would we love His people?
In the Bible, God commands us to love Him and to love one another (Matt 22:36-40, John 13:34-35). As such, the most logical response to this command would, of course, be to commit ourselves to the local church so that we are devoted to speaking truth in love to one another, building up the Body of Christ, and working together in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world (Eph 6, Matt 28:18-20).
Eventually, the membership course enriched my understanding of what the church is. It provided clarity on the nature, nurture, and structure of the church in a biblical manner. In addition to membership being a response of obedience to Christ, the reason for membership in our context today became clear as day – we are commitment-phobes, a generation plagued by individualism and consumerism – at least I am. Given the chance, we’d rather not be bogged down by having to be accountable to others for our decisions/actions. We tend to value our “freedom” more than obeying our Lord and Saviour. We’d argue we could still obey Him without being committed to His church, but the truth is… we can’t.
We can’t, because we are sinful and selfish by nature. If not for grace and the gospel, we would still be oblivious to true life in the Son. So then, if we are saved to serve Christ, we ought to be living lives of worship to Him – and that means committing ourselves to the local church. The Bible makes clear that God chooses His people for Himself; we don’t choose Him. He brings us to knowledge of His Son so that we may serve Him as a holy people for a holy God, for God alone is the One who deserves all the glory (Rom 12:1-2, Eph 1, Eph 2:8-9).
CERC’s membership course is helpful in the way that it doesn’t just feed us theology, but it challenges us to reflect on our own lives as Christians. Our homework is not easy, so to speak, because it requires much thought, but it is crucial that we grasp it. And so, I became a member of CERC in 2019. It is my hope and prayer that I will strive to remain faithful in service to our Lord together with these brothers and sisters until He returns or calls me home.