Coming Events

Young Adult Ministry Christmas Party
Saturday, December 14, 2019, 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

  All young 20- or 30-somethings are invited to our YAM Christmas Party on Saturday, December 14th at 6pm! Join us for food, friends, games, and Christmas movies...

One Service
Sunday, December 15, 2019, 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

On Sunday, December 15th City of God will have just one service at 10:45. We will offer our full slate of children's ministry on this Sunday. 

Family Worship Sunday
Sunday, December 22, 2019, 10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Sunday, December 22nd will be a Family Worship Sunday at City of God with one service at 10:45 a.m. Childcare will be available for nursery and toddler-aged children...

Get weekly News

Grow in community and learn about upcoming events at City of God Church. Signup for our weekly newsletter here.

See us on Facebook!

Join the discussion and keep up to date on the latest news by following our Facebook feed.

Check out City of God Church

 

Recommended Articles

Use these resources to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ, grow in your knowledge of the Word, and disciple people in your life. If you ever have questions about any material you’ve come across, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

More Resources

 

COG Blog

Why Church Membership?
Oct 13, 2019

To be a Christian means to belong to a local church. 

As you read that sentence, you likely had one of a handful of responses. You may have thundered a hearty “Amen!” in your head. You may have dismissed the notion with disagreement or indifference. Or, and maybe most commonly, you wanted to define some of the terms. What does “belong” really mean? How do we define “local” with a God who is everywhere? Are we talking big “C” Church or little “c” church? The notion of church membership brings about some questions. We want to take the time here to answer three questions that are common hurdles to seeing the value of church membership. 

Is Church Membership Biblical?

Church membership is biblical. We have to start here because we hold the Bible to be our final authority in all matters. Now, full disclosure, you will not find the words “church membership” anywhere in Scripture. It’d be wonderful if Jesus had given us a nice “thou shalt join a local church,” but He didn’t. However, there is enough evidence of church membership littered throughout the New Testament that we can confidently say it is God’s prescription for His people. 

For instance, in Hebrews 13:17, the writer tells his audience, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will give an account.” There are two big questions here. First, what leaders were they (and we) to obey? Second, who are these leaders accountable for? An interpretation that concludes all leaders are to be followed by everyone, and all people are their responsibility, would be outrageous. These verses are best applied through the lens of local church membership. Believers are meant to live in respect of the leaders in their local church, and pastors are accountable only for those belonging to the church where they lead. This is why Peter didn’t tell the elders to shepherd all the flocks, but to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you.” 

The establishment of church leaders shepherding in a set context is just one of the shreds of evidence we see in Scripture for church membership. We also see the church gathered together (Acts 2:42-47, 1 Cor. 11:18, 14:26-40,) the church practicing discipline (1 Cor. 5, Mt. 18:15-19, 1 Tim. 5:19-20), and the installation and function of church leadership (Acts 6:1-6, Acts 15, 1 Pet. 5:1-5). Individual churches were also grouped for accountability purposes (Gal. 1:1-7, Rev. 2 & 3). Most of Paul’s letters addressed congregations in a local church setting to encourage and instruct the body. For these reasons and more, we can heartily hold that church membership is biblical. 

Is Church Membership Burdensome?

A second common concern for those mulling church membership is the intimidation of both the requirements and the responsibilities entailed. Many believe church membership is reserved for the elite or “varsity” Christians, and they feel inadequate to meet the demands. Regarding requirements, the personal expectations for an individual to take membership at church are twofold--faith and baptism. A person must have a faith rooted in the Gospel, a personal relationship with Jesus in which they’ve repented of sin, and professed Jesus as Lord and Savior. A person must have also followed the command to be baptized. While these are the only two requirements for membership, at City of God we do our due diligence to flesh them out a bit and confirm them. There is a mandatory membership class that allows both parties, the church, and the applying member, to get acquainted. Then there is an elder interview to confirm membership and a signed covenant to lock it into place. The interview provides elders a chance to examine the faith and the gifts of a person, while the covenant completes a pact that both the City of God and members agree to uphold. 

So, what are the expectations or responsibilities of a church member?

