Nowhere does the Lord provide his audience with mere choices. He doesn’t urge them to consider the benefits of his service, its potential penalties, much less its retirement package. Rather than offering mere options, he issues imperious commands: Come and follow me. Take up your cross. Seek first the kingdom of God. Lay down your life for my sake. Abide in me. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. Teach, baptize, heal, bind up - on goes the list of divine directives… The church is a nonvoluntary community precisely because Jesus Christ does not offer invitations to solitary choices but gives commands to communal obedience.
Ralph C. Wood, Preaching and Professing