By B. B. James


Have you ever noticed how much importance many attach to a roll book? “No, I don’t want you to take my name off the roll.”  This is said in spite of the fact that they never or rarely ever darken the door of the church building.  I have the church directory in front of me even now and if it were not so sad it would be amusing how many people we have “on roll.”  Some evidently think that as long as their names are in this directory they are in good standing.  We should know that the roll book is merely a register of names that we keep so that all of us may know those who claim to be members and where they live.  God keeps a record in heaven of His own, whether their names are written in our roll book or not.  The fact that we have one’s name in our book does not, within itself, mean that God has enrolled that one in His, or that that person’s name has not been blotted out.

As I look through our book I see that it is weighed down with an awful lot of “deadwood.”  When Paul was sailing to Rome and ran into a severe storm one of the first things they did was to lighten the ship by getting rid of the excess weight.  I wonder about the “Old Ship of Zion.”  Do you suppose it would sail better and accomplish more without so many who only want their names “on the roll?”

A member asked a friend of mine if another person was a member of the church where he preached.  The preacher replied, “That person is an unfaithful Christian.”  “That person” learned about it and was upset and came to the preacher and he asked the man, “Are you faithful?”  The man replied that he was not, but indicated that he didn’t want his name taken off “the roll.”  Those of you who claim membership in the church, of what benefit is the church to you and what do you do for the church?  What do you contribute?  Can you think of a more public sin than refusing to worship God at the appointed times? “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is…” Hebrews 10:25). When one refuses to assemble with the saints (even though some of them may be hypocritical) he sins against God.  He departs from the faith.  He becomes unfruitful.  It isn’t necessary that one commit other sins; if he forsakes the assembly he is a sinner.