  1. It is expected that members will attend worship services regularly for corporate praise and prayer with our body.
  2. Members are expected to practice communion regularly. This is not just the physical partaking of the Lord’s supper on Sunday, but also the advised examination of one’s relationship with God and others before doing so.
  3. At City of God we expect members to regularly attend member’s meetings and take part in church matters and decisions.
  4. We ask members to be regular in prayer. We want members to be in prayer for our church, our leaders, our members, and our mission.
  5. We ask our members to regularly give to the church to meet the needs of others and fuel the mission of the church locally and beyond.
  6. We expect members to pursue harmony and peace among the church regarding doctrine. While there’s room for disagreement between members and the church’s statement of faith, it is expected that differences will not lead to division. 

Are these high expectations for membership? Absolutely. Are the expectations suitable for all who call themselves a Christian? Absolutely. The parameters lined out here should be expected outcomes for all those who love Jesus and are pursuing a walk with Him. 

Is Church Membership Beneficial?

As you may have noticed, we typically use the term “covenant” when talking about church membership. This intentionally conveys the idea of a relationship. When becoming a member, you are committing yourself to the local church and the local church to you. You are committing to pray for, encourage, care for, and minister to your fellow members and leaders. Similarly, the church and its leaders commit to taking watch over your discipleship and development in your faith. While the benefits of church membership are many, you can typically break them into three distinct categories. 

First, discipleship.

Your church and its leaders commit to growing you in your faith, helping you find your gifts, and plugging you in to your role in the body. The church and its leaders are responsible for your growth and maturation and commit to helping you grow in your faith.

Second, discipline.

When you’re a member of a church, you now have the oversight of a team of elders who will pray for you, care for you, and work to protect you from error and false teaching. This often will come as laying down defense against outside influences, but it is also a commitment to call you to repentance if your walk goes out of step with the gospel. As a member, it should be an encouragement, not a deterrent, that the pastors care so much for you and the flock that they would remove you from fellowship before they tolerate your unrepentant sin.

Third, deployment.

The church isn’t just working to raise you in your faith to sit on it, but rather to send you out to serve in ministry and share the Gospel with others. The church is committed to helping you fulfill the Great Commission.

 In a world that is increasingly pushing independence and autonomy, church membership calls us to come together, let each other in, and corporately seek God alongside one another. A call to such a commitment isn’t always comely. Most everyone wants a wedding, but few want a marriage. But the Christian life is meant to be done in the context of community. To experience this fully, and to do this, biblically, is to do so within the covenant of local church membership. 




COG Blog

Quotes from July 7 Sermon
Jul 07, 2019

The following quotes were used in Sunday's sermon "Our Misguided Search for Happiness." 


"A lot of times I think I get very frustrated and introverted, and there's times where I'm not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there's something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, "Hey man, this is what is." I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it's gotta be more than this. I mean this can't be what it's all cracked up to be." 

- Tom Brady on 60 Minutes (2005)


"The eighties were about acquiring: wealth, power, and prestige. I know. I acquired more wealth and power and prestige than most. But you can acquire all you want and still feel empty."

- Lee Atwater


"Satan's first device to draw the soul into sin is, to present the bait—and hide the hook; to present the golden cup—and hide the poison; to present the sweet, the pleasure, and the profit that may flow in upon the soul by yielding to sin—and to hide from the soul the wrath and misery that will certainly follow the committing of sin. By this device he deceived our first parents, "And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die—for God does know, that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4-5). Your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods! Here is the bait, the sweet, the pleasure, the profit. Oh—but he hides the hook—the shame, the wrath, and the loss that would certainly follow!"

- Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices


"Ordinarily, there is no conquest over sin, without the soul turning from the occasion of sin. It is impossible for a man to overcome his sin—who plays and sports with the occasions of sin. God will not remove the temptation to sin, except you turn from the occasion of sin. It is a just and righteous thing with God, that he should fall into the pit, who will adventure to dance upon the brink of the pit, and that he should be a slave to sin, that will not flee from the occasions of sin. As long as there is fuel in our hearts for a temptation, we cannot be secure. He who has gunpowder about him had need keep far enough off from sparks. To rush upon the occasions of sin is both to tempt ourselves, and to tempt Satan to tempt our souls! It is very rare that any soul plays with the occasions of sin—but that soul is then ensnared by sin!"

- Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices


"I may, I suppose, regard myself or pass for being a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets—that's fame. I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Internal Revenue—that's success. Furnished with money and a little fame even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions—that's pleasure.

It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time—that's fulfillment. Yet, I say to you—and I beg you to believe me—multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing—less than nothing, a positive impediment—measured against one draft of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are."

- Malcolm Muggeridge

COG Blog

Celebration Sunday 2019
Apr 26, 2019

Hey everyone,

We're excited to have you join us for our Celebration Sunday service. We will have limited quantities of the worship lyrics available on paper, but you can access all the songs that we'll sing here

COG Blog

A Heart Like Epaphras
Sep 12, 2018

This Sunday, we’re starting a new series at City of God Church working through the book of Colossians. I’m always excited at the start of a new series. Without fail, God always (sometimes unexpectedly) teaches me so many things as I slowly make my way through His word.

One of those unexpected things I discovered while reading through Colossians this week was how encouraged I was by the heart and ministry of a man named Epaphras.

If you’re not familiar with his name, you’re not alone. He’s not a prominent figure in scripture, and his name only pops up three times (Col. 1:7; 4:12; Philem. 23). However, what we do know about him presents a perfect picture of how the gospel can transform an individual, and how that individual can play a vital role in seeing a city come to know Jesus.

The first time his name is mentioned is in Colossians 1:7. Here is what Paul had to say about Epaphras.

Colossians 1:3-8

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

When Paul writes this letter to the Colossians, he is writing to a church he didn’t plant. In fact, he’s never even had the opportunity to visit them at this point, but what Paul has heard about them up to this point has been pretty positive. This is a body of believers who have faith in Christ and love for others that is rooted in their hope of the grace of God. How incredible would it be if this could be said of every church?

News of this church came to Paul by way of Epaphras. As Paul notes here, he’s one of the individuals primarily responsible for preaching the gospel in this city. He is the one through whom the Colossians heard and understood “the grace of God in truth.” A little later in this letter (Col. 4:12), we actually find out that Epaphras is “one of you.” He was from Colossae. These were his people, and he had made it his responsibility to ensure that as many in this city as possible had an opportunity to hear about and respond to the gospel.

Without getting into the details, there are reasons to believe that Epaphras responded to the gospel during Paul’s missionary work in Ephesus in the mid-50’s (Ac. 19:1-10). Notice what Paul says the gospel does in the life of a person when they receive it. It bears fruit and increases (Col. 1:6). This was true of the church in Colossae, and it was true of Epaphras individually.

There are plenty of ways the gospel can bear fruit and increase. This fruit can be the transformation that happens in a person as they are transformed into the image of Christ (Gal. 5:22-24). The increase can also be from new believers being converted as they are presented with the truth of God’s grace.

It’s easy to make the Christian life complicated. However, I think Epaphras gives us a beautiful picture of what God calls all believers to do. We hear the gospel, receive it, experience the joy and peace that comes from knowing God, and that cultivates a desire in us to share that message with the people closest to us.

What happened to Epaphras? He believed the gospel and then spent the rest of his life persuading those he knew to believe. He was a faithful minister to these people (Col. 1:7), struggled on their behalf in prayer (Col. 4:12), and even spent time in prison because of his ministry (Philem. 23). His desire for others to know Jesus cost him something, but I’m willing to bet he thought it was worth it.

This is a picture of a man who sacrificed much so that others might believe. He was so captivated by God’s love for him that he wanted his family members, neighbors, and fellow citizens to experience that same love. It’s an example we see in the Gadarene Demoniac of Mark 5:19-20, and it’s example we’ve seen set by thousands if not millions of others throughout church history.

As we study the book of Colossians together, my hope is that God would raise up many like Epaphras in our church. My prayer is that you and I are so taken by the beauty of the gospel that we are stirred to invite as many as possible to receive this good news. Oh, that God would stir up “unceasing anguish” in many of us, like Paul (Rom. 9:2), over the reality that there are many in Lafayette, West Lafayette, and Purdue who don’t know Jesus.

When you stop and think about those closest to you who aren’t in a relationship with God, it can be a crushing feeling. However, rather than remaining in our despair, we can follow the example of Epaphras who experienced the fruit of the gospel in his own life and gave everything so that others might have a similar experience.

