Chapter Three: The Marks of the Church
“By itself a searching exposition on human sin is not enough. By itself the proclamation of God’s love in Christ’s atoning death is not enough. Both are necessary.”—pg 27
Reflection Question: We are constantly tempted to prioritize either God’s love or His holiness. Yet both are always of equal importance to God’s plan for His people and neither can safely be minimized. What forms of imbalance are you most tempted to?
Chapter Four: The Membership of the Church
“From the earliest of times, local Christian churches were congregations of specific, identifiable people.”—pg 40
Reflection Question: Throughout this chapter, Dever makes a strong case for the importance of church membership. Does the way you exercise your rights and responsibilities as a church member reflect that importance?
Chapter Five: The Polity of the Church
“The fundamental responsibility under God for the maintenance of all aspects of public worship of God belongs to the congregation…. the local congregation has the duty and obligation to promote the continuance of a faithful gospel witness.”—pg 47
Reflection Question: Leadership is essential for the health of the local church—but reflecting the gospel and passing it on to the next generation is not the responsibility of the leadership alone, but of the congregation as a whole. Are you ever tempted to leave “ministry” to the leaders alone?
Chapter Six: The Discipline of the Church
“Discipline is inextricably bound up with the church Jesus envisioned. But that discipline should not occur alone. Rather, it should occur as one part of a larger commitment by the entire church to pray and work for one another’s formation in Christ.”
Reflection Question: Members are called, collectively and individually, to share in the burdens, rejoice in the blessings, and confront the sinful decisions of their fellow members. How committed are you to the health of the body? Does your involvement in the lives of other members reflect that commitment?