Epaphras loved Jesus. He loved his city. Those two truths led to a church being planted and numerous believers who had been transferred from the “domain of darkness” to “the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). May the same thing happen here. May the gospel bear fruit and increase in this city and on this campus. God saves sinners but in his grace, he uses us in that great work of spreading the gospel.

Would you pray with me that our city would experience a similar gospel awakening?

Would you pray that God would give you a desire to see those closest to you come to know Jesus?

Would you pray that the gospel would bear fruit and increase here and in your own heart?

COG Blog

God Came to Us
Dec 17, 2017

Matthew 1:23

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Growing up, I loved playing sports. By the time I got to high school it became clear that basketball was going to be my thing (being 6'7 will do that). Some of my favorite moments were spent on the basketball court when I was in high school.

There's one thing that always sticks out to me about my games during those years. We would play a couple of times a week, and sometimes we'd travel a couple hours somewhere in the state of Kentucky for a road game. Regardless of how far we traveled there was one thing I could always count on when I walked out onto the court. My dad would be sitting somewhere in the bleachers.

I didn't realize it when I was a teenager, but coming to every single one of those games required a lot on his part. Just so that he could be there he was willing to give up time for work, hobbies, or at home. There are few things anyone has done to show me how much they care about me than him being present at those games throughout high school.

My guess is that most of you have a memory of someone going out of their way to support you with their presence. I'm reminded of the time my now wife (then fiance) woke up early on a Sunday morning to drive a few hours from Missouri to Kansas. I was preaching one of my first sermons at a church in Lawrence, and I didn't expect her to be there.

However, when I saw her walk through those doors, I felt loved. It meant more than she could know. When someone goes out of their way to be present with us it demonstrates just how much they care about us.

In a way, this is what Christians celebrate at Christmas. What's the main truth behind this holiday? Jesus, who was with God the Father from eternity, left the joys of heaven in order to come to earth and be with us. He willingly took on flesh and allowed himself to endure the frailty of a human body. He left perfect intimacy with the Father so that he could enter a world where he would endure suffering and ultimately death.

It seems like a bad trade-off. Why would he do this?

Tim Keller offers his answer to that question in his book Why Christmas Matters.

"[But] if Jesus Christ is actually God come in the flesh, you're going to know much more about God … If Jesus is who he says he is, we have a 500-page autobiography from God, in a sense. And our understanding will be vastly more personal and specific than any philosophy or religion could give us. [Because of Christmas] look at what God has done to get you to know him personally. If the Son would come all this way to become a real person to you, don't you think the Holy Spirit will do anything in his power to make Jesus a real person to you in your heart? Christmas is an invitation by God: Look what I've done to come near to you. Now draw near to Me. I don't want to be a concept; I want to be a friend."

Here is the incredible truth about Christmas. God was willing to become a man so that he might be present with us. Not only did he want to be present with us, but he became a man to invite us into a relationship with Him. If we know that people care about us when they go out of their way to be present, how could we not see the love of God for us in his willingness to take on flesh and become human?

However, as we think about Jesus coming to earth we also know that he came here to accomplish a mission. He came ultimately to die as a substitute in our place for our sin. Jesus was willing to do more than simply be present with us to show us his love. Jesus was willing to do more than invite us into a relationship with Him to show us his love.

Ultimately, he was willing to go to the cross and die in our place for our sin. He was willing to take our rebellion against God on himself. He endured the judgment of God that we deserved. He did all of this because he loves us.

If you remember nothing else at Christmas I hope you remember this. God wants you. He's inviting you into a relationship with Him. He went to a cross and died in your place to remove the obstacles that were keeping you from Him. At every step in the process God moved toward us, and now he invites us to move toward Him.

You might have reasons to doubt whether God would want anything to do with someone like you. I know I've had those thoughts from time to time. It's easy to fall into the mindset that if people know who we really are, then they'll want nothing to do with us.

And yet, God knows who you really are, and he wants you. He came to earth to show you that. He died on a cross to show you that. You might have plenty of things that you doubt in this life, but the incarnation and the cross prove to us that we can't doubt God's love for us.

© 2019 City of God Church | Lafayette   |   525 N 26th Street, Lafayette, IN US 47904